Trust is important in any relationship, but especially important in your romantic relationship. When trust is broken, it is often difficult to even process how to start rebuilding trust. Trust can be broken in many ways, but there tends to be pretty consistent necessities to rebuild trust. If you and your partner are working to rebuild trust, check out these 5 tips help with the process.
1.There’s Gotta Be Some Proof
If you have broken trust in your relationship, then there will have to be some proof that things have changed. Whether trust has been broken through infidelity, finances, substance use, etc, your partner will need to see some proof that they can trust you again. Afterall, it’s important that your partner can see and have validation that trust can be repaired. Now, this is not to say that you should show text messages and call logs for the rest of your life. But, after trust is initially broken, this can help your partner to see the changes that have been made and to have some security in working to rebuild trust.
2.Be There In ALL Situations
Now, this tip is essential to rebuilding trust. Oftentimes, when trust has been broken, the partner who broke the trust will try to show that they are trustworthy again, but will only show this in the area that trust was broken (i.e. that they are no longer having an affair, that they are being transparent with substance use, that they are handling finances better, etc). Although it is important to show that you are trustworthy in the area that trust was broken, trust is something that is apart of ALL aspects of your relationship.
How do you show your partner that you are there for them? Or, how do you show your partner that they can depend on you? Does your partner have a sense of comfort in turning to you with hard emotions? How do you show your partner that you are empathetic to their experience? Being there for your partner in all situations means that you have an awareness of what they are going through and that you are there to help support them.
After trust has been broken it is inevitable that you and your partner are going to talk about difficult topics. Both you and your partner are experiencing your own processes around trust and the process to rebuild trust, and so, hard conversations are to be expected. When your partner comes to you with worries, sadness, anger, frustrations, and questions, be there to listen. Don’t focus on defending yourself or feeling that you need to have all the answers. Be there to listen and be empathetic in knowing that your partner is struggling in this process. Additionally, take responsibility for your part and avoid saying “but, if you did/didn’t do.. then..”. Your partner does not want to hear “but” statements. When accepting responsibility, focus on only stating your part.
4.Figure Out What Led To This
Throughout the process of rebuilding trust, it’s important to figure out what led to trust being broken in the first place. What was happening within yourself and the relationship that led to trust being broken? This part is important in that you don’t want to repeat the same cycle with your partner. Work with your partner to consider what changes need to happen in the relationship in order for the relationship to be fulfilling for both of you. What work do you need to do on yourself and what work needs to be done as a couple?
5.Be Patient With It
Now, no one likes to hear that there is no exact time frame for trust to be rebuilt. But, the reality is that rebuilding trust takes time. It’s a process. As previously mentioned, both you and your partner are going to have your own processes to rebuilding trust and different emotions that come up as a result. Be prepared for this by reminding yourself that rebuilding trust takes time. Focus on your improvements and look for ways that this can help strengthen your relationship to keep you going.
Trust can be rebuilt if the right work is put in. So, to work towards rebuilding trust, show some proof, be there for your partner, listen and communicate, figure out why trust was broken, and be patient with the process. Rebuilding trust can be strengthening for your relationship.
Amanda Cummins is an associate therapist with The Marriage and Family Clinic. She focuses on working with couples in distress as well as families and children in transitions. As a Denver Native, Amanda enjoys hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family.