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 spirit of humbleness 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 set on our own. But God promises that if we accept what Jesus did for us, we can be forgiven. The slate can be wiped clean no matter what has happened in the past. God promises us strength for today and bright hope for the future. Whatever happened in your yesterdays God can take care of all of your tomorrows.

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 Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman 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 life to the fullest.

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544 Responses to “Rebuilding Trust”

  • 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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