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The most important element in a relationship is trust. Learning how to regain trust in a relationship can be difficult. Trust is the foundation of any relationship. It’s the glue that holds the relationship together. If there’s no trust, there’s no relationship.
One of the reasons most of us enter into a relationship is because we feel as if we can trust that person. We can share things with them. We can depend on them to be there for us. However, when this trust is broken it leaves us doubting not only the relationship and what it was built on, but doubting the person that betrayed us as well.
Regaining trust in a relationship can take some time to mend because our emotions are often more active than our reasoning. And when emotions take over things can get quite complicated and difficult. Getting that trust back in a relationship oftentimes begins with ourselves. We have to work on ourselves first before we can begin to address somebody else’s issues.
In fact, there are times when the trust in a relationship has been broken and we doubt ourselves. We wonder if we’re capable of trusting anyone. We wonder if we did something to cause the betrayal. We start doubting ourselves.
It’s very tough to get beyond the hurt and pain when a relationship has lost its trust but there are several ways we can regain this trust. Although there are no quick solutions and every situation will be different, the steps below can help guide you back into repairing that broken relationship.
Steps to Get Trust Back into your Relationship
Step 1: Personal Evaluation
Before you can regain trust after cheating, you first have to heal. The healing process has to begin with us. If we feel we can’t trust ourselves or blame ourselves for something that was done to us, then there’s no way we can make it to first base. We have to start at home base first. If we did nothing to cause the relationship to break or the trust to dissipate, then we need to forgive ourselves first before we can try forgiving someone else. When a relationship ends or hits a rough spot because of someone else’s actions, we often blame ourselves and wallow in that.
We say things like, if I wasn’t so compassionate or sympathetic. In other words, we tend to focus on our flaws and weaknesses. But that’s not the thing to do. We all have flaws and weaknesses. The focus should be on our strengths and the fact that we deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. On the other hand, if we we’re at fault or somewhat at fault, then we need to admit it. We need to own up to our mistakes. We all make mistakes — here’s three common ones:
- The first step in admitting that is to acknowledge it. We have to work on ourselves and first before we can help someone else. I like the old saying, when you point a finger at someone else, there’s three (or four, including the thumb) pointing back at you.
- Also, acknowledge that you hurt someone or don’t make an excuse as to why you hurt them. Excuses don’t help rebuild a relationship. If your naiveté keeps causing you to engage in the wrong relationship then you need to work on that. If you tend to rush into things, then you need to work on that.
- Some people feel the need to be in a relationship and because of this emotional need they rush into the wrong kinds of relationships. This is something you have to work on yourself. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your missteps when you know better or just because you made a move too quickly. Since trust is a huge part of a relationship we need to make sure we get to know someone first before we let emotions and “feelings” get the best of us.
Step 2: Examine the Betrayal
After you have examined yourself, examine the betrayal. If the relationship is worth rebuilding, then this is an important step. Many people choose to ignore what happened or refuse to talk about it, but it doesn’t help them get over it. Even if you don’t want to talk to the other person about it at this moment or at any time, at least go over it in your own mind or with someone else you can trust.
It’s always best to think things through to help you evaluate the relationship and to avoid walking into the same relationship in the future. You don’t want a repeat so examine what happened, how it happened, and why it may have happened. This will help you better assess not only your part, if any, but to avoid the same situation down the road.
Step 3: Start Off Slow
If you’re still hurting it’s best not to rush into a time to talk things over. Give yourself time to heal. If you caused the mistrust, give the other person time to heal. It’s not a good idea to pressure someone into reconciling who has been hurt. Respect other people’s feelings instead of trying to force them into a discussion. This can drive a person further away.
Step 4: Time to Talk
For many of us, apologizing is not easy. It makes us uncomfortable and vulnerable. Make sure you’re both ready to talk and when you are, take it slow. The best icebreaker is to apologize. If you’re not ready to apologize or accept an apology, don’t meet to talk. Coming together to talk means it’s a time to heal. The healing process starts with an apology, not with excuses, being on the defensive, or the blame game.
Get those emotions under control. Before you meet to talk, rehearse what you’re going to say. Say what you want the other person to hear, not what you think they want to hear. Be honest. Be forthright. Be open. Make sure you come to an agreement as to who will speak first.
Step 5: Listen
Don’t do all the talking. If you were the reason the relationship or the trust was broken, then let the other person talk first and listen. Be receptive and make sure your body doesn’t give off unwanted or defensive signals. For example, don’t fold your arms. Don’t let your eyes wander a lot. Stay focus and look into the person’s’ eyes, letting them know you are paying close attention. While talking and listening, keep those emotions under control. This is a time to reason together.
Also, if you find you’re fighting a lot, you might want to check out my post about 10 ways to stop fighting and avoid the next argument.
Step 6: Restoration
Now it’s time to put those words into action. If you promised some things, follow up on them. The only way trust can be regained in a relationship is for you to stick by your word and do what you said you would do. And, this leads me to number 7 – My personal story on cheating.
Step 7: Be Patient – My Personal Story
Don’t expect the relationship to be how it was before the trust was broken. Give it some time to heal and repair itself. Don’t rush into anything. But commit yourself to reestablishing the relationship.
Once you’ve broken the trust in a relationship, it can be difficult to gain that trust back. I know, I’ve been working on that since I broke trust in a relationship with my son’s father. Thankfully, our love is so strong, we were able to move past the incident and continue building our life together.
Yes, I did cheat on him once during our 22 years of being in each other’s lives. I’m not making any excuses for myself here, but just so you have an idea:
We met 22 years ago and had a son together. We were together for about 3 to 4 years and split. I since then met someone who I married and had two more children with. We were together for over 8 years. Things didn’t work out and we separated.
I then got back together with my first son’s father (who I’m with now) and we’ve been back together for about 7 years. During the first year we got back together I was a little confused about whether or not I was really ready to throw away my marriage. So I went to talk with my (now ex-husband) and yes, things happened.
I immediately told my boyfriend not because I felt guilty, but because it wouldn’t be fair to him to spend the rest of my life with him without letting him know and allowing him to make that decision if he still wanted to build a life together. That was 6 years ago and we’re well.
But, there are still trust issues and it’s hard for him sometimes to believe that he’s the only one for me. So, as you see, breaking trust, while not impossible to get back, is a long journey of patience and persistence. I just wanted to give you this example so you know it is possible to come back from infidelity if it truly was a mistake and to have hope and know that true love prevails.
Remember, trust is a precious thing and you have to earn it and maintain it (the same goes for your partner). If you’ve broken that trust in your relationship, don’t lose hope. Just do your best to let them know how sorry you are and work on the steps above to help get that trust back. Be realistic with your expectations though, it’s not going to happen overnight. But, if it is indeed true love — it will happen eventually.
Suspect he’s the one cheating? Check out my post on the 10 signs of cheating in a relationship.
So, let us know if you have any tips in the comment section for gaining back trust in a relationship. I’d love to hear them and I think they could benefit others.