How to regain trust in a relationship

Written by renee miller
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Broken trust is probably the single most damaging occurrence in a relationship. It is the core of your connection with one another. When trust is violated by you or your partner, the entire foundation can become cracked. However, the damage isn't necessarily beyond repair. If you are willing to hang in there for what is sure to be a long process, you can work toward rebuilding lasting trust in your relationship, creating a foundation that is stronger than ever.

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    Admit your faults. The first step in regaining trust in a relationship is to admit that you made a serious mistake or series of mistakes. Accept that your confession and apology may receive some vigorous agreement. Stay humble and accept that it comes with the territory when a person feels injured.

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    Be patient. Dishonouring someone's faith in you shakes the premise on which your relationship was built in the first place. You don't get on a boat if you don't trust that it will float. In the same way, you don't commit your deepest feelings to another human being if you don't trust that they will honour and respect you. It will take time to regain trust, and you need to be prepared for this if you hope to get it back.

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    Be understanding. Validate your partner's pain by actually agreeing with how they feel. Your empathy can go a long way to regaining the trust you lost whether by lying, cheating or lashing out. Show your loved one that his or her feelings have merit and that injured feelings are justified. Take this one step further by assuring them you will do what it takes to rectify the situation.

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    Reassure your partner. Then, reassure her again. Honour your word by being where you say you're going to be when you say you are going to be there. Follow through on promises and commitments without wavering. Whether you like it or not, you have to prove yourself again, and it's not easy. In the early stages of your relationship, a lot of trust may have been built on intuition and lack of any other precedence to the contrary. Accepting that it is twice as hard to re-establish trust than it is to win it the first time goes a long way to helping you dig your heels in until the damage is repaired.

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    Seek counselling. If all else seems to fail and you are committed to seeing your relationship work, then suggest counselling. Your partner may have insecurities that run deeper than whatever it was that caused the breach in your relationship. If that is the case, or he or she just can't seem to get past the hurt, counselling will be your only viable course of action.

Tips and warnings

  • If your partner seems intent on punishing you long after you broke the trust in your relationship and all attempts on your part to rectify the situation seem futile, it may be time to let go. Everyone deserves a second chance. If yours is being withheld for spite or retribution, it is not healthy to stay.

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