How to Earn Back People's Trust

Betraying trust can leave you feeling like you will never recover.
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Lying, breaking promises, being unreliable, stealing and cheating violate trust in a relationship. Once trust is lost, it can be difficult to regain it. However, it is possible to rebuild trust and make your relationship stronger than it was before, according to marriage therapist Michael J. Salas in a "PsychCentral" article “How to Get Your Partner to Trust You Again.”

1 Confess and Apologize

If someone significant to you doesn’t know that you betrayed her trust, confess before she finds out. It’s better to confess your misdeed than to be found out. After you confess, apologize and accept responsibility for what you did, ask the person you betrayed what will it take to regain her trust. You will then have identifiable steps showing what the betrayed person needs from you.

2 Change Required

Consistent change is necessary to prove that you are trustworthy, according to Salas. Commit to no secrets or lies. The person you betrayed can require specific actions that demonstrate your changed behavior. Actions demonstrating your trustworthiness include keeping your word, showing up on time, being where you say you will be, following through on your promises, being completely honest, taking responsibility for your actions and loving without strings.

3 Trust After Infidelity

Infidelity is considered by many to be the most devastating form of trust betrayal. It can take years to recover and rebuild from it. If you want to rebuild trust after cheating, end the affair and sever contact with your affair partner. In your apology, acknowledge your betrayed partner’s pain and take responsibility for your insensitive choices. Your significant other may have questions about the affair, which you should answer as truthfully as possible. Prove accountability by opening your life to your betrayed partner, demonstrating your honesty and trustworthiness through whatever restrictions are required.

4 Moving Forward

Regardless of what form your betrayal took, if you are not consistent in demonstrating trustworthy behavior, you cannot rebuild trust. One slip and all your hard work could be gone because the memory of your betrayal continues. Fortunately, long-term consistent behavior on your part can convince many people that you've changed for the better. However, you have no control over anyone's response, so the person you betrayed might not want to trust you again. That is his choice and you must accept that. The lessons you learned and new habits you have adopted can prevent similar actions from marring a future relationship.

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.