Trust is fundamental to a relationship and its ability to last, which is why when the trust is broken, it can be a traumatizing experience. You may be thinking that if the trust has been broken, that there is no coming back from that. The reality is, that you can come back from it if you are both willing to do the work.
First and foremost, when your partner betrays you, you are not obligated to forgive them. If you choose to, however, but you are afraid that it’s not possible, I am here to tell you that it is. I’ve seen it, and I’ve been on both ends of that coin. What is most important is that you want to forgive and trust them again, and they want to earn your trust. If both sides of that equation are not present, then it will not work.
But, if your partner wants to earn your trust again, and you want to figure out how to make a way through, here are some suggested tips.
Communication is key from the beginning and throughout the entire process. Discuss what has happened, discuss new boundaries, apologize and make a clear plan. Throughout the process, if you are the one who betrayed the trust of your partner, remember to remain transparent. And if you are doing the forgiving, if your boundaries are compromised at any point, say it.
2. Be respectful.
Throughout the process, there is going to be tension. No matter which side you are on, it’s going to be difficult. During those times, remain respectful and empathetic of your partner, you are a team.
3. Avoid dwelling on the past.
It’s going to take time to heal, but when you get pulled into cycles of dwelling, you are going to get stuck. And you can’t move forward and find peace if you are living in the past.
4. Define expectations for the future.
It’s very important to get clear on your expectations for what is going to happen now. You might think your partner just knows or should, or even that your expectations are obvious. But, it’s much better to go ahead and say them loud and clear, so there is no confusion.
5. Take responsibility.
Both of you need to take responsibility for your roles in this and take responsibility for how you move forward. What I mean by this, is that the person who has done the betrayal needs to ask for forgiveness and be willing to change, and the person who is forgiving the betrayal needs to try to forgive. It will take time, but it most definitely takes both.
6. Let it out.
Before you even move forward to try to forgive and regain trust, take a moment to vent. Both of you need to explain yourselves. If you have betrayed your partner, go ahead and get out all of the details and be honest. If you are forgiving, let out how you feel and what you need.
7. Spend non-negotiable quality time together.
Moving forward, you will need to spend some real-time together. You can do this by setting aside non-negotiable time together each week, or by simply just making sure to take that time. This is important because the bond has been damaged, and now it needs to be repaired.
8. Be honest.
Honesty is the most important thing right now. The person who is trying to trust again needs to know they can. And the person trying to be forgiven also needs to understand the limits of the other person, while also being transparent.
9. Remember that people can be trusted.
It can be easy to forget that people can be trusted after you are hurt. You may take on a negative worldview because you’ve been taken advantage of. But, the only person you are hurting by doing that is you.
10. Be patient.
Above all, take your time. There is no way to rush the process or to make things easier. It will take time and there’s no way to determine how much. Make sure you invest what you can in your role and make a real effort.