Trust is a vital ingredient in a successful relationship. Unfortunately, your partner might do things to break that trust. Sometimes, it’s a minor slip-up that the two of you can easily work out. We’re all human and you don’t want to end your relationship because of a small mistake or misunderstanding. However, there may be a time when your partner does something that hurts you so deeply that you question whether or not you can ever trust them again. What do you do in that situation? Start by asking yourself these questions:
Is (s)he really sorry?
Words alone will not prove that your partner is sorry; only their actions can do that. But there are ways to tell if the apology isn’t genuine. According to Jane Greer, PhD, not understanding why they’re apologizing, making it all about themselves, or thinking you should just get over it are a few signs that they’re not truly sorry.
What am I giving up if I leave?
Ending a relationship is a big deal. You might feel conflicted for a while because you don’t want to make any rash decisions, but what would leaving your partner mean? Have you made a home and a life together that you think is worth saving? Would you be giving up the love of your life? …or would you be letting go of pain, hurt, and betrayal to move on to better things?
Do we have a future together?
Can you see yourself with this person for the rest of your life? That might be too big of a question if you’ve just started the relationship, but it’s an important one to ask down the line. If you don’t see the relationship moving forward in some way – children, marriage, or at least some kind of serious commitment, why are you staying?
Am I happy more than 50% of the time?
No relationship is perfect, and there are bound to be times when you feel down, but you shouldn’t stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy most of the time. Think about how your partner makes you feel overall, and be honest.
What would I tell my best friend to do?
We often give other people great advice, but forget to listen to it. If your best friend came to you with the same problem you’re facing now, what would you say? Would you tell her to leave that good-for-nothing you-know-what? Or would you tell her that the relationship is worth fighting for?
What are the chances that this will happen again?
Have a talk with your partner about what they did and how it made you feel. Your partner might not have realized how damaging their actions would be, or maybe they were going through a difficult time. It doesn’t excuse their behavior, but understanding each other’s points of view can help you rebuild the trust that was broken. Now that they know how much they hurt you, do you think they’ll repeat the same mistake? If not, they might deserve a second chance.
Can I forgive him/her?
Forgiveness is the most important step in rebuilding trust after it’s broken. First, forgive yourself. Don’t blame yourself for your partner’s wrongdoing, ie “how did I let this happen?” Then, you can work on forgiving the other person. You probably won’t be able to forgive them right away, but can you see yourself doing it in the future? If their actions are completely unforgivable, you already have your answer.