Honesty is the best policy
1. Acknowledge What Happened
When there has been a transgression or a betrayal in the relationship there is always a diminishment of trust between the partners. It’s always better to acknowledge the violation as soon as possible. Waiting and hoping that one’s partner will not find out about what happened increases the likelihood that he or she may find out from someone else (which they usually do) and this inevitably diminishes the trust level exponentially. When this occurs there is a compounding of the damage done and an increase in the amount of time and effort needed to repair the broken trust. We’re all human and therefore capable under certain circumstance particularly when we’re under stress, of behaving in ways that violate our own code of ethics. Acknowledging our missteps and addressing them honestly with our partner is always he bet way to handle these occurrences. Doing so can sometimes strengthen and deepen the relational bond, not weaken it.
2. Get Honest
3. Answer Your Partner’s Questions
Don’t be defensive in response to their need for information even if you think you’ve already answered their questions. Sometimes things need to be repeated, especially when there’s been damage done to the trust level of a relationship. Your partner may need to make sure that you aren’t withholding anything else and they probably have a lot of questions that only you can answer. Be guided by the question “Is this information necessary for the healing of our relationship?” Keep in mind that your intention in this process is to communicate in a way that will restore trust and good will. Try to see your partner’s questions as reassurance that they haven’t given up and want to repair the breakdown in the relationship. and an opportunity for you to demonstrate the kind of truth telling that they may need to see in order to begin to trust you again. Even if the questions seem to be repetitive or unnecessary, they need answers in order to come to terms with the situation.
4. Listen To Your Partner’s Feelings
Don’t analyze, evaluate, judge, or try to reason with them in regard to any of their emotions. Listening without disputing is not equivalent to agreeing with someone’s point of view. It’s possible to listen respectfully even if you don’t see eye to eye about everything. Feelings aren’t necessarily rational, but they are real. You will have your turn to express your perspective, but not until they’ve expressed what they want you to hear. It’s not unusual to feel defensive when you’ve contributed to a breakdown in a partnership, particularly when the other person is saying things that cause you to feel hurt, angry, or unjustly accused of something that you don’t see yourself as being guilty of. their accusation The hardest part of the repair process for many people has to do with the ability to resist the temptation to “set the record straight” by straightening out your partner’s “misperceptions. Keep in mind that what they need from you is not to set them straight, but to be willing to hear their feelings without being made wrong or dealing with your defensiveness. They won’t care how you see things until they feel that you have at least heard them out. After they feel heard (which does not mean that you agree with everything they said but that you understand and accept their experience) they will be more open to hearing your side of things.
5. Be Patient
Don’t rush the healing process or pressure your partner to “get over it”. Reassure your partner that that you are willing to take whatever time is needed for trust to be restored and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to support that process. The process will probably take longer than you think it should and in addition to patience, will require time, self-restraint and compassion. In the end however, it is likely to bring about a deepening of the connection between the two of you. Resist the temptation to urge them to “get over it”. Give your partner reassuring words like: “ I know that I am serious about this commitment and I understand that you need more time to see the evidence and trust me. I can give you all the time you need”.
6. Take Responsibility
Acknowledge your part in the situation and what you have done that has contributed to the breakdown Avoid any explanations, rationalizations, excuses, or justifications for your behavior. There will be a time to view things from a larger context when your partner may be more curious about what conditions in the relationship were contributing to the situation, but that will come later. Remember that talk is cheap and that ultimately your partner’s trust will return and perhaps even expand when they see you truly walking the talk with consistency and respectfulness. Also, try to avoid demanding or even asking them to admit to their part in the situation. Keep in mind that if your partner feels that she has been on the receiving end of a betrayal of any sort, she will not b inclined to self-reflect until she feels assured that you have owned up and taken responsibility. Resisting the temptation to defend yourself doesn’t mean that you are admitting that you are singularly and completely to blame for the breakdown. It does howeve3r require the willingness to be vulnerable when that may be the last thing you feel like being.
7. Stay Focused on Your Intention
The work of recovery from a breach of integrity in a committed partnership takes time and effort and can be humbling. The stakes are high, and the benefits from doing the work are enormous. A successful healing can transform a damaged partnership into a sacred union. Many couples have told us that in the end, the crisis that came from the betrayal ultimately led to a profound deepening of the love and trust that they both currently share. Such outcomes are not uncommon but they don’t come without both partners doing their own work and keeping their eye on their own ball rather than trying to coerce the other into operating from their own game plan.
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