Trust can be broken in any relationship - romantic, friendship, family, even a professional relationship.
It can happen in an instant, as with the case of infidelity, or it can be slowly chipped away over time. Regardless of how the trust was broken or in what context, the process of rebuilding it is the same. It takes time, commitment, and hard work, but it isn’t impossible.
The exact journey is different for everyone, but here are a few steps that can help guide you through your path of rebuilding broken trust in your relationship:
- Commit to moving forward - rebuilding trust takes a long time and isn’t easy. Before you begin on your journey both parties need to decide that the relationship is worth restoring and commit to however long it may take to rebuild that trust. Without commitment, you won’t have the security you need to open up and be vulnerable.
- Get it all in the open - here comes the hard part, get it all out in the open. The offending party needs to initiate the healing process by opening up about the incident(s) that have broken the trust in the relationship. This is the ugliest part but once everything is in the light then the real healing can start - if things stay hidden then you’ll only prolong the process and it may end up hurting more in the end.
- Don’t stuff your feelings - pain always accompanies broken trust, there’s just no way around it. Whether you’re the offending party or the one who was hurt, there will be an array of emotions on both ends that may feel overwhelming. Try not to stuff your feelings, instead communicate them to your partner and give them the space and grace to communicate theirs as well.
- Get practical - request what you both need from the other in order to rebuild the trust that was broken. Are there boundaries that you need to set in your relationship? Do you need to commit to going to therapy together for a period of time? Or maybe you just need to create more transparency in certain areas of your life. Decide what you both need and take practical steps to achieve those goals.
- Practice forgiveness - this will always sound easier than it actually is. It takes more than a quick sentence to dive into this topic, so check out my previous blog post “Forgiveness: The Real F Word” to get some practical tips on how to practice forgiveness.
- Don’t Isolate - when you experience betrayal it can feel like it casts a dark cloud over your whole world. Resist the temptation to isolate and sit under that cloud by yourself. Reach out to trusted friends to walk this path with you and, if possible, find a professional to help you gain a better understanding of the situation and how to move forward.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are experiencing broken trust and you need someone to talk to you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (310) 614-0323. I would love to help you navigate this journey to get to the other side healthier, happier, and with an even stronger foundation of trust than before.