How do we develop trust, and when it is damaged, what can we do to repair it? We asked relationship guru, Matthew Hussey. Matthew is a British motivational speaker, New York Times bestselling author, life coach, and star of NBC’s primetime series, Ready for Love. We figured if anyone would know, it would be him.
BEGIN WITH CONFIDENCE
Trust is an interesting thing. Personally I don’t adhere to the idea that when you first get into a relationship you should just blindly trust. It is something that you build and earn. You know, if you just went around trusting people, you would get burnt in business, burnt in relationships. So when it comes to a relationship, you give people a little rope and see what they do with it. Hopefully you can say, “Oh ok, you didn’t hang me,” so to speak, and give them a little bit more and a little bit more, until you realize, “Ah, I can trust this person!”
LEAVE BAGGAGE BEHIND
In relationships we enter with insecurities, flaws, and old wounds, and sometimes that leads us to not trust a partner. We may call them out accusingly, ask judgmental questions, or jump to conclusions. But that’s got to do with us and not with them. When this happens, the first step is to go back with a real apology and say, “Listen, this is coming from me, because this has happened to me in the past. But it’s not fair for me to blindly take it out on you, so I’m going to do everything in my power to be fair in those situations and to not unjustly say things like that.” The next step is to ask for their help to be sensitive to certain insecurities as you work through them. You could ask for a little text now and again that shows they are thinking of you, or a phone call to let you know when they’ll be late. Most of all, let them know that you appreciate anything they can do to help you get over your insecurities.
EARN IT BACK
What if you’ve caused a breach of your partner’s trust? The biggest misconception of people who cause a ripple in the relationship is to expect that once it’s out in the open, everything should be forgotten overnight. Repairing trust is a process, and it’s common to want people’s forgiveness before we have earned it. It isn’t necessarily going to be easy, but there are some things we can do to help facilitate forgiveness.
Start by communicating to your partner that this is something that will not happen again. In order to be able to convey that, we need to know why. Rather than just saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it will never happen again,” you should consider the reason behind the action, such as:
◗ “It happened because in that particular moment I was being a very weak person.”
◗ “I was being very selfish and that selfishness was coming from x,y,z.”
◗ “I was insecure and looking for attention.”
Whatever it is, understanding the root cause is really important. Once you are self aware enough to understand that, you can explain to that person why it will never happen again.
◗ I respect you too much and you are my number 1 priority. I love you to pieces and I would never hurt you in this way again.
◗ I have resolved the issues that made me do it the first time around, and all those feelings and insecurities are no longer there because I have dealt with them and figured out a way to manage them.
In this way you come from a place of credibility, rather than just blindly apologizing and asserting it won’t be repeated. You can help alleviate some of the hurt that the person you betrayed is feeling by helping them understand what led to that behavior.
Remember that you can’t expect the person you hurt to be perfect with you right away; you have to rebuild the house. You don’t get to snap your fingers and have it be like it was. You have to build it brick by brick again, and that takes time.