Opinion: Rebuilding Trust After It Has Been Broken Will Take Time

Stacy Ann

Photo byPreillumination SeTh/Unsplash

I have only shared a piece of my past with several people.

In the initial stages of dating my fiance,’ my best friend accidentally alluded to this incident in front of him. When questioned, I lied and quickly changed the subject. Soon enough, he put two and two together and called me out on my lie.

My fiance’ didn’t understand why I was hiding the truth, and I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had failed to be honest. Rebuilding his faith in my word was difficult.

Eventually, we were about to rebuild the trust between us, but multiple actions from both of us contributed to healing our relationship.

I needed to acknowledge my mistake.

There was no denying that I had been dishonest. At first, I tried justifying it by telling myself that I didn’t have to share what had happened in the past. However, if this was the person I wanted to spend my life with, how could we move forward healthily without a foundation of truth?

I’m an extremely stubborn person. I didn’t want to admit that he was right. I didn’t want to admit that I had lied because, in my mind, it made me the “problem” partner in our relationship.

However, I swallowed my pride, put myself in his shoes, and admitted that I would have felt the same way. I owned up to my mistake and started a self-mission to prove that I could learn from it and be someone he could trust.

We had to be willing to work on the relationship.

One of my best friends in college loved to party. Her boyfriend didn’t, but he wanted her to go out and have fun. When she went out, he fully trusted her… until the night she had a bit too much to drink and kissed a stranger.

To her credit, she immediately confessed to her wrongdoing. Her boyfriend could have walked away from the relationship since she had broken his trust, but instead, he gave her a second chance.

My friend completely changed her behavior. She faced why she wanted to lose herself in drinking/partying. She put all her energy into working on her relationship and self-work.

Her story is a reminder that it is necessary to work on the relationship after trust has been broken.

I needed to communicate about what happened openly

I lied to my partner for one simple reason: I was afraid he wouldn’t want me when he knew the truth.

But to him, the fact that I withheld information was a huge red flag. I remember him sitting me down and saying, “I need to be with a partner I can trust and who tells me the whole truth, regardless of its weight.”

From that moment, I realized that my fiance’ wouldn’t trust me if I was only sharing half-truths. Even though it was embarrassing, I needed to share my past with him, even though it felt painful.

We both had to resist the temptation to dwell on the past

In the early years of their marriage, my mother always brought up my father's mistakes. His infidelity was her excuse to have multiple emotional affairs, and I grew up witnessing the complete lack of trust they had for each other.

Their failure to let go of the past eventually destroyed their future chances.

After the incident with my partner, I resolved to change, and I did. Over the last few years, I have consistently been forthcoming with him over the previous few years, even when it’s been tough.

Now he trusts me entirely, but it was a longer road than it would have been if I had been honest at the very beginning.

It wasn’t easy to get to where we are today, and it required both of us to be vulnerable and transparent, but it was completely worth it.

Gratefulness floods me when I reflect on how much my fiance’ loves me, even after knowing the full scope of my past and the knowledge that I can trust him with the truth.

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