How to Rebuild Broken Trust


All relationships, platonic and romantic, have an essential thing in common – a level of trust. Demonstrating trust in your partner in all situations is the difference between a long-term marriage or friendship from one that ends abruptly.

You may have heard the cliché, “Trust is earned, not given.” It’s imperative to keep this in mind even after you’ve earned said trust, as it becomes the standard for the relationship. Although confidence is earned over some time, it can be lost in an instant, making it essential to keep up the energy used to create it. After it’s been established, anything below this level of effort could cause a rift in the relationship.

Communication & Trust

It’s necessary to remember that what you see as dishonest may mean nothing to the other person, so you need to communicate where you each respectively draw the line. If you don’t do this at the start of a relationship, romantic or not, you will find yourself in avoidable situations where you or the other person feels let down.

In these situations, it’s best to communicate why you felt hurt and work through those feelings together. Without open communication regarding what happened and how it became a problem, you or the other person involved may have no idea what was done wrong. Borrowing something without asking is a prime example. Some people may feel that this is no big deal as long as the item was not expensive or had sentimental value that was previously specified.

For others, not giving back a borrowed pen is a tremendous offense. If enough of these small instances add up, it will break any relationship, hence why setting up the definition of what you consider acceptable is, to begin with, is essential.

How Trust is Lost & What to do About It

Try as you may; there will be an occasion in which trust will break. This does not mean a severe breach will occur, but rather in a moment someone can say or do something small that the other person relates to as being dishonest. Even if the action was of slight importance, once trust has been severed, it’s not an easy process for it to be rebuilt. Experts say that for trust to be earned, whether it be from the start or all over again, you must be willing to completely alter the impression the person has of you into one of genuine trustworthiness. In any case, you must be prepared to do whatever it takes for them to feel that trust can be once again restored.

In all scenarios of rebuilding trust, how you go about it is crucial. For instance, if you cheated in marriage before your partner could forgive this transgression, it would have to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a one-time incident and not a character flaw to be repeated.

You need to change the impression your partner now has of you to one that is like the one they trusted before, but this time be even more solid. This is done through consistent words and actions.

Even though it may seem crystal-clear, many people forget the second part of the first step – make sure you apologize for what you’ve done and do so often. It needs to be clear that you not only know you’ve made a mistake but that you remember where you went wrong. This shows full awareness and better ensures to the other person that it won’t happen again.

Coupled with an apology, rebuilding trust between yourself and another person requires you to be willing to engage in acts of assurance. Try to remove their doubts or fears.” This is usually not too difficult, but after significant wrongdoing is made much more of a challenge. If in a romantic relationship, for example, actions that include displays of affection – in public or private – and making it evident on social media that you have chosen to be with this person can go a long way.

When mending distrust in any type of relationship, actions exhibiting to the world that they are essential to you will further prove that you are serious about regaining their trust. At the same time, sometimes words can mean more than actions. For instance, continually communicating to this person how much they mean to you in small moments, such as texting or getting ready together, will have more of an effect than grandiose gestures with no follow-up. It’s best, however, to combine steady comforting messages alongside actions that support them.

Regaining Trust & Sacrifice

Giving the person you want to rebuild trust with undivided attention and time is another way to demonstrate their position of priority in your life. Even so, being present when they need you, no matter what you must do, will be a sacrifice.

When you want to rebuild the trust that was lost, you must be willing to spend more time around this person. As the saying goes, love involves sacrifice. When you see to making time and putting forth energy for them, it gives the impression of a true apology for your actions, supporting your worthiness of their trust.

However, if you find yourself feeling as though the amount of sacrifice is not worth it, then you probably no longer want to be in this person’s life. At that point, it’s best to accept that your actions of dishonesty were a physical manifestation of how you truly feel and allow the relationship to end. There’s no right or wrong with feelings; it’s okay to feel what you feel.

To summarize, try not to break trust at all costs, but if it happens, be ready to apologize and act sincerely to prove your trustworthiness. Make sure to convey to the person that you are a fellow human being, and although your faults may have negatively impacted them once, it does not mean that you can no longer be trusted going forward. Proving your reliability over some time will make the person feel as though trust can be rebuilt.

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