9 Steps to Healing Broken Trust in a Relationship
The people closest to you are supposed to be the people you can turn to when you need a shoulder to lean on. They’re supposed to be the ones who will accept and support you through thick or thin. This is especially the case when it comes to your romantic life partner.
So when you find out that the person you’ve chosen to become most intimate with has lied or betrayed you in some other way, it’s natural to feel angry, devastated and lost.
But with time, understanding, kindness, and strength, you can start to heal.
Poll: Types of Betrayal
In your opinion, what is the worst kind of betrayal?
How to Heal From Broken Trust
Here are 9 steps you can take to heal the pain and move on with your life.
1. Don’t play the blame game.
It’s easy to think that maybe it was your fault for being so naive, or that it’s their fault for deliberately deceiving you. But pointing fingers won’t help you heal. Perhaps they were in the wrong for deciding to betray you, but blaming them will only make you angry, and anger will fester into something more toxic. So the first step you need to take towards recovering from betrayal is to avoid falling into the finger-pointing trap. Accept that it’s happened, and move on to the next stage.
2. Learn to trust yourself again.
Before you can trust others again, remember how to trust yourself first. Fight through the fear of your instincts failing you again. Remember the times when your gut instincts have helped you and have been accurate in the past. Remember that one misjudgment does not mean that you have poor judgment in general.
3. Put yourself first.
As much as you want to wallow in sadness, anger, and resentment, you’re letting the act of betrayal win. You deserve to be happy so don’t let a negative event ruin your chances at happiness. So don’t dwell on the negative, shed it like dead skin, go out there to do the things that make you happy, and build the life you want. When you’re working towards your happiness and seeing your efforts come to fruition, confidence in yourself will come back on its own.
Recovering and moving on from a betrayal takes time, and you should never feel pressured to go faster than you’re comfortable.
4. Hold off on entering a new relationship.
If you’ve decided to leave the relationship after a betrayal, don’t jump straight into a new one. Even though you may think that a new start will help you get over your previous relationship, that may not be the best thing to do. The pain of betrayal, especially the loss of ending a relationship, is a type of grieving. You need to let yourself heal. Take some time for yourself. Rediscover who you are, reaffirm your priorities and goals before jumping into a new relationship.
5. Realize that not everyone's the same.
Understanding that not all people will betray you is key to moving on and recovering from a past betrayal. Just because one person lied to you doesn’t mean that all people are liars too. If you fall into a cynical mindset where everyone cannot be trusted, you’ll only isolate yourself and breed a toxic mindset that can cause you to feel even more misunderstood and lonely.
6. Set clear guidelines.
If you’ve decided to continue the relationship with a partner who has betrayed you, it can be helpful to set some clear expectations you may have for them from now on. You may feel more reassured when you have expressed your boundaries and expectations that need to be met for you to begin to trust them again. In doing so, you’re also presenting your partner opportunities to regain your trust, which leads us to the next point.
7. Give opportunities for them to prove themselves.
It’s normal, and often easier, for you to want to pull away completely from the person who betrayed you. But sometimes forgiveness and rebuilding trust can be a better option for you and those around you. So don’t let your fear of being betrayed again destroy your relationship. Resist the urge to build a fortress around your heart, and offer your partner opportunities to prove themselves to you. If allowing your partner back in again makes you feel a little too vulnerable, setting a limit to the opportunities you give may help you feel a little more in control of the situation.
Poll: Break up or fix?
When your significant other has lied and betrayed you, what would you do?
8. Give yourself time.
Don’t let anyone or anything rush you towards trusting your partner again after a betrayal. Recovering and moving on from broken trust takes time and you should never feel pressured to go faster than you’re comfortable. Trust takes time to earn and will take even longer to regain when lost, so don’t let anyone set expectations on how long you should take to recover.
Finally, and most importantly, being able to forgive is the most powerful and effective way for you to move on. It doesn’t matter if an apology was never made, it doesn’t matter if you never find closure. Forgiveness will become that closure for you. Holding on to grudges and resentment for the person who hurt you will only fuel negativity and invite toxicity in your life. So forgive and forget at your soonest opportunity. You're too good for that kind of negativity to linger and pull your life down.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 KV Lo