How to Rebuild Lost Trust in a Relationship

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Mutual trust is the foundation that any meaningful relationship is built on. If two people are to love and be with each other, they need to know that their relationship will be free of lies, deception and treachery. However the path of love never did run straight. Flings, online affairs, emotional involvements and financial cheating can all erode trust in a relationship and create a breach between the partners. If such a thing has happened to you and you wish to rebuild the trust that has been lost, here are some things to keep in mind.

Admit and apologize

While loss of trust in a relationship may have deeper causes, it is usually precipitated by actions such as cheating or lying. If this has been your doing, start off by admitting that you made a mistake. Your lies have hurt your partner and it does not matter whether it was a one-time fling or merely ‘borrowing’ some money from his bank account while neglecting to inform him. However people do make mistakes and admit that you just made a huge one. Tell your partner that it was not your intention to hurt him or her and it came about because you were stupid enough not to put your relationship first. Also reassure your partner that such a thing will never happen again.

TIP: Download the guide to making up with your partner

Hear your partner out

If you are the aggrieved party, even then you need to give your partner a chance to come clean. While he/she is admitting to the cheating, make an effort to hear him/her out. This includes agreeing to spend appropriate time talking and listening to your partner, even if you fear bad news is at hand. Above all avoid cutting in on what your partner is saying. It is natural for you to feel upset at this juncture but try not to start shouting or rush out. It is important to hear the full story before responding in word or action.

Discuss the reasons for the cheating

If you are the one to have cheated in your relationship, your partner is bound to ask “why”. Answer calmly and clearly why you felt dissatisfied enough in your relationship to succumb to something so foolish. Examine the reason for your indiscretion to see whether you were looking for mere adventure or seeking to fill a vacuum in your relationship. However be careful not to justify your actions or make them out the result of your partner’s supposed inadequacies. Admitting the reason why you strayed will assure your partner of your honesty and help to rebuild trust.

On the other hand if you are the one to have been deceived, by all means ask questions but ensure that they relate to why the affair happened. Instead of coming up with a question like “was he/she better than me in bed” – which can never have any ‘right’ answer – ask what your partner felt was going on in your relationship to warrant an affair. Also avoid lashing out at your partner and their lover; while your partner is admitting to the cheating and saying sorry, it may seem tempting to hurl an insult or make a sarcastic remark but in hindsight you will be relieved that you did not lose your temper and say things that you would have regretted later. At the same time, don’t give in to self-blame. Always keep in mind that though there may have been things troubling your relationship, you did not cause the affair to happen.



See what you can do to set things right

If you were the one to cheat, the first thing you need to do to set things right is to break off all ties with the other person. After cheating on your partner you may be overwhelmed by a fit of remorse and promise that you are never going to meet that other person again. But it is a sad fact that repeat cheating happens all the time. You must keep away from any type of contact with the person whether by phone, text-messages, email or in person. This is essential to convince your partner that you are serious about rebuilding the relationship. However if the other person is someone you must come across from time to time, like an ex-spouse, explain to your partner the circumstances when and where you would need to see him or her again.

Even if you are the partner whose trust has been abused, it is equally necessary to move towards rebuilding trust if you wish to give your relationship another chance. No two people are perfect and every relationship has its weak spots. If it was a physical disconnect with your partner that drove him/her to an affair, see how you can renew the spark of romantic interest in each other. If on the other hand it was the result of increasingly differing priorities, examine what are the common rallying points in your relationship and put them first. This could be an obvious one like providing a stable home for your kids or one that is based upon shared lifestyle, interest and values. This is a conversation that the two of you should have had much before which may have then prevented your partner from seeking comfort elsewhere. But better late than never.

Open up the channels of communication

Very often cheating is the culmination of long process of lack of communication marked by a series of false assumptions, mistaken expectations, unexpressed feelings and unvoiced thoughts. If there is to be revival of trust in your relationship, you need to be able to express what you think, expect and need in the correct way and extend the same courtesy to your partner. If the cheating was your doing, then ask your partner what is now expected of you. Let your partner state what he or she would like you to do to rebuild the trust that has been lost. Try to understand your partner’s point of view and empathize with his or her feelings of betrayal. At the same time if you feel that your partner’s expectations from you are not realistic, it is better to make things clear instead of starting another round of deceit and remorse.

On the other hand if you were at the receiving end of the affair, it is equally important to voice your hurt and expectations but also make sure that you don’t say or do things swayed by anger or vengeance. Instead be clear about what you expect from your partner while rebuilding the trust in your relationship and focus more on specific actions like sharing household chores and spending the weekend together rather than make vague demands on your partner to be ‘more caring and
affectionate’.

Finally give it time. The breach in trust has struck at the very foundation of the relationship and that cannot be repaired in a day. So be patient and take one day at a time. Rushing the process and expecting too much too soon will only confound things further. Some days you may feel you have recovered a good deal of lost ground while at other times you may feel you have come to a dead end. The important thing is not to give up. If you truly believe in your relationship, then give each other all the time needed to rebuild the trust that had been lost.