Can a Relationship Be Saved When Trust Is Broken?

Restoring trust in a relationship can bring you and your partner even closer together.
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Broken trust rocks the very foundation of even the most secure relationships. When your partner cheats, lies to you or breaks a promise, it can really hurt. You may question whether or not the relationship is worth saving. Restoring trust in a relationship where someone has been betrayed in one way or another is no easy task. Both partners must be committed to fixing the relationship for you to have any chance of success.

1 A Reputation of Trust

If trust is broken in the early stage of a relationship, the betrayed partner may find it harder to forgive and move past the hurt, according to the results of a study published in the "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin" in 2008. Trust that is broken when you are just getting to know a partner can paint her as someone who cannot be trusted, and you may break off the relationship without much effort at reconciliation. However, the more time you have had with your partner to prove that she is generally reliable and can be taken at her word, the more likely you will be to stay with her and work on fixing your relationship.

2 Admit Your Wrongs

Before you can both move forward from the betrayal, the partner who broke the trust must take responsibility for what he did wrong. When an apology points out where you have gone wrong and how much you are aware that you hurt your partner, it is more likely to be accepted, writes general internist, practicing Buddhist and author Alex Lickerman on "Psychology Today" online. Pay attention to your attitude and tone of voice as much as your choice of words. An example of such an apology is saying, "I am sorry for telling my friends about your secret. I was wrong. I can only imagine how hurt and disappointed you feel."

3 Forgiveness for Both

Forgiveness must occur if the relationship is to have any chance of survival. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting that the betrayal took place. Rather, it will allow you to not dwell on the issue or bring it up in future disagreements. When you forgive your partner for hurting you, you will not continue to hold past mistakes over her head. You must forgive so that you can begin to heal from the hurt, asserts psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne on "Psychology Today" online. If you are the partner who has broken the trust, you must also forgive yourself. If this is not done, you will not be able to move on. You may end up being resentful or frustrated with yourself, which may result in you withdrawing or lashing out at your partner. One unhappy partner in a relationship makes it more likely to fail.

4 Time Will Tell

Each person must be given as much time as is necessary to heal and forgive. Do not be too disappointed if things do not start to go smoothly as soon as you say you are sorry. The betrayed partner needs time to heal. The amount of time this will take varies depending on individual circumstances. If you broke the trust, your future actions must convince your partner that you are trying as hard as possible to be trustworthy, advises Whitbourne. Stand by your word; do what you say you are going to do. In so doing, you can rebuild and strengthen the trust your partner has in you.

Latoya Newman is a novelist who wrote and published her first novel in 2012. She has a background in education, research and counseling. She taught at the elementary level for eight years, and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada.