Earning back the respect and trust of someone close to you isn't impossible, but it will take time, patience and dedication. Whether you and your ex-girlfriend are trying to work things out or are simply committed to remaining friends, regaining her trust and respect can make your relationship a healthy one and help it to thrive in whatever form it takes.
Be honest and sincere in both your words and actions. Hypocrisy and untruthfulness won't help you regain your ex-girlfriend's respect. Don't tell her you're going over to your mom's if you're really going out with the guys. Don't talk about how much you value hard work and then try to take an easy way out. Don't say that listening is important to you and then fail to hear her out when she has something to say.
Treat your former girlfriend fairly, equally and with courtesy. Value her opinions and feelings and treat her the way you expect to be treated.
Think about what you say before you say it. It's easy to lose your patience when a conversation becomes heated or frustrating, but resorting to harsh, offensive language is no way to earn back respect -- you'd only be disrespecting her further. Find ways to express your feelings without name-calling or placing blame. Even if you're only joking, words can leave a lasting scar.
Take the time to acknowledge her contributions and efforts. Showing her that you notice and appreciate the things she does shows her that you value and respect her for her skills, kindness or other virtues.
Acknowledge and honor the boundaries your ex-girlfriend sets. If she only wants a platonic relationship, respect her decision. If she says she needs some time apart, give her that space.
Be considerate of your ex's feelings and needs. Take an active interest in the things that are important to her. Pay her a compliment for a job well done or offer her your ear if she needs someone to listen to details about the rough day she had. If there is something you can help her with, do it.
Be willing to compromise. Approaching conflicts diplomatically and fairly ensures that both of you maintain respect for each other's perspectives, needs and emotions.
Be consistent. If you only show your former girlfriend respect some of the time and not others, you will not regain her respect or her trust.
Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.