What to do when both people in a relationship have broken the other’s trust

JuicyBest asks:

My boyfriend, after he tracked a phone he gave to me and was actually seeing all my messages, saw when I cheated on him.  He told me it was over, but after persistence and begging, he forgave and now we are back.  But I no longer feel the vibe in the relationship the way it used to be. I kinda feel tensed around though he said he has forgiven, but I still feel guilty whenever we are together.  My Boyfriend isn’t financially stable but I love him.  Sometimes I try my best not to let it get to me because he can barely provide what I want, but sincerely speaking I do love him and we are both in college. I won’t lie, the idea of cheating to foot some bills pops up in. I’m confused and don’t know what to do.

Hi JuicyBest –

Your situation, I’m sorry to say, makes complete sense to me.  I always argue that the most important element of a romantic relationship is trust, and you both have hurt the trust of each other.  Him by tracking your phone and spying on your messages, and you by cheating on him.  This doesn’t make it impossible to make the relationship work, but it does make it a lot harder.

It’s good that you two have agreed to work things out, and it’s even better that you feel guilty about hurting him.  But now comes the big work: Getting the other to trust you again.

See, that’s really hard.  We dogs tend to trust everyone we meet, especially when we’re puppies, but if someone ruins that trust, let’s say by kicking us, we then know they’re capable of hurting us.  And once we know that, it’s impossible for us to believe they’re not capable of that.

So the answer then is to treat us so well, with such consistency, that we choose  to trust you again.  To believe, not that you can’t kick us, but that you won’t

So can you and your boyfriend each promise each other that  you will never do what you did again?  Great.  And then, can you each work really hard, for a long time, to earn the other’s trust?  That’s harder.

So for example, you’re counting on him going to a party with you, and he realizes he can’t make it because he forgot to study for a test.  Should he go to the party anyway, should he lie to you about why it happened, or should he tell the truth (which will lead you to distrust that he’s responsible enough to remember his assignments)?  Hard, right?

And you go to that party without him, and meet a guy, and he walks you out to your car (innocently) and someone sees you two walking out and tells your boyfriend about it.  Do you lie and say it didn’t happen, do you just angrily insist nothing more happened, or do you admit the truth, which makes him mad that you would do something with such a bad appearance, and that’s even possibly dangerous?

In both these cases, the answer is to open up completely to the other, and admit your faults.  If you can do that, you will build a deep trust.  Not that you’ll trust he’ll always remember his assignments, or that he’ll trust you’re always putting out the perfect appearance and self-care.  But that you each want the other to know your truth, and are willing to look stupid, careless, irresponsible, all that.

Because that’s when you’ll start to trust each other all the way.

Handsome and I have each made so many mistakes with each other.  But our trust is built on our knowing that the other wants nothing more in life than for the other to be happy and safe.

You can do this, if you both really want to. 

What do you think?  Is he worth the effort?

Best of luck my friend!


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