Can Trust Be Rebuilt?
Q: I would like to ask a quick question. When you lose trust in a relationship, is there any way you can rebuild it? Or is it better to move on? I'm 52 and I've been in this relationship for 3 years. -- Al
Dr. Susan: I'm afraid, Al, that there are no one-size-fits-all quick answer to such a complex question. At your age, though, it should be possible to fix what's wrong and go on to have a very positive long-term experience. When you say you've lost trust, is it due to your partner's infidelity? Has the issue been worked through very thoroughly so you both know what happened and why, and have you discussed ways to ensure it doesn't happen again? Of course, there are other ways for trust to be lost, but all of them require both of you to open up and be vulnerable. Show how hurt you are, explain how crucial trust is to you, then make honesty a top priority in your relationship from now on. Moving on may turn out to be necessary if the one who betrayed the trust isn't willing to acknowledge responsibility. Oh, and expect it to take quite a long time for you to feel as trusting and safe as you used to. It's usually worth the wait and the work.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.