Trust. Respect. Two little words that have huge implication when it comes to relationships. It seems that I end up talking about these two words over and over again in my therapy sessions, particularly with couples. Everyone seems to understand what these two words mean, however, the meaning becomes lost when trying to apply them to behavior.
I teach my couples that Trust and Respect are the base for every healthy relationship, the foundation that allows love to grow. True love is the result of these two words being fulfilled in their most genuine and authentic form. I would postulate that true love does not exist without these two fundamental concepts.
Let’s focus on trust. So how do you repair your relationship when your partner breaks your trust? This is not difficult to remedy, however, it completely depends on who you are working with. Hint: Selfishness does not fit in the equation when trying to work out trust. Unfortunately, those who break our trust tend to be selfish. I continue to be amazed when I have a spouse who broke the trust of their companion by acting out in one of a variety of ways. When they hear from me that in order to rebuild trust they have to be completely transparent, they balk. They seem shocked that they would have to allow their partner to let them see their text messages, emails, how they are spending their money, or be responsible to them by letting them know where they are and what they are doing. They seem to assume that because they were caught that this was enough and that their partner should just “get over it.” This is when I politely have a discussion with them about living in a fantasy world and that they need to get back to reality if they want their relationship to work. I also remind them that they are not an island. Their commitment to their partner means that they are linked and what one does affects the other. If one is acting out inappropriately it would be absurd to believe that this “should” not bother their partner.
The second aspect of rebuilding trust is to fully take responsibility for inappropriate behavior. Period. Unselfish (emotionally intelligent) people do not blame, do not try to push the responsibility onto their partner, or try to make their partner out to be “crazy.” If the trust breaker truly cared about their partner they would do all that is necessary to remedy the problem. If they do not do all that is necessary, then chances are this is not “true love” but rather some perversion of something you think is love. Hint: no one “makes” anyone do anything. This is a form of mental abuse in order to evoke guilt and cause you to believe that you are “not good enough” when this is used by someone who supposedly cares about you. Someone who truly cared about you would come to you with their concerns, rather than act out to hurt you, or as a way to exact revenge, or “get even.”
Trust is something that can be repaired. Just like how trust develops, repairing trust takes time, effort, and commitment. Sometimes people who are trying to win back the trust of their partner will ask me how long they have to be transparent, how long will they have to reassure their partner?My answer is always the same. “You do it until.”