Let’s face it, unconditional love doesn’t really exist, does it? Every relationship goes through the “you’ve changed” problems. Even so, having certain fundamentals met is non-negotiable for any relationship. For most, the fundamentals are trust, communication and respect. When trust is removed from the equation, things can predictably go awry. Though it’s hard, figuring out how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying isn’t an impossible task.
When trust is broken in a relationship, every statement is suddenly up for debate. “Are you really going out with just the boys?” “He’s just a friend, right?” The suspicion and accusations can soon turn things sour, leaving you desperately looking for an answer to, “What can I do to gain trust back in a relationship?” This is exactly why rectification becomes vital.
Forgiveness may take its own sweet time to come your way. If you really do value your partner and relationship, the long-winding road to gaining their trust back will be worthwhile. Let’s take a look at some activities to rebuild trust in a relationship that you can use, so you don’t end up like the boy who cried wolf. But first, let’s examine some of the common causes behind the erosion of trust in a relationship.
5 Major Reasons That Cause Lack Of Trust In A Relationship
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You may be desperate to know how to regain trust in a relationship after lying or betraying the faith your partner had placed in you. However, trying to earn someone’s trust back without truly understanding what caused its erosion in the first place can be a lot like treating a headache by rubbing an ointment on your knee.
Even if you’re aware of the key trigger that caused trust issues to seep into your relationship, it helps to dig deeper and identify the root cause. By doing so, you may be able to achieve a lot more than just a symptomatic treatment of a visible lack of trust in your relationship. To help you in your quest for ways to build trust in a relationship, let’s first take a look at the 5 major and most common reasons that cause the trust to take a hit in relationships:
1. Infidelity can lead to deep-seated trust issues
No surprises there, infidelity is among the top reasons that cause a lack of trust in a relationship. When a partner betrays another by cheating on them, it is only natural that trust in the relationship takes a massive hit. The partner who has been cheated on struggles to believe anything their partner says or does.
Apart from an apparent loss of trust, infidelity can also deal a major blow to the cheated partner’s self-esteem and self-worth. This can, in turn, cause insecurities to take hold, making them more susceptible to trust issues. That’s why regaining trust after cheating in a relationship proves to be a challenge even if a couple decides to stay together and rebuild the relationship.
2. Lies and dishonesty
Betrayal in a relationship doesn’t always come in the form of a third entering a couple’s equation. Lies, dishonesty, and omission of truth can all contribute to the erosion of trust in a relationship, especially when this becomes a pattern. If one partner always resorts to white lies or concealing information from the other to avoid conflict and confrontation, these little cover-ups can pile up and open the flood gates of relationship insecurity, anxiety, and fear about the future.
This can be enough to shake up the foundation of trust between a couple. What seems like a harmless lie to avoid a fight can soon leave you with an “I lied and ruined my relationship” lament. So, tread carefully when you are met with the temptation of using a lie as an easy way out vis-à-vis getting into a difficult conversation with your SO. Dishonesty, irrespective of its magnitude, can cause lasting damage to a relationship.
3. Being an absent or inconsistent partner
A big part of being in a relationship is showing up for your partner and letting them know that you have their back, no matter what. When one partner consistently fails to do that in a relationship, it’s plain to see how it can make it harder for the other to trust them. When you fail to support your partner, show compassion, listen to their issues and try to understand them, they may subconsciously begin to withdraw from the relationship.
Likewise, if you’re not consistent in showing up for your partner or there is an incongruence between your words and actions, trust can be the first casualty. For instance, you may repeatedly tell your partner that you love and respect them but end up resorting to name-calling in the relationship at the slightest provocation. This mismatch between your words and your actions can make it harder for your partner to trust you.
4. A partner’s past may also hamper trust in a relationship
If you’re struggling to make a man trust you completely or earn a woman’s trust wholly but do not know what you’ve done to invite this undercurrent of suspicion, your past could be to blame. If you have cheated in a past relationship or have been dishonest with an intimate partner and your current partner knows about it, it’s only natural that they may find it hard to trust you completely.
A classic example of this is affairs that break up marriages or long-term relationships to take a life of their own. The partner you were cheating on your ex with struggles with the question, “If he/she could cheat on their partner once, what’s stopping him/her from doing it again?” The weight of the past can also be the reason why trust hasn’t fully blossomed in your relationship
5. Individual emotional baggage
When exploring ways to build trust in a relationship, both partners need to look inward and introspect. Sometimes lack of trust in a relationship stems not from external factors but the individual emotional baggage that either one or both partners may be carrying. For instance, if your partner is overly suspicious of you without any reason and you end up hiding things from them to prevent a bad situation from getting worse, some soul searching and introspection can do you both a lot of good.
Without it, you may soon find yourself in an “I lied and ruined my relationship” situation, and in effect, you end up confirming your partner’s worst fears, further emboldening their trust issues. To break free from this vicious cycle, it’s important to look at some latent reasons why some people struggle to place their trust in others, including their intimate partners:
- Fear of abandonment: Childhood or early life traumas such as abuse, loss of a parent, parental neglect, or growing up in a broken home or dysfunctional family can lead to a fear of abandonment that can make it harder for a person to trust others
- Insecure attachment style: People with insecure attachment styles, particularly anxious-preoccupied or fearful-avoidant, also find it hard to trust others because the ones they trusted to meet their emotional needs as children did not live up to those expectations
- Low self-esteem: Low self-esteem and deep-seated insecurities often go hand-in-hand. A person with low self-esteem essentially lives with a feeling of “I am not good enough”. This feeling makes it hard for them to believe that someone can love them for who they are
Related Reading: 11 Things That Happen In Relationships Without Trust
How To Gain Trust Back In A Relationship After Lying – 10 Things You Should Do
The degree of the lie doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you lied in the first place. Be it cheating or a lie to cover your tracks, the lack of respect is evident in each case. Whether you’re a pathological liar or you only lied once, the process of rebuilding trust in a relationship largely remains the same.
However, if you watched your partner’s favorite show without them or ate the sandwich they were saving for later, we wouldn’t really call that completely betraying your partner’s trust. It might feel like it, but it’s nothing a re-watch or another sandwich can’t fix. You don’t need to be losing sleep over how to fix a relationship after trust is broken just yet.
Although, when more serious lies about infidelity are uncovered, any perception of trust in the relationship goes out the window. Before you know it, your car now has a GPS tracker attached to it and your messages are being monitored. Nobody wants to be in a relationship with the FBI, which is why rebuilding trust in a relationship then becomes a priority after you’ve been hit by the turbulence of suspicion.
Even though you may want nothing more than to press the reset button and go back to the way things were, there are no quick fixes for how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying. To fix a relationship after cheating and lying will require commitment and patience. To help you along the way, let’s explore the activities to rebuild trust in a relationship right away:
1. First and foremost, stop lying
It goes without saying that to fix a relationship after cheating and lying, you need to stop the lies immediately. And by immediately, we mean yesterday. You cannot be asking yourself, “What can I do to gain trust back in a relationship?”, while sitting atop a stockpile of lies that can blow up in your face any minute.
Henceforth, make sure you don’t do anything even remotely clouded in a veil of ambiguity that leaves your partner anxious about your intentions. Lying after being caught for it is like thinking eating sugar will fix your diabetes. You’re just making things worse for yourself, and before you know it you’ll be eating that dessert-for-two all alone. If you don’t want to live with the “I lied and ruined my relationship” lament for the rest of your life, practice being transparent with your partner.
Let them know what you’re doing and what you’re going to be doing later. If you’re looking for some personal space in the relationship, explain to your partner what you’ll be doing and why. When figuring out how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying or cheating, discontinuing what caused the problem in the first place is the biggest step you need to take.
2. Ask for forgiveness, sincerely
“Okay, gosh! I’m sorry. Calm down, it’s not a big deal,” is something you should be saying if you want to be kicked out of your relationship quicker than Usain Bolt reaches the finish line. But definitely not the way to go if you want to regain trust with someone you hurt. Make sure you sincerely apologize to your partner, and your partner should be able to see that it’s coming from the heart.
No, the small flowers won’t do. Get the biggest ones. In fact, go all out and cover the entire living room in his/her favorite flowers. Grab a box of chocolates, write a heartfelt note, and cook them a meal, the whole nine yards. You’re not getting out of this one easily, might as well go the distance if you really show someone you love them after hurting them.
Don’t gaslight your partner, don’t spit out half-truths, own up to everything you did and lied about and acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Apologize like you mean it by saying something along the lines of “I lied, I broke your trust and I’m truly sorry for that. I will never do something like this again. Give me a chance at rebuilding trust in our relationship.”
3. Open up to your partner
How to gain trust back in a relationship after lying? Being an open book to your partner is a good place to start. Rebuilding trust in a relationship is all about how transparent you can be. When you mess up and break their trust, open up to them and tell them why you did it, even if it’s hard for you to accept why you did it in the first place.
If you did it for the sake of it, tell them. If you did it because you were trying to get back at them for something, tell them, but consider the health of your relationship while you’re at it. A relationship shouldn’t be a game of chess. However, remember to put forth your reasons or side of the story without making it sound like you’re placing blame on your partner or offering justifications for your actions. Steer clear of accusatory tone or blame-shifting.
In the process, you’ll be getting to the bottom of assessing your thoughts and emotions as well. What drove you to do what you did? Why did you lie? Questions to rebuild trust in a relationship can help you both get to the bottom of why it happened in the first place. Instead of symptom curbing, focus on eliminating the need to lie from the roots.
4. Improve communication in your relationship
As one of the absolute fundamentals in a relationship, the importance of improving communication in your relationship can never be understated. This becomes even more crucial when you’re trying to figure out how to regain trust in a relationship after lying. By communicating better and clearer in the future, you eliminate the possibility of having to hide something from your partner.
Besides, there is no doubt that your partner would be grappling with trust issues after being lied to. There is no better way to help them overcome these niggling doubts and trust you again than by fostering honest, open and reconciliatory communication in your relationship.
Yes, how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying can be as easy as establishing constructive and healthy communication with your partner. Encourage opening up to each other, even if the topics are things you’d like to avoid talking about. Often, those are the most important conversations anyway.
So, the next time your partner says “Nothing, I’m fine”, that’s your cue, soldier. Don’t shrug your shoulder and avoid that conversation, dive headfirst and ask why they’re not sharing what they clearly want to. If you make the effort to cultivate healthy communication in your relationship, you won’t be left struggling with the question, “Can you regain broken trust?”
Related Reading: How To Trust Someone Again After They Hurt You – Expert Advice
5. Be the best partner you can be
While a heartfelt apology is going to get the ball rolling, you’re going to need to do a lot more than just one night of apologizing. Now comes the part where you work on giving your partner zero reasons to not trust you again. As far as your efforts to regain trust with someone you hurt go, actions truly do speak louder than words.
Make sure you’re now the best boyfriend/girlfriend your partner could ask for and show them that you’re worth the effort of rebuilding trust in a relationship. Back massages, breakfast in bed, being supportive, doing their laundry, driving them arou…okay, maybe don’t be their personal butler, but you get the gist.
Be reliable, adopt ways of showing affection to your partner, and make sure your partner notices the effort you’re putting in by consistently being on your toes. Trying to figure out how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying? Figure out what your SO wants in a partner and be that person. That’s the key to make a man trust you completely or win over a woman’s trust all over again.
6. Commit to change
When trust is broken in a relationship, perhaps the most important thing you can do is wholeheartedly commit to change. Pin down the tendencies or triggers that made you want to hide the truth from your partner. Figuring out how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying can seem so challenging to many because it requires you to break your behavior patterns.
That, in turn, requires you to look within, introspect and understand why you behave the way you do in certain situations. Why does lying seem like the simpler choice to you than having that uncomfortable conversation with your partner? Why are you afraid to show them every side of yourself and not hide behind the camouflage of carefully constructed lies?
Unless you’re convinced about the fact that you need to work on certain aspects of your personality for the relationship to work, you’ll barely put any effort in. Activities to rebuild trust in a relationship range from being the best partner you can be to being the best version of yourself. Improve satisfaction in other areas of your life and you won’t feel the need to be deceitful. And the ways to build trust in a relationship will follow.
7. Give your partner time
It takes copious amounts of time, patience and effort to earn someone’s trust back. Once you’ve messed up and broken your partner’s trust in you, you can’t expect them to forgive you immediately. It will take them as long as it takes them, and you can’t be the one to decide how long that’s going to be. “I said I’m sorry! What more do you want?” is only going to result in a glass of water splashed on your face. Unless you want that for some reason, refrain from pressuring your partner into forgiving you.
Understand that trust issues after being lied to do not vanish overnight. You telling your partner that they have nothing to worry about or reassuring them that you’d never lie again or showing them how truly remorseful you are isn’t going to magically undo the damage your lies may have caused. They may find themselves unable to believe you, besides themselves.
When you’re scratching your head over, “What can I do to gain trust back in a relationship?”, because it’s been 6 months and your partner is still not over how you lied to them, understand that you alone cannot set this right. Your partner needs to be 100% convinced about whether they can forgive you or not.
Give your partner the space and time they need to reflect on if they can even manage to forgive you. Just like you need to be committed to being the best person you can be, your partner needs to figure out whether it’s a setback they can get past. How to gain trust back in a relationship after lying also depends on how willing your partner is to forgive you and let you back in.
Related Reading: Top 9 Tips To Build Trust In Relationships
8. Listen to your partner
Trust-building exercises for couples include talking to each other about what you need to do going forward, acknowledging you messed up and understanding what your partner is saying. Their expectations will govern how and what you can do to fix a relationship after cheating and lying.
Even if your partner is just telling you how hurt they were that you lied to them, by just listening and accepting your mistakes, you can provide them with the much-needed validation they require. Not brushing off their concerns or invalidating their feelings of anger, pain or hurt is an important part of how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying.
“How many times are we going to go over this?” “Can you get over it and see that I’m really making an effort to win your trust?” You need to steer clear of such statements to see make progress in your attempts to rebuild trust in a relationship after lying.
9. Don’t expect anything
How to regain trust in a relationship after lying? Remember that consistent effort, no matter how small, can add up to big results but you cannot rush this process. If you’ve been working on yourself, if you’ve been doing everything you can to be the best partner you can be and your partner hasn’t said a word about it, getting frustrated about it won’t really do much for your relationship. This is why committing to fixing the relationship beforehand is so important.
Once you’re both committed, you have to jump in with both feet. You can’t lose your patience and let anger cloud your judgment if you haven’t received any words of appreciation for the effort you’re putting in. Trust-building exercises for couples do not guarantee instant gratification. Learn to manage your own expectations in the relationship the right way
10. Seek professional help
Be it couples’ therapy or individual therapy, use whatever you need to help you get better. A professional will be better able to tell you how to gain trust back in a relationship after lying. Once you’ve been given an informed analysis of why you lie and what you can do to strengthen your relationship, rebuilding trust in a relationship won’t seem like pushing a boulder up a hill.
If your efforts so far have not yielded any results and you’re seeking help to regain trust with someone you hurt, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you. With their guidance and help, you can gain clarity on how to heal from shattered trust in your relationship.
Even though the activities to rebuild trust in a relationship won’t end up giving instant results, you need to be committed to making a change for the better in your relationship. Rebuilding trust in a relationship isn’t really going to be a walk in the park, but that’s only because you wouldn’t want to trust someone who’s liable to break it, right? By using the methods we listed out to gain trust back in a relationship, you’ll be moving one step closer every day toward reclaiming the status of a trustworthy spouse.
The timeframe to rebuild trust in a relationship after lying depends on how long it takes for your partner to feel safe with you again. By following the things to do to gain back trust, you help speed up the process. By consulting a professional therapist, you’ll end up reducing that time by a considerable amount. If you’re looking to consult a therapist to help you build back trust in your relationship, Bonobology has a multitude of experienced professionals to help you do just that.
Yes, trust can be regained in your relationships if you take all the right steps. Try to be the best partner you can be. Give your partner time and space to forgive you and commit to being a better person. Rebuilding trust in a relationship, while difficult, is by no means impossible if both partners are committed to making the relationship work.