In my previous articles, Building Trust in Relationships: The Power of Self-Accountability and Taking Charge of Your Relationship: Embracing Self-Responsibility, we discuss the lack of personal responsibility in relationships. This is the biggest factor, in my opinion, in couples staying together. But what happens when trust is broken or there wasn’t any trust to begin with? How do couples even begin the tedious journey of repairing broken trust or build trust in a shaky relationship?
Open and Honest Communication:
Foster an environment of open and honest communication. Encourage each other to share thoughts, feelings, and concerns without fear of judgment or criticism. Keep your mouth shut. You are not in a court of law. You don’t need to rebuttal or prove your case. Shut up and allow your partner to speak. Your responses? “Okay” “I hear you” “My intention was not to hurt you” “I am sorry I hurt you” “ I hear where you are coming from”.
Take responsibility for your actions and behaviors. Acknowledge and apologize for any mistakes or wrongdoings. Yes, apologize. It won’t kill you.
Set clear expectations and boundaries within the relationship. Discuss what is acceptable and what is not, and honor those agreements. Do not set a boundary that sometimes stands and sometimes not. Boundaries are made to create healthy relationships without co-dependency.
Consistency is key to building trust. Be consistent in your actions, words, and behavior over time to demonstrate reliability and dependability. Do what you don’t necessarily want to do. Think of your partners needs, it is not all about you.
Keep your promises and commitments. If you make a commitment, follow through on it. Period.
Share information about your life, feelings, and activities with your partner. Avoid keeping secrets or withholding important information.
Discuss your goals, aspirations, and concerns for the future. Be open about your individual needs and desires within the relationship. Be honest and transparent with what you would like to achieve individually as well as professionally.
Engage in self-reflection and self-improvement. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and work on personal growth.
Encourage your partner to do the same. Support each other in becoming the best versions of yourselves. This means that you encourage and invite your partner to expand in their interests, education, work goals, and qualities.
Establishing and Restoring Trust
In partner relationships, commitment is the foundation to establishing or re-building trust. Both parties must have a high level of commitment to the relationship. Commitment to dedication, loyalty, and intention to maintain and nurture the relationship over time. This process takes time. By exhibiting commitment, it signifies a willingness to invest time, effort, and emotional energy into the partnership with the goal of fostering mutual growth, happiness, and longevity.
Commitment looks and feels different to each individual. In my opinion, I feel commitment is an action, or rather a series of actions, rather than just a passive feeling or state of mind. You can feel all sorts of ways but without action, your commitment is subjective to your partner. While commitment may involve a deep emotional and psychological dedication to something or someone, it is typically demonstrated and reinforced through actions and behaviors. Commitment implies a willingness to invest time, effort, and resources into what one is committed to.
Forgiveness and Letting Go:
Forgiveness is a complex and multifaceted concept, but at its core, it involves a deliberate and voluntary decision to let go of feelings of resentment, anger, or the desire for revenge towards someone who has harmed or wronged you. Forgiveness is a conscious choice to release negative emotions and offer understanding, compassion, or mercy to the person responsible for the wrongdoing, even if they do not apologize or make amends. Practice forgiveness when necessary. This is a difficult thing to do. Holding onto grudges or past mistakes can erode trust. Learn to let go of past hurts and focus on the present and future.
Trust that your partner can change and grow, just as you can.
Show respect for each other’s boundaries, autonomy, and individuality. Recognize that you are two separate individuals with your own needs and interests.
Avoid controlling or manipulative behavior. Trust is built on mutual respect and freedom.
Time and Patience:
Building trust takes time and patience. Be patient with each other as you navigate challenges and work on strengthening your bond.
Celebrate small victories and improvements along the way.
Seek Professional Help:
If trust issues persist or are deeply rooted, consider seeking the assistance of a couples’ therapist or counselor. A professional can provide guidance and strategies for rebuilding trust.
Remember that trust is a dynamic aspect of a relationship that can be tested at times. Both partners must actively work on maintaining and strengthening trust over the course of the relationship. It’s an ongoing process that requires effort, but the rewards of a trusting and self-accountable relationship are well worth it.
Dealing with trust issues can be difficult and overwhelming but you are not alone! If you are struggling right now, let’s talk. You can book an in-person or virtual visit.
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