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How to Rekindle Trust

by Shannon Philpott, studioD

A broken promise or vow or even a little white lie can have a lasting effect on a relationship. When trust is broken, rebuilding the partnership takes time and effort. Work toward a mutual agreement of trust and respect by acknowledging the damage and taking responsibility to mend the relationship.

Set Realistic Expectations

A true, meaningful relationship relies on honesty. When you place your trust in someone and he breaks that confidence, hurt feelings are bound to result. Trusting another person requires a realistic perspective about people and an expectation of failure, says Lynette Hoy, marriage and family counselor and author of “What’s Good About Anger?” Before agreeing to rekindle trust and rebuild the relationship, discuss expectations of behavior and honest communication, noting that breaches in trust may occur but that a clear plan can decrease the possibility of a derailed relationship. People are sinful, human and frail, says Hoy. Therefore, a it’s important to have a realistic type of trust within relationships that will evolve over time as you establish understanding and knowledge of each other.

Acknowledge Breaches in Trust

Rekindling trust can be a challenge once you’ve been hurt or you've hurt someone else. Place confidence in the relationship and acknowledge that a breach in trust occurred. If you broke a promise, establish a clear plan to make amends and avoid making promises you can’t keep in the future. Admit that you realize the importance of trust and that your behavior strayed. Although it may difficult to admit wrongdoing, a true friend or partner will eventually understand that you are human. When a breach of trust occurs, acknowledge your part in the relationship snag and validate your partner's feelings. Ignoring her feelings will only hinder the relationship and sense of trust.

Communicate Openly

When trust is broken, you may feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster. You may imagine the worst about you partner, assume deceitful intentions and doubt yourself. Unfortunately, many relationships end due to miscommunication. Instead of following this trend, work to rebuild and rekindle trust with open communication. Explain your actions, thoughts and feelings to each other and create a plan to openly discuss any future disagreements. Outline acceptable and trustful behavior to ensure that you both are aware of what is expected within the relationship.

Be Responsible

Trust is fueled by honesty, but sometimes taking an honest look at yourself is hard. Rebuild your relationship by admitting your faults and taking responsibility for your actions when trust is lost. In his article “Five Steps to Repair Broken Trust,” Randy Conley suggests that ego and pride often prevent people from admitting mistakes. Take responsibility by mustering up your courage, humbling yourself and owning up to your actions, recommends Conley.

Apologize and Change Behavior

The phrase “I’m sorry” has merit only if you truly mean it. Show that you are sorry by changing distrustful behavior and asking for forgiveness. Rekindle trust by making your apology sincere. An honest explanation of why you lied, cheated or breached trust is acceptable, says Conley, but excuses will not help rebuild the trust within your relationship. If the roles are reversed and you are asked to forgive someone else, Lynette Hoy, marriage and family counselor, says that it’s important to acknowledge that every relationship suffers hurt. “We all need to become better forgivers and confessors,” she says. “That ability to reconcile and [a] spirit of humbleness will prove the depth of your love and commitment.”

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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