Is "it" happening to you again? You know, you had a wonderful relationship going for a while, but now things are falling apart.
Why can't you get this right? Are you going to have to cut your losses and start all over ... again?
Actually, not if you know what can be done to save a troubled relationship, and that's what we're going
to talk about right now.
Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that what happened in this troubled relationship is that trust has been violated in some way ... right?
Believe it or not, this isn't fortune-telling you're reading. The very definition of a troubled relationship is a relationship in which trust has been violated.
The problem is that once trust is violated, it's so hard to rebuild that most people simply give up and hit the reset button.
Fortunately, there's an easy formula which you can use to rebuild trust starting right now.
Have you ever been unwilling to forgive someone because you were afraid that you couldn't trust them yet? If so, that's probably the reason why you were having a hard time trusting them again.
Trust is impossible to rebuild in the absence of forgiveness. Forgiveness either comes first or the pain of the offense will keep you from extending trust to the person again.
Now, in some cases you might be the person who has violated trust, and that's when you have to start with the most difficult step of all: forgiving yourself.
Forgiveness is something which you extend before your feelings tell you to, and before you are ready to trust again.
This is because forgiveness helps to begin healing the pain felt by this violation of trust, and once this pain begins to heal it starts to get easier to extend trust again.
The other option is hoping that somehow you'll begin trusting the person again (even if that person is
yourself), and that you'll be able to forgive once trust is restored.
However, that would be putting the cart before the horse, and it will cause the relationship to continue to deteriorate.
Forgiveness is a choice and has nothing to do with feelings or trust. It has everything to do with healing the pain of the past so you can move forward.
Trust is never built upon assumptions. If you want to restore a troubled relationship, you have to begin with clarifying expectations so that a mutually agreed-upon standard can be established, and thus allow trust to be restored.
Too often, when a relationship is troubled and there is pain (caused by unforgiveness), it's too easy to glaze over things and pretend that they never happened.
The problem with this approach is that each person is left with only assumptions as to how the relationship is going to continue.
This leads to more violations of trust, since each person's expectations are based more on assumptions than they are on reality.
If you have the courage to forgive first, you can feel safe to sit down and talk about the expectations of the relationship so that trust can be rebuilt upon those mutually agreed-upon expectations.
As soon as the expectations are clarified in the relationship, you can begin extending and rebuilding trust according to clear expectations.
However, you must make an active contribution towards rebuilding trust through behaviors that are consistent with the new expectations of the relationship.
The final step is practicing patience and understanding that the restoration of trust takes time and that it's unfair to expect someone to trust you again before they are ready.
It will take a while, but chances are that when the relationship heals, it will be better than ever before.