You lied. You regret it. But what do you do now?
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. No matter what form your relationship takes or what boundaries you have established, being able to trust that your partner is telling you the truth is vital.
On the other hand, we’re only human and, sometimes, we get things wrong. No matter how good our intentions are, we mess up.
Lies creeping in can be a signal that something isn’t quite right in your relationship.
But messing up and risking losing someone you love can also be the jolt you need to recognize just what you have, and how terrible it would be to lose it.
Have you found yourself telling lies to your partner? Have you been unfaithful? Have you simply not been there for them at times when they really needed you?
If you’re wondering whether or not you can save the relationship that’s so important to you, don’t despair just yet. Where there’s a will, there’s hopefully a way.
True, the cracks might run too deep and it could be too late. And if you can save it, it will take an awful lot of work.
However, if you’re willing to put the effort and commitment in and accept responsibility for what you’ve done, your relationship might come back fighting, and even stronger than it was before.
Here are a few basic things to take into account that can help to rebuild trust and heal your relationship.
The individual circumstances will obviously be different for every couple so this is never going to be a comprehensive, foolproof guide…
…but, if you’re serious about saving your relationship, you should find some inspiration here to start healing the rift between you and your partner.
1. Lay Your Cards On The Table
If you’ve broken the trust that existed in the relationship, you need to admit to it and take responsibility for it.
Things need to be laid out clearly so you both know what has happened and where you stand.
If you’ve been unfaithful, spare them the precise, gory details, unless they specifically ask for them. In which case you should be honest.
In situations like this, the old saying ‘honesty is the best policy’ is truer than ever. From now on, even small lies you tell could make your partner suspect that you’re hiding something.
If you’ve decided that you want to stay in your relationship after having broken trust, don’t fall into the trap of trying to sweep it under the carpet and pretending it’s just going to disappear.
It will chip away at you, and chances are the truth will come out at some point, and it will be much worse when it does.
A lie confessed to quickly is one thing, but over the weeks, months, and years you’ll find yourself telling lots of other little lies to cover up the first lie.
This means that when your partner discovers the truth (and it is almost always when, not if), saving your relationship will no longer be possible.
Trying to hide what you’ve done is a sure-fire way to put an end to your relationship, sooner or later.
2. Consider The Reason Why
To regain their trust, your partner is going to want to know why you did what you did. So you need to have a good long think about what drove you to break their trust.
Be entirely honest with yourself and don’t shy away from the hard truths. The only way to fix this problem is to face it head on.
Remember that you’re not trying to find a justification here, or shift the blame onto someone else. You’re trying to get to the bottom of your behavior so you can explain it to your partner and be less likely to repeat the pattern.
When you tell your partner the truth, don’t try to justify yourself. Apologize from the bottom of your heart. And mean it.
Maintain eye contact, and make sure your body language matches the words coming out of your mouth.
If you say you’re never going to do it again, make sure that’s the truth that’s in your heart.
If you suspect this behavior might be something you repeat, perhaps you should reconsider whether the relationship is really right for you, or whether you both might be better off going your separate ways.
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Once you’ve apologized and been totally honest with them, let them vent.
It might take them time to process what you’ve said, but when they’re ready, listen to everything they have to say about the situation.
Listen especially carefully to the things they say that they’ll need from you going forwards, and the reasons why.
5. Seek Professional Help
In a situation like this, the help of both a therapist for you and a couples’ counselor for you and your partner can be incredibly beneficial.
Going to therapy sessions on your own can help you get to the bottom of why you did what you did and what your needs are.
If you find that you lie compulsively and just can’t shift the behavior, a therapist is definitely a good idea to help you figure out why and move past it.
Otherwise, there won’t be much help for your relationship, as repeated instances of lying will drive away even the most forgiving of partners.
Attending counselling as a couple means you’ll have conversations that you’d never be able to have if it were just the two of you.
If you can afford therapy, it could be the best investment in your own happiness and your relationship that you’ll ever make.
6. Expect It To Take Time
Don’t delude yourself that your partner isn’t going to need time to process this. And don’t put any kind of pressure on them to trust you again before they’re ready.
Depending on the severity of the lie and your partner’s personality, it could take a long time for them to process things and forgive you, and that’s okay.
If you’re serious about staying in the relationship, you’ll need to be patient and wait for them to come to you.
In the meantime, your behavior should back up your apology. Hopefully, once time has passed, the two of you will be able to rebuild the trusting relationship you once enjoyed.
7. Don’t Expect Them To Feel Sorry For You
Sure, this isn’t going to be an easy time for you, but you brought it on yourself and it’s definitely not your partner’s job to make you feel better.
If you need to vent or need a shoulder to cry on, talk about things with your therapist or a friend whose advice you trust.
8. Be Reliable
From now on, all your actions are likely to be under scrutiny, and you’re going to have to accept that.
So, show up. Keep your word. Stick to plans. Volunteer information about where you are and what you’re up to. Show your partner they can count on you, with the way you act every day.
9. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Be very wary of empty promises.
Don’t promise anything you aren’t sure you can deliver on. Any time you fail to keep your promise will serve to reinforce the idea in your partner’s mind that you can’t be trusted.
10. Forgive Yourself
No one’s perfect, and we all make mistakes. If you’re truly trying to make amends and repair the damage you’ve done, give yourself a bit of credit for it, and stop hating yourself.
Rather than spending time worrying about what you’ve done, put your energy into becoming the trustworthy, honest person you want to be.