Life is full of relationships and alot of love and trust is needed to make them work. Our relationships are in different levels and sometimes those who are closest to us do things that seem unforgivable. It is easy and often natural to trust people but rebuilding trust again after it is broken or betrayed can be a serious challenge for many people. We should also remember that the ease with which trust can be rebuilt is usually dependent on how close the person or people were to you and the gravity of the offense that broke your trust for them in the first place. No matter what someone does to make you wonder if you can actually ever trust them again, you have to understand that it is possible. Just like trust can be built and broken, it can always still be rebuilt in spite of the gravity of one’s offense. The main issue is usually whether or not the offended person is willing to forgive and trust again. It is also clear that the issue of rebuilding trust involves two parties. One who feels he or she is betrayed and another who has broken that trust through actions or inactions.
The reason why knowing how to rebuild trust is important is that it is one of the foundational pillars upon which every kind of relation is built and it determines the level of intimacy that can be reached in every relationship. When trust is broken in a relationship, it is difficult for those involved to actually relate with each other at certain levels of intimacy because fellowship and relationships only go as far as those involved can trust each other. I have put together some steps and tips that can help you regain trust. I hope you first make a personal decision about trusting again before reading further because no matter what you read, if you are not really interested in rebuilding a relationship and trusting again, it will be of little or no importance to you.
Consider the person’s reaction to the situation
Before you even take steps towards rebuilding trust, you have to take out some time to decide if it is even necessary in the first place. Rebuilding trust is a matter of making a reconnection which has been broken with someone who betrayed you. But the person’s perception and attitude towards the whole thing has to be in positive. If someone betrayed and hurt you terribly, and he or she is not even willing to admit their error or make amends, then there is no need trying to rebuild trust with the person. Remember that this is not the same as forgiving or not forgiving the person. Trust in this respect is about building a relationship with someone based on an understanding you have about them. If the person who broke your trust is not willing to prove that what was done was probably an error and that he is willing to change from it, rebuilding trust with him or her is not possible. It is a matter of restoring a relationship and understanding between two people and no matter how willing you are to rebuild it, if the other person has an indifferent attitude towards the matter, your efforts will only be waste of time.
Count the cost of refusing to trust again
If someone has hurt you or broken the trust you had for him or her, you need to start out by counting the cost of refusing to trust again and the benefits of actually rebuilding the trust you had for the person. Our relationships with people are relevant at different levels. This means that rebuilding a relationship could sometimes be necessary and sometimes not. But whether or not you decide to rebuild love and trust in a relationship is not the same as maintaining your relationship with someone. For example, if you had an assistant who was a very close associate and he or she disappointed you, probably by misappropriating company funds, you may decide to forgive him or her and let it go but maintaining your relationship as associates may or may not be possible or even a wise thing to do. For those who have issues with family and close relatives, sometimes your decision to trust again would affect many people. When trust is broken between couples and they do not decide to rebuild it again, the children and other members of the family connected to their union will suffer the effect of their problems. Often, those who feel betrayed have to look beyond themselves to others. Don’t take decisions that could ruin the lives of many people based on selfishness or ego. Refusing to trust again could adversely affect your children and friends so count the cost carefully before making a decision.
Are you giving or receiving trust
There are at least two people involved whenever we talk about trust in a relationship. When trust is broken, one person must have committed an offense while the other person is offended. No matter what side you find yourself on, you must realize that it is possible to rebuild trust though you have to play your part. Those who are betrayed are the ones who stand at the giving end and those who have broken the trust are now at the receiving end. Of course you will know what side you stand on but what matters in rebuilding trust when it is broken is playing your part in the process. As you will see in the paragraphs that follow, it usually seems like rebuilding trust is totally dependent on the person who is betrayed but hardly so. Everyone has a role to play and whether or not trust is rebuilt will depend on how well each person plays their role.
Talking over what happened once for all
When trust is broken, our connections are shaken. You are not sure for example, if you want to still be the husband of a woman who has cheated on you. But one of the best ways to get over such a disappointment and rebuild trust after infidelity is to talk over the issue that has shaken your trust and understand each other. Normally, there are some actions for which one cannot possibly give any valid justification, but there are others that could really have an explanation or reason why they were done. Whether or not the offense committed can be justified, it is important that you both decide to talk over what happed so you can get over it and rebuild trust again. Here are a few tips to help you successfully talk through the issues that have contributed to breaking your trust as you aim at rebuilding it.
- Choose the right time; There is always a right time to talk about every issue and usually the time you choose could either be the reason why you succeed to rebuild trust or only make things worse off than they were before. Choose a time when everyone is calm and willing to talk. If one person wants to talk and the other does not feel comfortable, situations could get out of hand. If possible you can start a discussion on phone or through text and finish it in person. The simple reason for this suggestion is that people who are guilty of breaking trust and even those who feel betrayed may sometimes find it difficult initiating a discussion with each other. But this will be a whole lot easier doing it on text. Many people say things on text that they cannot say in person.
- Pouring your heart out. Those who feel betrayed and those who betray others must have the opportunity to pour out their hearts. The difference is while one person will be asking for forgiveness, the other person will probably have to talk about how disappointed he or she is once and for all. It is especiallya vital part of rebuilding trust after infidelity. This is important for rebuilding trust because when people do not feel that they have been heard and understood, they have a tendency to keep going over the same issues again and again. Give each other the opportunity to pour out their heart and say whatever they need to say to feel understood.
One step you can take towards rebuilding a relationship with broken trust is to do your best to listen to the other person. Knowing that the other person or people involved want to be understood is one thing. Giving them the impression or assurance of being understood is another thing altogether. You can hardly convince a person that you understand his or her point of view if you are unable to listen to what they have to say. The first stage of regaining trust is reconciling conflict and it is difficult to reconcile conflicts if you cannot respect each other enough to give a listening ear.
- Go beyond “i am sorry” Rebuilding love and trust in a relationship is not simply about making apologies. Saying I am sorry is hardly enough for most people especially when you do something that is grave enough to break trust. You have to also acknowledge in clear terms the devastating effects of what you have done and how much it hurts the other person. Usually people who say I am sorry and expect to be trusted without acknowledging their wrong are hardly sincere about their apology. The person whose trust you have broken will usually want to be convinced that you recognize your errors and are willing to make a change.
- Be honest. If you break trust and still lie about it, then you are not willing or ready to fix things. No matter how bad the situation is, the person who feels betrayed deserves to know the truth. Of course the truth in such situations could sometimes sound like the most difficult thing to say but you don’t get to choose whether or not it will be too tough for the other person to hear it. By the way if you lie about an initial decision and the person who is trying to forgive you realizes the deception later, it may only make it more difficult for him or her to trust you again.
- Take responsibility (no denial)
To rebuild trust after it is broken, the offender has to be forgiven. But some people will find it hard forgiving you if you ask for forgiveness in denial. Sometimes you could hear a person asking for forgiveness and trust again but the statements he or she is making will reveal that he is not actually willing to take full responsibility for his actions.
Those who intend to rebuild trust after infidelity (or any other aspect) must first make up their minds to forgive the ones who hurt them. You cannot claim that you are going to trust someone again when in fact you do not intend to forgive the person. Forgiveness goes before rebuilding trust. Once you make up your mind to forgive someone for what he or she may have done, you find it easier trusting them again because you have let go of their offenses.
Be sure to show a change in behavior
Your behavior or actions towards someone you have forgiving must change in order to rebuild trust again. If for example a wife finds out that her husband is cheating and confronts him about, he could make every kind of apology and say how much he is sorry about his actions. You could even assure him that you have decided to forgive and let go of it all so that you can build a life of trusting each other again. But the Truth is, unless your actions change, it will be difficult to build trust. Forgiveness is a choice. No matter what someone does, you can choose to forgive or hold on to it. When you choose to forgive, then be mature enough to forget the matter and never take the relationship back to it again by mentioning or reminding your partner about it.
In the example quoted above, the wife who says she has forgiven her husband should not despise him when it comes to love making. You must be mature enough to follow your decisions through with actions. Given, it would be hard, considering that nothing touches the core of love and trust in a relationship or marriage worse than an affair. However, going about your marital duties again as you use to do is the only way you can really bring back the shattered pieces of your trust and rebuild it. As long as you hold on to the pain and refuse make love with your partner, he or she is still not trusted. The only reason why you will refuse to do it is the fear that you are going to be cheated on again and the main reason why that fear exists is that you still do not trust your spouse. However that trust comes with time and if you reach out of your comfort zone and give it a try, you will begin to trust more freely again.
The offender on the other hand has to ensure that his actions and words show that he deserves to be trusted again. It will be difficult for a man or woman to trust someone who constantly breaks that trust. One way trust can be broken is by persistently breaking your promise to do something. You may desire to be trusted to do something you say but without proving or backing your words with actions, you may not be able to rebuild the broken trust. The whole thing is always two sided and unless both parties play their part trust may never be rebuilt.
Plan to avoid issues that break trust together
As the offender, when you plan to regain broken trust, you cannot simply assume that you are hence forth going to do everything right. You need to put things in place and set up a plan to make sure that that trust is not broken again as you try to rebuild it. Let’s use a rather simple example. If you always promise to buy something for your partner when returning from a trip and maybe usually forget to do so, he or she may loose trust in you as far as that aspect is concerned. Now when your spouse maybe complains about it and you decide to rebuild that trust, you must plan not to break it again. According to this example, you may have to carry a reminder along or use any other method that helps you remember to get a gift for her. If your relationship had been strained because of it, then this will be an important part of making amends. Rebuilding a relationship in which partners have lost trust for each other is about making changes that prove loyalty and worthiness of being trusted. Making plans is a vital step towards taking the right actions or avoiding the wrong ones.
Talk to someone you both respect
When trust is broken in a relationship, there are bound to be conflicts. Both parties will usually need someone they can listen to. If the person is someone they respect, he or she could be instrumental in restoring calm so that both parties involved can have that opportunity of listening to each other, understanding each other, reconciling and rebuilding the trust they once shared. You should also know the third party will not directly influence or your decisions to trust again, but he can bring you both to the negotiating table, and there the possibilities of making things work are enormous.
In order to rebuild love and trust in a relationship, you must be very patient. It usually takes time to trust someone but it may require even more time for people to rebuild trust once it is broken, especially if the person who is hurt has to trust after infidelity. That’s why there is need for patience on both sides. The person who offended must give the other person who feels betrayed the time to process whatever must have happened and learn to trust them again. Remember it is a matter of the heart and sometimes some issues related to trust could hurt so bad that one would wonder if he or she could ever open up their heart to trust someone who betrayed them again. You cannot break the trust someone or a group of people have for you and expect them to just open up their hearts to you again. Some people could do that but many others may find it really difficult depending on the gravity of your offense and the depth of your relationship with each other. You must be willing to wait for the other person to heal and open up their heart to you again.
Make it easy for the other person to trust you again
When rebuilding a relationship, especially regarding the issue of trust, one has to sometimes go the extra mile. The most challenging of all is rebuilding trust after infidelity. Trusting again when someone has violated the deepest and most sacred bond you share is one thing that that many people can hardly take. But as you should have noticed, it is possible. Before a relationship started and even when you just got together, you must have made several promises and pledges to love each other and stay loyal to each other. You can do these things again just to make things easier for your partner. Buy gifts, and take other actions that show him or her how deeply sorry you are and how willing you are to gain their trust again.
In the case of an affair, you may want to go the extra mile and delete contact and even stop seeing or hanging out with the person with whom you cheated on your partner. Whatever you do, just make sure you give him or her the assurance that he can safely be trust again.