Rebuilding trust after it has been broken is the hardest thing you may have to go through. Thinking to yourself, “why me, why did this happen to me, what did I do to deserve this?” When trust has been broken it’s difficult to handle, and you feel like your life is falling apart. The hardest part is trying to figure out where you went wrong or if you did something. When trust is broken you have so many emotions, and you find yourself crying one minute, and the next feeling sad, frustrated, and disappointed. You even ask yourself, “how could someone who says she/he loves me, treat me this way?”
When trust has been broken, you feel trapped, you can’t eat or sleep, and you have knots in your stomach for days. It’s hard to imagine that someone who you love so much would do something that hurts you to your core and cause you to see them differently and make you want to walk away from the relationship.
Absence of trust
The absence of trust causes your mind to wander, makes you paranoid, causes you to become controlling, and you doubt everything that’s being said to you. The lack of trust causes the relationship to be unstable, makes you feel and think that your mate is not who you thought he/she was, make you doubt if you were ever loved and if the relationship was built on a lie. The biggest question you have when trust has been broken is, “why didn’t I see this coming”, in which there’s no way you could have known that what happened was going to happen.
Now that trust has been broken, what are your next steps? What do you want to do? Is the relationship worth saving, and if so, how do you move forward?
Staying in the relationship
Should you decide to stay in the relationship and move forward, it will take a lot of work, commitment, and both you and your mate’s willingness to work together. It’s not impossible to rebuild trust, and knowing what to do will help you get to a place where you feel secure again, where the relationship is stable, and where the feelings of uneasiness and anxiety will decrease and you and your mate can have a loving, secure, healthy, lasting relationship.
Ways to rebuild trust
There are several ways to rebuild trust when trust has been broken in your relationship, and although it’s a hard process, it’s necessary for the success of your relationship. The following must occur, to rebuild trust:
You must forgive your mate for what he/she has done. Forgiveness prepares and opens your heart to receive, to listen, and to hear what your mate has to say. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you will forget, it means that you’re open willing to accept your mate back into your life with the possibility of starting over.
You must set boundaries around the areas where trust has been broken. Boundaries create structure and consistency and help bring stability back to the relationship. Without boundaries, everyone does what he/she wants to do, which is how trust was broken in the beginning, so setting boundaries create an atmosphere for you to be able to trust your mate again.
Your partner must be willing to be held accountable for their actions, for what they do, for where they go, and for what they say. Being accountable will help you become secure in the relationship. Although your partner may feel uncomfortable letting you know these minute details, it’s important that they do, so that the feelings of insecurity in the relationship can decrease.
Your partner must develop the ability to be patient. Rebuilding trust doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in a week, two weeks, three weeks or even a month. The timeframe in which rebuilding trust occurs varies, and it depends on many factors, and one is the level of hurt that you experienced in the relationship. As a therapist, I’ve seen people who want to rush the process and want everything to be over immediately and expect their partners to get over the hurt and automatically trust; but that doesn’t happen, it takes time, and time equals patience.
According to Sheri Meyers, Psy.D., the author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love, Affair-Proof Your Relationship, “rebuilding trust means rebuilding your credibility”. When trust has been broken, be open and don’t try to fix it on your own, be willing to seek counseling to gain understanding, clarity, and to talk about what happened. Remember, trust is about feeling safe with your mate, and it’s about commitment to your mate and the relationship.