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  • How to Rebuild Trust in Your Relationship

    Affairs. Secret credit cards. Gambling debts, DUIs, pornography–it may feel like you’ll never be able to trust your sweetheart again.

    But couples rebuild trust more often than you might imagine. Research-based couples therapy has shown that couples therapy can make a positive change for 70% of couples–changes that go the long haul.

    (This is not medical advice; seek a professional.)

    Rebuilding trust in your relationship can feel messy, but it can also feel intentional and structured. The Gottman Method includes a plan for building trust that goes in three phases: atonement, attunement, and attachment. 

    The plan is not about shaming, nor does it take a good-guy, bad-guy approach.

    Rather, the Gottman Method addresses the fact of the pain as well as the need for a respectful, practical, and loving season of healing.  

    Other strategies to rebuild trust include solving problems together and implementing safeguards.

    Couples who solve problems together nurture trust. For example, discussing how to fix the complicated family calendar, brainstorming how to help a child improve her grades, or researching contractors for home projects are opportunities to build trust.

    (Also, the problems to be solved are outside the topic of infidelity–they’re neutral territory. They provide an emotional break.)

    Lastly, I have found that couples who put together safeguards in the days following the discovery of infidelity are more likely to rebuild trust. Safeguards are like scaffolding; they add emotional strongholds for the raw moments. 

    Safeguards look like this:

    Sharing phone and email passwords

    Turning on home cameras

    Moving phone charging stations to the main area of the home

    Reporting arrival times, and

    Eliminating work travel as appropriate.

    Rebuilding trust is possible. Reach out to a therapist for support.