Trust doesn’t just happen automatically. Trust is earned over time. It is earned when you get to know a person, I mean really get to know a person, and you learn how they operate. It is earned when you openly communicate with them. It is earned when you are transparent. One swift and ill thought out action though can wipe out all of your effort. Trust is broken by lying, keeping secrets, behaving out of the norm…the list goes on and on.
So how do you repair the trust once it has been violated or, worse yet, create trust when it was not there to begin with? The sad fact is that you might not be able to. Trust between partners is one of the strongest things you can have, but it is one of the easiest things to knock down. Here are some ways to try to pick up the pieces and rebuild that castle, one brick at a time.
- Be honest. Don’t lie to your partner and don’t keep secrets. These are the sorts of things that ALWAYS surface and will blow up in your face.
- Follow up your words with actions –make them mean something. No one appreciates empty promises, but have you ever stopped to think about how this looks to your partner? If you say you are going to do something (meet them somewhere at a certain time, fix the cabinet door you promised to fix, or even just be home for dinner) and you don’t, well, you look like you cannot stick to your word. Follow through with your promises. It will make a world of difference.
- Communicate with your partner. Don’t leave them guessing –sometimes the imagination makes things a lot worse than what they are. Express your needs, concerns, etc. and encourage your partner to do the same.
- When you are going out, let your partner know –especially if it is out of the norm for you or if this played any part in the breaking of your trust. It’s always a good idea to let your partner know who you are spending your time with and where you are at. Bonus points for inviting them to join you when it is appropriate.
- Do new things together. It builds your relationship back up, makes your partner feel important to you, and creates a special moment for you both to remember. Sharing smiles and laughter should help the both of you feel closer and, as a result, more trusting of them and your relationship as a whole.
Now, this isn’t some magic potion for coming back from a betrayal of trust. It won’t work for everyone. It is merely a list of things that can begin to help you both move forward. If you find yourself trying these things and more to get past the lack of trust between you and your partner, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to fix what is broken. At least now you can know that you tried.