Ever heard yourself say; “It’s not the lie, it’s the fact that you lied”? Lies are a surefire way to break the trust in your relationship - whether it’s about money, temptations or just omitting small details from your weekend plans (like the fact an ex will be there). When it’s a long-term or important relationship your first thought is to rebuild the trust, but how do you do it? Here’s some advice from relationship experts on rebuilding broken trust in your relationship.
Decide to move on
Truth, Lies and Love expert Elly Johnson helps women navigate the ever-complicated world of dating and relationships. When it comes to rebuilding trust, Elly believes it is all about choosing your path and sticking to it.
“You can’t have a great relationship if you are not going to decide to forgive, understand as best you can and move on. It won’t work and you will both stay bitter and miserable. If you don't move past it, the situation that broke the trust will be dug up and re-visited every time things aren’t rosy or loving in the relationship
The truth is, everyone makes poor choices in life, everyone. Putting yourself on a pedestal of righteous perfection is not productive. Either decide to get out now and then you can keep carrying the blame and the grudge around as long as you like or, choose to stay and make a commitment to work to understand and forgive. There can’t be an in-between.”
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It’s going to take time
Julia Nowland is a Relationship Therapist from Whole Heart Relationships. She has 10 years experience counselling couples and families through rough patches and believes solid trust can only be built over time.
“Trust is a key ingredient in any relationship. We can’t demand it or try to prove that we are trustworthy. Whether we trust someone or not is a choice that we make.
Then how DO we re-establish that all-important trust in a relationship?
It doesn't happen quickly, building trust can take time, it’s a gradual process and each couple will be different.
Don’t keep things to yourself especially if you're the person who broke the trust. Nothing erodes relationships faster than secrets or withholding information so it’s important to express any issues that arise quickly and honestly.
Shift your focus, when trust is broken it's easy to stay focused on the "who, what and why" of the situation. Turn your focus away from self-defeating beliefs and move towards building a stronger sense of self.
Without trust, it doesn’t feel safe to be open and vulnerable with your partner. But when there’s trust, both partners can finally feel seen, heard and understood.”
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Ask your partner how you to rebuild
If you’re the trust breaker then it’s important to ask your partner how they are feeling and how you can bring positivity back to the relationship. They may not have an answer but it matters to them that you’re intention is to move forwards. Have a frank conversation about what has been done, why it broke the trust and what actions will help rebuild.
You must be transparent
Sydney-based sex and relationship therapist, Susie Tuckwell, has seen couples fall apart for many reasons. It’s not only about what broke the trust, but how can you move forward now? According to Susie transparency is key.
“There are many kinds of betrayal, not just sexual but emotional, financial, etc, so each kind of betrayal has its own nuanced recovery. First, both parties have to be sincerely engaged and open about fears, doubts and insecurities. The betrayer must examine their own conflicts including what they will give up to conform to the needs of the partner, eg avoiding the ex-lover or the thrill of gambling.
The betrayed person must have a bottom line, including what will happen if betrayal recurs. Generally, the best choice is "no more chances".
Then the betrayer must reverse their previous behaviour ie, secrecy must become transparency, their lives open to the partner's scrutiny. That can feel controlling, intrusive, shaming. The betrayed person is dealing with a kind of traumatic reaction, almost PTSD, and only transparency is sufficiently reassuring.”
Find a fresh start
Often trust is broken in the bedroom. If you do decide to stay then a figurative and literal ‘fresh start’ is on the cards. Figuratively, mark an end point to the old relationship that lead to an indiscretion and begin new from the date you both decided to move on. Literally, it can be helpful to reinvigorate your bedroom with a new bed frame or simply a fresh mattress. Christening this new room together in time will mark another start point in the open, trusting relationship you’ve worked on building. You won’t forget the broken trust too soon but looking back and realising you’ve moved on emotionally and physically will be a great first step.
Put 110% into your relationship
According to Relationship Coach Jayson Mair nearly 3 out of 4 relationships are in strife due to mistrust. He has seen first-hand how technology is having a major impact upon relationships while working with women for the past 11 years. When rebuilding trust Jayson says it’s important to give it your all:
“First, make a conscience decision to be in it and give more of yourself or decide to move on. Don't waste your time but most of all, don't waste theirs. This won't be easy and you'll need to be 100% invested.
You'll have to start to be authentic and real, open and honest and PRESENT. Restoring trust takes times so patience is key. Listen, respond with kindness and appreciation. Be sure you follow through with ACTIONS. No more empty promises. No empty words. Communicate clearly and often. Time to step up or step aside.”
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Reconnect with eye contact
It’s not often we hold uninterrupted eye contact. For most people it’s uncomfortable, but this is what makes it so intimate. Sit across from your partner and set a five minute timer. Hold eye contact for the whole five minutes and see what emotions arise. If one or both of you struggle to do this it might be indicative of greater intimacy issues in your relationship.
If we learn anything here it’s that trust can only be built when you want it to be. It’s going to take time and effort so be sure you are willing to embark on the journey before you begin.