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.

Your Marriage isn’t Hopeless

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Your Marriage isn’t Hopeless

Lots of marriages seem to peter out. The couple lets the spark die and can’t renew it. Infidelity creeps in because one or another’s needs aren’t being met, or because the couple can’t seem to get along anymore. Or there are those who simply run into a roadblock they can’t seem to overcome. Certain issues will always creep into a marriage and be hard to solve. Marriage actually seems to go through cycles, periods of bliss, followed by a rut or perhaps a contentious issue, then settled and blissful again. But when a married couple gets stuck in one of these periods and can’t seem to climb out of it, the relationship stagnates and both people drift apart. If you are in one of these situations, realize that your marriage isn’t hopeless.

If all of the important things are there, respect, trust and love, everything else can be fixed. You’ll have to invest a lot of time, patience and understanding to get through it. But if you can do that you can turn a marriage that has fallen flat into one that is vibrant and fulfilling. Follow these steps to renew your marriage. The first thing to do is to make a list of all the problems you are experiencing, the things you quarrel about. The marriage will be reborn once you have addressed these issues in a manner acceptable to both parties. Remember you are looking for the win-win, or at least a compromise you can both live with. If someone feels slighted it isn’t going to work.

When you try to force your partner to change they will resent it, become defensive and throw up walls instead of inviting you in. This will impede progress. Next, a very difficult step to get through, address the issues you are bringing to the marriage. What emotional baggage do you have and how does it express itself when you and your spouse interact over a certain contentious issue? How could you address the issue in a different way? For instance, if you are nagging, consider using humor to address the problem. Start a to-do list for chores instead of bringing the matter up time and again, being ignored and getting angry. Perhaps finding other ways to communicate will alleviate the problem such as text or email. Let your spouse know that you are changing your behavior and working on your issues to make the marriage better. They will likely respond by examining their own behavior and ways to make it more copasetic to the relationship.

Listen actively. Repeat back what you have heard your spouse say in your own words. Don’t invalidate their feelings, validate them. “Of course you would feel that way because (blank) happened.” Lots of fights occur through misunderstanding and the invalidation of the other’s feelings. Jettison all negative communication. Sarcasm, finger pointing, shaming, passive-aggression and more have no place in a marriage. They poison it until it is dead. The latest research has shown that marriages that last have five positive interactions for each negative one. Inject positive interactions into you marriage: a hug, holding hands, a kiss, seduction, a love note, a little gesture of appreciation, a “thank you” even if it was their chore anyway. Cherish one another and your relationship will blossom anew. For more advice read, Fighting For Your Marriage by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg.

Little Behaviors that Reinforce a Happy Relationship

HappyCouple

Little Behaviors that Reinforce a Happy Relationship

It can seem like a great and complex puzzle when trying to figure out what you and your partner can do to keep your relationship well-adjusted and content. Many times couples look for grand policy changes or an entire relationship makeover to become blissful and perpetually pleased. Oftentimes this isn’t the case. Generally, it’s the little things, little problems or behaviors that pile up like clutter in a closet. Soon the closet is full and no longer usable. It needs to be cleaned out. There are lots of little behaviors that reinforce a happy relationship, to help organize your relationship closet, keeping it sparkling, welcoming, pleasant, and clutter free.

Do you two often argue about what restaurant to go to? Where to eat out? What to do on a Saturday night? If you argue over this, or are tired of the methods you use to choose, try the 5-3-1 rule. The first spouse lists five restaurants that you both like. The second person eliminates three of the choices. The first partner then selects one. This is a fun and interesting way to make choices without fighting occurring. It also makes sure both parties are involved and no one feels drowned out by the other’s choices. Don’t overuse however. Instead, incorporate a variety of methods to make choices. Don’t take advantage or push your choice through. Your partner will resent it and will get revenge at the next juncture when it becomes time to choose again. Play fair and expect your spouse to do the same.

Sharing responsibilities is important. If one person prepares dinner the other should volunteer to clean up. Find ways to amiably share the household chores. Find what each person doesn’t mind doing. Make a list and write each person’s name next to their responsibility. What is left can be horse traded. Find nice, positive and respectful ways to voice your concern when your spouse hasn’t kept up with their chores. If you find yourself nagging, or they are, have a meeting and address it. Find more beneficial and positive ways to communicate. Make sure you aren’t around each other all the time. Respect boundaries. If your spouse wants to read in the bedroom alone, or go out with their friends, don’t be a sourpuss, encourage it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And if you are always around one another you may get on each other’s nerves and start to bicker.

Show how grateful you are for what your spouse does in the relationship. Thank them. Appreciate them, even if it’s a chore you decided was on their to-do list. Don’t correct one another or shoot each other down in public. Lastly, when one of you is wrong and wants to own up to it, don’t allow the other to rub it in or give an “I-told-you-so.” Why not use a “Fail dance.” This is when one person failed, and they do a silly dance for the other to apologize. It’s funny and fun and can make what could have been a fight or a negative moment into a positive one. For more advice read, Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship by Roger and Kathi Lipp.

Alleviating Marriage Boredom

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Alleviating Marriage Boredom

Lots of couples go through rough patches, ruts and what-have-you. Everyone is so busy nowadays, who has time to invest in a relationship? Most of the time we come home and all we want to do is eat, veg out on the couch for a little while and go to bed. But a marriage needs to be renewed with energy, vitality, interest, sexuality, amazing conversation, and even the sharing of food and ideas. Without these things a marriage is just flat. Alleviate marriage boredom by following these easy steps to reinvest in yourselves and make your marriage worthwhile.

First, work on yourself. Most people point the finger at their partner without realizing what issues they themselves bring to the table. Have a little time to reflect on what happens when you have arguments, what negative patterns there are, and how to counteract them. Then talk to your partner about it. Discuss the dynamics you’ve discovered and how you will neutralize them. You’ll be surprised but this very act may have them thinking about what they can do to improve themselves.

While you are getting in touch with yourself, get in touch with a sexual fantasy you want to try with your partner. And get in touch with your hopes, dreams and passions. If all you have or they have is the relationship that gets rather dull after a while. For heaven’s sake, what do you talk about over the breakfast table? But if you have a hobby or a dream to be fulfilled, invite your lover in and share that with them. Have one night a week where you invest in just the two of you. Turn off the TV that day and talk, have dessert, open a bottle of wine, look through old photo albums, act silly and have fun together. If you have the means go out. If not, find other ways to enjoy each other’s company.

Realize that relationships change and go through many phases. People’s wants and needs change over time. It’s important to stay in touch with your partner, who they are and how they are changing, and be okay with it, as they must come to accept who you are. If things aren’t the same, talk about it. Find ways to improve your life together. Encourage your significant other to chase their dreams and help them run after them. Expect them to do the same for you. Find something they’ve always wanted to try and do it with them. If absolutely none of these work for you, be sure to see a marriage counselor. But consider divorce the very last option. If you can reinvest in your marriage most times an awful lot will come back toward you. For advice on spicing things up in the bedroom read, Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, Ph.D.

Don’t Let Perfectionism Ruin your Relationships

PERFECTIONIST

Don’t Let Perfectionism Ruin your Relationships

Some of us have high standards for things. We want our lives to be perfect. With the right moves, creating the perfect home, family, spouse and life are thought of as an armor against catastrophe. But the truth is that no one can protect against a disaster. Life is inherently messy. No matter how perfect you try to make things, it can get messed up. No one can have complete control of their situations. And if you think that you can, when hit with the latter your reaction to tragedy will be far worse.

Perfectionism can wear on a marriage and drive a wedge between you and your kids. You aren’t giving them any say or sovereignty on their own lives. Behind all the good intentions, the smart schedules, the plans and the objectives is a dictatorial attitude. When you take away other people’s ability to decide or help decide in the affairs of their household and their life, you’ve essentially taken their rights away. The problem with the perfectionist is that he or she becomes more and more demanding until it drives everyone away. Don’t let perfectionism ruin your relationships. Take control of it and your life.

First, realize that perfectionism is just a hard shell around a soft inner layer. That soft inner layer is fear. Fear of criticism, rejection, disapproval and ridicule. But the truth is these very fears make their end come to pass. Instead practice anxiety reduction techniques. Join groups that help you manage your perfectionism. Elicit help from those close to you. Sit down with your spouse, children, significant other, whoever is in your life and explain what the problem is. Apologize for whatever problems or pain you’ve caused them. Say it by name, don’t paper over the apology or it won’t mean as much. If you are going to apologize believe it and commit to it.

Allow a more democratic style into the household where everyone gets a say and everyone can say their piece. You might not like what everyone has to say. But the truth is hashing it out is far better than letting it boil beneath the surface, or else you’ll get a flash boil. This way you all can talk things out. Find positive outlets for your perfectionism. Learn boundaries of others in your household when it comes to your perfectionistic tendencies. Find out how to pick your fights. Manage the issue and you will be okay and your relationships will blossom. For more advice read, Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism & the Need for Control by Pavel Somov, Ph.D.