How to Rebuild Trust in Relationships


If you're facing trust issues in your relationship you're not alone.  Most of us are never taught how to be trustworthy (I mean more than being honest) or to repair trust with others.  So almost every relationship has a few trust issues.  

So today I wanted to share one of my favorite teachings on trust and a few tools to build trust in your own relationship.  

Are you in?

Brene Brown has been researching resilience in strong relationships for a long time, and in this video, she gives the main ingredients to cook up of trust in any partnership. 

She makes her research findings super easy to understand and apply to your daily life with all her vibrant examples and stories.  Check it out below. 

Then read on for reflection to share with your partner.

Key Ingredients for Trust in Relationships:

According to Brene there are seven main ingredients t build trust in relationships.  They are:

Boundaries - I will honor your boundaries and you respect mine

Notice the ways each of you may push on or pressure the other when they set a boundary.  Notice how you might pressure or push yourself to override your boundaries. 

Are there ways you could each be more respectful of each other and your own boundaries in this relationship?  (give specific examples)

Reliability - I do what I say I will do, and you do too.

Notice the ways you fail to follow through on promises.  How could you do a better job walking your talk with your partner and with yourself? 

Are there promises you still need to follow through on?  How can you hold yourself accountable for meeting them?  Are there some you can no longer meet?  How can you take responsibility for letting your partner down with those and be more aware (not to overpromise) in the future?

Accountability - I can own, apologize for, and remedy the hurts I cause, and I know you will do the same.

Are there apologies you're still waiting for in your relationship?  Can you imagine the ones your partner might be waiting for? Make a list and develop suggestions for how you'll handle each situation differently in the future.  Share it with your sweetie.

Vault - I trust you will hold what I say in confidence, and we each do this for others as well.

Think about the privacy boundaries you have between you.  Are there things you expect neither of you will share with others?  Think about the stories, traumas, reactions, and mistakes you've shared.  Is there anything you want to be kept just between you two?  How can you clearly state those boundaries so your partner can be sure they're a solid vault?

Integrity - I know we will both act with integrity, doing what is right instead of what is easy.

Think back over your time together.  How and when has each of you taken the high road?  Take a moment to recognize the ways you've each acted with integrity in the time you've known each other.

Then ask, how can I support you in doing what's right instead of what's easy moving forward?  What does meaningful support look like in this partnership?

Non-Judgment - I can fall apart, ask for help, and struggle without worrying about losing you (and you can with me too).

This one is a hard one- and it is so important.  Relationships with space for mistake-making and repair last longer than those without.  Take time to think about the times you've really shown up for one another in times of struggle.  What does meaningful support look like to each of you in those moments?  How do you know when each other in struggling?  How do you know your sweetheart is really there for you?  How do you want to be supported in future struggles?

Generosity - My default assumption is that you have the best intentions at heart- even when things get sticky.

Finally, this is the core of trust.  Can I give you the benefit of the doubt in moments of hardship?  How can I work to believe you would never hurt me?  How can I better communicate with my actions that I would never intend to hurt you?  

If you get stuck talking through these with a partner give me a call, I'd love to help you.

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect
  • change communication & codependent patterns
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.