In your important relationships, it’s not just your partner that may break your trust; sometimes it’s your friend or a family member.
Trust issues are venomous to a relationship. I’ve had my trust broken at times, as I’m sure you have too on at least one occasion.
If someone very important to you has broken your trust in a big way, answering the following will help you to get your relationship back on track, if that’s what you want:
1. How do I feel about what’s happened?
You need to get in touch with the thoughts in your mind and the feelings in your heart. This may take some time. When you are first confronted with the betrayal, you’ll probably be in a state of shock. This shock will prevent you from getting in touch with the reality of the situation.
2. How do I respond to what’s happened?
Do you shout, do you scream, do you go silent, do you pack your bags for some time apart or do you ignore their calls? These are the questions that will run through your mind. Once the shock has worn off and you have connected with the anger, pain and sadness, you might be inclined to say or do something that will further damage the relationship.
Allowing time to lapse is always a great way to get some perspective on what to do next. Creative therapies such as writing, dancing, painting, drawing or sculpting, are great ways for you to expel some of the tension and bring clarity.
Take as much time as you need and let the other person know that this is what you are doing. That way you won’t feel the need to rush into making a decision and this will feed your sense of control in the situation. This is important and also lets the other person know the status of the relationship so that they too utilise this time to reflect. Their reflections will provide them with the answers they may be looking for, namely, whether they want to dissolve or salvage the relationship and how to do so.
3. Do I want to regain trust in them, i.e. save the relationship?
Good relationships, like good employees, are hard to come by. When you find them, you don’t want to toss them away unnecessarily. Whether it’s your partner, sibling or friend, you need to decide what the ultimate goal is. If you want a relationship with them but feel it’s going to take a lengthy time to heal, then so be it. You can help move these things along but you cannot rush them. If you want to save these relationships, you simply need to take consistent, persistent effort to remedy them. So long as you are both intent on saving the relationship and take the necessary steps, as agreed by both of you, it will happen given time.
4. Do I believe I can regain trust in them?
If you want to regain your trust but don’t believe you can, then you won’t achieve your goal. Once the dust settles, you’ll know for sure. Give it time to decide what you really believe. Sometimes our beliefs are based on situational factors rather than facts.
5. What needs to happen in order for the trust to be regained?
You must receive a genuine apology. Without it, you’ve lost your self-respect, your dignity and along with it, your respect for one another.
You must also communicate openly and frankly. You have to.
Decide together what you both need to do to regain the trust in the relationship. It may be that you need them to honour their promises, no matter how small. It may be that you need to see a professional counsellor or coach. It may be that you need to see signs from them that they are fighting hard to make it up to you. You may decide to dedicate time to one another in a way that you did when you first entered the relationship, whether a romantic relationship or not.
Specify exactly what needs to happen in order for you to put the past to rest and have a happy, successful future together. Stick in milestones with dates as well as a date for the ultimate goal and then follow your plan of action.
If you want my help, check out more information about my relationship coaching and get started.