Rupturing the Trust

Trust is the foundation to our romantic relationships. In the early hedonistic days when a couple first meet the future seems bright and full of possibilities. Both members of the relationship share very openly with each other, trusting each other with their histories. There is an abundance of exploration and curiosity that develops and grows forming what seems an impenetrable bond where the trust deepens. The future becomes an exciting adventure when a couple decide to commit to one another sharing a life that seems full of opportunities.

At this stage, an emotional contract takes place. Usually without discussion an expectation of how each other will conduct themselves within the relationship is formed. Difficulties are not anticipated and why should they, everything seems perfect.

There are all sorts of reasons why breaking the trust in a relationship can be so devastating, but none more than sexual/emotional betrayal.

The obvious betrayal is when one partner violates the expectation of the relationship. This can be having a sexual or emotional affair with another person. Exploration of sexual gratification outside the boundaries of the relationship such as, finding out your partner has been engaging in sexual experiences online (viewing pornography) without the other partners knowledge, engaging in sexual conversations online via chat rooms, watching live web cam for sexual pleasure. Hooking up on social media or physically in secret for sexual indulgence.

Any behaviour that keeps the person confined to secrecy from their partner will put them at risk from shattering the trust they have built with their partner.

Trust can be cemented very quickly within a romantic relationship, but when it is compromised or destroyed it can take a great deal of time to rebuild. The vision of loyalty and exclusivity vanishes in seconds leaving the other person lost and bewildered.

However, trust can be rebuilt over time. Commitment to repair the damage that has been caused is a good place to start. Reaching out for help through therapy can help a couple or individual navigate their way through the initial rubble of the crisis. In time pain can be replaced by hope, shame can be replaced by positivity and genuine growth can occur. Relationships can become stronger as building endurance and tolerance builds strength. No longer is there an assumption about boundaries and expectations for the relationship, communication, forgiveness, transparency, respect and hope become part of the new emotional contract moving forward.

Sometimes the trust can never feel 100% again but realistically nothing in life is guaranteed 100%. Trusting again can sometimes feel too risky but it is about looking at what you have got and whether it’s worth it.