I will never forget the day my life changed forever. My world came tumbling down and I couldn’t hold it together. My man of six years came confessing how he had cheated on me with several women.
It came as a rude shock. I can remember vividly what transpired that morning. We had just relocated to another location and were settling in. Being a full-time mum, I had no job and while Drey was away working 9 to 5, I was home putting things together and caring for our 3-year-old daughter.
He left his phone at home that fateful morning while rushing to work and since it wasn’t my custom to snoop around his phone, I just dropped it on my dressing table while I continued with my house chores. The moment came when his phone began to ring.
It rang the first, second, and third time. I ignored it but the call kept coming from a strange number. It rang the fourth time and I picked the call and the first words I heard came as a shock. It was the voice of another woman on the other side saying with so much excitement “Hello Drey, it’s a boy”. I knew what those words meant so I hung up immediately.
I began to feel nauseous, a sting of tears jolted me back to life, I held my daughter and began to weep profusely. I trembled, I felt so much pain in my heart than I could bear. I couldn’t do anything for the remaining part of the day so I sat on the floor waiting for Drey to walk right through the door and tell me I was dreaming or maybe it was a wrong number that was dialed.
The time seemed to slow down and at exactly 10 minutes past 5 pm, Drey walked in looking unhappy, he already knew something had transpired in his absence, so, he knelt and said: “I am going to come clean”.
He held my hands as I sat across the sofa from him, then those very words of betrayal hit me, my man said he was expecting a child from another woman and ended his confession by saying “whatever decision you take is fine by me because I know I messed up”.
After “the talk” I felt like I should just pack my belongings and leave the house and his life with my baby forever. I was devastated and had nothing to say. I experienced a mix of emotions that I couldn’t explain.
He made a mess of our wedding vows, he left a deep wound in me that felt like a gully. These were the words of Ashley when she walked into my office one bright Thursday morning.
Pathetic you may say and I am sure you can relate. You can relate to being betrayed and let down by the people we trust the most. I’ve been there personally, so, I know how alone you may be feeling. The question on your mind now, would be, how do I move on? Do I leave or stay? Despite all these, you can rebuild your life and trust as well, with the debris of what’s left.
What’s your situation like?
Is it the lie of your spouse?
Did they cheat on you and you found out yourself or they told you? In whichever way you found out, I understand you will be hurt now with a series of questions running through your mind.
Choosing to remain or leave may be a hard decision to make but if you’re willing to fight for the love you both share, then, this post will be teaching you how to rebuild trust in a relationship.
While you read this, remember that relationships are to be managed and may not be cured. You may be broken but you can heal and go through this pain.
What does it mean to trust? It means the ability to be open and vulnerable with another person. It means you are sure of their ability to keep your interest at heart, you are safe with them and also believe they will always have your back. It means you get to a point of being careless and free with reckless abandon. Without this element, your relationships can’t go on.
Can we get a little deeper into what you are experiencing and how you feel before we delve into how to build trust in a relationship?
Do you presently feel withdrawn, the need to isolate and pour yourself into other things to distract you, or have you given into binge eating? You really need to solve this before it gets out of hand.
How to rebuild trust in a relationship.
This is normal in the loss of a loved one which includes the breaking of trust. This goes beyond being sad. Especially when you love someone and you lose your innocence to them it could make you cry. Some people try to hold it down, hide and deny the pain but it’s best to let it all out. Feel the sadness and bear the weight of the pain.
I know at this point your mind will be flooded with so many questions as to why they chose to betray you. I know the pain you are feeling may have altered your entire world.
Perhaps your mate lied to you and you don’t even know what to believe anymore. Don’t rush past this stage of grieving, let it come so you can heal quickly. I can’t promise you that trust will be restored but you can be fine again with lessons learned. Talk to a loved one and also seek counseling.
2. Express Your Displeasure
You do not have to pretend about how you feel to your partner. Let them know their actions hurt you and let them know what you are going through because of their actions.
3. Allow Your Partner To Spill It All Out
Let deep conversations flow that will let them say it just the way it is. In the case study above, Ashley allowed Drey to say it just the way it was without reacting even when she was broken and this enabled Drey to begin to seek means on how to rebuild trust in a relationship.
I know people are different and respond to things differently but at the point of betrayal or when your partner is speaking, it’s best not to interrupt them with questions but let them speak.
If you are the offender, don’t try to keep things away or hide some information on where you went wrong in order not to hurt your partner. They have hurt already so why keep away key information, let it all out.
4. The Offender Should Apologize
This is the foundation on how to rebuild trust in a relationship. Sometimes saying sorry won’t just cut it. This isn’t a time to justify whatever you did, don’t give any excuse for your wrongdoing. You have to own the wrong you did and let your partner know that you are aware of the damage your action has caused.
Be responsible and let your spouse know how much they mean to you and that you are ready to make things right. Allow them to speak too so it doesn’t look like you are trying to shut them down with your apology. This makes them relate with you from a stand of being ready to listen and not put up barriers.
Let them know you are committed to making things work one more time. The one offended should be open, try to empathize and understand why they hurt them. The reason may be invalid but being empathetic will put you in a place of understanding to know why the offense came. You are hurt probably because they are hurting too and need to be healed too.
5. The Offender Should Ask For Help To Change
I always say apologizing sometimes isn’t enough if the offender doesn’t work towards changing and not repeating the hurt. By this, I mean, saying you are sorry is okay but you need to follow through with actions so your mate can believe you are truly remorseful and you have also changed. They need your actions to validate your words.
This could assure them of a changed you. You could also enlist their help. For example, if you are a forgetful partner and this keeps hurting your partner, you could ask them to remind you of some important information prior to when you need them.
Try creating cues to help you remember. If you cheated, let them have access to your mails so they can trust you and this will also help you keep away from cheating. This is how to rebuild trust after cheating.
The offended also have to try to believe in his or her mate. With time things will fall in place as the repeated actions will give proof of a changed you. Just apologize and mean it, follow up apologies and work on intimacy together. This is the time to have ‘the talk’ and sort out other grey areas that may have long been swept under the carpet.
6. Do What You Have To Do
If you need some time alone as the offended, please do, as you will need some time to process how you feel and you have a right to feel the way you want. You can grieve if you feel your relationship cannot be repaired.
Can all betrayals be forgiven? No! Can all cheating be forgiven and forgotten? Definitely not! So, when you have tried and it seems not to work, you can enlist the help of external bodies and when it doesn’t work, don’t be scared to walk away especially when the offense is being committed repeatedly and there’s a breakdown of trust.
It’s best to let go, there’s no point flogging a dead horse who is unwilling to change but don’t give up too soon, time settles it all.
You must have read a couple of times that you have to forgive but the question that comes next is how to rebuild trust in a relationship?
What to do when trust is broken in a relationship?
You will be anticipating some fixed formulae for trusting again but I’m afraid I can’t do that, in fact, no one else can, we can only try. There will be a lot of mental battle, your mate will try their best but somewhere inside you, you just know that it won’t be easy to pick up from where you both left off because something has changed.
Despite how you feel, learn to replace your anger with forgiveness. We all have been wounded in one way or another, so, we don’t need to keep reliving those wounds and ignoring every other area of our lives. Life has to go on. You have also hurt someone in one way or another though not in the same manner in which you have been hurt.
7. Just Try To Let Go
When you forgive, the pain may still be there but that knot you feel in your stomach when you see your partner may not be there anymore, the resentment you feel will begin to give way. This will put you in a good frame of mind and help you understand how to rebuild trust in a relationship.
8. It Takes Two
The truth is not all marriages will survive unfaithfulness but don’t forget that it takes two to make things work again. If only one partner is interested in mending fences, chances of getting back together will be very slim but when both partners agree, there’s hope. This is a step in the direction of how to rebuild trust in a relationship.
9. Make Sacrifices
If yours was infidelity, reach an agreement to help each other, try to be available. I’ve read stories of couples who had to sacrifice to make things work again. If they had an alcoholic for a spouse, they dealt with it together, if it was pornography, they made sure their partners were right beside them whenever they needed to use the computer.
I learned of a couple who had access to their personal laptops and logged them in whenever they needed to be online. Is this an easy thing to do? No, it’s all about sacrifice and both partners have to make it work.
10. Set Boundaries
Let your partner know the way forward after the incident of betrayal. This will help you understand the needs of each other. You are not perfect that’s why you both need to work together to clear the mess you have found yourself in.
Be determined to make it work. Be open to change and spell out boundaries if need be. “When my wife cheated and I found out, I told her she had lost some privileges and I placed strict measures to protect myself from hitting her.
She lived with those boundaries until I could see she had changed so I lowered my guards”, Nelly says. There’s no harm in setting boundaries. It brings respect, helps you understand the expectations of your partner, and is a very important tool that teaches you how to rebuild trust in a relationship.
I know as you read this you may be wondering when the pain of the betrayal you feel will end? Time indeed heals but your pain will be worse if you go about your business trying to ignore the pain. You get better when you go through it. While you do this, reflect and learn all the lessons you need to learn. Discovering where you missed it and also make amends.
Pin this for later!