You just caught your partner in a lie. They say it was a mistake and it won’t happen again- then another lie pops up. You begin to wonder if everything you believed to be the truth was actually a lie. So, what do you do now? How do you begin to trust them again? Or if you are the one that created the lies, how do you rebuild the trust with your partner?
It’s one of the most common things to hear about- “Communication and honesty are the backbones of any good relationship.” While this is true, and the goal is to create this safe space with your partner where lying would never happen, it’s not always what actually plays out.
When trust is solid and no doubt has crept in, you tend to go about your day and life without putting much thought into what your partner is doing, where they are, who they’re talking to, etc. But when a small breach of trust occurs, now everything is in question. Most people think losing trust only occurs with cheating or a form of major deceit that would change everything- but it can start small with not feeling as though your partner is able to follow through with things, lying about past experiences, or even not being there for you when you really needed them. These forms of broken trust now spiral into questioning everything.
Apologizing is usually at the forefront of our brains, and we tend to think that if we apologize or are apologized to then everything will be back to normal. This is a great first step, but more needs to happen to truly mend the hurt.
-Rebuilding trust will take time, it is not an overnight process. Be patient and know that every day is a step closer. Fully commit to the process of rebuilding trust. There will inevitably be days where it seems easy, and others where you are tired. This is normal, and by fully committing you are saying “I’m here through the good and bad. I’m committed and know that we will reach our goal.”
-Let each other in. Be open, honest, and transparent about how you feel and about any questions that arise. Let your partner in on your struggles. This is a team effort and sharing the load will bring you closer.
-This can be a difficult one for both parties. If you were betrayed it can feel like you have the right and are allowed to hold on to this frustration and bitterness. Your pain is valid, and you are allowed to be upset, but allowing yourself to forgive will set the relationship in motion to be rebuilt. Holding on to these feelings will only serve to hurt you further. This doesn’t mean you are condoning what they did, or that you automatically forgive everything. It means that you are letting go of the bitterness and choosing to move forward without the past holding you back.
-Identifying what caused the trust to be broken in the first place will allow for boundaries to be set. This could mean reevaluating your work/life/relationship balance to either better prioritize your relationship or to give each of you time for personal growth. Sit down and talk through where the breach occurred and what boundaries are necessary to recreate the trust.
It won’t always be comfortable or easy, but if the relationship is worth the effort the trust can be rebuilt. Take it slow, be honest with yourselves, and focus on the goal.