It’s generally easier to trust someone for the first time and maintain that trust than it is to rebuild a relationship when trust has been broken.
Trust is like a thin delicate piece of glass. Sometimes it sustains cracks, making the piece of glass (aka trust) between a couple even more fragile.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always take much for trust to break, and since we are all human, it’s easy to mess up (even when it was never our intention to break someone’s trust in us).
Sometimes something big like infidelity breaks trust; other times it’s the little things that add up.
So just how can you mend trust and your relationship after something has broken them?
With this detailed guide and steps, I’m showing you how you and your loved one can rebuild trust in your relationship.
Why Do You Need Trust in a Relationship?
Trust is one of the essential building blocks of a healthy relationship, and without trust, any relationship you have isn’t worthwhile or meaningful.
When you trust your partner, you:
Trust is a two-way street, so your partner should feel the same when they trust you.
Reasons Why Your Trust Has Been Broken
Trust can so easily be broken, and often without one partner even meaning to.
There are various reasons your trust can be broken in a relationship:
Is It Possible to Rebuild Your Relationship When Trust Has Been Shattered
It is possible to rebuild trust – but this is contingent on both parties still wanting the relationship, wanting the relationship to work, and wanting each other.
I’ve already mentioned how trust is a two-way street – you need to trust your partner and they need to trust you.
It’s the same when trust is broken.
The person who broke the trust can’t, on their own, rebuild trust with you. You also need to roll up your sleeves, put in the work, and work on building trust with your loved one.
There are some signs to look for that tell you whether it might be possible to rebuild trust after it’s been lost. For example, both parties must be willing to work on the relationship and the primary goal should be to rebuild a sense of safety.
It won’t be easy, but if both of you want the relationship to work, you’ll stick with it. Also, don’t think you’ve magically rebuilt trust between you two one day. You need to keep working at it and maintain it so your relationship can grow stronger.
7 Ways to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship
Follow these steps to help you rebuild trust in your relationship:
1. Recommit to Your Relationship
The first step is to recommit to your relationship. After betrayal or having any trust broken, you and your loved one need to be 100% sure you want to be in the relationship and that it’s worth fighting for.
The partner who did the wrong-doing needs to demonstrate that they are sorry, that they want to repair the brokenness, and that they want to engage in the relationship.
On the other hand, the partner who was wronged needs to be willing to forgive, let go, be vulnerable, and once again trust (even in small steps).
The best way to ensure you are both recommitted to rebuilding trust and your relationship is to check in with each other. Have a conversation to ensure you are on the same page before the work begins.
2. Take Responsibility
Taking responsibility is also a two-person job.
The person who has broken the trust needs to take responsibility for their actions. They need to prove they are genuinely sorry for what happened and are willing to earn back their loved one’s trust – no matter what.
They also need to actively listen to how the other person feels, without getting upset, without invalidating the other person’s feelings, and without defending their actions.
If it was a case of expectations not being met, like assuming your partner would know they need to buy milk or pick up the kids, you also need to take responsibility. Your partner cannot read your mind, just like you can’t read theirs.
Here, for example, you need to take responsibility for not communicating clearly and stating what your needs and/or expectations are.
Both parties need to take responsibility to try and do better, work on rebuilding trust, as well as maintaining it.
3. Apologize, Grieve, and Forgive
Next, it’s time for apologies, forgiveness, and grieving.
The partner who betrayed the other one’s trust needs to apologize for their behavior. If you don’t see that your partner is genuinely sorry for what they did, you wouldn’t believe and trust them again.
An apology can take place in the form of a letter, a series of letters, a conversation, or even a series of conversations.
You and your loved one also need to dive deep to understand why the betrayal happened. Both of you need to grieve for what has happened and truly understand that your relationship can’t go back to the way it was.
You need to rebuild your relationship and create a stronger connection with each other.
Both partners also need to forgive. The one who broke trust needs to forgive themself in order to move forward. Continuously blaming themselves and looking back will only cause them to become stuck.
If you have been wronged, you also need to forgive and let go. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean that the hurt you feel isn’t a big deal. It doesn’t mean you can simply go back to how it was before. And forgiveness most certainly isn’t a magical wand you wave and then everything is suddenly all better.
True forgiveness means you:
4. Create New Positive Experiences
On the road to rebuilding trust, you and your partner need to work on creating new memories. Positive experiences shift the energy in your relationship. When you laugh, have fun, and reconnect, it reminds you of what you had, what you can have, and that there’s hope.
As long as there’s hope, you and your loved one will make it.
5. Work on Your Communication
Good communication is another cornerstone of a healthy and successful relationship. When trust has been broken, you and your partner can find your way back to each other by communicating.
Communication includes the surface level interactions you have when you greet each other, update each other on what happened during the day, and discuss who needs to help little Emily with her homework.
But communication between a couple should encompass so much more.
If you are stuck about what to talk about, ask each other this or that questions, getting to know you questions, or deep conversation starter questions.
6. Rebuild Intimacy and Vulnerability
You also want to work on rebuilding intimacy and being vulnerable around your partner.
Intimacy doesn’t mean you need to jump into the sack or go for a roll in the hay. That won’t fix anything, and especially not if your partner cheated on you.
Instead, foster other kinds of intimacy. Work on creating an emotional, spiritual, experiential, intellectual, or creative bond with your loved one.
Take small steps to be vulnerable. Create intimate moments to share something deeply personal with your partner and rebuild your connection and trust.
You and your partner have an opportunity to start fresh. Learn each other’s love language and consciously put in effort to make each other feel loved, supported, and safe.
7. Look to the Future; Leave the Past in the Past
Nothing good comes from living in the past. You’ll only relive what happened and continue to blame yourself.
Instead, follow the steps above where you take responsibility, apologize, grieve, and forgive. Then, when you are ready, look toward the future where you and your partner work hard on building a lasting, healthy, and successful relationship.
Talk with your partner about how you want to move forward, what you envision your future to be, and any short and long-term goals you have. Encourage them to share what they think, compromise, get on the same page, and take one step forward at a time.
Even baby steps are good, as long as you live in the present and look to the future.
Final Thoughts on Rebuilding Trust in Your Romantic Relationship
Rebuilding trust in a romantic relationship when it’s been shattered is never easy. There is no one-size-fits-all way to rebuild trust and there is no magical solution that instantly fixes things.
You and your partner need to have honest conversations about what happened, why it happened, why trust was broken, what you can do to fix things, and what that journey looks like.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Your relationship can be saved – but only if you both put in equal effort.