There’s a good chance you’re familiar with the saying, “Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” In a perfect world, trust would never have to be questioned within our relationships, but in reality, situations can arise that make you wonder just how much you can trust your significant other (or even a friend, family member, or coworker). Every single relationship that you have in your life is built on a strong foundation of trust, so when that is compromised, it can be absolutely devastating. After trust is broken, there are two options: you can continue on without the person who hurt you being present in your life or you can try to repair the relationship.
Whether you’ve caught your partner lying or they’ve done something incredibly hurtful like cheating, rebuilding and restoring the trust that was shattered is possible. However, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and discipline from both parties. There are several ways you can work toward restoring the trusting bond between you and your partner:
Give yourself time to grieve
After something traumatic happens, like your partner cheating or breaking your trust in another way, it’s perfectly healthy to give yourself ample time to be sad and feel the emotions. Ignoring your own emotions will only hurt you in the future, so having a solo pity party can actually help you move through the situation. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s also important that you practice self love and treat yourself with compassion as this will ensure your mental health and well-being.
Leave the past in the past
Once the main issues and trust-shattering situation is addressed and properly communicated, it’s time to try to move on. Constantly dwelling on the situation and bringing it up every chance you get will only keep you stuck in a negative thought pattern. When memories of the trust-breaking event drift back into your mind, try to shift your thinking to something else. Healing and restoration will not be possible if you keep using the situation as a weapon in future arguments or disagreements.
Forgive but don’t forget
When you harbour resentment toward someone, it leads to bitterness that can end up doing you more harm than good. Trying to forgive the person who broke your trust is crucial as this will lighten the emotional load you feel. But just because you are forgiving someone, doesn’t mean you need to forget it happened. File the trust-breaking situation somewhere in the back of your brain, and don’t revisit it unless something similar occurs again — hopefully, it won’t!
Reconnect with your partner
Moving past a situation of broken trust can feel never-ending, painful, and almost as if you’re stuck in a nightmare. After you’ve felt your sadness and grief and communicated your feelings with your partner, it’s time to put in the effort to rebuild your future and reconnect. You’re going to have to rebuild the foundation that was broken, from the ground up. Plan some date nights or a weekend getaway without the distractions of everyday life and electronics. Rediscover what you love about each other and take the time to have fun again. Talk about the future and what you both want it to look like, as this can provide comfort after such a shaky situation of betrayal.
Rebuilding trust that took years to foster is not going to happen quickly. For some couples, it could take months but for others, it could take years. How long it takes really depends on the couples’ commitment to each other, the level of disappointment that the betrayal caused, and how well the couple communicates. Be patient with your partner but most importantly, be patient with yourself. Healing from a trust-breaking situation can be a transformative journey that can lead to personal growth and even growth as a couple.