It has been said that ‘out on the turbulent seas sails the relation-ship’ and it’s not far wrong. Relationships are full of ups and downs, good times and bad times but most of the bad times can be overcome because the binding thing that holds your relationship together, trust is still intact.
Healthy relationships are based on mutual understanding, respect and trust and when the trust within a relationship is lost you are left with a painful situation filled with hurt, despair and anger. It is these negative reactions and emotions that need to be overcome before any attempt at rebuilding the trust in the relationship can take place. Building a level of trust within a relationship takes time, patience and understanding, but when that trust has been lost and needs to be rebuilt from scratch, it can be an even longer and more painstaking process.
Establishing an Understanding
Before any headway can be made towards getting your relationship back on track, both parties need to have an understanding of just how the other is feeling. This is not an easy process, it is painful to listen to someone telling you how much you have hurt them, or to be able to explain how deeply you have been hurt and betrayed by them. There will be statements made during the process that will cause further hurt; there will be expressions of anger and disappointment. What you need to bear in mind is that when we hurt we become defensive, and for some people the best form of defence is attack, so be prepared to face a volley of angry outbursts and accusations. It is only when all of this hurt and anger has been aired that you have any chance at all of re-establishing the trust and respect that has been lost.
Tips for Establishing an Understanding
- Patience – Be patient, it takes time for all the anger and hurt to subside.
- Listen – Listen to everything that the other person has to say.
- Explain – Once they have given their side of the story it is your turn to explain just how you feel.
- Honesty – This is when you have to use no holds barred honesty, trust can only be established when you are both totally open and honest with each other.
Take the lead in getting your relationship back on an even keel and try and understand their side first. Listen attentively to all of your partner’s thoughts, concerns and opinions without interrupting and try and see things from their side. Show some empathy and put yourself in their position and feel how they feel, it will help you understand their position and their thought processes. When your partner feels that they are really being listened to they are more likely to open up more and be more communicative and it may lead to them being able to forgive.
Learn How to Apologise
In order for an apology to be accepted it needs to be sincere and from the heart. The other person needs to understand that you are truly sorry for whatever it is that has happened and that you hope that they can offer forgiveness. It doesn’t matter what you say or how long it takes you to say it, providing your words come straight from the heart the message will be understood.
An apology should never be rushed, an abrupt ‘I’m sorry!’ blurted out when confronted with your guilt offers nothing in the way of an apology, it is viewed more along the lines of a self defence mechanism to stop you from getting into further trouble. Try and work out what you are going to say in your apology and once said let it stand for itself. Don’t try and back it up with excuses as this will not work in your favour.
Once your apology has been accepted and the air is a little clearer and the process of forgiveness is underway, it is time for you to explain your actions and offer something of an explanation for your behaviour. Talk about whatever you need to make them understand what prompted you to do what you did, what your motivation was, if you felt scared, insecure or flattered by the attention of another. Explain what made you do what you did and how causing all of this pain and sorrow as a result has made you feel. Once they fully understand your side of the story they can then begin to start trusting you once more.
Watching a relationship fall apart because of something that you have done leaves you will all kinds of guilt. The pain and hurt that your actions have caused were consequences that you never considered at the time, and now they are not just consequences they are real and being lived through. If your partner can overcome the way that your actions have impacted on the relationship, and offer forgiveness for whatever you did, you too should be able to start forgiving yourself. Unless you work through your own feelings of guilt and shame you will never be able to re-establish the same level of intimacy and commitment in your relationship that you once enjoyed. If you are unable to do this alone or by communicating openly with your partner you should consider seeking professional help.
Be Truthful and Keep Your Word
There should never be a situation where you knowingly lie to your partner again, no matter how insignificant the lie might be. It is far better in this situation to be embarrassed by the truth than to try and hide something with a lie. Once discovered that one lie could shatter the newly rebuilt trust between you.
Alongside the never lying again is the need to keep your promises. Broken promises go a long way to chipping away at the trust between you, the next time you are about to say ‘I promise’ make sure that it is a promise that you can see through, otherwise choose to say ‘I’ll try’ or ‘I wish.’