Unlike attraction, trust is not something that can happen in the blink of an eye. It is built over time. And once broken, it is not easily revived. If there’s been a breach of trust between you and your partner, there are questions you can ask them – questions to rebuild trust in a relationship.
According to a study, “a breach of trust within a romantic relationship, something that once left you feeling hurt and upset, can be a lot easier to recover from precisely because of the trust that was there in the first place. Finkel (professor of psychology at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences) discusses how these three dimensions of trust – predictability, dependability and faith – are what allow us to have confidence in our partner in the future, while seemingly minimizing the mistakes they made in the past.”
15 Questions To Ask To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship
When Nina discovered her husband Chris’s flirtatious texts to another woman, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She confronted Chris about it and he apologized profusely saying it was a momentary lapse and that he was serious about it. And that the woman meant nothing to him. Nina could see that her husband was sincere in his apology, but somewhere she had lost her faith in him. She was beginning to wonder how in the world people rebuild trust in a relationship after cheating.
Nina is not the only person to experience this dilemma. Thousands of people feel the same while picking up the pieces of their broken relationships. And if you feel the same, then here are some questions to rebuild trust in a relationship that you can ask your partner.
1. What happened between us to bring us to this point?
The first step to rebuild trust in a marriage or any relationship is to open up about the event that caused the breach of trust in the first place. Whether it was emotional or sexual infidelity, it is important to be given a chance to come clean about it, no matter how painful it might be for either one or both of you.
But honesty doesn’t mean that you ask about every detail of their infidelity, from sexual positions they adopted to your partner’s fantasies about the other person. This won’t help the situation.
Instead ask your unfaithful spouse questions like, “Why did you cheat?” or “Is there something else that you want out of this relationship (both with you and with the one they cheated)?” These will help you understand how serious the infidelity was and where you both stand in the relationship. Asking your partner what happened will be one of the most difficult things you do, second only to the decision you make of staying in the relationship or leaving. But it is one of the most important questions to ask to rebuild trust in a relationship.
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2. How do you feel?
This goes both ways. The cheating partner must check in with their partner regularly, especially if they are both trying to heal the relationship. And at times, the partner who was cheated on must ask their partner this question too. You might be wondering, “Why are a cheater’s feelings so important when they are so clearly in the wrong? It is my feelings that matter!” As difficult as it is for one to believe, infidelity can be traumatizing for the one who was disloyal too, especially if the cheating partner knows what they did was wrong, and now stands to lose someone they love. This is a good question to ask each other regularly when you are trying to rebuild trust in a relationship after cheating.
It is important to know how the cheating partner feels. If they are making you feel that you are the underlying reason for the infidelity, then chances are they are not as remorseful as they say they are. This question can also help you decide if the relationship is worth rebuilding or not.
3. What can I do to help or make you feel better?
It is human to make mistakes. Even though some mistakes are not easily forgiven, everyone deserves the opportunity to make things better. Mabel, a 33-year-old reader, shares with us, “I forgot to water Henry’s Jade plant and it died. Not for one second did I think that Henry would be so upset. He explained that the plant was a graduation gift from his grandmother and it meant a lot to him.” Realizing her mistake, Mabel asked Henry how she could make things better. He asked Mabel to accompany him to his grandmother’s the next time and help him tend her garden.
When you are trying to build trust in a relationship, this is one of the essential trust questions to ask him or her. When you sincerely apologise to someone, it goes to prove that you are willing to shoulder the responsibility and put in the effort required to bring yourself closer to your partner again. It shows your wish to make amends.
Related Reading: Forgiving My Partner’s Infidelity To Reclaim My Life
4. Do you trust me with your secrets?
Where questions to rebuild trust in relationships are concerned, this is probably one of the deep questions about trust that couples should ask each other. A sense of pride comes when your partner calls you their secret-keeper.
However, if you are uncomfortable sharing secrets with each other, then it is certainly a matter of concern. Sharing your social media and phone passwords is not necessarily proof of trust (everyone deserves privacy). You might have all the passwords of your partner, but if they are sceptical about being vulnerable with you, then you both need to continue working to gain back trust in the relationship.
5. Is there something you can’t talk to me about?
A breach of trust occurs when there are lies. And there are many reasons lies are told. You might lie to your partner when you are doing something which is generally perceived as unethical. In some cases, a person lies when they feel that the truth will hurt their partner. While in other cases they feel their confession will not be well-received.
This is why, as far as trust goes, this is one of the most vital trust questions to ask him and her to understand the level of transparency your relationship holds, how comfortably your partner opens up to you, and whether there’s any judgment on either side that stops one partner from being honest.
6. What are the three qualities that you admire the most about me?
More often than not in most relationships, as the sense of familiarity grows between partners, they tend to start taking each other for granted. They become more callous in their attitude toward each other and insecurities creep in. In such times, asking these questions to rebuild trust in a relationship is completely natural. In fact, they should be encouraged. Talking about the qualities you admire in your partner will remind you of the reason you fell in love with them in the first place.
Maybe you feel they are never serious, but it was their ability to stand calm in dire situations that you fell in love with. Perhaps you feel that they nitpick a lot, but it was their attention to detail that had you enthralled. Exercises that make you appreciate your partner are essential activities to rebuild trust in a relationship.
7. Do you accept me for who I am?
The biggest mistake a few couples make in their relationships is trying to change each other. If your spouse is generally a warm-hearted, friendly person, they’re going to be so with everyone. Expecting them to suddenly become aloof just for your sake is unfair to them. Similarly, if your partner is passionate about music, then expecting them to give up on their guitar just because you consider it a waste of space, is unfair to them. Most importantly, it gives rise to trust issues.
Love is to accept a person just the way they are. It doesn’t mean that if your partner is a chain smoker, then you have to accept their bad habits. It means you need to accept a person’s essence and who they are as people. People are like elastic bands. You can only stretch them so far before they snap, or worse, break. Sometimes people lose track of this fact. Asking such questions to rebuild trust in a relationship would help you regain insight.
8. Are you comfortable accepting your mistakes?
No matter how hard you try to rectify a given situation, or how hard you try to pick up the broken pieces of trust in a relationship, none of it will matter if you are unable to accept when you have made a mistake.
“Are you comfortable accepting your mistakes?” is one of the deep questions about trust you need to ask each other as well as yourselves. It takes a lot of gumption and self-awareness to accept your own shortcomings and not play shifting the blame in a relationship game. It shows that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and willing to work on the relationship. Seems so simple, yet such simple activities to rebuild trust in a relationship go a long way.
Related Reading:15 Signs You Are In A Serious Relationship
9. How did your parents show commitment to each other?
Our parents are our first teachers. How we handle a given situation, life, people, and relationships are things we learn as we watch our parents handle the same. So, it comes as no surprise that our attachment patterns with our partners are sometimes reflective of our parent’s commitment to each other.
One of the important trust questions to ask him or her is the way their parents used to show commitment (or the lack of it) to each other. And once you analyze that, you will understand why your partner behaves a certain way in their relationship with you.
10. Do our ideas of trust and commitment align?
And are the differences acceptable to us? These are the questions to ask to rebuild trust in a relationship with your partner when trust is broken. Ask them their definition of trust and commitment. What you consider a breach of trust might not be the same for your partner.
Bran had a habit of checking out other women, which Haley was not comfortable with. Bran would maintain that he was just looking and as long as he didn’t get physical it wasn’t cheating. Haley realized that Bran’s idea of trust and commitment was very different from her. Unable to compromise, she decided to part ways with Bran. Two years later, she met Roger who fortunately shared the same views as her on loyalty. And now they are happily married.
11. What is your love language?
There are 5 types of love languages and our primary love language may differ from that of our partners. It is very important to show affection to our partner in their love language. Not doing so might lead to insecurities in the relationship.
Imagine this, your partner’s love language is spending quality time and your love language is physical touch. You keep getting physical with them to show affection while all they want to do is watch a movie with you. They are bound to get the wrong idea and think you are in it just for the sex. Where questions to rebuild trust in a relationship are concerned, you certainly need to ask this one, so you can both cater to each other’s needs as much as possible.
12. What should we do to avoid breaches of trust in the future?
When you hit a rough patch in a relationship because of a person’s faithlessness, it is really difficult to fix the trust issues that arise from it. In such situations, it is best to ask the affected partner directly how they want to salvage the bond. Asking such questions helps to rebuild trust in a relationship after cheating.
Not keeping the phone face down. Ensuring you tell your partner where you are going and who you are meeting, at least until the trust is re-established. Cutting down on all activities which you feel will put you in temptation’s way or jeopardize your relationship. Such activities to rebuild trust in a relationship will be truly appreciated by your partner.
13. Can you trust yourself?
There are two kinds of trust, one that you feel for another person and one that you feel for yourself — also known as self-trust. This kind of trust is very important. And self-trust comes with self-awareness.
Stella, a 28-year-old producer, shares, “There were some deep questions about trust that I had to ask myself after I broke my partner’s trust: Can I trust myself? Am I capable of being faithful to her in spite of the temptations that lie ahead? Do I have enough willpower to figure out my weakness and work on them? If you can trust yourself to do all this, then I think you can definitely rebuild trust in the marriage or in the relationship.”
14. Why do you want to rebuild trust in our relationship?
Often, a person continues to stay in a relationship where their partner betrayed their trust, not out of love but out of other factors like kids, societal pressure, or even the plain and simple fear of an unfamiliar situation post-breakup.
One of the questions you need to ask before rebuilding trust in a relationship is: What is the reason for you to continue staying with your partner? If the answer is anything but love and affection and really wanting to give the relationship a second chance, then the bond is not worth saving. If you are sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others, then it is a red flag for your relationship.
15. Would you consider couples counseling?
There is a lot of stigma attached to seeking help regarding relationships. However, sometimes it is the right course to take, especially when both of you are trying to make the relationship work but are unable to get out of the tangled mess that it has become.
The process of rebuilding trust can be very painful for both, the person who was betrayed and the person who compromised the relationship. In such circumstances, it is best to take the help of a trained professional. A who can help you process and navigate these messy feelings. If you experience trust issues, you are not alone. People who seek help for trust issues are often able to regain a sense of trust in others through counseling. This may improve their relationships and overall sense of well-being. Bonobology counselors have helped many people lead better lives through online counseling and you could avail it too.
- Communication is key to rebuilding trust in a relationship and it is important to create a safe space without judgement for it
- Explore how the violations of trust occurred and the ways to make things better
- Discuss the possible scope of breach of trust, so that it can be avoided
A committed relationship takes a lot of effort. Working on the relationship is the responsibility of all those involved in it. While rebuilding trust in a marriage or in any relationship, if you begin to feel that you are the only one making all the effort, then it is better to let it go. No matter how hard it feels initially.
A relationship without trust lacks reliability. If you really wish to rebuild trust in a relationship after cheating, it is very important that you start by taking space and working on forgiveness. Even if you are unable to forget, do forgive. Trying to mend a relationship while holding a grudge will be counterproductive. It will be a shaky foundation on which to build the relationship.
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