What is a relationship built on? Many people might say that it’s love, care, or compatibility. And while those things are important, they won’t get you far without trust. It is one of the core foundations of a healthy relationship. As they say, it takes years to build trust and only seconds to break it. When someone breaks your trust, it can leave you feeling lost and vulnerable.
If your partner has hurt you and you’re now struggling to trust them again, know that you're not alone. Rebuilding trust takes time and effort on both sides. It won’t be easy to do, but it is possible to heal and even strengthen your relationship.
In this article, we will guide you through the steps to rebuild trust so you can find your way back to a healthy, loving connection.
Signs Your Partner is Hiding Something
It may seem totally improbable, but if your gut is telling you that your partner is cheating on you, you should listen to it. Cheating in relationships can be isolated incidents, or they can be recurring. In most cases, the cheating partner isn’t doing it with the intention of hurting the other. They’re just looking for something they can’t find in their current relationship.
Certain behavioral patterns hint at a lack of trust in a relationship. Below are a few of them.
You notice your partner has been lying to you a lot, even on unimportant subjects or even if there is no good reason for her to lie. She makes up false tales, withholds facts, or routinely breaches commitments for flimsy excuses.
She’s excessively secretive and defensive when you ask her about her activities, locations, or interactions. She might even change the password on her phone or computer.
Lack of transparency
Your partner no longer discusses things with you, such as her feelings, ideas, or plans for the future. When questioned about her objectives or commitments, she could act evasively or provide ambiguous answers.
Absences without justification
She regularly vanishes and you’re unable to reach her. You might notice her spending a lot of time away from home, or travelling too often. Yes, it could be that your partner is falling out of love with you. But it could also mean she’s cheating.
Emotional infidelity or flirting
Your partner acts inappropriately with others in person or online. This might involve creating emotional bonds outside the relationship, sending private messages you’re not allowed to read, or keeping covert social media profiles. You’ll feel like you’re being treated as an option rather than the man she wants to be with.
Lack of accountability
She refuses to be responsible for her actions and instead places the blame on other people or outside factors. She’ll dismiss criticisms, mislead you, or be unwilling to deal with your concerns.
Signs of Lack of Trust in a Relationship
If your partner is exhibiting a lot, if not all, of the signs we mentioned above, you might have already stopped trusting her. Not sure? Well, here are signs of a lack of trust in a relationship.
This is a big indicator that you no longer trust your partner. You’re always wondering where she is, who she’s with, and what she’s doing.
Emotional and physical distance
If you feel your partner is distancing herself from you, you’ll likewise stop being happy and comfortable around her. You will eventually also emotionally and physically distance yourself from her.
This is because you’re afraid of being replaced. You feel her pulling away from you and think she’s being friendly and talkative to others but not to you. Jealousy stems from insecurity and will later lead to resentment.
On a side note, excessive jealousy and distrust can seriously damage what would have been a healthy relationship. You might think you’re just being careful and looking out for yourself, but too much jealousy will cause you to doubt your partner even if she isn’t doing anything wrong.
Know that you can always learn how to trust someone again. Book an online therapy session, or be open with your partner about your issues. You’ll be amazed at how far you can go with open communication.
Ways Someone Can Break Your Trust
Most people think trust is broken only when your partner cheats on you or hides something from you. But it can also break when your partner does not respect the boundaries you set in the relationship. Here are some scenarios that lead to broken trust.
- Not following through on a promise.
- Not taking responsibility for inexcusable behavior.
- Withholding love and/or affection.
- Lack of physical intimacy.
- Being emotionally unavailable.
- Addictive behaviors (i.e., drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling).
- Infidelity (asexual and nonsexual, emotional affair).
- Being directly or indirectly criticized by your partner.
Note that these aren’t always done purposefully with the intention to cause pain. It’s important to evaluate the situation first and communicate before deciding whether to break up or learn how to trust someone again.
When Should You Consider Trusting Them Again?
It’s hard whenever someone close to you, like a partner or a friend, breaks your trust. You’ll feel like you’ve just lost an important part of yourself, and might even want to give them another chance the moment they express remorse.
However, trust issues mainly stem from trauma. It is not wise to be making big decisions right after getting your heart broken because you will not be in the right headspace. So, take time to calm down and process your emotions first. This will help you evaluate your conditions moving forward.
Make sure the other person is truly sorry. Is she willing to put in the extra work and effort to make it up to you? Or is she only sorry because she’s in trouble and needs help?
How to Trust Someone Again: 10 Ways
Here’s how to trust someone again if you’re willing to give your cheating partner another chance.
Acknowledge and accept: avoid dwelling on the past
It's critical to admit and accept the truth of what transpired first. Realize how the betrayal has hurt you, and set up clear boundaries with your partner moving forward. By validating your feelings and responses, you permit yourself to experience negative emotions like hurt, rage, or betrayal. You need to feel them if you want to let go of them.
Now, acknowledging your hurt and dwelling on it are two different things. It's normal to dwell on the hurt, but frequently rehashing all the bad memories even years after the fact is not going to help you move on.
Avoid being stuck in the past by accepting that what happened cannot be reversed, no matter how many “what if” situations cross your mind. Instead, concentrate on what you can do to reestablish confidence.
When another person hurts you, it's normal to second-guess yourself and wonder whether there was anything you could have done differently. Well, we’re here to tell you that you are not responsible for your partner's behavior or decisions.
You need to stop blaming yourself for what happened if you want to heal and reestablish trust. Learn some self-care techniques, pursue what makes you happy, and surround yourself with friends and family who know your value and can remind you of it.
Be transparent about commitment
Rebuilding trust requires open and honest communication about your commitment to healing the relationship. You need to have a heartfelt conversation with your partner about your desire to rebuild trust and work towards a healthier future together. Share your fears, concerns, and expectations openly.
Honesty, loyalty, and reliability are extremely important in a relationship. Being transparent about what you expect ensures that both of you are on the same page about where you are and how you want to go forward.
Don’t ask for the nitty-gritty details
It's natural to be curious. Was he better than me? Did they eat at our favorite restaurant together? But despite how curious you are—please don’t ask for details. Dwelling on every nitty-gritty detail can and will do you more harm than good. You’ll start to see the other man in everything your girlfriend does, or everywhere you go.
Sometimes, the less you know, the better. And this is one of those times. Focus instead on the steps your partner is taking to make amends and rebuild your trust.
Try to forgive your partner
It might be difficult to forgive someone you love after they have severely hurt you. But forgiveness is about releasing yourself from the suffering and hatred holding you back. It’s not about making them feel better.
It's a lengthy procedure that requires work. Exercise empathy and make an effort to see things from your partner's point of view. Remember that if you want to go on living with your spouse, forgiveness is a gift you offer yourself.
Establish clear boundaries
Setting clear boundaries becomes crucial when trust has been broken. These boundaries should be agreed upon by both parties to make sure they are practical, fair, and reasonable. Don’t use this time to punish your partner. Use this time to determine what you both expect from each other so you can start reestablishing a sense of safety.
Tell your partner what you want and need, and where you stand. And make sure to abide by each other’s boundaries. If she doesn’t like it when you yell her name out loud in public, stop doing so. It may seem trivial to you but could be very important to her.
Allow your partner to make it up to you
Allow you and your partner a fresh start. Don’t shun her gestures of love and support, whether big or small. If she gets up early to make you breakfast, say thank you and eat it like a champ! Allowing her to help you will make her feel like she’s wanted again like she still has a place in your life.
This doesn’t mean lowering your standards or accepting half-hearted attempts. It means being open to your partner's sincere efforts to make it up to you. Remember that rebuilding trust is a process. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen eventually if you allow it to.
Look to the future
While it's important to learn from the damage and pain of the past, dwelling on them too much will impede your efforts to regain trust. Instead, foster a sense of hope and optimism by focusing your efforts on building a healthier, stronger connection.
Look to the future by picturing the kind of relationship you want to have. Not only will you have a better idea of what you need to work on, but you’ll also get to decide whether or not staying together with your current partner is even still a good idea.
That’s right—breaking up is always an option. Remember that.
Foster a culture of appreciation
Stop fighting over every little mistake and start noticing all the good things your partner does for you. By fostering a culture of appreciation, you will both feel more seen and wanted. This creates a positive environment that nurtures trust and enhances the connection between you and your partner.
Seek professional help
Creating a new foundation of trust is a complicated process. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negativity no matter what your partner does to try and make it up to you, you might want to consider consulting a professional. This can mean both couples counseling and individual therapy.
A therapist can help you work through the feelings, tensions, and underlying issues that may have led to the collapse of trust. You and your spouse get to analyze the complexities of your relationship, express yourselves in a safe space, and develop efficient communication and coping mechanisms.
How Long Will It Take to Rebuild Trust?
You might be wondering how long it will take to learn how to trust someone again. Unfortunately, there is no specific answer. This is completely subjective, depending on the behavior of your partner and the magnitude of the incident that caused you to lose trust in her in the first place.
We’d argue that your girlfriend hiding an expensive new purse is not as shattering as her sleeping with your best friend. It might take a few days for you to forgive and forget about the purse, but getting over her cheating? That could take years, if ever.
Remember that you are not obligated to forgive and trust someone again after they have hurt you. Do what gives you peace and what makes you happy moving forward.
Does Therapy Help?
Therapy can be incredibly helpful if you want to forgive your partner and learn how to trust her again. Therapy provides a supportive and safe space where you can explore your feelings, concerns, and other dynamics of your relationship. You might even be able to uncover suppressed emotions and work your way toward healing past trauma.
A skilled therapist is also well-equipped to give you healthy communication strategies for a healthier relationship. You can see a therapist in person, or have online therapy sessions from the comfort of your home.
They say no one can hurt you like a loved one. And broken trust is certainly hard to fix, especially if someone you dearly love is the root of your pain. It will take both time and a lot of effort to rebuild what was broken.
We hope our guide helped you get a good idea about how to trust someone again. Moving forward with or without your partner is important. Don’t focus on your pain forever.