How To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship – Expert Suggests

October 4, 2022 |
rebuild trust in a relationship
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Trust is a belief that another person will be good to you. They won’t hurt you. They will protect you from any harm. It strengthens one partner’s confidence in the other. It makes you feel like you can finally rely on someone. Trust provides a sense of safety and deepens the love two people share. But when that trust is gone or broken, the relationship suffers a great ordeal.

Some people believe you can’t rebuild trust in a relationship. They say trust is like a broken mirror. Even if it’s fixed, you can still see the cracks. But when you love someone, you want to give it your all to save your relationship with them. As hard as it may seem, it’s not impossible to lay the foundation of trust all over again.

That’s why we are here to help you understand the delicate nuances of rebuilding trust in a relationship with the help of clinical psychologist Devaleena Ghosh (M.Res, Manchester University), founder of Kornash: The Lifestyle Management School, who specializes in couples counseling and family therapy. She says, “If the partner whose trust has been broken doesn’t cope up with it in a healthy way, they will wound themselves and their partner in some way or the other, sooner or later. The circle of distrust, hurt and pain will continue if not addressed cautiously.”

Reasons For Losing Trust In A Relationship

Before you take a look at what it takes to rebuild trust in a relationship, it’s important to identify the root causes of trust issues in a relationship. A few major reasons behind a breach of trust in a relationship are cheating, lying, or hiding things from one another. Infidelity, for instance, makes it extremely difficult for the partner who has been cheated on to trust the other.

As a person comes to grips with their partner’s affair, they can slip into a very dark place emotionally. This makes the entire healing process and infidelity recovery stages chaotic and messy. However, infidelity isn’t the only cause for eroded trust between partners. Some other reasons for lack of trust in a relationship include:

  • Acting out of paranoia and suspecting one partner of infidelity
  • Lack of emotional and physical intimacy 
  • Not sticking to your words or keeping your promises
  • Constant criticism that hurt the feelings of a partner
  • Withholding affection and love
  • Addictions like alcoholism, gambling, or pornography
  • Mismatch between actions and words
  • Badmouthing a partner behind their back 
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Signs Of Mistrust In A Relationship

When there is broken trust, the signs may differ depending on the people involved and the dynamics of the relationship. However, a few common patterns are evident in the injured person’s behavior. The following signs indicate that a person doesn’t trust their partner and feels disconnected from the relationship.

  • Always checking the partner’s phone
  • Monitoring the partner’s movements and asking them to account for the missing minutes and hours
  • Clinging on to the partner 24×7
  • A gnawing feeling of being lied to
  • Inability to be vulnerable with each other
  • Uncertainty about the future of the relationship

Related Reading: 10 Things To Do When You Are Drifting Apart In Your Relationship

5 Ways To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship If You Betrayed Your Partner

Before you set out to understand how to rebuild trust, you need to know this can be a long-winding journey and the outcome may not be what you’d hope for. It will be exhausting and you won’t be able to look into each other’s eyes like you once used to. Even as you work through the hurt of betrayal, in whatever form it festered in your relationship, you also need to think about how to make changes in the present for a better and more fulfilling new relationship.

1. Sincerely apologize and take responsibility

How to rebuild trust in a relationship after lying and cheating? Apologize sincerely. Rebuilding trust can be time-consuming. The lion’s share of the work in restoring trust or winning it all over again rests with the person who caused it to shatter in the first place. If the onus lies with you, you need to take the first step toward undoing the damage by offering a heartfelt and sincere apology for the hurt caused.

Here are a few things that you must keep in mind while offering an apology:

  • Active listening is crucial for validating hurt feelings and taking a step toward repairing broken trust
  • Stay committed to changing your ways. You can’t apologize and go back to doing the same things again
  • Fix the rough patch by taking full responsibility for your actions without any ifs and buts
  • Give time to your relationship. Just because your partner has forgiven you doesn’t mean you start taking them for granted again

2. Create new memories

Broken trust may make you feel like love is dead in your relationship. But that’s not true. If your partner has come so far as to give this relationship another chance, chances are your partner still loves you, just as you love them, and together you want this to work out. One way to make sure that your collective desire to make it work does not get overshadowed by trust issues in your relationship is to make new, happy memories together. Here are some ways you can make new memories:

  • Spend quality time together and go on date nights 
  • Spice things up in the bedroom
  • Find a mutual hobby even if it means getting out of your comfort zone 
  • Praise your partner 
  • Send good morning and good night text messages
  • Give your partner massages 
  • Kiss more often and make more eye contact 
  • Plan a trip together 

3. Reignite the spark of initial days 

Remember how you fell in love with them? The feeling of blood rushing to your cheeks, constantly blushing, thinking about them, wanting to be around them, and always being inundated with their admiration. These are some of the things that you need to bring back in the relationship to regain trust.

Devaleena says, “You need to find out ways to fall in love again. Channelize your energy into bringing that spark back. Understand that whatever issue you are dealing with can be sorted. Learn each other’s love languages and rekindle the love.”

4. Communicate better

If there is one magical thing that can fix your relationship, it’s communication. Talk to each other. Open your heart and speak. However, this does not mean you get a free pass at hurling abuses, passive-aggressive comments, and mocking each other. You have to be respectful and very careful with your choice of words. And if you can’t communicate without spitting hurtful things, it’s one of the signs your relationship is beyond repair.

When you move forward with the aim of giving your partner and relationship another chance, you need to let them speak instead of always trying to put your points across. Make them feel seen and heard. You will feel the emotional intimacy blossom between you and your partner, all over again.

Related Reading: 11 Ways Being Cheated On Changes You

5. Focus on the future

What’s done is done. You hurt them. They are trying to forgive you and move on. However, that can’t happen if you let the shadow of the past hang over your present and future. Just the way your partner needs to learn to leave behind whatever wrongdoing on your part dealt this blow to your relationship, you too need to learn to emerge from the cloud of guilt and shame.

A lot of people give their relationship a fresh start but keep fighting about the issues of the past, and more often than not, this drives them apart. If you don’t want that to happen, you need to know that there’s a long road ahead of you. Give your partner the time to forgive you and make peace with whatever transpired. Meanwhile, you focus on your relationship and show your partner you’re willing to move heaven and earth to rebuild the trust and win them back. 

5 Ways To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship If You Got Betrayed By Your Partner

It can be soul-shattering to find out that the person you trusted the most in this world has taken a knife to your back. If figuring out how to rebuild trust in a relationship after lying and cheating is hard, taking a leap of faith to trust a partner who betrayed you is twice as challenging. To help you take the first step in this journey, let’s take a look at how to rebuild trust in a relationship as the betrayed partner:

1. Analyze the situation you are in 

Devaleena says, “When a couple is feeling disconnected and struggling with trust issues, the blame for it cannot rest with one partner squarely. Yes, even if one partner’s actions may have triggered the erosion of trust, the other ought to have played some part in it, no matter how minuscule. Lack of self-reflection, coupled with a judgment impaired by the hurt and anguish of being lied to or cheated on, can make either one or both partners live in denial and lose touch with reality. That’s why introspection is essential to build trust again.”

If your partner cheated on you, ask yourself what led to enough gap between you two for a third person to come in. Was there a lack of intimacy or were you too busy with your work and made your partner feel neglected? What they did cannot be justified. But analyzing your own actions will help you focus on the important things such as improving the quality of your love, which can be integral to moving forward. 

2. Know that you can be vulnerable again

When you refuse to be vulnerable in a relationship, you have walls built around you. You are so guarded that you don’t let anyone in. You won’t open up about your deepest emotions as well. Only when you make yourself vulnerable, will your partner understand you better. Only by learning to be vulnerable again will you learn how to trust someone again after they hurt you.

Your relationship won’t grow without vulnerability. If you want to give your partner another chance, then bring back that lost sense of safety by talking about your fears and insecurities. Reaching this stage can take time, but it’s worth the effort you put in to be able to lean on each other again.

3. Keep your demands on the table

Your healing is incomplete unless you can clearly tell your partner what you want from them and this relationship going forward. Ask the right questions and state expectations clearly. Do you not want your partner to meet a certain person? Do you want to go to couples counseling? Do you want them to tell you everything about the affair? How they met, where it started, and how many times? 

“Sit with yourself and decide what it is that you need to get past this setback in your relationship, and then lay those terms on the table for your partner,” advises Devaleena. The burden of unmet expectations and dashed hopes can prove fatal for a relationship riddled with trust issues. That’s why it’s imperative to speak your mind rather than expecting your partner to read your mind and give you what you want.

4. Put an end to the blame game

As long as you keep blaming your partner for the things that went wrong, you won’t be able to let go of the hurt. The more you indulge in blame-shifting in a relationship, the more you will resent your partner. Your own actions and words will get in the way rebuilding trust. You won’t be able to forgive and forget. You won’t know how to trust your partner if you keep picking at old wounds. Make a conscious decision that you will try to practice forgiveness.

Devaleena says, “When there is discord, people tend to blame the other person. It is the easier alternative as compared to owning up to a problem because that triggers feelings of guilt, which many find hard to cope with. This is especially true for people with fragile egos. The healing process can begin only when both partners commit to letting go of bitter feelings.”

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5. Treat this as a new relationship 

Resentment is like a slow poison that inevitably proves fatal for a relationship. If your intent is of rebuilding trust, then you need to cleanse yourself of all the negative feelings. Treat it as a new relationship and let the past bury its dead. Figure out how to let go of the past and try to be happy in the present. The loss of trust or the journey to rebuilding it from scratch ought to have changed your relationship in many ways. Accept and embrace that fact.

Don’t keep holding on to the idea of going back to the way things were because clearly there was something amiss in that equation. To get a fresh start, couples must truly convince themselves that they are in a new and better place.

Related Reading: 9 Activities To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship – As Recommended By A Couples Counselor

Key Pointers

  • Cheating, lying, hiding things from one another are some of the most common causes of trust issues in a relationship
  • Both partners need to put in the effort to rebuild trust and give their relationship a new lease on life
  • You can learn how to trust someone again by being vulnerable
  • If you want to have a future again, then treat this as a new relationship
  • Reignite the spark and create new memories with them

There are no shortcuts or easy answers to how to restore broken trust. Couples who struggle with distrust have to be willing to hurt, heal and do the work for being able to stay together and emerge stronger from this tumultuous phase of their relationship. With the help of couples therapy, patience and perseverance, you can prevail.

FAQs

1. How do you gain trust back in a relationship?

Only with a lot of persistence and effort. One really has to do away with all negative thoughts and practice forgiveness. One also has to be deeply aware of the mistakes made last time so one does not commit them again.

2. How long does it take to rebuild trust in a relationship?

It is hard to give a concrete timeline for how long it takes to rebuild trust in a relationship. From the severity of the issues at hand to the aggrieved partner’s willingness to forgive and move on as well as the earnestness of the couple to make an effort to bounce back from this set back all play a role in determining how soon you’d be able to reinstate trust in a relationship. With consistent effort and work, you’ll surely get there, sooner or later.

3. What causes a lack of trust in a relationship?

Betrayal in a relationship, cheating, not meeting expectations, and severe arguments are some things that can cause a lack of trust.

4. How do you feel when someone breaks your trust?

Having your trust broken is always painful. However, the severity of the pain varies depending on who broke your trust. If it is your intimate partner, the experience can scar you for life. If it’s a friend or a sibling, then too the hurt can be pretty severe. But if it is a coworker or an acquaintance, it’s easier to dust yourself up and move on.

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