We all know the foundation of any relationship, romantic or otherwise, is mutual trust. Trust is as hard to build as it is easy to break.
According to psychotherapist Linda Esposito, by refusing to trust you are depriving yourself of “human connection and genuine living.” Trust can be broken in many, seemingly irreparable, ways. There’s infidelity, lack of honesty, or simply not keeping your promises.
Trust can be recovered; it just might take longer for others. Here are some ways you can help begin the process of healing.
1. Understand why trust was lost
Understanding why mutual trust is no longer present in your relationship involves looking inward. According to FamilyShare, you can ask yourself why you did–or didn’t do–a certain thing. Breaking a promise isn’t a random thing. There has to be some motivation behind it. Why do you make, but keep breaking promises? Why have you stopped making an effort? When did you start feeling so guilty?
Being honest with yourself is the first step to determining the root cause of lost trust.
2. Say you’re sorry
Showing affection often means swallowing your pride. If, through your introspection, you found that you are indeed at fault, apologize. There should be no “buts” or excuses, keep it simple. Move past it by saying you’re sorry, committing to stop behaviors that further diminish the trust in your relationship.
You don’t have to say it out loud. You can even write it down if you’re not the verbal type. This helps you get what you want to say out without rambling too much.
3. Allow for time and space
Like keeping promises, attention and appreciation is not a one-time thing, so is forgiveness. Don’t expect an instant response to your apology. Often, patience is just as important as humility. We all need time to think and the freedom to decide whether a relationship is still worth saving. By not suffocating your partner, you have a higher chance of having things go your way.
After apologizing, avoid pointing fingers, even if you want to air your side. Hopefully your apology will open up the communication lines so your partner can begin trusting you again.
4. Become an open book
For relationships that have been marred by infidelity, for instance, relationship expert Robert Weiss suggests adhering to “rigorous honesty,” a practice which both the cheater and the betrayed partner may not like because it can be painful, but it is an important part of healing. Consistently being honest, living life openly with your partner, is an important part of restoring trust.
5. Keep your promises
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. This applies to work as much as it does to love: “Under-promise but over-deliver.” Getting trust back is a continuous process, Keeping small promises is more important than making grand, sweeping vows. Proving your consistently reliable will strengthen trust, one day at a time.
Quiz: How much do you trust your partner?
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