How to rebuild a relationship after trust is broken

When somebody has had their trust betrayed, whether it be a friend, an office colleague or a partner, it is hard to deal with.

Psychologist Dr Helgo Shomer talks to Eusebius McKaiser about how to get over trust being betrayed in a relationship.

Trust is absolutely necessary for human interaction, to be able to predict what we do with and about each other.

Dr Helgo Shomer, psychologist

Trust enables growth in relationships to occur, says Shomer.

Shomer starts by dealing with the person who has betrayed another and says they need to follow a number of important steps.

When you have been discovered:

1. Come clean (and that means completely clean!)

  1. Expect a harsh emotional reaction (Don't say 'oh it's not that bad'. Let the other person vent all their feelings)

  2. Apologise sincerely (don't try to justify it and take responsibility for your actions)

  3. Full transparency (that means opening your phone, computer and appointment book!)

You will not be able to rush forgiveness, says Shomer. People need to do it in their own time.

The guilty party needs to become completely transparent. In the case of a marital affair, he cites examples of how the one who has betrayed his or her partner needs to give them complete access to their phone, computer and appointment book.

Wanting to know why they betrayed you

Most people want to know why this happened, though the guilty party often does not want to thrash it out. The betrayer needs to be willing to discuss it as long as it takes if they want to save the relationship.

Take a listen to more advice from Dr Shomer:

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