***QUESTION FROM A READER:
“What is the average length of time does it take for someone to overcome trust issues once it’s been broken? Is there any
information on length of time to recover?
I see there are several ideas and ways to overcome trust.
But I really want to move forward and would like to know how long this process takes or if it’s ever something one can do again once trust has been broken.
The reason I ask is because I really feel like it’s affecting my relationships and will affect my future relationships.”
Whenever trust has been violated and the two of you want to repair your relationship, that’s certainly the question that’s on your minds, whether you voice it or not.
“How long is this going to take for there to be trust between us again?”
The short and simple answer is there is no average length of time since every situation and every person are different.
There are of course factors that might either extend or shorten the amount of time…
1. The severity of the event that caused the mistrust.
Being caught cheating with someone else usually causes a deeper level of mistrust than forgetting an anniversary.
2. How often the event that caused mistrust happened.
If a person is repeatedly unfaithful (or frequently lies) and wants “one more chance,” chances are building trust will be a very long and difficult process–if it can be built again at all.
3. How open and committed both you and your partner are to healing the issues that caused trust to be broken and your commitment to rebuilding trust.
The key in building trust is not how LONG but rather WHAT you do with that time. It’s how trustable the person who violated the trust can become–as well as how open the person who was hurt is to trusting again.
You have to be willing to become trustable if you’re the one who broke trust.
If you are the person who was betrayed or lied to, you have to know what it would take for you to trust that person again–the more specific the better. And this takes some looking inward to discover that for yourself in your particular situation.
You both have to buy into the process of building trust together but there’s a fine line you have to walk…
That “fine line” is not making guilt and blame the major dynamic between the two of you while still honoring both of your needs–and seeing movement toward trust.
If the “guilty” party is unwillingly kept on such a tight leash and “made to pay” in every moment, there’s probably not much hope for the relationship. This person has to want to prove in every moment how he or she has changed and is now trustable–and do it in specific ways that the other person has voiced.
Guilt, blame and promises won’t create a relationship filled with trust, closeness and connection.
True desire, commitment and follow-through will.
It’s not the length of time that it takes to rebuild trust but it’s rather what happens–how both people deal with the situation. If you’re worrying about and are focused on how long it’s going to take to build trust back, change your focus to what you are each going to do to grow it.
So let’s get back to our reader’s question…
As we corresponded with him to ask for his permission to use his question here, he told us some of his story–which may not be unlike some of you who are reading this right now.
He told us that he was the one who had been betrayed–over and over.
He had had a string of girlfriends who either turned out to be married or stole money from him.
After awhile, if you’ve had these kinds of experiences, you probably are going to stop to wonder what’s going on.He told us that his women friends don’t have these kinds of problems–and we’re guessing that his unspoken questions to us probably are–
“Will I ever be able to trust someone again– or even should I?”
“What’s wrong with me that I get with women who lie and cheat on me and my friends don’t?”
While we can’t say for sure why this man attracts these kinds of partners–we can say that it may be time for him to turn his attention inward.
The person he has to learn to trust is himself.
He has to learn to allow himself to see and pay attention to the red flags that are usually always there flying that many of us choose to ignore in the excitement of a new romance. He can ask himself what he’s learned from these past romances that ended badly for him.
What kind of traits did these women have that could have clued him into their true nature?
In hindsight, what actions did he see that could have warned him enough to ask some questions and listen carefully to
Just as financial wizard Suze Orman says about money–“Ignorance is not bliss where money is concerned.”
We say the same thing about rebuilding trust…
Ignorance isn’t bliss where trust and relationships are concerned either.
Whether you’re learning to trust someone new or trying to learn how to trust someone again when trust has been betrayed. Become the observer and pay attention to how the other person’s words and actions feel inside you. Feel if they ring true to you.
If they don’t, ask a question that will reveal their deeper intention.
A question from our “Magic Relationship Words” program like “Tell me more about that” can open you both up to deeper communication and trust.
It may also help you bypass the pain of betrayal–if you are conscious and paying attention.
Learning how to trust after it’s been broken is not really a time issue. It’s becoming conscious in your life– knowing what you want and then opening to it.