When someone you love betrays your trust, it’s absolutely devastating! Feeling safe enough to be vulnerable with your partner is essential, but once the trust is broken it’s replaced with a mix of fear, anger, sadness, resentment and disappointment. Trust is a powerful thing… It can take a lifetime to build and mere seconds to destroy. Many couples struggle with how to build T.R.U.S.T. after a betrayal.
As a relationship expert, I help individuals and couples recover from relationship injuries such as: lying, secrets, and the ultimate betrayal – having an affair. For more information on How to Affair Proof Your Relationship in the Age of Technology, check out my previous blog. Depending on how deep the betrayal was, it can be difficult to recover from, but not impossible. The first step is to assess whether the relationship is salvageable and whether each partner is willing to do the work toward repairing, reconnecting, and recovering. Once couples decide to move forward, here are my suggestions for How to Build T.R.U.S.T. After a Betrayal.
T- Take Responsibility for your actions. If you’re the one who betrayed, it’s time to come clean. You must take ownership, express genuine remorse, and begin to make amends. Trust is a two-way street. Regardless of what side you’re on, both partners need to take ownership for their part and the necessary steps toward healing.
R- Be Reliable for your partner. Follow through with what you say you’re going to do and do that over and over again. Show your partner that you have their back. Make a commitment to do what it takes to get your relationship back on track. Keep in mind, it’s the little things during daily life that make a big difference.
U- Understand your partner’s perspective and honor their reality. Listen with an open heart to your partner’s perspective and validate their emotional experience. Make sure you’re aware of your partner’s needs and turn toward them to connect within those emotional experiences even though it may be difficult at times. Couples therapy is a wonderful resource to help navigate this delicate process.
S- Speak openly and honestly with your partner. Communicating effectively with your partner is essential, especially after a betrayal. Be patient with yourself and your partner while discussing a wide range of emotions, thoughts, fears, doubts, hopes, needs, and longings. Ask your partner what kind of reassurance they need to feel safe and connected with you.
T- Trust building behaviors. There’s a saying, “actions speak louder than words” and it’s vital when rebuilding trust. Partners must give each other the opportunity to prove they are worthy of repairing the relationship and slowly rebuilding the foundation of trust. This takes time so it’s important to be patient, dependable, and consistent with trust building behaviors. Depending on the nature of the betrayal, this process may take weeks, months or even years. Talk with your partner about the specific trust building behaviors they want to see and make a list to ensure you’re following through with them.
No doubt betrayals are very difficult to overcome, but if you put these tips in action, your relationships can grow stronger and pain will drift farther away over time. Reconciliation is possible for those willing to work for it. If you need assistance in the process of rebuilding your relationship after a betrayal, contact Dr. Kate Campbell, LMFT at Bayview Therapeutic Services in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at Info@BayviewTherapy.com or 954.391.5305 ext. 1.