Trust becomes damaged through ‘trust breakers’, incidents ranging from lack of information, deliberately leaving out details of what has been happening, lying to deceit and affairs. As trust is one of the main building blocks of any successful and satisfying relationship it must be your top priority to restore it, if you are committed to make the relationship work. In the following article we will look at ways to repair and gain back trust.
How do we build trust?
Trust does not happen overnight but is something that grows over time. Even though we either trust or do not trust someone or something, the building up of trust is a gradual development. Trust is a delicate structure that can more easily and quickly be broken than repaired. Once it is damaged, it takes much longer to repair than it originally took to build it.
How do we break trust?
You can break trust in multiple ways described above as ‘trust breakers’. Sometimes it is something we fail to do, for example letting our partner know that we are planning to have dinner with our ex-wife to catch up, and sometimes it is something we do like staying out late at night when we promised to come home for dinner, that breaks or damages trust.
How do we repair trust?
Well established trust does not necessarily break after one such incident. It usually happens over time, especially if small damages are not repaired in time.
1. If you find yourself in a situation where you are intending to repair the damage that you have caused it is important to be truthful and honest. Half-truths that are revealed later do not serve well in re-establishing trust.
2. You want to make sure that you can keep up your promises. If you are not sure about your delivery, do not promise! Be mindful to be totally reliable in your words and actions.
3. Depending on the kind of ‘trust breaker’ that caused the damage in trust be careful who you talk to. Choose your trusted friend to confide in. Confidentiality needs to be kept in mind so that the hurt can heal within the relationship, without having to deal with other people’s opinions and reactions.
4. Remember that the topic of what happened will continue to come up over time. Telling your partner ‘to just get over it’ does not help. Bringing it up to punish the partner who damaged the trust is also not encouraged as it only serves to alienate the two of you as opposed to bring you closer together.
Gaining back trust can make a relationship stronger and deeper, however if the situation occurs too frequently it will add stress to your relationship.