Trust is one of the most important aspects of healthy relationships. When our spouse cheats on us or our best friend throws us under the bus, we’re left with tons of questions and doubts about our relationship. Why would this person we thought we could trust lie to us? Is that the first time they’ve lied, or have they lied about other things? We often wonder if we’ll be able to trust them again or if we’ll always wonder whether they’re really being honest with us. When we’re the ones who have betrayed our loved one’s trust, we might feel as though our relationship is doomed, no matter how sorry we feel for our actions or words. Fortunately, rebuilding trust is possible, even when the situation seems hopeless. We can rebuild trust in our relationship as long as we’re willing to work hard at it with the help of family counselors who will guide us through the process. We can save our relationship and learn to trust our loved one or take steps to prove that we’re trustworthy if we’re the one who is at fault. We should keep in mind that this will take considerable time and patience, so we don’t become discouraged. In order to rebuild trust, we’ll need to focus on the following steps.
Learning to Trust Ourselves First
Understanding the Effort InvolvedOur relationships don’t fall apart overnight. We usually start sensing that something is wrong, but it might take a while for our suspicions to be confirmed. Likewise, we can’t expect to fix our relationship quickly, especially if we’ve been in it for years. Rebuilding trust takes a significant amount of time and patience. It might take us several months or even years to fully be able to trust our loved one again. Along the way, we need to continue working on reestablishing trust slowly under the guidance of family counselors. This can be difficult to do if we’re struggling with anger and resentment, so we also need to find a way to cope with these feelings in a healthy manner. Otherwise, they could prevent us from wanting to make the effort to repair our relationship. We need to keep in mind that it will take more than a single conversation to reverse the damage that was done to our relationship and work through our trust issues. We’ll need to talk with our loved one several times over the course of weeks, months or years about what went wrong. During that time, we need to identify, examine and work on the underlying causes that led to the betrayal, so they won’t come up again. This isn’t an easy process, but the help of a family counselor can make it less painful. Our loved one should be willing to work through this with us, no matter how long it takes or how hard it is. Otherwise, we should consider that they might not be as committed as we are to rebuilding trust.
Owning Up to Our ActionsIn order for us to overcome a lack of trust in our relationships, we must be willing to make the effort. This can be difficult for the one who did the betraying, since they need to own up to their actions. If that person is us, we need to be willing to take accountability for what we did wrong. That involves doing the following:
- Admitting what we did
- Attempting to explain why we did it
- Promising our loved one that we will never to do it again
- Making sure we never make the same mistake
Being a Good ListenerWhen we discuss what happened with our loved one, it’s important to listen to them with an open mind. Doing so allows us to hear what they have to say without getting defensive about it. If we’re the one who caused our loved one pain, we should also validate what they say, such as admitting that we would react the same if we had been betrayed or acknowledging that we understand why they feel the way they do. Approaching these discussions with an open mind and validating our loved one will help us rebuild trust and repair our relationship. These steps encourage us to see the situation from our loved one’s point of view, which can help us better understand how they feel. Family counselors can also help us work on having meaningful discussions and really listening to what our loved one is telling us.
Putting Trust Into Action
Embracing ChangeAlthough we can rebuild trust and make our relationship strong again, it won’t be the same as it was before. Instead of mourning this loss, we should realize that change is an inevitable part of any relationship. In our case, our relationship has been through a lot more, so it’s understandable that things won’t be the same. We should learn to welcome this change rather than being afraid of it or resisting it. This change is a sign that we’ve overcome our difficulties and can now move forward with our relationship with a renewed sense of trust and companionship.
Salt Lake City Family and Marriage CounselorRebuilding trust takes a lot of patience, but it’s worth the effort. Taking steps to regain trust can end up bringing individuals closer together than they’ve ever been. For more information on family or marital counseling services, please call Pathways Real Life Recovery to find the counselor who is right for you.
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