I frequently hear phrases from my clients such as:
- “I just don’t know if I can trust them anymore”
- “They never seem to be telling me the truth”
- “I don’t believe what they are saying”
A relationship relies very heavily on trust; yet it is very heavily broken.
What is Trust?
Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
In a way, trust is like air – we only see it when it is polluted.
When our partner has let us down (or worse) and we feel our trust in them has diminished or gone, we need to make a decision. We need to decide to stay in the relationship and put effort into working it out; or not staying in the relationship.
This choice can be complicated by finances, children, mitigating circumstances, the nature of the trust issue, and how often it happens. But we do need to choose.
There are two types of trust:
- “Blind trust”: where you trust someone without bothering to assess whether they deserve it
- “Mindful trust”: which means you see this person with your eyes open; you assess what they say and do and you trust them only if they deserve it. It is clearly better to be mindful rather than mindless, when it comes to trust.
Rebuilding Trust in Relationships
Trust is rebuilt in small steps – a little at a time – so you need to decide if you have room for this. Patience from both parties is the key. There is no place for anger or resentment; remember you have chosen to be here.
Also if you want certainty that your trust will not be broken again, the only way you can achieve this is by leaving this relationship.
When questioning whether or not trust in a relationship is worth rebuilding, consider:
- Is my partner being honest, open, truthful or do they tend to lie, hide, and deceive?
- Are they sincere? Do they really mean what they say?
- Are they reliable? Do they follow through on their promises?
- Do they consider the consequences of their actions?
- Are they capable of actually doing what they promise to do?
The two parties to the trust issue (victim and culprit) both need to acknowledge that there is a lot of work involved by both parties to regain trust – it is a two-way street. For example, the victim needs to decide if they wish to do the rebuilding with all the time, patience and pain likely to be involved.
Here are some steps to help if you are seeking to rebuild your relationship following a breach of trust.
- Firstly be predictable: be where you are supposed to be, all the time, every time.
- Make sure your words match your actions: if you are not fine, say so.
- Tell your partner what your needs are: this builds intimacy, and intimacy builds trust.
- Learn to say no: how can your partner trust you if you always say yes? How can you build trust if you say yes to something you do not want?
- Learn to grow: we need to learn to examine our past despite the pain; we need to ‘fess up to past issues.
If trust is an issue in your relationship, or you would like help to rebuild and strengthen your relationship following a breach of trust, please make an appointment with me soon.
David is a Clinical Psychologist, with a keen interest in working with older people and their families. He strives to provide a safe environment for his clients to explore their issues and, with assistance, develop new techniques which will help them change their unproductive behaviours. The aim is to have a happier life that assists people reach their relationship, personal and life goals.
Dr David Wells is currently on extended leave. If you would like to book with an alternative clinician with similar expertise, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.