You are shattered. You’ve just learned your partner has betrayed you. Perhaps it was an infidelity, perhaps a secret has been discovered. Your relationship anxiety is at an all-time high. What are the tools you need to rebuild trust in a relationship after a betrayal? In this article, we will lay out a three-step program for this goal.
Number one: When looking for how to rebuild trust in the relationship, the most essential ingredient is that there be a greater desire to rebuild that trust than to harbor hurt feelings and grievances. This may seem obvious, but until we bring such a desire to awareness, there can be no hope for rebuilding trust in a relationship. It is imperative that we want to rebuild the trust MORE than we want to attack or defend ourselves against the other person. As the bumper sticker says “Do you prefer to be right or happy?”
Number two: The second key how to repairing trust in a relationship requires a fierce willingness to look at one’s self. As long as you insist that the other person is to blame, there can be no chance for an opening, a shift, that would nurture the goal of repairing trust in a relationship. Even if your partner is not willing to take responsibility for their part in the conflict, it is still possible to heal if you are willing to do so, and do so fully. There is an expression that goes around in personal growth circles: “Be the first to take 100% responsibility”.*
Number three: Since it is your willingness to take responsibility that will begin to melt the other person’s defenses, you actually place yourself in the driver’s seat, directing the course for how to get trust back. The third key, therefore, is to CONTINUE to let go of your defenses and offer appropriate vulnerability instead. Each time you do, even if the other initially uses the moment to vent their upset, you will soon see that such a courageous and generous attitude invariably disarms them.
So the ultimate key for how to build back trust or how to fix broken trust is this: To care enough about the success of the relationship, that you are willing to surrender ALL of your wish to be right, and EVERY impulse to justify your position. This may seem like quite a challenge, but I assure you the results will be more than worth it.
After your partner has had enough of a chance to feel heard and spend their upset, your demonstration of caring, your ultimate commitment to the relationship, will strike them in a most profound way. Inevitably, they will come to a deep appreciation of what you have done, and you will receive what you have given a hundredfold.
Again, this can be a challenging approach to rebuilding trust in a relationship, but it is certainly a fast track to that goal. I encourage you to try it – – and it’s OK if you can only take baby steps at first – – so you can discover for yourself just how profound a path to healing this can be!
For more insights into how to create “RELATIONSHIPS THAT WORK”, see our Deconstructing Relationships seminar at
*Of course, one must be wise in this. You wouldn’t want to announce to the other person that you are assuming responsibility for your part in the relationship if they will abuse the opportunity. But unless your partner is that stuck in their anger or upset, taking responsibility first invariably melts their defenses.