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    Rebuilding Trust In A Relationship + When To Walk Away

    Explore effective strategies for rebuilding trust in a strained relationship and gain insights into the crucial signs indicating when it might be time to consider walking away. Navigate the delicate balance of healing and making tough decisions to nurture healthier connections in your personal life.

    By Liv Surtees / Jan 13 2024

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    Trust is at the heart of every close relationship we have in our lives. Whilst it might be easy to trust family or long-term friends that you’ve grown with throughout the years, when it comes to building trust in a romantic relationship, that takes time!


    Even if you and your partner don’t initially bring trust issues to the relationship, building trust over time with someone who was once a complete stranger can be daunting. When you add romantic feelings into the mix, you can be left feeling vulnerable and relying on the trust you have in your partner even more.

    So, what happens if this trust is broken? Can you ever truly forgive and rebuild trust with your partner after a wrongdoing? How do you know when to work on things and when to walk away? 

    In this article, we’re going to be diving deep into the topic of rebuilding trust in relationships and helping you figure out what’s right for you, whatever the situation you find yourself in. 

    the importance of trust in relationships

    Trust is a hard concept to really nail down - we can’t understand if someone truly trusts us, we can’t show someone we trust them, and we can’t make someone trust us. 

    That’s a huge part of why it’s so difficult to deal with trust in relationships (especially when it’s broken and needs rebuilding), since it’s something we can’t measure or be certain of.


    However, trust is one of the most important building blocks of any relationship. Without trust, a relationship will be without depth. Therefore, when it comes to romantic relationships, it’s especially important to trust your partner, since you want (and deserve) depth within your relationship.

    how is trust developed in a relationship?

    Trust can be developed in a number of ways, but whilst some may believe that trust can be proven by big gestures (such as getting engaged or married), the truth is that trust is built over time, in daily life.


    Trust is developed in so many ways, over time. It’s developed by someone showing up and doing what they said they would do.  It’s developed by someone opening up to you and being vulnerable, showing they trust you. It’s developed through clear communication, acknowledgement of emotions, and respect for boundaries.

    It’s also developed by the ongoing assumption that your partner has good intentions for you and your relationship. In some way you could say that you have to put trust in the person’s intentions before trusting them.

    sexual health

    how do you know if you have trust in a relationship?

    Whilst there’s not going to be a definitive point in your relationship where you stop and say, “I trust this person”, there will be indicators of trust being present in a relationship, and when you stop and think about it, you’ll know whether or not trust exists in your relationship.


    These signs show that you have trust in your relationship:

    • You know that your partner always has your best intentions in mind and you’re both committed to the relationship. 
    • You know your partner will do what they say and follow through with actions.
    • You have no desire to go through your partner’s phone, laptop, or personal items.
    • You don’t need to hide things from your partner.
    • You have healthy boundaries and there’s a huge amount of respect for each other’s individual lives.
    • You know you can communicate openly and honestly with your partner and that they will listen to you.
    • You feel as if your partner always has your back and is there to support you.


    So, if you experienced these things and had trust in your relationship but you’ve been betrayed or been the one to alter the trust, what can you do to get it back? 

    Let’s take a look at both situations…

    how to rebuild trust when you've been betrayed: 5 tips

    Whether you’re the person who has been betrayed or you’ve betrayed your partner, it can be incredibly hard to move forward and rebuild trust in your relationship. 


    In either situation, the first thing you should do is think about whether you actually want to rebuild trust with your partner, since it will require effort and commitment from both parties. 


    Although we will look at how you know when it’s time to walk away from a relationship later on in this article, this is something you should initially think about.

    If you are committed to rebuilding the trust, these 5 tips below can help.

    tip 1: make a commitment to rebuilding the trust

    If you are committed to working on rebuilding trust with your partner, you need to fully commit to this idea. Of course, you can still struggle with it and have setbacks and still leave the relationship if it’s not working for you. 


    However, what I mean by “committing” to rebuilding trust, is that you have decided to work on it, and make sure you’re actively working on it together with your partner. If both parties take no action or sweep things under the rug, resentment will build and trust is very very unlikely to come back. 

    tip 2: know why the betrayal happened

    Of course, you cannot and should not be blamed for a betrayal. However, most betrayals don’t happen because a relationship is healthy and happy. 


    Therefore, working out why the betrayal happened (with your partner, of course), can help you get to the root of a bigger issue you may need to tackle before attempting to rebuild trust.

    tip 3: communicate details the betrayal

    Whilst it’s actually not a good idea to get the more in-depth details of the betrayal, since this could cause more pain, it is important to know the surface-level details of what happened. 


    So, make sure you and your partner are openly discussing the betrayal and the action that took place. Just make sure you tell your partner that you don’t want any in-depth details (you may want them, but they will only worsen the pain you feel). 

    For example, if you have been cheated on you may want to know when it happened, who it happened with, and what happened. However, you don’t need to know what the sexual activity was like or the intricacies of the experience.

    tip 4: forgive but be prepared for setbacks

    Actively practising forgiveness for your partner (and yourself) is an important part of the healing process. However, don’t expect this to be immediately accomplished. 


    Additionally, don’t assume that setbacks won’t happen - they will and both you and your partner need to be prepared to work through them.

    tip 5: have regular check-ins

    When dealing with a betrayal in a relationship, some couples tend to then discuss it 24/7. Although this will likely be the case (and completely normal) after the betrayal has come to light, it’s not a healthy way to operate when trying to rebuild trust. 

    So, instead, commit to a time that you and your partner can check in with each other daily or weekly (depending on what works for you) and focus on open, honest communication about your emotions and how the process of rebuilding trust is going. 

    how to rebuild trust when you're the one that broke it: 3 tips

    If you’re the one in your relationship that has betrayed your partner’s trust, it can be difficult to come to terms with this and see how much you have hurt your partner and the health of the relationship you share. 


    Whilst you should definitely still be aware of the tips above and use them as tools to heal with your partner, here are three tips specifically for you that might be helpful.

    tip 1: understand why you betrayed your partner

    As mentioned above, betrayal in a relationship rarely happens because it’s a healthy, happy relationship. 


    Therefore, even if it’s not completely obvious at first, it’s important to figure out why you betrayed your partner and what was lacking (or happening) in a relationship that may have caused you to betray your partner. 


    Once you’ve come to terms with this, communicate this gently, openly, and honestly with your partner: this may be the root cause of the issue.

    tip 2: listen to their needs

    After you’ve apologised, the first thing you might want to do is run to your partner and go back to normal. However, it’s very unlikely (and not healthy) that your partner will be able to do this. Instead, they may need time and space. 


    If you can, ask your partner what they would like you to do, and then adhere to that. Make sure that you’re not pushing your wants on your partner, but instead, let their needs be your priority.

    tip 3: take action + show up

    If you and your partner have committed to rebuilding trust, it’s important that you take action and actively show up for your partner when they need you. This can range from small actions like showing up at the time you said or committing to therapy with them and being vulnerable. 


    You need to focus on showing your partner that you can be consistently relied on - this is a huge building block of trust!

    when to walk away

    Whilst some couples can work through betrayals and rebuild trust in their relationship, other relationships come to (and should come to) an end. 


    Let's take a look at some of the most common (and most important reasons) that people choose to walk away from relationships after betrayal.

    • If your partner is not committed to healing together and you find yourself forcing things to work, you should probably end things.
    • If your partner isn’t changing their actions or behaviours and is further crushing the trust in your relationship, you should end things.
    • If your relationship was never healthy in the first place, you should end things. 
    • If your partner has lied or manipulated you in an attempt to cover up their betrayal, it’s worth ending the relationship, after all, honesty is an important factor in building trust. 
    • If there’s manipulation, coercion, or any form of abuse present in your relationship, you should end it immediately.
    • Deep down, you will know if a relationship should come to an end or if you should attempt to work on things. If you continuously want to leave your relationship or it’s something that you find yourself longing for, it’s probably a sign that you should end things. 

    It’s also important to mention that whilst working on rebuilding trust in a long-term relationship isn’t easier, there’s a higher likelihood that people will be willing to heal the relationship. However, if you are in the early stages of the relationship, it’s probably best to walk away! If your partner is betraying you early on in your relationship, it’s simply not worth it, as the likelihood is that they will do it again. 


    Essentially, what you need to do is look inward and ask yourself, “am I truly willing to commit to rebuilding our trust and working towards the healthy relationship I was once in with this person?”. If you’re not, it’s time to move on. 

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