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When you think about circumstances that could lead you to lose trust in your partner, infidelity may come to mind right away. To start, it might be helpful to think of trust as a choice that someone has to make. You may not mind sharing this information, especially in case of an emergency.
You have faith in them and feel able to talk about any concerns you might have. Having someone break your trust can leave you feeling hurt, shocked, and even physically sick. It might prompt you to consider your relationship — and your partner — in a different way. Sure, your partner may have betrayed you to protect themselves, but they may have had a different motive.
Were they trying to protect you from bad news?
What to do when a spouse lies
Make the best of a bad money situation? Help a family member? It might be painful or uncomfortable, but one of the biggest aspects of rebuilding trust after betrayal is talking to you partner about the situation.
Give them a chance to talk, but pay attention to their sincerity. Do they apologize and seem truly regretful? Or are they defensive and unwilling to own up to their betrayal?
You may feel emotional or upset during this conversation. These feelings are completely valid.
If you feel yourself getting too upset to continue communicating in a productive way, take a break and come back to the topic later. Talking about what happened is just the beginning. If you want to repair a relationship after a betrayal, forgiveness is key. Not only will you need to forgive your partner, but you also may need to forgive yourself.
Blaming yourself in some way for what happened can keep you stuck in self-doubt. Depending on the betrayal, it might be hard to forgive your partner and move forward. But these s could also indicate you may not be ready to work on the relationship. You messed up.
Contextualize the problem
Maybe you lied and hurt your partner or withheld information you thought would hurt them. No matter your reasons, you know you caused them pain, and you feel terrible.
But if you both wont to work on repairing the relationship, there are a few helpful steps you can take. Or was it just a dumb mistake? If some factors did influence your actions, you can always share these with your partner after apologizing and owning your part in the situation. Make sure to follow up by telling them how you intend to avoid making the same mistake again.
It can take time to come to terms with a betrayal or broken trust.
How to forgive your husband when it’s hard
People process things in different ways, too. Your partner might want to talk right away. But they also might need days or weeks before they can address the issue with you. Your partner may need space and time before they can discuss what happened. And often, this might involve physical space.
Your partner may want more transparency and communication from you in the future. This is common after a betrayal of trust. You may even willingly share your phone and computer with your partner to prove your honesty. If you want to repair your relationship and avoid hurting your partner again in the future, you need to reach a mutual understanding of what good communication looks like.
Miscommunications or misunderstandings can sometimes cause as much pain as intentional dishonesty.
Being in a relationship with broken trust can be extremely uncomfortable. Both sides might be eager to get the whole rebuilding process over with as fast as possible. But realistically, this takes time.
How much time, exactly? It depends on a lot of factors, particularly the event that broke the trust. Long-standing patterns of infidelity or dishonestly will take longer to resolve. A single lie grounded in a misunderstanding or desire to protect may be easier to address, especially when the partner who lied shows sincere regret and a renewed commitment to communication.
How to practice forgiveness in marriage
Have patience with yourself. If your partner makes a mistake or two over the course of a long relationship and owns up to it, working on trust issues may be the right move. Couples counseling can be a great resource when dealing with trust issues, particularly those involving infidelity. A counselor can offer an unbiased view of you relationship and help both partners work through underlying issues. Having tough conversations about betrayal and trust can also bring up painful emotions on both sides. Having a trusted counselor can also help you navigate the difficult feelings as they arise.
If you do decide to try repairing things, be prepared for things to take some time. If both sides are committed to the process of rebuilding trust, you might find that you both come out stronger than before — both as a couple and on your own. Setting boundaries is about giving yourself agency and empowerment. Here are exercises, questions, and methods to try when setting boundaries with….
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How long will it take? Is it worth it? The bottom line.