When trust is broken.

When trust is broken within a relationship, it can lead to a large variety of issues. I like to compare it to going downhill with the possibility of your brakes going out while your steering wheel falls off. This particular topic has rung true in my circle lately and Inwish to share these thoughts.

While that sounds extreme, broken trust is. It requires steps in order to truly fix it and repair it, rather than just attempt to slap a band-aid on it.

Trust can be lost through lies, rage, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and, most prominently, sexual infidelity. Once it’s lost, there is usually a Humpty Dumpty effect: hard to put it back together again. Usually the behaviors that created the distrust are difficult to change, because they are complex and convoluted. These little bits skip and jump through our system like bubbles popping up in unexpected places, while giving our mind the best of reasons to be doing whatever it is that our bodies or head are pushing for.

Let first look at some keep points to consider when wanting to resolve the issue:

1. Coming clean does work. Denial only leads to more distrust, so the truth has to come out along with the willingness to take responsibility for your actions. However, it is important to note that detailed truth can sometimes make the hurt even worse and compound the pain, and therefore the healing process. Be patient with each other. Couples can spend tons of time on details while losing the thread of what needs to be done to correct the misconduct.

2. Being defensive, righteous or casual about the problem never works. There must be a sincere effort to work out the issues, or the wall will never come down. The angrier you are, the less you are able to hear what the aggrieved one has to say, and the worse what they feel will get.

3. Talk about what made you do it. Opening up about your own struggle, the need to get help, and the awareness of what got you there in the first place will help to prevent further infractions. If there is a sexual addiction problem, you must be willing to attend SA (sexual addiction) meetings or do what is necessary to make it better. If there is loneliness in the marriage, take the initiative to make an appointment with a counselor. Talking about your feelings of alienation is the best way to connect again.

4. Be an open book. That means open your cell phone, email, and appointment book for a period of time. This is usually the hardest part, because any person who has lived that clandestine underground life of secrecy likes it that way. They feel entitled to privacy, and they become righteous and indignant. At this point, you will need to take a moment and ask yourself what is really important: your relationship or your privacy? It really comes down to that.

5. Renew your commitments. Whether married or not, there is a need to discuss values about living life and what that entails. This may be the most important part of the process. Take time to talk about what you want, what got you into this mess, and what needs to happen moving forward. Write it all down and make a ceremony out of it. Invite your friends and family. Tell the world what you are going to do and mean it.

It is so very important to communicate through the process and show one another the love and respect you hold for each other, if it still exists. If it doesn’t, talk about that and walk away. Without trust or the lack of interest to fix broken trust, you have nothing.

Renewing trust is not just a decision—it’s a lifestyle change. It’s about coming home to yourself and your partner, and making it work. Keeping a relationship clear and open is a valuable process. When we lie, cheat, steal and do bad things to ourselves or others, we pay the ultimate price, and we lose what is most precious to us. If you need help, get it. If you need a change, then make it. Creating trust is a big deal, so treat it that way. There are many facets and turns in this very delicate and daunting process of trust. If it’s not dealt with properly, then it will torch your relationship until what remains are ashes and regret. If you can look at the restoring of trust as a learning process that will hopefully bring with it greater intimacy and love, then go ahead on. If not, then make other plans.