Although broken trust in a relationship is a common problem, the effects can be devastating for entire families. This isn’t surprising since it can take many years to build trust but only moments to destroy it.
Think of a skilled artist creating a masterpiece. Maybe they’re working on a sculpture or a painting. They painstakingly go through all the steps to make their art perfect. This could take weeks, months or even years.
But, how long would it take to destroy that beautiful work of art once it’s completed? In most cases, only seconds. Trust in a relationship isn’t any different.
So, should all people who’ve broken trust in their relationship simply give up? No, because you can learn how to rebuild trust in a relationship. Although trust issues can be challenging to navigate, they’re certainly not impossible. Let’s take a look at how to regain trust.
Let Go of Your Past Baggage Involving Broken Trust
Sometimes the issues we have with trusting our partner has more to do with our past than our partner. The two can be difficult to separate in the mind.
Trust may have been badly broken by a close friend, relative, a previous romantic partner or all three. It’s important to properly put these hurts in the past or they’ll poison your current relationship.
This is true if you struggle to trust your partner even though they’ve given you few reasons to. It’s equally true if there’s been a large breach of trust or the slow burn of many smaller incidents of broken trust in your relationship.
In the words of music artist, NF, “if you want trust, you’re gonna have to give some away.”
That statement is profoundly true. If you don’t let go of past hurts due to broken trust, you won’t be able to give the trust your partner needs…and, they won’t be able to return the trust you need.
In her Psychology Today article entitled, “10 Steps to Restoring Trust in Relationships,” Linda Esposito, LCSW shares about the necessity of letting go of trust baggage:
“Most of us have been burned after letting our guard down. Some recover by shaking off the dust and moving on. Others push so far in the opposite direction, they practically run over those who could be their strongest allies.”
In light of what Esposito shared, be careful not to let past breaches of trust infect your current relationship. Avoid the urge to, “push so far in the opposite direction” that you needlessly harm your most vital bond.
Remember that We all Break Trust in Some Way
Saying this doesn’t mean it’s OK to have trust broken in a big way by your partner and that you should just ignore it. That would be unwise as you’ve already suspected.
At the same time, every person in a relationship is broken and flawed to an extent. We all break trust at some point. During the times you’re tempted not to give out trust after being hurt, it’s important to remember something. At some point, you’ll need the same forgiveness from your partner that you need to give out at the moment.
This is true of any romantic relationship you’ll enter. You’ll never be working with perfection so your love, to some extent, will need to cover over the wrongs of your partner and vice versa.
Be Patient and Let Time Do Its Work
Shattered trust isn’t something that magically goes away. You’ll need to work at making things better but a lot of patience on both sides will be required.
Because healthy trust levels are built over time based on positive interactions, this won’t happen overnight. But, just like that artist building his masterpiece, you can rebuild the masterpiece of your life. It may not look exactly as it did before or how you expected it to look. Still, by persevering through the relational challenges of broken trust, you can heal.
How to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship: Show a Willingness to Change
Rebuilding trust in a relationship takes more than time, however. If you’ve broken trust and it’s negatively affecting your bond, rebuilding trust in a relationship will also require changing the way you live.
This may mean getting rid of a habit that’s negatively affecting your life. That could involve anything from saying goodbye to negativity, mean words or infidelity. Regardless of the specifics, your partner will need the confidence to know you’re committed to being different.
How to Gain Trust Back in a Relationship: Don’t Try to Solve it Alone
Change is hard for all of us. Left alone, we often fall back into the same unhealthy patterns that led to trust being broken in the first place. Whether you’re rebuilding trust in marriage or another type of relationship, you’ll need outside support from friends and family.
The support of friends and family are often limited, however. Besides that, you’ll need to be careful about how much detail you share about your relationship with family.
That’s where couples counseling can help you work through the trust challenges you face. You’ll work with an unbiased professional. Not only will this help prove to your partner that you value your relationship, but you’ll discover evidence-based ways to rebuild trust in your relationship.
Are you wondering how to regain trust in a relationship? The OC Relationship Center offers compassionate and non-judgmental counseling services right where you are. We provide counseling in Mission Viejo and Newport Beach and scheduling an appointment with us is super easy.