Trust is an essential part of every relationship (romantic, family, business, friends, etc.). Trust defines interactions in relationships by building bonds and strengthening intimacy. Without trust, no relationship can truly grow to it’s full potential.
But what happens when that trust is betrayed?
Not everyone values trust as much as they should. Because trust at times is easily given, especially at first, it at times is also easily taken for granted. When trust is loss, the relationship suffers and sometimes fails.
When the trust is loss, it can be very hard, if not impossible to earn back. Whether trust can be restored or not depends on how much damage was done. Often the betrayed person just wants to end the relationship because of the pain and that is understandable.
However, many marriages have survived affairs and many relationships have survived betrayals.
If someone wants to work on rebuilding trust in the person that betrayed them, there are some things that they can do:
- Let the anger out– let the person that betrayed you know that you are hurting. It’s okay to let them know how you feel and you should. Often times the betrayed person feels rejected and is afraid to show anger towards the other person, but they end up just holding it in and letting it consume them, preventing any type of healing or rebuilding of trust to truly happen.
- Make up your mind to let it to, and then let it go– once you have let out your anger, let it go. That doesn’t mean blind forgiveness, but forgiving the person that betrayed you will free you up and set you free. If the person that betrayed you apologizes and you forgive them, then never bring up the incident over and over again. Don’t hold it over the person. Acknowledge that it happened. Acknowledge how you feel, but don’t beat them over the head with it if you hope to move on. Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the other person.
- Know that will can never go back to the way they were before the betrayal– sadly, things have changed. The betrayal has done it’s damage. Things will never go back to the way they were before. Things will get better, but never the same. You may never trust the person the same again, but you can develop a type of mature trust and maybe not the naive trust you may have had before. I once counseled a woman who’s husband had had multiple affairs with multiple women, and surprisingly (through counseling) they managed to save their marriage and are still happily married today, but she couldn’t talk about her marriage and the affairs without crying, even years later, despite forgiving her husband and moving on.
- Be willing to ask others for help– you will need your support system to get through this. You can’t and don’t have to do it alone. know that you can ask for help when needed, even if it’s from the person that betrayed you. Let them know what you need from them. Often times we are too embarrassed about being the betrayal to ask for help because we don’t want others to judge us for forgiving the other person. If that’s the case, talking to a counselor may be the best source of support. There you will have someone who will listen to you without judgement and give you the support needed.
- Practice Trusting– people can’t earn back our trust without the opportunity to do so. This doesn’t mean you give the person “tests” to pass or fail, but practice giving them opportunities to show you that they deserve your trust. Sometimes people will say, “I forgive you”, yet cling to the other person as if they are trying to control their every move and thought. This isn’t forgiveness, trust or love. It’s fear.
Part of loving and trusting includes opening yourself up to potential pain and betrayal. It doesn’t mean it has to devour you and ruin your life.