Auntie Ozanne's Guide to Rebuilding Trust
It's likely happened to all of us. We've been lied to, cheated on, deceived, and ultimately hurt by someone we put a lot of stock in to. I have, and I've learned some things about how to mend the relationships I was in, or move on and not allow the next person to pay for someone else's mistakes.
One thing to recognize is how much of yourself was lost in the betrayal. If you have invested a lot in to one person and your relationship with them, you might be feeling a bit of loss of what you gave up. You may feel resentment that you gave up a lot of time, energy, and money toward someone who seemed to take it for granted. Before beating yourself up, know this: what the person did very likely has nothing to do with you, instead has everything to do with them. It is not your fault you were lied to. Nothing you did was wasted.
Below are some tips that have worked for me, some of my family and friends who have all rebuilt trust in relationships and had reasons for doing so with grace. You are the one with power when it comes to making things right by you!
1. Allow yourself the time to grieve. You have lost a part of your relationship and a part of yourself that trusted. If your partner has offered to "do anything" to make sure you will trust them again, let them know you need time to grieve and ask questions to put some security back in to your heart again. You need to be allowed to get mad, cry, and learn from the hurt.
2. What's happened is donewith. You can't change the past. You can only learn from this moment on with your partner how to make things right. Why look back all the time, when there is something ahead? Move ahead and realize that yes, a mistake was made, but to wallow in it is not fixing the problem. Accepting that you can't change the past and looking forward to new and better things will increase your chances at happiness.
3. Don't punish others for the mistake of one. If you have removed someone in your life who was responsible for the hurt, you made a choice to stop the hurt. Now it's time to start the happiness. If the next person you meet gets the new you with a big, emotional wall up and you have no room for growth, they will feel as though they are paying for someone else's mistake. Why? It's a sign you might not be ready to date, but if you disagree with this, then you need to recognize that someone new coming along is willing to take you on to make you happy, and here you are preventing this, straight out of the gate. Don't.
4. Stop being angry with the person who hurt you. If you choose to stay in a relationship with the person who you are trying to regain trust with, realize that the person is going through change also and needs your support. They are the next, new and improved version of themselves, just like it would be if you were dating someone completely new. If you continue to make them pay for their mistake, your relationship will not know new levels of happiness.
5. Stop putting insurance on your bad behaviour. Threatening your partner with bad behaviour or warning them of how you will have the upper hand is not fair. Yes, you were wronged, but this isn't a game of who's turn it is to treat badly. Be the right person that your partner feels was worth changing for. Tit-for-tat does not work in mature relationships or in real love. Have you ever made a mistake? Loving someone means you work to make things better and though what happened might have left you feeling victimized, it doesn't mean spiteful behaviour will improve matters. Instead it shows how little you respect a better a relationship.
6. Write letters. Getting your feelings out and on to paper for your partner to read helps you release your emotions and allows your partner to read your thoughts without interruption about what they had done to you. It allows them to even reread to hear your voice in their head talking to them. Communication is a two-way street and this allows you to start someplace if talking just seems too painful at the time. Don't bottle it all in.
7. Trust yourself. The only way to really know that you can build trust with someone is to do a test drive on yourself. Can you trust yourself to stop the pattern of feeling sorry for yourself and to move forward? If you aren't ready to do this, you need to let your partner know that this is a stumbling block for you right now. It allows your partner to feel productive in mending what is broken that has gives them a break from the blame. Reassurance that you're good enough needs to be given from your partner, and accepted by you.
8. Forgive. You love your partner, so part of that means to forgive them for what they have done. Loving someone is like reading stereo instructions sometimes. It's not so cut and dried when there are things you are wanting to accept from them, and want to be accepted for. Your partner might easily feel too that they cannot continue to the relationshipo knowing the pain they had caused you, but love you enough to try and get to the part where you can forgive. You can make this as easy or as hard as you want. When you find that moment where you finally feel free of the past, you will know that forgiveness will be the boost that your love really needed to move in to the next chapter of your lives.