Trust is the foundation of any relationship.
If there is no trust, there is no relationship; no relationship can stand without trust.
And sometimes, for one reason or the other, trust can be lost in a relationship. Most times, it could be because of one of the partner’s unfaithfulness or disloyalty.
Trust, in the first place, is hard to build and once it is lost, it is very difficult to rebuild trust in a relationship because now there is a history that will serve as an obstacle.
But it is not impossible.
How can you rebuild trust in a relationship once lost?
Find out the reason the trust was broken: This is a point to consider whether you are the one who broke the trust or the one whose trust was broken.
If you are the one who broke the trust, then ask yourself what caused the trust to be broken. Ask yourself pertinent questions like what you could have done differently.
And if you are the one whose trust was broken, you can also ask yourself what reasons you think caused the trust to be broken, from your end.
The first step to finding a solution is to know the problem, so both parties have to discover what went wrong in the first place so they don’t have a repeat of the situation.
Own up to your role in it: It is easier for the one who broke the trust to own up to their role in it, that is if they want to rebuild the trust that was broken.
If they are not ready to take responsibility, then they are not sorry and rebuilding trust, in this case, is impossible.
But if you are reading this, I believe you want to rebuild the trust you have broken. So, yes, accept that you messed up. Don’t go blaming your partner for your mistake.
On the other hand, the offended party might also have made certain mistakes. If you are the offended party, then you should definitely own up to your role in it, if there is.
While it is still your partner’s choice to do whatever they did, you can honestly see reasons – if there is – why they did, so you both can avoid a repeat incident.
Apologise: “I am sorry”; one of the most powerful sentences ever. A lot of people underestimate the power of apologising but it could be the difference between receiving forgiveness or not.
However, for some people, saying you are sorry is just a start. Some people want to see a change in behaviour, some want to be sure you understand what you did wrong and why you are sorry.
If you are the one who broke the trust, at this point, you have to give your partner the kind of apology they need from you for the trust to be rebuilt.
Communicate: Talk! Talk! Talk! Talk about everything that you need to talk about. Don’t hold anything back.
For the offended party, talk about how you feel, communicate any misunderstanding or doubt that you have so that you can get clarity.
And for the offender, talk about why you did what you did, how sorry you are, how ready you are to earn the trust again and steps you are taking to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Make sure there is no ambiguity or vagueness; be totally transparent.
Forgive: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” The first step to rebuild trust in a relationship is to make a conscious effort to forgive them.
It is not going to be easy, but it is doable.
Besides, forgiveness is also for you, so you can move on without carrying the weight of bitterness around.
Trust me, it will weigh you down.
And for the offender, you need to also forgive yourself. You have made a mistake; making mistakes is part of being human.
But are you repentant? That is what makes you a human with character. If you are repentant, then forgive yourself and move on.
Avoid dwelling in the past: Allow the past to be in the past; don’t dwell on the past. What has happened has happened.
No amount of “what ifs” or regret can change it.
Instead, learn from it and resolve not to be in that situation again.
Allow time to heal the wounds: Time does heal all wounds; even though the timing differs from person to person.
If you are the offended party, allow yourself time to heal; don’t rush the process even as you make conscious effort not to hold on to the pain.
And for the offender, you have to be patient with your partner. Trust takes time to build and it takes even more time to be rebuilt.
You will likely have to deal with distrust for a while before they finally get over it. So, be ready to be patient and allow time to heal them.