How To Trust Someone Again After They've Betrayed You & Broken Your Heart

Photo: Unsplash: Daniel Spase
How To Rebuild Trust In Someone Again After Experiencing Betrayal In Relationships
Heartbreak

Not easy.

One of the most devastating aspects of experiencing a betrayal by someone you love is the way it destroys your former ability to trust the person you want to be able to depend on more than anyone else in your life.

It may be true that the heart wants what it wants, but once someone has betrayed their girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife or significant other, if both people want to pick up the pieces of the relationship and put them back together, the partner who did the damage must be willing to do what's necessary in order to demonstrate their willingness to earn back that trust, and the person who's heart was broken must be willing to let them.

When people talk about betrayal in romantic relationships and marriages, they most mean infidelity, but there are other forms of betrayals that can equally break someone’s heart.

RELATED: 5 Signs That You Can Trust Your Partner Again After A Major Betrayal

For example, say John and Mary decided together to open a special account they will deposit a certain amount of money into each month in order to save enough to eventually buy a house.

One day, as John reviews their monthly banking statements, he sees that $5,000 was withdrawn from that account without his knowledge. When he confronts Mary, she hesitatingly admits she used the money to buy herself a ring he'd previously said he would buy her, but that never materialized.

Regardless of John's reasons for not following through with purchasing the ring (yet), by withdrawing money from that particular account without consulting him, Mary's actions were a betrayal of their agreement and therefore, of John's trust.

Whether a betrayal involves an undisclosed purchase or an extramarital affair, at the heart of the matter lies broken trust.

Relationships are built on trust, as the heart is tender and easy to break. We are all so vulnerable when our heart is involved, so let’s get back to how you can heal after trust has been broken.

First, you must ask yourself these two questions:

  • Is he worth risking your for heart again?
  • If so, are you willing to risk being hurt by him again?

If the answer to both of these questions is "yes", here are 5 things you can do in order to begin trusting again after a betrayal by the person you love.

1. Your trust must be rebuilt and earned through consistency

Trust is built and earned by someone over time. It also takes the hurt person to be willing to trust another person and to be vulnerable again. The more our heart goes out to someone the more deeply we can get hurt.

The decision to pick up the pieces and rebuild the relationship falls on both people. However, it is the hurt partner who remains more vulnerable. This vulnerability must be understood and valued by your partner.

2. You must take responsibility to ask for what you need from him in order for this relationship to heal and move forward.

I know this is tough to do, but you must be willing to risk being deeply hurt once again. There is no way around this. Your trust in him was shattered, but the only way to move forward with this relationship is by allowing him to demonstrate safe behaviors over time.

This is scary, I know. It is his responsibility to earn your trust and forgiveness, but it's your responsibility to ask for the specific things you need in order to heal your broken heart.

RELATED: Why Feeling Emotionally Vulnerable Is Actually Good For Your Relationship (& Helps Build Trust)

3. You must be willing to forgive.

At some point down the road, as hard as this will be for you, you must be willing to forgive him. If you hang on to your hate and anger towards him there is no way for you to repair the relationship because he won’t be able to get to your heart.

In an article by Mark Goulston, M.D., F.A.P.A., he writes that it takes about six months for the hurt party to see consistent and safe behaviors from her mate.

"If the other person is still unable to forgive you after that," he says, "you are no longer unforgivable (if you haven’t gone beyond betrayal into abuse), they are unforgiving."

This is what will help you to forgive him and heal your broken heart.

4. You must set new boundaries.

You set the boundaries of who he is with, whether it is at work or outside of work. For example, perhaps he has friends who are known to fool around. You have the right to ask him to stop hanging out with them, at least for six months until you are both on better footing as a couple. If you feel his friends are an ongoing threat to your relationship you have the right to ask him to end those friendships.

You have the right to ask him to not see or spend time with the person involved in the betrayal. If it involves a coworker it would mean no lunches or anything outside of a work situation.

Your mate must prove his innocence. It is no longer assumed. He must earn it all over again.

Here are some examples of behaviors you should be able to expect from your partner in order to demonstrate their willingness to earn back your trust:

  • Accepting responsibility for his actions
  • Acknowledging that he understands why what he did broke your trust, and how deeply that hurt you
  • Apologizing sincerely for his actions and for causing you that hurt
  • Willingly doing what is needed to prove his innocence regularly along the way as you heal
  • Allowing for transparency in his actions, communications, and all other areas so you can find assurance that his actions match his words

His actions must match his words for you to rebuild trust in him. And this must be consistent over time, now and in the future.

If he has been unfaithful, you have every right to ask to see his phone and computer at any given time. By betraying you he has given up the right to privacy he was formerly entrusted with. This means he should tell you where he is going and with whom, when he will be home, and what did he did while he was gone.

And in both examples of betrayal the person who betrayed their partner gives up their right for privacy until the trust is earned again. In the case of the wife buying a ring, the husband has the right to check her spending.

5. If possible, seek professional guidance.

Especially when it comes to infidelity, I believe it is important to seek professional guidance with a therapist. There is a reason for the infidelity that must be understood and remedied in the future for the relationship to thrive.

If your mate refuses to seek professional assistance I would think twice about your future with this person. You need to feel trust, valued, heard and emotionally safe and secure in this relationship.

If your partner refuses to follow this path with you and will not take their betrayal seriously, you may want to give serious thought to whether or not you want this relationship to continue.

You are worth much more than being with someone who doesn’t value your feelings and does not believe you are worth all the effort it will take to repair this relationship.

Healthy relationships are about trust, not betrayal. They are about valuing the person you love and helping them to feel loved and emotionally secure.

Relationships take an incredible amount of effort if you want them to work, but never forget that you deserve the best!

RELATED: People With These 8 Personality Traits Are The Least Likely To Break Your Heart

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Susan Saint-Welch, LMFT, is a marriage and family psychotherapist who has been practicing in-person and online in the South Bay of the Los Angeles area for over 20 years. She has been published on MSN.com and several online magazines. Susan helps families and couples learn healthy communications skills. She also helps radiant, single men and women get un-stuck and find the lasting love they deserve. She is passionate about teaching life skills as well as concepts for healthier relationships, dating, and self-esteem. For more, follow her on her website.

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