Building trust in a relationship Trust is the foundation for intimate, secure and successful relationships. It must be earned and maintained with consistent actions. But building trust and feeling like your partner is trustworthy is not always easy for those who have had their trust betrayed. Once your trust has been violated, it’s difficult to make it viable in your relationship again.
Trust has to be a living, breathing entity in order for a relationship to survive. This applies to romantic relationships, family relationships and friendships. So when your trust is violated, how do you overcome that and restore trust in a relationship? If you have the desire to try rebuilding trust in a relationship again or just learn to trust again in general, we have some steps you can take to get you there.
Children learn how to build trust in a relationship with their parents or caretakers early in their development. If parents are consistent in responding to their child’s needs, then that child will learn to trust them and their environment. As a child gets older, trust takes on a different form because children can process why they trust and why they don’t. It’s especially important for children to grow up in a trusting environment so that they learn how important trust is. This knowledge carries over in their attitude toward the world and all of their future relationships.
Trust may seem like an obscure concept, difficult to define. Sometimes you can’t tell if you truly trust someone, especially when you have no past experience to base it on. Trust isn’t an emotion. It’s a learned behavior that we gain from past experiences. It is hope and dependability, and putting confidence in someone. Trust is a risk. But you can’t be successful when there’s a lack of trust in a relationship that results from an action where the wrongdoer takes no repentance or responsibility to fix the mistake. When I say relationship, I mean “all” relationships. If a child never felt nurtured or protected by their parents then they grow up “not trusting Authority figures.” If a friend betrays you or a sister runs away with your boyfriend, you will have trust issues with peers, siblings and future boyfriends.
Unfortunately, we’ve all been victims of betrayal. Whether we’ve been stolen from, lied to, misled, or cheated on, there are different levels of losing trust, some more devastating than others. Regaining trust can seem as likely as winning the lottery. You may want to have faith in your partner again, but when it comes down to it, you simply don’t know how to start regaining trust in a relationship.
Sometimes people simply can’t trust anymore – they’ve been too badly hurt and they can’t bear to be that vulnerable again. It’s understandable, but if you’re willing to build trust in a relationship again, we have some tips to get you on the right path.
Learn to really trust yourself If you don’t trust yourself, meaning your ability to have good judgment and to make good choices, how can you trust someone else? Having confidence in yourself will help you make better choices because you feel more capable and can discern what the best outcome would be for your well-being.
Just keep in mind that once your trust has been violated, your defenses start working overtime to protect yourself. Pay closer attention to your instincts and keep working on building trust in yourself.
Grieve When a loved one dies, the natural grieving process tends to come in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five stages can also occur when you lose trust in someone. Don’t fight any of these stages. You’ll usually get through all of them – with time. Forgiveness can also be added as the sixth stage in regards to trust. If you can find it in your heart to forgive, then you’ll be able to release anger and hurt.
Stop labeling yourself the victim If you’ve been betrayed, you are the victim of your circumstance. But there’s a difference between being a victim and living with a “victim mentality.” At some point in all of our lives, we’ll have our trust tested or violated.
Some people choose to wallow in the sting of betrayal while others make an effort to overcome it. If you choose to become a wallower, you will stifle your ability to truly heal because you’ll end up angry and blaming everyone else for something you actually have more control over than you think.
You didn’t lose “everything” You didn’t lose everything; it just feels like you did. When we’re severely betrayed, such as being cheated on in a relationship, we tend to feel like we have lost everything that means anything to us. Once trust is lost, what is left? Instead of looking at the situation from this hopeless angle, look at everything you still have and be thankful for all of the good in your life. Seeing the positive side of things doesn’t mean you’re ignoring what happened. Instead, it’s a healthy way to work through the experience to allow room for positive growth and forgiveness.
Keep your expectations high Avoid situations that share the same pattern of circumstance where your trust was violated. On the flip side, it’s also important to recognize that just because you’ve been violated before doesn’t mean it will automatically happen again. You have to stop the harmful belief that any new relationship will end up the same way. If you fall into this way of thinking, not only will you sell yourself short, but you may also throw away a great possibility because you’re too scared of being hurt again. Also, remember that when you give someone the best, you deserve the best in return. Don’t settle for anything less.
Losing trust in someone can have a devastating effect on your relationship, as well as your sense of self-worth, but building trust in a relationship again is possible. It takes a willingness to work on both yourself and your betrayer, but trust can be won back. And when trust in a relationship is regained, it is truly healing.