As I typically peruse hundreds of blog postings on the subject of love relationships, I’m always struck by how many of these articles are on the subject of trust, more specifically, regaining trust as a way to help fix broken relationships.

But first, I want you to consider this critical question:

Can trust that was once shared by two partners ever really be regained, once that trust has been betrayed?

As a therapist, who’s worked with a lot of couples, I’ve developed the firm belief, that yes, trust can be regained – even in the most serious cases of betrayal.

What the online dating world thinks…

I also went online to check out the opinions and ideas of others, mostly from the comment section of a well-known online dating site.  I found that in most cases, there is that feeling that trust can be regained, but with a few added caveats thrown into the mix:

“The only one that can answer that for you is your significant other. Sorry. Some people can work past it and some can’t. We have no way of knowing if you guys can or not.”

“You can’t un-ring a bell. No, [after betrayal], your relationship will never be the same. A relationship is the sum total of your experiences together. However, given that, you can show the depth of your character by how you handle your mistakes. Hiding from them, denying them, minimizing them and trying to pretend everything can go back together, just like before, doesn’t work, although everyone tries these things sometimes.”

“For someone to trust another, it has to be proven with actions and not just words, and over a period of time that shows change has truly occurred if a hurt has been done.”

“To heal a damaged relationship, requires first to admit the mistake (if indeed it is a mistake on your part) both to yourself and to the one you have hurt.”

“An apology is just words, but it is a necessity. Somehow you must show true remorse. You may offer to make amends–let the person you have hurt decide what the amends should be.”

“With any relationship, it helps to not only say what the mistake is, but let the other person vent about it until they have said all they have to say. Such as, “Darn it! You could have gotten me killed! I could sue you for this. I will be telling all my friends to avoid doing business with you, etc.”

You have to just listen, repeat the essence of what you have heard to show you have really heard what they are saying, and understand their concerns, their fears, their upset. You can’t then go and try and explain away your responsibility in the problem–your part in it. You can’t minimize this, even though it hurts to hear how much you have hurt someone you have a relationship with. And then, by actions, you need to show that you have learned from this, and follow a course that is evidence of that.”

“You will need patience to simply wait and let the dust settle, and let the hurt feelings heal, and not pressure the other person to trust you when trust has not yet happened for them. It is, after all, in their own best interest not to trust someone who has broken their trust or is not trustworthy. If you push someone too soon, they will think you do not have their best interests at heart. And then let it go. Let them go. If it was meant to be they will come back. You can check with them, perhaps make more amends, and stay in touch, but you have to leave it up to the person who has been hurt, or you will hurt them further.”

And I think this one might be my personal favorite:

“Duct tape fixes everything…”

To re-trust or not to re-trust – that is the question

So there you have it; a typical cross-section of online daters, each with their opinions and suggestions. In reviewing these different postings, I picked out a few common ideas:

  • You need to be honest
  • It’s important to “come clean”
  • It takes work…but it won’t necessarily work every time
  • Listen!
  • Practice non-attachment
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • It’s not about what’s wrong, but your reaction to what’s wrong
  • Rebuilding a relationship is ultimately dependent on the two individuals

At the end of the day, I think it’s all about what gets in the way, which is usually one’s own unresolved personal issues.

These issues sometimes come up because of negative patterns of relationships (such as abuse) that have been learned in the past.

When we have not yet made peace with those old wounds, that’s when all the mistrust gets laid on the one who we betray. But each person needs to take personal responsibility for addressing these issues.

If one wants to love and trust, one must go into their own place of self-love and compassion.

It’s not so much about the one betrayed; it’s about you and your “stuff.” Anyone who remains unresolved within themselves, then the ability to trust and be trusted will be threatened or lost.

And, to state the obvious, a relationship without trust is very hard to rebuild.

Love thyself

I like to call this love and compassion for oneself “having a honeymoon period with yourself.” This kind of personal stability is really the key to any successful and long-lasting relationship.

Be kind and gentle to yourself, do things you love, accomplish personal goals, practice positive affirmations, develop a spiritual practice, take care of your body, be true to highest self, surround yourself with those you love and trust…all of these actions (and more) will help you build an invincible foundation for just what we’ve been talking about –  trust.

What are your thoughts about rebuilding trust in broken relationships? How do you think self-love relates to this process? Leave your comments below.

I trust that you’ll have some great stories to share!

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