Rebuilding Trust

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

Has your trust been broken? Talk to a mentor today.

One of my clients once asked me what it means to trust another human being. She wanted to know how she should react when a spouse or significant other is dishonest, inconsiderate or having an affair. She wondered if it is possible to rebuild trust in someone who disappoints us greatly.

What does trusting someone signify?

Trust, in a practical sense, means that you place confidence in someone to be honest with you, faithful to you, keep promises, vows and confidences and not abandon you. Here are some factors to consider about trust. Trusting another person requires a realistic perspective about people and an expectation of failure. Trust needs to be combined with a willingness to forgive and grows best in an environment of acceptance and love.

There’s no magic machine, you don’t put in a quarter and out drops a can of trust — trust grows over time. People are complex, broken beings; therefore, previous hurts, fears or losses can impede their determination to trust and/or be truthful in a relationship. But, people have the capacity and the ability to change and to grow in trust and truthfulness. You can rebuild trust in broken relationships when you make a choice to do so with the supernatural help of God.

Adjust your expectations

Love & God
A Conversation about Love & God
Has love betrayed you? Is it preventing you from believing that you are a human being who is loved by God? You are intelligent, beautiful, loved, and not alone.

People are human, frail, and sinful. Therefore, you need a realistic type of trust when you choose to trust someone. Trusting grows in relationships over time because as you spend time together with someone you build knowledge, understanding and authenticity. You gain insight into another person’s character, needs, motivations and fears.

Unconditional love develops trust because as you express this kind of love towards someone — generally he or she will sense your acceptance and feel comfortable to be vulnerable and honest about their feelings. Unconditional love actually builds self-esteem in others and alleviates their fears of rejection. People learn that they can be authentic with you about their feelings, opinions, and failures. The result is a growing trust in the other person. Not because that person is perfect but because that person is growing in honesty.

Unconditional love is patient and kind

It is not self-seeking. It does not keep a record of wrongs. When love is not patient or enduring; when love is unforgiving and always disappointed or looking for something to go wrong, it generates fear and looks for imperfections in the other person. Fear-based love is conditional creating an atmosphere of distrust, dishonesty and instability.

You can have a limited trust in people as you grow to know them and they see you really care about them but the fact is that people will let us down. That is reality. Obviously, when someone has broken their vows and been unfaithful, has lied or been dishonest in the relationship, they need to change. You can make some requests for change and take the risk of starting over again. Get counseling and pastoral guidance. You can find a counselor or go to the nearest mental health center. If you are suicidal please contact 911 (in the USA & Canada) or go to a hospital emergency room.

If that person is not sincere about changing and continues to lie or betray you, then, you need to consider whether to end the relationship.

Take a look at yourself as well

You will never be perfect and therefore, you will probably disappoint your loved one as well. You can promise to never say something hurtful or never tell a lie or never exaggerate or always keep your promises or (you name it), but since you are human you will also make mistakes and disappoint that person. The only thing you or your loved one can promise is to grow, to seek God and ask Him for strength to change. Then you and your loved one will become more trustworthy in your relationships, though you will never be perfect.

Every human relationship will suffer hurt. Thus, we all need to become better forgivers and confessors. That ability to reconcile and a spirit of humility will prove the depth of your love and commitment.

The components of love, forgiveness and commitment are as necessary to trust in a relationship as is honesty. Forgiveness gives you the chance to start over and trust another fallible human being again. Love helps to nourish trust. Commitment and honesty provide accountability to one another.

The ability to forgive is rooted in being forgiven ourselves. In the Bible it says that God loves the world so much that he sent his only son so that we could be forgiven. As people we all make mistakes; not one of us can live up to the standard God has set. But God promises that if we accept what Jesus did for us, we can be forgiven. The record can be wiped clean no matter what has happened in the past. God promises us strength for today and bright hope for the future.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray it right now and Christ will come into your life as He promised. If you invited Jesus Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience the wonderful plans He has for your life.


560 Responses to “Rebuilding Trust”

  • Broken Heart says:

    Hello, I read your article above and it really spoke to me, it was as thought you were speaking directly to me. I am a 43 year old woman married for 20years have 3 beautiful kids with my husband..and I need help I am currently going to a counselor and I love her dearly but after reading your article I couldn’t help myself from writing to you.. well were do I start.. lets start from lets say the last 19 years of my marriage.. my husband has been unfaithful to me for all those yease with various women.. I know you ask how did you in such a marriage truth is I honestly don’t know. I told myself that I loved him and I will always be the love of his life but when I think about it I have to ask will I ever be. my currently we are going thru hell. as you know when trust/pain/resentment etc sits in your heart for so long you yourself breaks either mentally or by other means. I still ask why but although I know the answer I still don’t know how to say it.. well I met someone another man approximately 2 years ago.. he and I became friends from work and we talked alot over the phone and at work we would meet up and have talks or just to hang out.. over the course of time we started express how we enjoy each others company. eventually this emotional affair lead to a physical affair not sexually but physically.. the physical affair lasted a total of 4 months. my husband found out about my affair which was devasteing for him as well as myself.. but in finding mine out my husband confessed that he has been having an affair with the same woman for approximately 8-10 yrs off and on and now she has a child that is most likely his.. I can’t tell you the pain and the shame I am feeling by telling you this.. see he says he went to other woman because I was not showing him any love and that I locked him off emotionally. I know I did because I was scared to open up in fair that he would hurt me again but I loved him nonetheless.. in all of this he is finding the hardest time getting past my affair I have never seen him so weak before. we have good days and bad days which is physologically damaging to me but I hold on.. most recently he asked me to be completely hones about the man I had the affair with which I have been for the most part. I didn’t tell him the gentlemans legal name but the name I know him of, Ialways told him this man lives with his woman. which is truth but this gentlman and his spouse seperated as they werent getting along and I was like his consoler, also where he lives I wasn’t very truthful as I didn’t care about that and thought that was relavent because I dont know his exact home address just location.. since this happaned my husband has decided to leave remove himself from our home. he says there is not love in our marriage that I locked myself away from him for years. and that our relationship is full of resentment,hate, angry, lies, adultry.. however in the past month he has promised to love me unconditionally we pray together we have a strong connection with god. I honestly don’t know how he can condem me for my fault after all have done and forgiven him for. I am confused hurt disappointed. we haven’t eve dealt withthis child but he is able to make these decisions.. please help me I need guidance

  • Kay says:

    Hi Jamie..thats whats confusing me..i caunt even remember when last i was really happy..theres one thing he did two years mind was made up i was going to leave him then he cried and begged asking for one last chance i said no for days on end he would cry and beg i gave in and took him back we discussed everything that happend decided we gonna start fresh it went well for a couple of months till he received a court order from the other woman something to do with maintenance…the minute i saw that letter i instantly felt a knot in my stomach but ignored it..then there was this one friday evening he was late i phoned him asked him if everything is ok he said yes im working late on this one an instant i knew thats not true he does roofing who works late on a roof in the dark again i said nothing after an hour he arrived i swear to God after all the times hes cheated this one time as he stood by the door i could see the guilt on hes face and he smelled like alcohol…that night i looked through hea phone i see emails bookings that was made for two people i asked him about it he denied and brought a man to me the man said he made that booking for him i knew that was a lie i couldnt rest i had to know the truth till i saw messages he and the other woman sent to one another..this was different from all the other times ive never gotten over it i caunt forgive him for what he did when i think back to that friday all i feel ia hatred toward him and the other woman and yet after two years im still with him i keep taking him back and it kills me inside for what hes done to me

  • Shawn says:

    hi I need help she leave me and go to another man now she want us to get back together, so must I give her another chance?

  • Rumi says:

    Hi, I read your article and the line that moved me is that ” We can rebuild trust in broken relationships when you make a choice to do so with the supernatural help of God.” Prayers do work when others pray for you and also confessing oneself to God. Being into multiple relationship and break up had once destroyed my believe in true love until Jesus made me fall in love with this man (who turned out to be one woman man) struggling in his broken marriage. I received the message from God he is the one however we started our relation with no commitment and unconditional love. Time played a big part that we became serious and he came to know my past. I was not bold enough to share everything to him but he found out himself which broke his trust completely on me. Since then we had been into bad patches and i have been strong to survive it all with patience and giving unconditional love. Love is there but he does not trust me as he thinks i have been lying. Yes, I did but it was my fear of loosing him that made me hide things. Gone through worst struggle still fighting to win his trust. CAN LOVE AND COMMITMENT WIN OVER TRUST? Please help me and show a way that can help me win him back and make my dream of getting proposal of marriage from him comes true.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Kay, the pain of betrayal creates a very deep hurt. Tell, what is about this man that brings you happiness? How does that compare to the pain he brings from cheating?

  • kay says:

    Hi i need advise…i always saw myself as a strong woman,ive been threw hell and back in relationships but then i met someone who swept me off my feet we together for 6 years now and hes made me happy,but he caused me a pain i never thought existed..he cheated with hes ex he have a child with i forgave him but he just kept on cheating with this woman he lied manipulated turned me against her made me out to be this mad insecure monster and all of this he did to sleep with her she and her mother started sending me text i showed him he just say ignore them but it just dont stop and im so so lost please help me over this huge mountain

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi William, if you are committed to a relationship with this lady then I would agree that you need to keep looking for ways to rebuild her trust in you. Find ways to communicate your love for her and how you feel when she pushes you away. With a relationship that is as unstable as yours is, I would encourage you to focus more on connecting through communication then through sex. The physical intimacy will create confusion for both of you as you try to deal with the lack of trust and unresolved conflict.

  • William Montemayor says:

    I need help everyone. Me and my lady is not in good terms right now. We grown up in the same town after 25 years we started talking on Facebook to make story short become intimate when I visited her in our motherland.she think I’m turn off because I post silly stuff on Facebook not only that. I know she is a very private person and she open the door for me with trust and honesty and she cared for me as well. What I did really is little mistake that lead her blocked me on fe-book because she told me I am frustrated that she told me repeatedly my lady she is more a openionated when it comes to posting on social media. Okay here’s the worst part she thinking I did she recently chatted to friend on Facebook and that young lady told her that I told that young lady about intimate sex in which is bot true I have never told anyone our behind closed door personal intimacy for that she told me I was rude and disrespectful and I told her I put that on my kids life I never said anything to that lady. And she kept on going back from the past mistake I made. I tried to reconcile with her and askEd for apology for my mistake. And then she responded the same issues, I know I did something wrong to hurt her feelings and I can’t take that back instead I make an effort to fix it with her so she can trust me again. And then on her 40th birthday after the party I said good night to her and I love you she responded I love you. And there a guy there we grow together that like her long time ago his technicallyrics married and thinking of processing annulment and he was drunk and I saw my lady and this guy kissing in bed through the window I was very furious ready to kill this guy but I held back instead I called and I asked to talk to me and she did , I explained to her I saw everything, she responded that he admired the guy so I said because you admired him you want to go to bed with him? Because he told you it’s time to say that he loves you? Note this guy is Jehovah witness and it’s against there religious belief to commit such thing. At this point I have no sleep in two days thinking about it how she said I am very irresponsible because I am on vacation 3 times in 8 months and people saying stuff like she’s working hard like a dog and I’m on vacation and she wash brainwash with all negative feedback from friends and family. By all means I am divorced single dad but I am not irresponsible I work 16 hours a day 6 days a week at the Oregon State Hospital and I love what I do. It’s just I’m won’t for words she would avoid me because she can’t tell me face to face what our problem instead of running away from it. Until now we text back and forth asking her to work with our relationship I get the same response from her the old past issues. So what should I do from here on out? Should I continue to ask forgiveness?

  • Sharon says:

    to Lou I am sorry you are struggling I think for me did you read this article its a good one to start and then if its your fault apologize if not its the other persons try to talk it out and for you after apologizing then if the person won’t accept your apologies I would earn their trust again by doing everything you said you would do let this person see you are trying to earn their trust again so eventfully they will trust you again but if the other person talk it out and get them to earn your trust again I know this might be easier said than done its not easy trusting people after a trust is broken I am praying for you God be with Lou and help with the trust issue again as this person is struggling. I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I have trust issues too not easy.– sharon

  • Lou says:

    Anyone have any tips best ways to rebuild trust lost, I have good days and bad days :( I am struggling

  • Scott says:

    Thank you for the advice. After reading more, one of the things I came across was minimizing, validation and apology. We had another session yesterday. It became pretty frustrating and heated. I felt the counselor was jumping on the bandwagon of minimizing and not validating my feelings. I just needed to accept her apology and trust even though my wife has not really taken ownership of her actions to make amends. The apology was the “I am sorry you feel that way” or loaded with reasons for her actions. Things that really minimize the apology. After some heated words, I think he finally got the point, that my wife was not validating my feelings by offering what appeared to be half hearted apology. I understand, that many people do not know how to apologize and that a wrong type of apology can actually cause another hurt. However, shouldn’t the counselor recognize this? I am wading in uncharted territory for myself. I am doing a lot of reading as to where my feelings are coming from and why. I just know I have them…not the reason. However, should a trained counselor? Or am I asking too much? Shouldn’t he have taken the opportunity to teach us how to communicate and effective apology that does not minimize your partner’s feelings but validates them? Shouldn’t he also help the couple negotiate a way for amends to be made that are effective and reasonable?

  • Chris says:

    scott….sorry to hear of your struggles…i would agree with you that your wife has betrayed your trust and isnt really showing a true heart of repentance about it but that is where our faith in christ comes in. when we have a solid-rock foundational faith in jesus as our lord and savior and know we are totally accepted in him, then all of the concern of public opinion about us vanishes away realizing that we are secure in his acceptance of us unconditionally. that way people can see our faith and trust about our salvation is in christ and want what we have but to see us as men cringing and hiding about what others say about us, including our wives, will not lead anyone to want to live the lives we live. i encourage you to log onto or click talk to a mentor above to start your own powerful and strength-filled life in jesus. that way no matter what your wife does or doesnt do, it wont affect you because your trust is in God and not her. blessings to you!

  • Chris says:

    david….sorry you are strugging however it does take time for trust to be restored. without knowing your details, i would suggest you giving your heart to jesus totally so he can work in the heart of your wife. to do that log onto or click talk to a mentor above. praying for peace in your heart, peace in your wifes heart and peace with jesus for you both. romans 5.1 to 5. blessings!

  • David says:

    I wish I could send this article to my wife. I just can’t right now. It would just tick her off . . . or be totally ignored.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Scott, it is a good thing to invest in your marriage by going to a counselor. Having an objective perspective on the way that you and your wife relate together can be very helpful. One of the ways that a counselor helps is by identifying where each spouse needs to compromise in order to bring healing. I wold imagine that the counselor is asking for you and your wife to change your attitudes and behaviours towards each other in order to help build strength in your marriage. How has your counselor expressed what it means for you to trust your wife? If you are unclear that would be something to pursue more so that you have a better idea of what changes you need to make.

  • Scott says:

    My wife and I have been having issues for a number of years. One of the issues I have is that I am unable to trust her. On numerous occasions she told other people about issues that we are having in our marriage. She has done this with a number of people. These conversations normally were just her telling people how bad I was including lies about the way I treat my kids. I think this was to get attention. Additionally, she shared details of my personal health conditions with others. I have told her that I am not comfortable with her sharing this information but she continued to do so. During our first counseling session with a new counselor that we had, we discussed my lack of trust. I said I can forgive and start rebuilding trust if she recognizes the hurt she caused, commits to refrain from sharing these items in the future, and tries to make amends. Until that time, I would not be able to entertain rebuilding trust. While my wife half heartedly said she would attempt to make amends using a suggestion I came up with, I really don’t believe she will really go through with it as she would need to admit her mistakes to others. The counselor said that it was on me to trust her that she would do it without question or validation that she followed through. He said trust is given and not earned. I am not comfortable with that answer. While I understand for the relationship to work, I will need to give trust. However, I feel she has to demonstrate her willingness to admit her mistake and make amends. Am I asking for too much?

  • Sarah Lund says:

    I feel I can’t attend a certain guy friends birthday, because he has done and said things to me, that ended up in betrayal and lies. My point being, why isn’t he careful with what not to say to people? He really has no filters. So I stupidly went along and at one time, believed whatever he told me. He had no business serenading me. We were just friends, not lovers, so I never understood his over-enthusiastic behaviour, whenever he saw me. Hugging isn’t necessarily scarce. That’s a normal thing everyone does, because it’s nice to, but other more intimate stuff, I won’t even tell you about. I don’t think he would ever have the guts to apologise to me. And he thought he was some sort of tough guy. A tough guy, WOULD try and put things right again, between me and them. A true one. I’m talking about finding the guts to put their pride to one side, instead of letting it come between us. He’s not the type who talks about his problems, so I don’t feel I have can talk to him about any of MY problems. He puts up a wall. I can never expect to get anywhere with a man like that. And from what I hear, his mother spoils him rotten, and his father used to beat him with a belt. Not sure they’re healthy parents. He obviously hasn’t had the best influences as a child. And he told me, one morning, how his two daughters are “worried” about me, but I’ve never even met them, so I don’t understand where he was getting that from. I think his daughters need to be worried about him himself. He treats all of the women he lives with, as if they’re all his. I despaired..

  • Barnabas says:

    Hi Bella,

    I don’t normally respond to posts, but felt compelled to. Relationships involve two people and as a result require efforts from both parties involved. Yes, it’s true that you lied and damaged the trust between you and your boyfriend. Yes, this created insecurity and doubt on his part. But true healing in any relationship comes when genuine repentance and forgiveness meet. Repentance requires one to turn away from the behavior that caused the pain in the first place. Forgiveness leaves no room for bitterness and resentment. It sounds like your boyfriend is having a difficult time forgiving you. If he looking for someone who will never make a mistake, his standards are too high. Don’t get me wrong, you are responsible for hurting him, but you are not responsible for making him trust you again. All you can do is learn from your mistakes, be honest, and demonstrate your love through changed behavior. You won’t be perfect, but change should be evident. If this is good enough for your boyfriend, then in my opinion it is best that you part ways. Any real relationship is going to have its fair share of hurt and disappointment. The lasting ones can endure these difficult times and become stronger as a result. Just like he shouldn’t want to be with someone he can’t trust, you shouldn’t be with someone who doesn’t practice forgiveness and is willing to walk through pain. Even when someone is hurt, love doesn’t hang it over the other person’s head. All that to say, you didn’t destroy it all. You made a mistake and your boyfriend has decided that this is something that he can’t move past. You don’t want to be in a relationship where the other person is doesn’t want to really work it out. I wish you all the best.

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