Becoming mistrustful of everyone around us is harmful- it limits the strength and number of our social connections and may leave us isolated from the rest of the world. It is critical to learn how to rebuild trust, even if you feel like your relationship has been destroyed. Trust is not just essential to relationships; it is the cornerstone of a happy, healthy life.
As a couple’s therapist, I have observed that the most important predictor of rebuilding trust in a relationship is the ability for both partners to take responsibility for what happened. This can be incredibly difficult if you are the betrayed partner. But it is a crucial step to saving the relationship- and laying the groundwork for reducing the probability of a repeat event.
After establishing mutual responsibility, the next step is to regain a sense of control. This is based on the idea that we are not victims; at the whim of our partner’s actions or of our own mistakes. We DO have control over our actions and thoughts, and can make decisions to improve our relationships. Whatever action you take, it is important to heal the wounds of the past.