Is it possible to rebuild trust within a relationship? Yes!! Relationships thrive when partners are able to be themselves, feel supported, be vulnerable and trust their partner. When those expectations are not met, trust is broken. We are all aware of the more common violations of trust, infidelity, lying, etc. However, there are an endless number of ways, trust can be broken and damage a relationship. Whether there was one specific transgression or an endless series of damaging events, trust can be rebuilt if both partners are equally willing to work towards the same goal. The following tips can help serve as a foundation for beginning the task of rebuilding trust.
- Allow yourself time to heal.
Be positive. Take steps to encourage positive thinking internally and as a couple. Get to know your partner again; go on first dates, ask silly questions, determine your love languages.
2. Have realistic expectations.
Trust is not built in a day. It’s okay to be scared and have “tough” days. Don’t assume one bad day means trust cannot be rebuilt. Be aware of ALWAYS and NEVER thinking. “You’re always doing things with your friends.” “You never support me” “We never do what I want to do” Look for positive examples.
3. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Be vulnerable with your communication, doubts and fears. Discuss situations when they happen instead of holding grudges. Holding on to doubts and fears only create distance between you and your partner. Look towards your partner instead of away. Give them the opportunity to support you.
4. Leave your ego at the door.
The enemies of trust building are blame and ego. Make changes that may be challenging to you, but to demonstrate that you are invested in the relationship and you want to heal. Don’t point fingers. When you catch yourself blaming or accusing, take that as a sign that you need a break. Come back when you’ve had time to decompress and start again without walls of defense.
5. Learn to fight fair.
Remove the individual scoreboard and fight as if you are on the same team. Realize by “winning” the fight, your team is losing. Try to understand where your partner is coming from. Make it a priority to communicate face to face and never via text or email to ensure they are able to hear your thoughts and feelings.
6. Listen and pay attention.
Communicate openly, remove distractions, and focus on your partner. Put away social media, turn off the t.v., and make time for important conversations. Plan time to “check in” face to face with your partner. Listen to what they have to say and ask, “What I’m hearing you say is…”
7. Set goals and dream together.
Make plans for your future. How do you want to grow, personally, professionally, and as a couple? Your partner is your biggest support. Let them in on your dreams and dream together.
8. Have courage.
Fear of broken trust will only perpetuate the cycle. When fear of broken trust enters your thinking, connect openly with your partner and seek support. Resist the negativity and take the risk.