You’ve probably heard someone say “That girl has serious trust issues”. If used as a verb, the word trust means to “believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of” a person. In a book written by Mira Kirshenbaum titled “I love you but I don’t trust you”, she writes that trust is something that is natural to humans. Without trust, humans cannot survive.
Trust is something that two people in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) can build, but what happens if a person you trust disappoints you? What happens if the person you trust lies to you? The pain is immense. Breaking someone’s trust is equal to a betrayal. Relationships end because of lack of trust. Suddenly the person you thought you could count on and who would have your back, is gone. In his place, a stranger.
You ask yourself, “How could he do this to me? How could she do this to me?” Your peace of mind is gone.
If you ever choose to rebuild the relationship, how can you rebuild trust? And honestly, why is it so hard to rebuild once broken?
“Having trust makes love come alive. Trust isn’t just the basis for a relationship; it’s the lifeblood that keeps a relationship healthy. The biggest difference trust makes in any relationships – not just the intimate one- is that you can relax, be open, be yourself.” – I love you but I don’t trust you, Mira Kirshenbaum.
According to Randy Conley, there are three levels of trust. The first level is called the deterence-based trust or in other words, rule based. He writes that this is the most fundamental base of trust in any relationship. There are rules that have to be followed, and these rules have been set there in order to prevent another person from taking advantage or harming someone. For example, business contracts is this type of trust. This is to ensure that both parties don’t screw each other over. If we break the rules set, there are usually consequences involved, which is great.
The second one is what he calls the knowledge based trust. This is the trust that comes from knowing a person, more than being an acquaintance, like a friend for example. The trust is develop because you know this person, you are friends. You know how he walks, how he talks, how he handles things… You have a grasp of the way he thinks and his principles. If the other person has been consistent with his actions, it is added points.
Consistency is key.
And finally, the third and last level: identity-based trust. You deeply know a person. You know his dreams, his darkest thoughts, and the level of transparency between the two of you is good. This relationship has been proven and tested through time. This is the level of trust we often experience with our spouse or partner, family, children, closest friends, and relatives.
But if someone breaks your trust, especially the third level? That will be quite hard to repair, because not only did it take years, the knowledge that a person has and the identity that has been tagged with the person who broke the trust has also been shattered. The foundation for the trust is suddenly gone. You find yourself asking, so what now? Where do I go from here?
So how do you rebuild trust?
If you are the one who broke the trust of someone close to you, I hope you learnt your lesson. Trust is important and if you are here looking for ways or help to rebuild it then it I am assuming that you are experiencing a challenging time. First thing, like I said above: consistency is key. If you say you are going to do something, follow through. You say you’ll be home at 7 in the evening, be home at 7 in the evening. If you say you’ll be out with a certain friend, then be sure that you are really out with that certain friend. If you say you’ll quit gambling, then please avoid the casino.
Next, learn how to communicate. Aside from consistency, communication is also a main player to rebuilding trust. Communicating with your partner allows you both to see from each other’s perspective, or to understand where the other party is coming from. Now, try to be honest and open up to the other party. It is okay to be vulnerable. To get trust, you also have to give trust.
Be patient. The other party may not immediately believe you, justifiably so, but if you really want to rebuild the trust you have to put in the work. It can’t happen in a day, after all Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was destroyed in one that’s why be consistent. Be sincere! Be honest, and be sure not to do it again.
If needed, you can both have a mediator while the two parties talk their issues through.