Mission Impossible: Rebuilding Trust

I really hate to be the one to break it to you but, trust cannot be rebuilt. Take a moment and let that sink in. I know it's tough, but it's true. When someone has broken your trust, as much as you might forgive them and are willing to move on, a heart will always remember where it has been broken. Therefore, if you wish to move forward in a relationship with someone who has hurt you, go into it knowing that you will never be able to forget how it felt to be shattered by that person. Go into it with full forgiveness and a willingness to try, but go into in knowing that one day, it may all come flooding back to you and that old pain will become new.


Th easiest way to forgive anyone is to remind yourself of the human condition. We are flawed beings, created to sin, to make mistakes and fall on our faces at every other step, so that we may look to the heavens for guidance and forgiveness. Hurt people hurt people and we should never he shocked when someone hurts us, however, there are two different kinds of hurt to consider.

Natural & Unnatural Hurt:

As human beings, we are far from perfect and, in our bungling ways, we tend to hurt people without trying, knowing, or understanding how our actions have affected them. In these cases, once it is brought to our attention that what we did or said has hurt someone, we are usually more mindful not to press that button again. After all, it wasn't intended or malicious. This is a natural hurt––part of the human condition.

Then, there are people in the world who seem to go out of their way to hurt others. These people know what your hot buttons are and they just keep pressing, and pressing, and pressing. You have conversation after conversation about their behavior, you beg and plead for them to stop hurting you, but they persist. These people often want you to snap that you can stoop to their level and finally justify their behavior. This is an unnatural hurt–– a wickedly intended source of pain.

Who To Trust:

Trust is earned, established, maintained, and sometimes lost. When the latter has happened, we can most certainly move forward, patching up the wound, but there will always be a scar. Think of it as a broken plate. You can take it to be fixed and after it's patched, it will look good-as-new on the outside, but if it is dropped again, it will undoubtedly break in the exact same place as before.

In the context of a relationship, if your mate claimed to be working late every night for months, only to find out he/she was out cheating, the trust between you would be broken. Let's say, over time, you were able to work on your relationship and patch that wound. Then, after a while, your mate starts coming home later and later, just like before with the same excuse of working late. Your remembrance will take you back to that prior time, that period of infidelity, and that old hurt will become new again.

That reoccurring pang is distrust and that's okay. Maybe your partner hasn't broken your trust in other areas. Maybe you trust him explicitly to call or text often, to pay the bills on time, and to take good care of you and the children. But maybe the trust is broken in another area, like fidelity. Here's what I want you to know: it's okay to not trust someone who broke your trust! It's not your fault or your responsibility and the person you should trust the most at this point is you!

Trust yourself to do the right thing for you. Trust that just because a section of your relationship is clouded by distrust, doesn't necessarily mean there is nothing left to be salvaged. It doesn't necessarily mean there is anything to be salvaged, either. Whether to rebuild or walk away is a personal choice and no one can make that decision for you. But ask yourself:

  1. Was this a natural hurt or did this person go out of their way to hurt you?
  2. Can you forgive this person?
    1. If not, it's time to go.
    2. If so, it may still be time to go, but if you decide to stay...
  3. Are you comfortable with knowing your heart will always remember where it has been broken?
  4. Can you and your partner retain a healthy relationship when certain trusts have been broken?

Some things are small. Not being able to trust someone to make dinner without burning down the kitchen is the kind of distrust you can probably live with. Not being able to trust someone to be faithful and not bring you sexually transmitted diseases––not so much. It's your job to now decide, on a  scale from burning dinner to STDs, how bad is the distrust in your relationship?

Good luck, babe.


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