How do you rebuild trust in your relationship? What can you do, if you have a lot of struggle over time and you’re just not feeling really easy and trusting with each other.
Cathy: One of our listeners wrote in and said, “How do I rebuild trust in my relationship? We’ve had a lot of struggle over time and we’re just not feeling really easy and trusting with each other. What can we do?”
Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.
Reid: Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com. Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman and Jennifer…Morris? Something like that. Jennifer, we’re sorry, we forgot your last name. Read that book. Also read The Five Love Languages, we say this all the time, because those books are amazing and so simple and so helpful.
Cathy: So when trust is broken, you probably have hurt feelings. You’re not sure if you want to go forward or invest more with the other person. Sitting down and talking about where you are, and what each of you needs to clear, what each of you would like to have out of the relationship, can be really powerful. Setting aside some time to determine if it’s worth it, is the trust broken so much that you don’t really want to be rebuild it because if you’re not both in, it’s going to be really hard to rebuild that.
Reid: In my experience with most couples who are still together and they’re coming for couples coaching with me, the trust piece means that they don’t know how to adequately apologize to each other because they speak different languages of apology. So your dialects are different and I’m trying to tell you that I’m sorry in my dialect, but since you don’t speak that dialect, you actually don’t think I’m sorry. We can’t reestablish the trust because you can’t forgive me. That’s usually what’s going on.
The other situation that can happen that’s a little bit more dire is the reason you can’t trust the other person is they crossed the bottom line of yours and you’re still in the relationship. A bottom line, the way that I talk about it when I talk about date your species type information is, that thing or those things that if it happens in the relationship, for you to be in integrity you must end the relationship.
The common example, which is easy for most people to grasp, I’m dating a new person. I have a kid. I finally feel comfortable having them over to the house, not the kid the person I’m dating. They come over to the house. They meet my kid for the first time. They kick the kid in the stomach. Do you go on the date? No. No excuses. You touch my kid, we’re done. That’s what I mean by a bottom line.
For some couples what’s happened is, there’s usually an unexpressed bottom line, something that no one knew was there. It got crossed and that’s why you can’t forgive and trust the other person. So in those instances, if it’s never been known before, it’s possible for you to take responsibility for not knowing that was a bottom line. You guys can reestablish trust and forgive each other and give it one more go.
However, if you know it’s a bottom line of yours and you didn’t tell somebody then this is all on you, even though they did something. If you’ve told them it’s a bottom line and they did it, maybe I’m a pessimist, but my best advice is complete the relationship. Transition it into something else because that one’s going to be the hardest one to fix. I haven’t seen a couple do it yet. Maybe it’s possible, but I’d rather save you guys time and pain and have things be cleaner, than give you advice that means you’re going to try it for another two years and it’s still not going to work.
Cathy: If there’s no bottom lines crossed and you still want to work together, I encourage you to do little things throughout the day. If you can figure out each other’s love languages, go to 5LoveLanguages.com, take the quiz, and share it with each other. If you can, three times a day, do something small that’s within your partners love languages and figure out the language of apology. Go through those and clean up old things that are hanging out and you’ll start seeing your relationship lighten up and be a lot more loving.
Reid: Good luck with that. A word of warning, do not check their email or their phones for six months and be like, “Well, nothing’s there, it’s fishy for six months, then I can trust them.” That never works. Don’t do that.