How To Rebuild Trust Again When Your Partner BROKE It

Photo: weheartit
Broken Trust – 7 Keys to Rebuilding Trust In Your Marriage

I’ve helped couples rebuild trust after an affair, financial dishonesty, physical and emotional abuse as well as constant lying over small things. I’ve also worked with individuals to trust again after previous childhood trauma or relationship pain from their ex-partners.

Be wary of any clichés that promise quick solutions to rebuilding trust. We cannot expect trust to come back instantly. It takes time to restore and the process cannot be rushed.

What helps the countless couples I work with in the Save My Marriage Program Online or one-to-one is to have a plan to rebuild trust. This plan is full of actions that the "wounded spouse" needs and appreciates, as well as lists the necessary changes in the relationship in order for the couple to become closer again.

Trust can be likened to a bank account. With every person we meet, we have an account of how much we trust them and how much they trust you.

Typically, when we start a new relationship with someone, we start at zero. Unless we have been badly hurt before and may, in fact, come into a new relationship with a deficit account — being "in the red", which happens when we have learned not to trust.

The amount of trust increases in the account when your spouse does things that make you smile, show they care, are thoughtful, share their secrets, keep their word, and are faithful.


On the other hand, when they break their promises to you, lie to you, hurt you, or do other things that lack integrity, they make withdrawals. It may be lying over something very small. Yet, if stacked up over time, small things can become big things.

For many years, your spouse was making ongoing deposits into the trust bank account you have with them and if things are going well, they make very few withdrawals.

Then they do something that breaks your trust and all of a sudden, your trust account plummets into a huge negative, I see this all the time with sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity, and abuse.

It can make you close the account permanently and end the marriage or continue with the marriage but feel very insecure and second guess everything they say and do. You constantly evaluate if you are safe with them or not, which is emotionally and physically draining.

In order to move forward, you need a plan of action. Nothing someone says will allow for you to trust them again if it’s something important to you and/or if you do not understand why.

Trust is not like a light switch that you can just turn on again after it’s been turned off. It is more of a dimmer switch that grows stronger over time. The mistakes I tend to see couples make is giving verbal reassurances again and again and then getting annoyed that their spouse is not making any changes.

So how can you rebuild trust?

  1. Every time you tell the truth you can rebuild trust.
  2. Acts of kindness.
  3. Giving quality time and undivided attention.
  4. Explain honestly everything about the betrayal or breach of trust.
  5. Answer any questions again and again with patience and understanding.
  6. Express appreciation in a meaningful helpful way.
  7. Show affection, whether physical or not, to demonstrate how you care.


What destroys trust and stops the repairing process?

  1. Lack of responsibility and exhibiting blame and deflection.
  2. Lack of transparency and withholding information.
  3. Further dishonesty (especially after full disclosure has been asked for and promised).
  4. Unkindness.
  5. Refusal to talk about the breach of mistrust and answer any questions.
  6. Lack of empathy and patience.

If you've broken your partner's trust in a serious way, you need to be sure that you avoid the above if you want to avoid divorce. Otherwise, the trust may deplete to an alarming level that destroys the relationship.

The problem is many couples will try to ignore them, put the past behind them by not talking about it, but this never works. There is no way around it, you have to go through it.

Often, this can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful process. Lasting happiness cannot be rushed.

Both partners need to be committed to telling the truth, to honesty, and to invest the time and energy in rebuilding the trust. This is where many benefit from getting some outside guidance on actions right for them to rebuild trust.

In the Save My Marriage Program, I have couples outline what they value, love, and appreciate most in a loving relationship and get them to share examples to strengthen their connection and closeness.

It is step 2 and 3 in my online 10 step program to saving your marriage. I talk about how to rebuild love and trust in the 10 Essential Keys to Avoid Divorce & Transform Your Marriage a FREE  40-minute video you can watch to start repairing any damage, stop divorce and become closer.

A couple can settle for a marriage that has no trust, but it won’t be enjoyable or peaceful. It will be full of insecurity, drama, and unhappiness. Who wants to live like that?


You need to see the mistrust as an opportunity to strengthen the marriage. I know that might sound crazy but I found it to be true while working with hundreds of couples. In order to have a great marriage, you need to focus on turning any crisis or challenge into an area of growth, where as a team you get through it. 

I get asked all the time, "Nicola if there is no trust, does that mean the relationship is over?"

It depends if the trust is about something specific that has happened. If that's the case, then trust can be rebuilt and the couple can stop divorce. If you, however, no longer trust anything they say in all areas of life, it will be much harder to save the marriage and stop divorce.

Normally, it will require the individual and couple to have some marriage counseling or coaching on the lying and trusting again.

Lastly, I wanted to share the story of a man who came to me last week with the sexual problem of impotence. Impotence is common in relationships where trust has broken down. Impotence and other intimacy issues is an area I support many men and couples with.

Often, they come to me after seeing a doctor for the impotence and get tablets but they don’t make a difference. The reason the drugs don’t help is because impotence, like other sexual problems, is psychological and emotional, not purely physical.

There are 3 main areas in a marriage that need to be present for a good sex life — two them are trust and transparency. In order to be intimate with someone, you need to have total transparency. Hidden things in the marriage can often affect your desire for physical intimacy and experience of it.

To see if the program could be a fit for you, book your FREE Save My Marriage consultation now or watch the Video outlining the 10 Essential Keys to Avoid Divorce & Transform Your Marriage here, it's FREE.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.