How Long Will This Take?

When I work with clients who wish to rebuild trust with their partners, I encourage them to think of trust rebuilding as a marathon, not a sprint.

The actual work of the marathon is up to you…the discipline, the sweat.  The same principal applies to rebuilding trust.

Yet the ultimate goal -to have your partner fully trust you again- is not your final decision.

And here is the thing…Maybe a marathon isn’t such a good analogy. The distance can shorten or lengthen, depending upon her choices, and sometimes depending upon your commitment level.

But don’t give up even before you have begun.  The truth is?  It is no guaranteed success if you try to rebuild, but it is guaranteed failure if you do not.

Where do I start?

Start with taking responsibility.

The starting point is when you realize that trust has been broken and that you can not only do something about it, but that it is your sole responsibility to do so.  

In other words, it is not up to your partner, to rebuild trust, but it is up you because you broke trust in the first place.  

How do I make sure she trusts me again?

You don’t.  You cannot make that decision for her.  You can only create a climate for her to trust you again if she so chooses.

Remember, the decision to trust you again is hers alone.

In order for you to survive as a couple, she has to choose to participate in the process, or at least allow you to try while the jury is still out.

What is my role in rebuilding trust?

Your role is to:

A) initiate rebuilding trust

B) maintain behavior that is indicative of your desire to rebuild trust

So how DO you rebuild trust?

Four Uneasy Ways to Rebuild Trust

1. Recognize that to rebuild trust, you have to work on your character.  

This is never easy.  Character building is uncomfortable. Always.  Simple explanation.  Hard work.

2.Identify what character traits need the most work.

Ask your partner for input.  Ask your friends.  Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about where you need the most work.

3. Identify what actions/steps you need to take to develop those character traits in your life.

In rebuilding trust, ACTIONS do the speaking, not your mouth.

4. Involve someone other than your partner in the process.

Accountability is non-negotiable part of building trust.  Part of what led you to this mess is your failure to recognize that what you do not only matters to you,  but also to other people.

I am so discouraged because my partner does not seem to respond positively yet.  How do I keep going in face of this? 

A. Remember why you are ultimately doing this.  Is it so your partner will take you back and be satisfied with you once more?

Wrong!  That is only part of the picture.

You should  do this for you…valuing yourself enough to become a trustworthy person should be the primary focus.  You can accomplish this goal regardless of what your partner chooses down the road.

B. Remember that you also do this for ALL of your relationships.  Every friendship, family relationship, and even professional relationship has most likely been impacted by your former lack of trustworthiness.

All of the relationships in your life will benefit from your efforts and hopefully the relationship that is the most important to you will benefit as well.

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