No relationship is perfect. Chances are, if you remain in a committed relationship for any length of time, you’ll eventually encounter some hardships. While most couples can easily work through these, a breakdown in trust is one of the hardest things for any couple to overcome. Many partners feel blindsided by infidelity, unknown debt, or other forms of dishonesty that they simply cannot cope with. In fact, over 50 percent of relationships end immediately after trust is broken.
But can a couple rebuild trust and survive after one partner learns the truth?
Rebuilding a relationship after trust is broken can seem like a long and exhausting process. However, if both parties agree to actively work together and do what it takes to repair trust and communication, reconciliation is possible. If you or your partner committed a dishonest infraction that is impacting your relationship, we recommend that you work through these steps and hopefully repair the damage.
Hash Out The Details
Often times, a breakdown in trust comes with a breakdown in communication as well. So, if you and your partner really want to work through this difficult situation, you’ll both need to commit to having an open, likely difficult conversation first. If you’re the one who broke your partner’s trust, share honestly while also accepting your partner’s reaction. If your partner hurt you, allow them to fully explain their actions and reasoning behind their dishonest choices. Express your feelings using “I” statements and without accusing your partner. This process will help you both understand where the other person stands.
Recommit To Each Other
While recommitting to your partner may feel like an impossible task during this time, it’s a critical step in repairing your relationship. When possible, show empathy towards your partner. If they committed the dishonest infraction, give them the opportunity to show you their remorse. If you are the guilty party, Dr. Mindy Beth Lipson recommends that you “follow through with the things you say you will do. Otherwise, it is just words and means nothing and breaks more trust.”
If your relationship struggled for a while even before this major breakdown in trust, chances are you and your partner need to recommit to more than just rebuilding trust. In fact, psychologist Susan Heitler suggests that struggling couples find ways to “radically increase the positive energies you give to your partner.” Words of affirmation and quality time can do wonders for even the most damaged relationships.
Work Towards Forgiveness and Self-Improvement in Tandem
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily for most couples after trust is broken. However, it’s important for both parties to remain intentional about moving forward after this breakdown in trust. You must make a conscious decision to love your partner in spite of their flaws and try to let go of the past. While achieving this goal fully may take some time, committing to it is what’s key.
However, this commitment requires more than just one partner forgiving the other for their indiscretions. You must work as a couple to find the underlying cause, and you should both commit to making healthy changes in your lives. The good news is that you can both find areas to improve both as individuals and as partners. And, by working towards self-improvement in tandem, you can hold each other accountable and celebrate small victories together, too.
Consider Professional Help
Sometimes even the strongest couples can’t repair problems on their own. Luckily for couples, many forms of treatment exist today that can help partners re-establish trust and improve communication. Through the help of a licensed therapist and lots of hard work, you and your partner may find that you can come out of this crisis even stronger.
Accept That Things May Never Feel The Same
Even if you and your partner commit to each other and get back to a solid place in your relationship, things may never truly feel the same. Some partners never fully forgive each other in cases of extreme dishonesty, which is understandable. And, in some cases, even after you and your partner recommit to each other, you may find that even the strongest love isn’t enough to save your relationship.
At the end of the day, whether you stay together or decide to breakup, the most important thing is that you try everything you can before giving up on your relationship.
Previously Published on Moms.com