Can you Repair a Relationship where the Trust is Gone?

repair trust

Can you Repair a Relationship where the Trust is Gone?

There are a lot of different reasons someone can blow the trust in a relationship. It could be infidelity, emotional cheating, cleaning out the bank account and blowing it in Vegas, a shopping spree and hiding the credit card bills, or instead a string of little things so long it makes one wonder if they ever told the truth at all. Whatever the reason, trust is the glue that keeps a relationship together. Without trust there is no intimacy and without intimacy, no relationship. You can’t be intimate with someone you have to constantly be on guard around. So can you repair a relationship where the trust is gone? Certainly no one is perfect. Depending upon what you believe and what they have done, there are ways to build bridges back to trust. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience, forgiveness, owning up to what both parties have done and superb communication. It’s important to look at what led up to the violation. Oftentimes there are certain goings-on in a relationship, underlying problems that must be addressed so such a slipup don’t happen again.

Those who are the victims shouldn’t rub their partner’s face in transgressions. Nor should they ignore what contribution they themselves may have made to the situation. Only when each person is open and honest with each other can they make plans of action or rules of engagement that work for them, can they overcome these obstacles and rebuild trust. If both parties are still very much in love, engaged and committed to renewing the relationship then it has the highest likelihood of happening. But half measures will cause few returns. The person who has perpetuated the betrayal has to be sorry. But they should also be open and forthcoming in all aspects and ready and willing to change. The more open they are the faster the healing process will be. A betrayal can be implicit or explicit, meaning it may be something that was a spoken rule or just an obvious one. But it can’t be obvious to one person and not the other. When a transgression has occurred and the person lies or covers up their betrayal, these actions only make things worse. They also contribute to a longer and more difficult road ahead.

Of course every relationship and situation is different. That said there are a few things anyone going on this harrowing journey should keep in mind. If you are the betrayer, fess up before they find out. The longer you wait the more damage you will cause and the more time it will take for the relationship to recover. Plus, unburdening yourself from the guilt will also be a great relief. Decide then and there to have absolutely no dishonesty in your relationship ever again. If you can’t be honest with your partner, why are you with them? At the time of confession and even after, allow your partner to ask questions. Be honest in answering. You want to communicate and restore goodwill. If you are the victim, you shouldn’t keep asking questions just to shock or hurt yourself. At a certain point, you have decided to stay in the relationship or go. If you are staying, it’s important to find the path toward healing, not dwell on the past. Patience is the best characteristic in this situation. Practice it unendingly. Keep in touch with yourself and your feelings. You don’t have to see eye to eye on everything to be fully present and listen to your partner as you work through things. Stay focused and if you are both meant to be together, you can get past this terrible time and find each other once again. For advice on keeping your marriage on the right track before transgressions start read, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love by Linda Bloom and Charlie Bloom.

Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

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Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

When we get used to being with our partner we can sometimes take them for granted. We assume they’ll always be there. So we move on to our worries and stresses. We become so preoccupied with the kids or the challenges in our career that when we are eating dinner and trying to take part in meaningful dialogue, we aren’t even there. Then there is the constant distraction of our electronic devices that although convenient also become an obstacle to chitchat, discussion and intimate conversation. After a while without meaningful interaction we start to feel like roommates with our partner or spouse rather than lovers. The day-in, day-out decisions of running the household, parenting and paying the bills become the focus, and otherwise each person lives in their own separate bubble. When it comes time to interact, give your partner your undivided attention. When we aren’t fully present we aren’t showing them the love and respect they deserve. Instead, we are neglectful, albeit not on purpose. But the message we are inadvertently sending is that what is on my mind is more important than you. Misunderstandings arise when we don’t listen fully to our partner. This can lead to problems or even terrible fights. So how can we be more present with our partner?

First, make a conscious effort to focus on them and what they are saying. If there is something particularly important on your mind and you are distracted, tell them about it. Let them know how you feel and schedule another time to talk. Try and give them your undivided attention and expect the same in return. Make positive eye contact. Repeat back what they’ve said in your own words to show that you understand. When your partner or spouse seems distracted, don’t tell them or remind them of something. Wait until you have their full attention. If you are distracted and they told you something, don’t assume that they will remind you. It’s best to check with your partner in a positive manner whenever you are unsure. Regular running of the household exchanges are of course important. But they don’t help build intimacy. You two have to make time to talk on a deeper level. At the end of the day, we may be so exhausted that we just want to watch a couple of TV shows or surf the net, check our social media pages and go to bed. But that doesn’t bring you closer. Instead, clear out a little time each day to spend talking on a deeper level.  Not just, “How was your day?” But what really happened to you today? What were you thinking about? How did it make you feel?

Sometimes you have to leave the dishes in the sink or put off laundry and spend a little couple time together. Some experts say having more sex is the answer. But a recent study found that building intimacy is far more important. When miscommunication, unfulfilled expectations and misunderstandings occur they get in the way of real intimacy, and so not only block your connection but your ability to get physical. Hurt feelings get in the way. When we are fully present with our partner, the chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings are lower. Knowing what they expect will help meet or exceed expectations and vice-versa. Mindfulness is a touchstone nowadays. This is an ancient Buddhist practice that has become trendy lately in the West. This is the art of being fully present in the here and now and appreciating each moment in all its richness. If we could practice mindfulness in our relationships they would be so much more intimate. Couples would have a deeper sense of intimacy, better sex and superior communication too. To learn more pick up a copy of, The Mindful Couple: How Acceptance and Mindfulness Can Lead You to the Love You Want by Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D. and Darrah Westrup, Ph.D.

Being More Compassionate toward your Partner

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Being More Compassionate toward your Partner

We’ve always known that compassion is good for the soul. But more and more it’s proving beneficial for the body and longevity as well. One recent study has shown that a compassionate or loving statement said in a couple’s spat can help lower a woman’s risk of heart disease. But no matter how bad the fight is, if a woman doesn’t hear any positive words she is at an elevated risk for the disease no matter how subtle or explosive the fight actually was. This shows how important compassion is.

Being more compassionate toward your partner then is key not only for both of you in terms of health and well-being but for the relationship itself. Oftentimes when we get into an argument we are so caught up in being right that we tend to disregard how our words are hurting our significant other, and what the consequences of that will be in the future. Instead, when things get a little heated, take a step back, a deep breath, and a time out. Say something positive to your lover and agree to couch the issue until a later date. Find ways to calm yourself that are healthy. Don’t only think about yourself or dwell on your position. Instead, walk a mile in your partner’s shoes and see how it feels to be them, and how you would feel from their point of view. How would they view you?

If your partner fails to notice something you’ve worked very hard on, instead of blowing up, understand that they have that big meeting on Tuesday and are a little preoccupied. Give them a nudge in a joking or positive manner. If they’re worth your time they’ll come around, probably even apologize. Remember that we are all human. We are victims to fate, our own biology, we make mistakes, get in bad moods, are irritable and sometimes, just want everyone and everything to go away. That said, give your partner some space.

If they lash out at you but have been stressed lately, instead of reacting with vitriol, take a step back. Why might they be acting like this? Let the matter go and check with them sometime later. Are they okay? Is there anything they’d like to talk about? Giving them the option to talk about and work through a problem out in the open will do amazing things for your relationship. Sometimes we are angry, tired, stressed out and just need a break. But instead of letting the emotions build up and then lashing out at your partner, find another healthier way to relax and deal with your stress. Show great compassion toward your partner and you’ll be setting a tone, whereby you’ll be receiving great compassion in return. For more advice read, The Relationship Handbook: A Simple Guide to Satisfying Relationships by George S. Pransky, Ph.D.

A Second Marriage is Often Better than the First

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A Second Marriage is Often Better than the First

Lots of people swear off marriage after their divorce. Those who felt controlled or dominated swear they will never lose their independence again. Infidelity makes others question commitment. Some feel that they would never want to go through the agony of divorce again. There are those who feel marriage is doomed because once the initial nuance wears off a lot of problems rear their ugly head. But the truth is your second marriage is often much better than the first.

Lots of folks put trust in the idea of marriage, until they get into and out of one. Then they realize that it’s a tremendous amount of work. And not only does it bring out someone else’s issues, but worse yet your own rise to the surface when interacting with a spouse. Some people don’t want to deal with all of that. And that’s understandable. Realize that most people are trained on how the subtle dance of courtship and getting married works. But lots of people don’t know what to do once in a marriage. After one is over however you are more knowledgeable, wiser and carry lots of experience. You know yourself a bit more. Lots of people fail to understand what they themselves bring to the marriage in terms of baggage. But after one marriage is over, and one has to face one’s baggage you start to realize your own patterns and mistakes, and seek to rectify them. This makes you a much better and more mindful spouse in the second marriage.

There are a lot of pressures on young couples that many times doesn’t exist on people getting married for a second time. Young children, a mortgage, striking out in a career and student loan debt all weigh on the marriage. But second marriages usually happen a little later in life when one is settled in one’s career, more comfortable financially and whose children are generally older or old enough at least where they don’t need constant supervision and care. There’s a lot less pressure that can weigh on the marriage. Money is the number one issue both in terms of starting marital conflicts and ending relationships, including marriage. If one or both of you is financially sound then there is far less of a chance of contention, should you get along in other aspects emotionally, sexually and intellectually such as shared goals and values.

After going through the first marriage you know how to fight and communicate correctly, and how not to fight and communicate. This will make the relationship more stable. Another advantage, you can take the lessons learned from the previous marriage and apply it to this one. Say you were taken for granted in your last marriage, now you may know how to speak up. Or if you took your spouse for granted you’ll appreciate your new one more. There are lots of advantages to a second marriage. But truthfully consider whether or not it’s right for you. For more advice read, Making Your Second Marriage a First-Class Success by Doug Moseley and Naomi Moseley.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

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Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

We are connected to so many different people, venues and organizations through our computers and mobile devices that today people are overwhelmed with options. This is true of modern day “hookup” culture where young adults, spurning marriage and family planning for the extended education it takes to get a job in today’s market, cycle through one hook up after another, for fear of missing out on an amazing experience with someone new. But the problem is that they are never in a relationship long enough to form any kind of intimacy. Studies have shown that millennials are more frustrated and emotionally unfulfilled than previous generations. People of all ages now serially date. They cycle through one person they met online after another, fearing that they are missing out on “the one.” But with so many options, their standards skyrocket. The result? They are too picky and judgmental. They gloss over each date, never really piercing the surface and getting to know the real person deep down inside. Instead, they usually find a superficial reason to rule the person out and move on. So they may have found “the one” without even giving “the one” a chance.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is now something of a massive psychological condition brought on by mobile devices carrying the internet. People veer to their Twitter while at work, diminishing their concentration on an important task. They check their LinkedIn while with friends, their Facebook while on a date, they even put their own lives at risk and the lives of others by texting or checking email while driving. Lots and lots of people around the world do this. And when confronted with how wrong that is, they just shrug.

Our fear of missing out has us glossing over what is really important in life, and that’s being there, being in the moment, savoring it and enjoying it. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle has a chapter on this phenomenon and The New York Times covered FOMO in an article by Jenna Wortham. There are singles who go on Facebook and feel bad when they see how happy their married or attached friends are. There are teens who lose sleep and are distracted from their studies constantly checking their social media to see who broke up with who, who is dating who and so on. The truth is, this is an impulse control problem. FOMO makes us hyper vigilant, always seeking for something better for ourselves. Most of the time, however, there isn’t anything on there that’s so important it should interrupt the real, offline life in front of you.

Being constantly distracted is no way to live life. Being constantly unsatisfied isn’t a great way to manage a love life either. Instead, limit your use of social media. Only check it at certain times of the day and stick to your schedule. When you feel the itch to check, notice something in your immediate environment that makes you feel satisfied: a warm smile, a delicious cup of coffee, a beautiful scarlet picture frame with a photo of someone you love. Savor the real world with all of your senses and you’ll soon see that social media just can’t compare.