Sometimes in a relationship, trust in your man can be shattered. This can happen for various reasons. Cheating is probably the most common cause when trust is broken in a relationship. But trust can also be broken in other ways, such as if your man spends money meant for bills on himself or if he uses drugs without you knowing about it. All deceptions need to stop if you plan to have a healthy and loving relationship and to rebuild trust. Honesty is the basis for any meaningful relationship and is necessary for rebuilding trust.
There are a number of ways that you can learn how to trust again after having that trust betrayed. Here are a few examples of how to rebuild trust:
1. GIVE HIM A CHANCE
It’s great to give him a second chance, but only do so if he acknowledges what he did and lets you know that whatever he did to break your trust stops. Otherwise, nothing will change. If you decide to give him another chance, here’s how to trust again:
- Set up a ground rule that neither of you will leave the other for a specified period of time. Six weeks is a good place to start, but it shouldn’t be shorter. During that time of rebuilding trust, you both should work on improving the relationship, and your guy needs to stay away from the other woman, the drugs, the money, or whatever the problem is. If he wants the relationship to work and to rebuild trust, he will understand the reason for staying away from the triggers, and he should willingly do so.
- He needs to apologize to you. He should then explain the reason he did what he did, and there are many reasons men have affairs. This provides a way for trusting him again. Just listen to what he has to say. Your goal is to understand. You’re not condoning the behavior; you’re just trying to understand it to get on the road of rebuilding trust.
- Figure out a constructive way to express your anger. You can talk to your friends. You can write him a letter that you then throw away. (The point of the letter exercise is to get your feelings out.) You can exercise. (A boxing workout makes a good choice!) All these are constructive ways to start trusting him again.
- Write down all the positive aspects of your relationship. This helps you focus on why you’re trying to work this out. The goal is trusting him again and reminding yourself of the big picture, including goals you have for your relationship.
- See a professional. If you can’t work this out on your own and rebuild trust, but you want to rebuild trust, you can seek professional help.
2. WORK TOGETHER TO PREVENT HIM FROM REPEATING HIS MISTAKE
Part of getting over what happened in your relationship and to learn how to trust again is to recognize your role. Of course, you are not to blame for the actions of another, but at the same time, you might have played a role in your man feeling a need to sneak around. A relationship takes two people who are giving 100 percent of themselves to make it work.
Be honest with him about how much he’s hurt you. Let him know that you’re willing to work on rebuilding trust, but it will take time for you to trust him again. You’ll probably want to take a break from him at this point. Maybe you can stay with a friend until you’re ready to deal with him and what he did.
Look at what you could have done to make the relationship better. Let him know that you were not perfect, either, and tell him what you’ve discovered about yourself. Maybe you were too overbearing and controlling. Maybe you were too self-absorbed to notice him. Whatever it was, let him know that you now want to work with him to make the relationship great and to rebuild trust. This should help prevent him from repeating those mistakes, and also lets him know that you’re not just blaming him.
But understand that you cannot control him. If he can’t change, and if you truly are giving everything you have, you should start evaluating whether this relationship is worth it for you.
Here are some ways in which you can work together with your man:
- Neither of you should blame the other about what was wrong with the relationship. You can, however, discuss what you’ve observed.
- Both of you need to stop doing whatever it is that’s harming the relationship.
- Make a point to show love and affection when you feel it.
- Create a new life together. Try doing new things and putting each other first over your other commitments.
- Make a commitment to each other that there will be no more secrets between the two of you.
- Communication is key. You should set aside time to have honest and open talks with each other where you can both feel free to discuss anything without judging the other or bringing up the past. Read about the speaker listener technique here to keep those conversations productive. Rehashing the same issues is a sign of an unhealthy relationship, which leads us to our next point.
3. DON’T BE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE ABOUT PAST PROBLEMS
Don’t let your feelings simmer and go unaddressed. It’s important for you to go through your feelings. You need to give yourself time to heal. After all, he betrayed you, and you were hurt. You’ll go through many emotions, such as sadness, anger, and emptiness.
But at some point, if you want to stay in the relationship, you’ll need to believe your guy again. You’ll need to open yourself and your heart to him again.
Being passive-aggressive is a classic sign that you have not worked out your feelings. You might even be denying that you have them. You might say you’re not mad and you might act fine. But then you might do something that you know will hurt or anger your man, such as saying you’ll meet him somewhere and then not show up, preparing his steak well-done when you know he likes it rare, or shaming him in public.
If you decide to give this relationship another chance, it’s unfair for you to punish your man every single day of his life by being passive-aggressive. Being outright angry and continually bringing up the deception is just as bad. It will not progress your relationship. You might as well break up if you simply can’t forgive him and harbor that much anger toward him. If you really want to forgive him, read this post.
4. RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS
It’s important to remember what caused you to mistrust him in the first place to learn how to trust again. Maybe he was acting in a secretive way or not being as open with you as he normally is. If he starts to behave in the same ways he did when he was engaging in bad behavior, you can recognize the signs and talk with him to find out if it’s happening again.
Here are signs of a troubled relationship that prevent you from trusting him again:
- One of both of you shows contempt toward the other. This reveals itself in many ways, such as invalidating each other feelings (You’re making a big deal out of nothing) or blaming the other person (You never listen when I’m talking to you).
- You disagree about finances. If you constantly argue about money, and that is the reason he betrayed you, it’s tough to get over. Your relationship has a good chance of surviving, however, if you can come to terms on how you handle money in the relationship. However, money is one of the top reasons for divorce if you don’t address this issue.
- One of you is a narcissist. This type of person believes they are more important than other people. This can come out in sexual behavior too; the narcissist feels entitled to meet their needs and has no problem using others.
Learning how to trust again takes work and can be incredibly painful. But if your man stops the behavior and truly wants to work things out, your efforts will have paid off.
It’s normal to not be as trusting of your man once he’s broken your trust. But, over time and with enough positive experiences, you can learn to trust again. Trusting him again might be the most important thing you can do if it means saving your relationship.