Trust is probably the most important ingredient in fostering a healthy committed relationship and is commonly known to be the glue that cements a couple together. Trust is the endearing faith and confidence that your partner will respect you and not take advantage of or hurt you. It’s a feeling that he is genuine, authentic, dependable, and sincere. This connection allows you to be completely uninhibited and open yourself up to being vulnerable and share your most intimate thoughts and feelings—spots and all! Time and experience with your man has enabled a climate of safety to evolve in your relationship because you’ve both consistently demonstrated honor and strength of character in your actions toward each other and those around you.
While trust takes time to develop and is a hallmark of a successful relationship, it can very quickly be damaged if not nurtured and cause severe consequences for the future of the partnership afflicted by an indiscretion. Once trust has been compromised, it can be very difficult to repair, and in some cases that damage can be irreversible. This article will offer some tips for those couples invested in bridging the gap and attempting to restore the impaired trust in their relationships.
The Shattered Foundation
All that a relationship has been built upon comes crashing down once trust has been violated, which is why it’s typically not a quick-fix and requires a lot of time and energy dedicated to its repair. Maybe he cheated on you. Perhaps you told him a white lie. He might have broken a promise to you. No matter how miniscule or severe the crime committed may seem, the dynamics and the sense of security the relationship once shared will likely be shifted.
Developing trust in someone can be made difficult when there’s been a history of emotional/verbal/physical abuse, when one’s feelings have been minimized or ignored, or when there’s unresolved grief or hurt from the past. Your family background and prior experiences in relationships can also be contributing factors to difficulties with trust, as well as significant stress, low self-esteem, and addictions. Just the nature of being gay can make us prone to being mistrustful because of the years we spent hiding behind masks or “closet doors" to protect ourselves against homophobia. And when the man we fall in love with betrays that ultimate brotherhood bond, it can be devastating and lead to an almost paranoid state of always assessing his every move and action and becoming hypersensitive to any possible indication of disloyalty to compensate for and protect against getting hurt again. Intimacy suffers and the level of involvement tends to become distant.
Tips For Rebuilding Trust
While it may seem insurmountable at times, it is very possible to heal from broken trust and come out on the other side with a positive outcome. You must first decide, however, if you are truly invested in salvaging your relationship with each other and that you’re doing it for the right reasons. If the violation goes against your core beliefs and values, is this really a good partner choice? Staving off being alone and having to start over again is not a good reason to dismiss an inappropriate behavior that opposes who you are and what you stand for. Make sure your motives are in the right place and that you each share a genuine common vision of rising above and conquering this challenge because your relationship is worth it.
Here are some tips for those couples who are invested in that process. These recommendations can help promote the chances for a progression through the hurdles of repairing trust to a new life of possibility as lifelong partners:
The road to recovery from broken trust can lead you to a lot of self-discovery and growth in your relationship with sustained effort and a positive mindset. Recognize how trust issues play out between you and your partner, identify the behaviors needed to overcome obstacles, and confront any blocks that might hold you back from your goals. And lastly, realize that trust needs constant feeding in relationships and that the hardest thing in the world for you to do right now is an essential component of moving forward—becoming vulnerable again. But by opening yourself up, you’ll truly be able to see if you’re loved for who you really are and you’ll be a more active and happier participant in life.
© 2007 Brian L. Rzepczynski
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Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: “I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right. " To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs, and teleclasses, please visit http://www.TheGayLoveCoach.com
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