But what if that trust has been broken?
- Understand How Your Partner Feels Put yourselves in their shoes and realize just how much the breach of trust would hurt you. This is critically important because you are going to be reminded of your breach of trust more than once. You need to understand that the reason that your partner does this is because you have really hurt them. Try and empathize with that hurt and you will understand your partners actions much more easily.
- Admit You Are Wrong When we are attacked, out natural tendency is to defend. You need to squash that natural tendency and admit that your betrayal was a mistake. One way to do this is to actually think of it as a betrayal. It's a strong, emotive word, but it literally means a breach of trust. So if you have breached the trust your partner put in you - then you have betrayed them. And when they remind you of it, don't try and defend yourself. It's especially important you don't try and make excuses or justify your actions. If you start doing that then you are sending your partner a clear message "I can justify doing this once, so I can justify it again too." That is not going to restore trust.
- Apologize. More Than Once. As previously noted, you will get reminded about this multiple times by your partner. Acknowledge that you are truly sorry for your mistake each time it is bought up. But don't go overboard with your apologies. Only mention it when your partner does, and keep it brief.You need to be heartfelt and genuine, but you don't want to spend hours analyzing and explaining.
- Reaffirm Your Commitment, Then Move On. You need to offer an assurance that this betrayal was an aberration, that it will not happen again, and that your partner can be assured of your trust from this point on. Then you need to let it go. Don't feel you need to constantly remind them about how much they can count on you. That will actually have the opposite effect. They will be wondering; "What are you up to?" You can actually combine all the previous steps into a concise little statement. "Sweetie, I know I was wrong to do that and I am so sorry I hurt you the way I did. I love you and will never hurt you like that again". Of course, all this will become very ineffectual if you do it while continuing to betray your partners trust, so make sure you do what you say and stop the offending behavior. Honestly commit yourself to being a trustworthy partner.
- Realize It's A Two Way Street. Both partners have a responsibility in restoring trust in a relationship. The person who broke the trust, needs to genuinely do all they can to restore that trust. The other person needs to recognize that effort and ultimately forgive the other for past mistakes. You can't hold a mistake over someone's headforever, especially if they are doing all they can to make things better. That will only lead to bitterness for both of you.