Rebuilding trust in a relationship can be a difficult thing once it’s been broken or compromised in some way. Depending on the nature of the offense — whether it was infidelity, lying, or abusive behaviour — convincing your spouse that you can be trusted again might feel impossible to you.
The good news? It’s not impossible! Trust can be rebuilt if both partners are willing to put in the time and effort to make things work again.
All healthy relationships are built on the basis of mutual trust. Depending on the specific and individual circumstances, the steps for rebuilding trust will vary from one situation to another. Of course, there’s a pretty big difference between a small “white lie” and having a secret affair. If your relationship has gone through the latter, you might want to consider couples therapy.
While there is definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” guide to rebuilding trust in a relationship, the tips below serve as a great general outline! So without further ado, here are my top 7 Steps To Rebuild Trust in Your Relationship After You’ve Broken It:
❤️Take Ownership of Your Role
If you have hurt your lover and broken their trust, it’s essential to reflect on your actions; acknowledging and owning your role. If you simply dismiss, deflect, minimize, or cast blame; this will not assist you in your efforts to come to terms with what happened and work towards fixing things. You need to own your part to yourself before you can convince your spouse you have, in fact, taken ownership.
❤️Create A Game Plan for Your Apology
Sincerely apologizing doesn’t always come easy for everyone. It can often make people feel vulnerable — conjuring up feelings of fear or anxiety. I implore you to be conscious and intentional about moving forward with your apology; regardless of how uncomfortable it might be for you.
Take some time to gather your thoughts beforehand. I always find that writing things down is particularly helpful. Why not even rehearse exactly what you want to say by standing in front of a mirror and practicing? This can really help put you at ease!
But remember, it’s important to truly and genuinely mean whatever it is you’re saying. You should never just plan to say what you think your partner wants to hear in the hopes that you’ll be forgiven and what you did will be completely forgotten. Things don’t work like that, period.
❤️Timeblock One-on-One Time To Talk with Your Partner
When planning to apologize, you need to remember that timing is everything. Ask your significant other when the right time will be to talk to them. Prepare them by letting them know that you have something really important that you want to discuss. Allow them to dictate the timing of that discussion. This way you can ensure that they’ll be giving you their undivided attention.
❤️Accept Full Responsibility
Once you’ve admitted and owned up to yourself, it then time to show your spouse that you accept full responsibility.
Be genuine and sincere, using “I” statements, like: “I am so sorry I hurt you,” or “I care about you so much and feel awful for letting you down.” Be as specific as possible when it comes to exactly what it is you’re sorry about; for example: “I am so sorry I told you I was at work when I was actually some place else,” or “I feel terrible for lying to you about what I spent that money on.”
Let it be known that you want to make things right again. Show your partner that you truly recognize that you’ve broken their trust, but that you’re willing to work hard to rebuild things with them.
❤️Actively Listen with Presence
After you have apologized, listen to absolutely everything your partner has to say back to you — without interruption. You have had your chance to speak, and now it’s your turn to really listen.
Utilize active listening techniques. In other words, be receptive both verbally and physically. Be present, and look your partner directly in the eyes instead of crossing your arms in a defensive manner.
Bear in mind that by this time, emotions may be heightened — including yours. Keep calm and always validate your partner’s feelings; after all, they have a right to feel the way they do.
❤️Make Sure Your Actions Mirror Your Words
A true and sincere apology is worth its weight in gold. Although, if there is no real follow-through on what you’ve said, your words are rendered meaningless and any future attempts at repair could quite easily be rejected.
If your apology is accepted by your partner, it is your responsibility to showcase a consistent pattern of dependable behavior over time. If you truly want to make this work, go above and beyond, and commit to being your very best self. Be humble, kind, affectionate, appreciative, loyal, loving, and trustworthy.
❤️Patience, Patience, Patience
Rebuilding trust is a process — and it takes time. Have patience; both with the process itself, and with your significant other.
Furthermore, recognize that being sorry about something does not mean you need to beat yourself up. Nobody’s perfect, and we all make mistakes in life. Take full responsibility, but remember to also be kind to yourself. Experiencing some guilt, shame, or self-loathing is normal; but just don’t allow it to take over your life. See this as an opportunity to grow and make your relationship stronger than it ever was before! 💫