We all know and understand that trust is an important part of maintaining a happy and strong relationship, but what happens when trust in a relationship is broken. Is it possible to repair? What does this process look like? Navigating relationships after a breach of trust can be overwhelming so here are some tips to help in this difficult time.
Talk, Listen, and Understand
The first step in rebuilding the trust in a relationship is to discuss the breach of trust. Talk about it when both parties are calm and open to discussion. It can be hard to share with your partner when you are worried about knee jerk reactions and being judged. This can be difficult for couples as hurt feelings can easily escalate to strong emotions that can cloud this conversation. It is important to understand the underlying reason for the breach of trust. This can take a lot of insight into ones behavior and can be challenging but is pivotal in moving forward. For example, if a partner cheated, you must figure out what lead the individual to cheat. Otherwise the underlying problem will not be addressed. A breach of trust is usually a symptom of the true problem in the relationship, if not addressed, it will likely continue.
Do you both want to rebuild?
This is a key conversation in rebuilding trust. After the initial shock of the breach of trust has faded, take a step back and decide for yourself (without assistance from your partner) if you are committed to rebuilding the relationship. If you have broken trust, this means taking steps to gain your partners trust again. If your trust has been broken, that means taking steps to trust your partner again. Both individuals need to be committed to the process to make it work. Make sure that staying together is something you both really want and isn’t due to guilt or outside pressure.
Set new boundaries
Establishing healthy boundaries in this new season of your relationship will be important. Talk through scenarios that may lead to questioning your partners trust. These boundaries may include social media presence, communication of whereabouts when not together, isolating with communicating with others, and maybe even establishing an openness about finances. These boundaries will look different for every couple, as every couple’s situation is different. If both partners are committed to rebuilding the trust in the relationship, these boundaries will be viewed as practical ways to physically rebuild trust instead of limiting “rules” in a relationship.
Communicate effectively and often
If boundaries are broken or feelings are hurt, it is important to discuss it immediately during this time of rebuilding. There is a misconception that arguments are bad for relationships, when in reality, when done effectively, they are healthy. Learning about to communicate through differences and will dramatically improve your relationship. It is common to criticize, ignore, and become defensive in relationship conflicts. Awareness of these behaviors can help provide a non judgmental and supportive environment to be authentic in your feelings. Treating one another with respect is key to effective communication. Read through tips on how to effectively communicate through your differences, here.
Bring in professionals
When faced with situations that are difficult to manage in a relationship. Instead of trying to navigate things alone, lean on a professional psychologist. Couples counseling can be beneficial in providing a safe judgement free space to speak in trust and honesty. A psychologist can provide you with observations of behavior, that you may be unaware of as well provide you with tools to utilise in communication.
To book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online