Should you keep forgiving your spouse if they repeat past offenses? Should you try to rebuild trust in a relationship when it’s been re-broken? While your strong commitment to the relationship may push you to keep forgiving betrayal, you have to understand two things… Firstly, forgiveness doesn’t obligate you to rebuild the relationship. Secondly, reestablishing the connection requires absolute commitment and repentance from your spouse, no matter how many times you forgive them.
And in the case of repeat offenses, it’s only natural that the trust-rebuilding process won’t be a smooth ride. Why? Because re-injury has a more significant impact on the injured party than the initial injury itself. Dr. Lenne’ Hunt offers some advice for what to do when you encounter hiccups in the trust-rebuilding process. It involves looking at the realities of what is in front of you, implementing boundaries, and taking measures to protect your heart.
How To Rebuild Trust in a Relationship When it’s Been Re-Broken
Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and when it’s shattered, rebuilding it can be an arduous journey. This article addresses the difficult scenario where you’ve given your spouse a second chance after a betrayal, only to discover that they’ve re-broken your trust. Whether the breach was due to infidelity, addiction, or other harmful behaviors, the path to healing is challenging. Dr. Lynne Hunt of the Marriage Recovery Center offers valuable insights into how to navigate this delicate phase.
Understanding the Trust Rebuilding Process
Before delving into the complexities of rebuilding trust after a re-breach, it’s essential to understand the stages involved. Dr. Hunt emphasizes the necessity of genuine repentance, forgiveness, and vision for the new relationship. Trust rebuilding hinges on proving one’s commitment to change through actions, not just words.
The Impact of Re-Injury
When trust is re-broken, it’s not a simple misstep; it’s a significant setback. Re-injury reopens the initial wound and exacerbates the trust issue. Dr. Hunt explains that it sends two powerful messages: that your feelings and significance don’t matter, and that your partner continues to hide things from you. This hidden betrayal is an added layer of hurt that intensifies the damage.
The Burden on the Wounded Party
The burden of rebuilding trust rests heavily on the person who betrayed their partner. They must actively demonstrate their commitment to change through transparency and above-board actions. Dr. Hunt underscores that trust is not quickly regained, particularly after a substantial betrayal.
Extending Second Chances
While forgiveness is encouraged, repeatedly granting second chances is not obligatory. Trust rebuilding requires effort and consistency. Dr. Hunt advises that when a pattern of re-breach emerges, it’s crucial to assess whether your partner is genuinely committed to change. If the data suggests otherwise, you may need to face the reality that this is the best you can expect from them.
The Role of Transparency
A key factor in navigating trust rebuilding after a re-breach is how your spouse handles their relapse. Openly acknowledging the mistake and taking responsibility paints a hopeful picture. Conversely, resistance, avoidance, and a lack of transparency indicate trouble ahead.
As the wounded party, you must establish firm boundaries regarding what you’re willing to tolerate. Dr. Hunt emphasizes that we teach people how to treat us by what we allow. It’s essential to communicate that your feelings and well-being matter.
Rebuilding trust in a relationship after it’s been re-broken is undeniably challenging. It involves a complex interplay of emotions, actions, and boundaries. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, the key elements are clear: genuine repentance, forgiveness, consistency, and transparency. Above all, it requires a commitment from both partners to work together toward rebuilding trust, recognizing that the journey may not be smooth, but it is possible with sincere effort and dedication.
Also read: Can Separation Save my Relationship?
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.