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How to Reestablish Trust in a Relationship

by Shannon Philpott

Trust is one of the most important elements of a healthy relationship. A breach in trust can affect a relationship significantly, especially when lies cloud the truth. In order to maintain a healthy relationship, both parties must acknowledge the breakdown and work toward maintaining a bond that relies heavily on honesty and open communication.

Recognize the Lapse in Judgment

A little white lie may seem harmless to some, but when a partner, spouse or friend is not honest with you, it can cause significant damage to your relationship. You must be able to trust each other in order to move forward and work through issues that led to the breach in your partnership. While it may prove difficult for one or both of you to acknowledge that you weren’t honest, this step is necessary, says Lynette Hoy, marriage and family counselor, in the Power to Change article "Rebuilding Trust." Instead of ignoring the lapse in judgment, openly discuss what led to the lies and dishonesty.

Work on Relationship Problems

Often times, a breach in trust stems from issues or disagreements within the relationship. Work with your partner to get to the root of the problem by openly discussing your needs and wants. Talk about why one or both of you feel the need to foster secrets or stretch the truth at times. Is it fear of consequences? Is it a breakdown in how the two of you communicate? Honestly express your thoughts and feelings and, if necessary, bring in a third party to mediate a friendly discussion in a safe environment.

Admit Your Faults

Although your actions may not have directly led to the breach in trust, it’s important to admit any relevant personal faults. It’s not easy to admit wrongdoing, but doing so demonstrates strength and genuine care for your partner. Put your ego aside to rebuild the trust, recommends Trust Practice Leader Randy Conley of The Ken Blanchard Companies in "Five Steps to Repair Broken Trust." Own your part in the relationship problems to show willingness to rebuild the bond you two have.

Apologize, Forgive and Forget

In order to rebuild the trust in your relationship, you must show you are remorseful for your actions. If you lied or behaved in a hurtful way, offer a sincere apology. You can say “I’m sorry” repeatedly, but showing you are remorseful for the behavior or breach in trust is much more effective. If your partner is apologetic, offer forgiveness and agree to move forward. Do your best to let the past stay in the past and avoid bringing up the breach in trust in future disagreements. If you believe the relationship is worth rebuilding, you must make the effort to apologize, forgive and forget.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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