August 16, 2017 By Benita Thornhill, MA, LPCA, LCAS-R
In my practice I work extensively with couples who feel like their world has been hit by an avalanche and turned upside down. It is often difficult for them to find stable footing because everything that they once believed to be true about themselves and about their partner feels like a huge lie. Their main question to me is, “How do you rebuild trust when you have been betrayed?” My answer is always, “It takes time and requires commitment and hard work.”
Trust can be re-established in a relationship, but it takes commitment and consistency from both partners. This can be very difficult in the early days when pain and confusion is all you can feel and even though it doesn’t seem like it, it is the perfect place to start and I believe the only place to start. Your focus on your feelings can help you to gain clarity into what you need from your relationship and what you are willing to give. Developing a deeper understanding of yourself and trusting yourself to know what is best for you creates an awesome foundation for you to build your new relationship on.
Yes, I said new! Many couples come to me wanting to fix their old relationship. I give them an example of a tire that has been punctured on the shoulder or sidewall. You can take the tire to the repair shop, they can patch it, but it is not recommended. The movement required by the tire to roll prevents the repair from holding. Your best option is to purchase a new tire. In a relationship where there has been a betrayal of trust it is better not to repair the relationship, but to create a new one that is built of the things you and your partner need to be happier and have a satisfying relationship.
Starting a new relationship requires you to spend time with your partner, to get to know each other again and so that you can feel safe emotionally and physically. Living in the present rather than the past can help you enjoy what you are building now, instead of being resentful about what you lost and help you keep your focus on creating what you want instead of thinking about what you don’t want.
Want more simple tips on how to increase trust in your relationships? Click here to download 8 Simple Ways to Build Trust.