Having someone break your trust in a relationship can leave you feeling hurt, shocked, and even physically sick. It might prompt you to consider your relationship plans and your partner in a different way.
Despite what people tell you, burning bridges is a great way to keep pace in the rat race, dancing in the flames of a burnt bridge is great motivation to work faster and keep pushing forward.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to go back and rebuild a broken bridge for the sake of the better good.
Below are some ways on how to rebuild a broken relationship and rebuild trust.
Consider the reason behind the lie or betrayal: When you’ve been lied to, you might not care much about the reasons behind it. But people do sometimes lie when they simply don’t know what else to do. This doesn’t make their choice right, but it can help to consider how you might have reacted in their position.
Sure, your partner may have betrayed you to protect themselves, but they may have had a different motive. Were they trying to protect you from bad news? Make the best of a bad money situation? Help a family member?
Maybe the betrayal of trust resulted from a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Whatever happened, it’s important to make it clear that what they did wasn’t ok. But knowing the reasons behind their actions may help you decide whether you’re able to begin rebuilding the trust you once shared.
Communicate, communicate, communicate:
It might be painful or uncomfortable, but one of the biggest aspects of rebuilding trust after betrayal by a loved one is talking to him or her about the situation.
Set aside some time to clearly tell them:
- how you feel about the situation
- why the betrayal of trust hurt you
- what you need from them to start rebuilding trust
Give them a chance to talk, but pay attention to their sincerity. Do they apologize and seem truly regretful? Or are they defensive and unwilling to own up to their betrayal?
You may feel emotional or upset during this conversation. These feelings are completely valid. If you feel yourself getting too upset to continue communicating in a productive way, take a break and come back to the topic later
Practice forgiveness: If you want to repair a relationship after a betrayal, forgiveness is key. Not only will you need to forgive your partner, but you also may need to forgive yourself.
Blaming yourself in some way for what happened can keep you stuck in self-doubt. That can hurt the chances of your relationship’s recovery.
Depending on the betrayal, it might be hard to forgive your partner and move forward. But try to remember that forgiving your partner isn’t saying that what they did was OK.
Rather, you’re empowering yourself to come to terms with what happened and leave it in the past. You’re also giving your partner a chance to learn and grow from their mistakes. Click here to read more on how marriage counseling can help your relationship.
Avoid dwelling on the past: Once you’ve fully discussed the betrayal, it’s generally best to put the issue to bed. This means you don’t want to bring it up in future arguments.
You’ll also want to go easy on constantly checking in on your partner to make sure they aren’t lying to you again.
This isn’t always easy, especially at first. You might have a hard time letting go of the betrayal and find it difficult to start trusting your partner, especially if you’re worried about another betrayal.
But when you decide to give the relationship a second chance, you’re also deciding to trust your partner again. Maybe you can’t completely trust them right away, but you’re implying you’ll give trust a chance to regrow.
If you can’t keep thinking about what happened or have misgivings about your partner’s future honesty or faithfulness, couples counseling can help. But these signs could also indicate you may not be ready to work on the relationship.
Enforce Your Boundaries: You have personal boundaries, and you’re going out of your way to not overstep other peoples’ boundaries so you deserve respect as well. Be sure to politely and gently remind the other person whenever they’ve overstepped a boundary you established. But be sure it’s one you’ve both acknowledged exists so you’re not falsely accusing anyone of crossing a line he or she didn’t know was there.
Initiate a Friendly and Polite Dialogue: When you initiate a conversation, a simple “Hi” or quick invite is enough. Just the fact that you sent them a message may be enough, but, depending on how they’ve blocked you, you may need to also mention who you are. This is all that needs to be said, and do not say anything else (or send more than one total message) until he or she responds, or you will come off as annoying.
Be Clear About Your Intentions: Once there’s a dialogue open, utilize it for what it’s worth; be open, up front, and honest about what you want. This will signal to the other party that you respect him or her and help rebuild the trust that was previously broken. Never expect anyone to read your mind, because the fact of the matter is, nobody can, no matter how much you focus on transmitting thoughts.
Love is All You Need: The reason you’re rebuilding a broken relationship is because you either need something or care about the person. Even if you need something, focus on the other person, not what you want. If you show that you care about him or her, he or she will be more receptive to helping you.
It is also a good idea to think positive in life. Even if things don’t work out, you can think positively about the next experience. Keep looking forward, and you’ll exude confidence, which is attractive to other people. This will draw the other person to wonder why he or she doesn’t have a relationship with you.
Be Honest (In a Nice Way): Always be honest, even when you disagree. Deceit may not have broken your relationship, but it’s certainly not going to fix it. Just make sure you’re neither defensive nor offensive, and if you can’t keep it civil, shut up. Always be the real you, no matter what happens. You’d rather fail your way than succeed as someone else. Don’t bother pretending to be what the other person wants, it’s not a competition, and you’d be surprised at how much honesty will open doors for you in life.
Build a Bridge, and Get Over It: Drop whatever issues you used to have in the past – it’s not the past anymore. You can discuss the issues you had in your previous attempt at a relationship, but dwelling will only make things worse. Bridge the gap between the two of you, and get over your rift with a quickness.
Apologize: There are few conflicts in life that can’t be resolved with an apology. At the very least, it’ll give you an opportunity to forgive yourself and move on, even if the other party isn’t interested. The other is to always accept responsibility, even if you don’t believe you were at fault. The other person clearly believes you are, and accepting responsibility will help you bridge the gap between your perceptions.