How to gain someone’s trust back: Manageable steps for rebuilding security and stability in relationships

To make mistakes is to be human—but when our actions result in us hurting someone we’re close to, it’s possible to lose their trust. And odds are, if you’re reading this, you’ve either lost someone’s trust, or are searching for ways to forgive someone for something they’ve done to you.

Neither position is easy to navigate, so we’ve assembled a comprehensive set of answers to the questions you’re likely to have. Take a look at how to gain someone’s trust back, and find incremental steps on how to evaluate and process the long-term effects of broken trust.

How Do You Fix Broken Trust?

Repairing broken trust is a challenging and delicate process that takes intentional action with exercising honesty, open communication, and a serious commitment to relationship building. 

Recognize that rebuilding trust is a long-term process that requires patience, effort, and consistency. It’s vital to respect the other person’s timeline and boundaries while working towards regaining their trust. 

Can You Regain Lost Trust?

Yes, it is possible to regain lost trust by demonstrating a re-commitment to the relationship and showing through your actions that you have learned from your mistakes. By taking steps to rectify past issues and work towards positive change, you and your loved one can begin to gradually build trust back again. 

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild Trust?

There is no definitive timeline for gaining someone’s trust back because everyone is different. Truly rebuilding trust takes time and patience.

Instead of fixating on the amount of time it will take for your partner, friend, family member, or other individual to forgive you, try to: 

  • Show that you care
  • Verbalize that you empathize with the other person’s emotions
  • Allow them to express their concerns or doubts freely, if they need to vent
  • Avoid rushing them

And remember, gaining someone’s trust back is a gradual process that requires consistent effort and sincere intentions. It can’t be forced or rushed, and to try to do so shows a severe lack of empathy and understanding for the emotional pain they have experienced.

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How Do You Fix a Ruined Relationship?

If you’ve broken someone’s trust, you can work to fix the relationship by: 

  • Maintaining boundaries and respect if the individual needs time and space before jumping back into emotional or physical intimacy if trust has been lost. 
  • Taking accountability for the harm you have caused. Show through your actions you have learned from your mistakes and take steps to rectify past issues where possible to create room for positive change. 
  • Being reliable and consistent, which means that you follow through on your commitments and promises consistently. This shows that you can be relied upon and reinforces trust in the relationship. 
  • Seeking professional help in some cases where a lot of hurt has happened. A third party can offer suggestions to help restore or repair any damage caused. 

A professional can guide you through the process of rebuilding trust and rebuilding a healthy relationship. By being mindful of their needs and preferences during a time of healing, this can help you regain someone’s trust in a relationship.

Can a Relationship Be Fixed After Losing Trust?

Yes, a relationship can be fixed after losing trust. As mentioned above, it can be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist in order to assist in the healing process than trying to fix it by yourself. A therapist can help facilitate open communication and provide tools for rebuilding trust and repairing a relationship. 

Another difficult, but realistic point to remain mindful of is that the individual may forgive you, but may no longer want to continue the relationship—whether you attend counseling sessions together or not. 

If you are the individual who has had their trust broken, you are not obligated to stay in a relationship where you feel hurt, unappreciated, or manipulated. You can show appreciation to your loved one for addressing how they have wronged you, but you are not required to take them back if your boundaries have been too badly violated.

How Do You Forgive a Broken Trust?

If your trust has been broken by someone else, you will first need to work through the emotional pain—which means it’s ok to be angry, be upset, and process the hurt on your own timeline. Forgiveness does not happen overnight. 

How Do You Regain Trust After Being Betrayed?

There are a variety of ways you can work to rebuild trust with someone after they have betrayed you. Consider:

  • Why they broke your trust
  • Was it an honest mistake? 
  • Have they made amends and created a plan of action to correct their behavior? 
  • Are you overreacting? 

Forgiveness can occur when you are able to see a change in the other person for the better—when that person is exercising honesty, is able to spend time being open in communication, being physically present, and emotionally available. 

How to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship

Take it slow. Sometimes rebuilding trust in someone else may require building trust in yourself. Learn to trust your instincts, values, and judgment. When you trust yourself, you can navigate with conscience which contributes to building trust with the other individual. 

Additionally, when you are able to identify your own needs, and express this openly with the other individual, as well as why you were harmed, trust can be rebuilt over time with a commitment to rebuilding trust within the relationship. 

What Are the 7 Steps to Rebuild Trust?

To further summarize our tips and pointers from the previous section, make sure to wholeheartedly embrace the following 7 steps to gain someone’s trust back. Ensure that you: 

  1. Take responsibility: Accept your role in breaking their trust and acknowledge the impact it has had on them. Show genuine remorse and take full responsibility for your actions. 
  2. Are honest and transparent: Openly communicate and provide all relevant information regarding the breach of trust. This includes being honest about why what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. Avoid any further deception or lies. Commit to no more patterns of dishonesty in your life. Exercise honesty. 
  3. Apologize sincerely: Offer a heartfelt apology to the person you’ve hurt. Show genuine remorse, taking care not to minimize their pain or make excuses for your actions. Express your understanding of the consequences and commit to doing better. 
  4. Listen to the other individual’s feelings: Give the other person an opportunity to express their emotions, concerns, and expectations. Be patient, attentive and non-defensive, as well as non-reactive to their thoughts and experiences. Show empathy throughout the conversation. 
  5. Rebuild trust over time: Understand that rebuilding trust takes time and effort. Consistently behave in a trustworthy manner, demonstrating integrity and reliability in your words and actions. Avoid any behavior that further damages their trust.
  6. Communicate openly: Foster open and honest communication, encouraging them to voice their concerns, doubts and fears. Show that you are willing to listen non-judgmentally and address any issues or insecurities that they may have. 
  7. Be consistent: Establish a pattern of reliable and trustworthy behavior. Keep your promises, follow through on commitments, and be consistent in your actions. This consistency will help rebuild trust over time. 

With your support and sincere behavioral changes, you may find that the individual forgives you, but be patient and be understanding. From the other end of things, if you’ve found your trust has been broken and you are determining your next steps, be sure to proceed only if the other individual ensures that their behavior will change and that they respect and appreciate the emotional pain you’re experiencing.  

Table of contents

How Do You Fix Broken Trust?

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild Trust?

How Do You Fix a Ruined Relationship?

Can a Relationship Be Fixed After Losing Trust?

How Do You Forgive a Broken Trust?

How to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship

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Christine Ridley, Resident in Counseling in Winston-Salem, NC

Christine Ridley, LCSW

Christine Ridley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in adolescent and adult anxiety, depression, mood and thought disorders, addictive behaviors, and co-dependency issues.

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Theresa Welsh is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a passion for providing the utmost quality of services to individuals and couples struggling with relationship issues, depression, anxiety, abuse, ADHD, stress, family conflict, life transitions, grief, and more.

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  • Sharma, K., Schoorman, F. D., & Ballinger, G. A. (2022, April 27). How Can It Be Made Right Again? A Review of Trust Repair Research. Sage Publishing.

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