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  • Trust is essential to a healthy, happy relationship—therefore, when trust is lost or broken, one’s relationship can suffer significantly.
  • The good news is that trust can be restored, so long as both partners are willing to confront open wounds and work on rebuilding.
  • If you’ve damaged your partner’s trust, start by giving a wholehearted apology and welcome your partner’s scrutiny while you’re at it.
  • Follow up on your apology by asking your partner what they need from you: their demands might include more time together, greater intimacy, or counseling.
  • Also, recognize the importance of honesty—instead of making a habit out of lying, make a habit out of telling the truth and being open with your partner.
  • Finally, show your partner how much you love them and practice patience as you await their forgiveness and renewed trust in you.

Trust is the foundation of a healthy, secure relationship. So, what happens when that trust is broken by a deceitful partner? Say they’ve lied about who they were with or where they were going; or worse, they’ve betrayed their significant other by cheating on them with another.

It’s true that once trust has been damaged, it isn’t usually restored with ease—but it isn’t impossible. With intentional consistency, commitment, and connection, trust can be rebuilt. It will require more than verbal reassurances—it will take bold, consistent changes in behavior and patience. If you have damaged your partner’s trust and you are determined to work toward reestablishing a trusting relationship, the following trust-building activities can get you started:

1. Give a thorough apology.

Your apology should include specifically what you did wrong, how it affected your partner, your remorse, how you will make amends, and a commitment not to repeat the offense. Additionally, you may need to apologize multiple times, as the effects of your offense continue to arise.

2. Welcome your partner’s scrutiny.

Allow your partner to freely express how they have been hurt by your offense without jumping in to defend or excuse yourself. Instead, show empathy and understanding, demonstrating that it is safe to talk to you about their feelings.

3. Ask what they need from you.

This may include increased accountability throughout the day, limited use of the internet or social media, access to email or texts, cutting off certain relationships, more date nights or time together, more verbal or physical affection, increased openness about your feelings or desires, professional counseling, and so on. It may be helpful for you and your partner to make a list or chart of trust-building behaviors and mark it on a regular basis.

4. Recognize the importance of honesty.

White lies, partial truths, and lies of omission will cause further damage. Forthrightness (being honest and direct before being asked) is necessary. Be gentle with your honesty, but be completely transparent. The more open you are, the less doubt your partner will have.

5. Seek connection.

Intimacy and connection are an important part of rebuilding trust. Look into your partner’s eyes, hold hands, and say, “I love you.” Ask your partner what makes them feel loved, safe, and cared for, and do those things consistently.

6. Be patient.

Know that your partner will likely have their guard up with you for a while, as they determine if you are safe enough to open up to again. Again, trust is the foundation of a relationship—and if that foundation is destroyed, it has to be rebuilt from the ground up. This takes time and requires patience.

Remember: restoring trust is not impossible. Incorporating these trust-promoting behaviors in your relationship can make it stronger than ever. When the offended partner is open to the possibility of trusting again and the offending partner is willing to do what it takes to earn this trust back, then you are on the road to restoring trust and ultimately healing your relationship.

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