How To Rebuild And Regain Trust After Lying To Your Partner

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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.

3. Apologize

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.

4. Listen

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. For this, we highly recommend the online service from Relationship Hero. You can have the important discussions you’ll need to have with the help of a trained relationship expert, all from the comfort of your own home.

Show your partner just how serious you are and click here to chat to someone right now or arrange a session for a date and time to suit 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.

Still not sure how to get your partner to trust you again? Listen, it’s going to take time and lots of effort on your part. It might help to have some expert guidance on what to say, how to behave, how to react when they get upset at you again (because they probably will). You’ll stand a better chance of saving your relationship than if you go it alone. So why not chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you navigate this tricky phase of your relationship. Simply click here to chat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why did I lie to my partner?

Lying is a behavior that is often linked to shame. You may have lied because you were ashamed of the truth. You didn’t want to reveal something because you knew that your partner would look at you differently, as though you were a lesser person than you want to be.

Lying is also easy. Assuming they don’t already know the truth, lying to someone pushes that issue into the future. Even if lying only makes it worse should the truth ever come to light, you were willing to risk it because it avoids immediate discomfort for you.

You may frame it as not wanting to hurt your partner’s feelings. But those feelings will be even more hurt if and when they discover the thing you lied about AND the fact that you chose not to trust them with the truth from the beginning.

You may also have lied by omission. Perhaps your partner never asked you specifically about something, but you hid your actions surrounding that thing because it was shameful and you didn’t want them to find out. This is just as bad as lying to someone’s face.

In the end, only you will know for sure why you chose to lie to your partner rather than be honest with them.

How can I stop lying?

If this isn’t the first time you’ve lied to your partner, or you lied in previous relationships, it is worth getting to the root of why you lie. Only then can you stop yourself from lying again in the future.

Look for patterns in your lies. Are they always about a certain thing? Are they bare-faced lies or lies by omission? Do you lie to avoid conflict? Do you lie because you don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable with others? Do you have a problem with compulsive lying where you just can’t seem to tell the truth about anything?

If you do tell a lie, say so immediately, apologize for lying, and try to reassure your partner that what you say now is the truth. This will condition you to speak the truth, even if you have lied first. Eventually you will realize that telling the truth is often met with more compassion and forgiveness than lying ever will be, and this will become your instinctual behavior.

If you have a big problem with lying, not just in relationships but in general, you might need to seek the guidance of a professional therapist or counselor. The cause of your lying might need to be unpacked and dealt with in a more structured way to finally fix the issue.

Will grand gestures help earn my partner’s trust back?

You may think that sweeping your partner off their feet and making grand gestures of your love will get them to forgive you. This may not be the case at all. In fact, it might make them doubt your sincerity even more because it might feel as though you are trying to sweep the lies under the rug by focusing on these big shows instead.

It is a good idea to try to show them that you love them, but smaller gestures are best. Be consistent – don’t make it a one off act and hope that’s enough. Keep making the effort over months and years. In fact, you should never stop making sure that your partner knows how you feel about them.

An important thing to remember when you want to show your partner that you love them is to speak their love language. Do the things that mean the most to them, not the things you would like to receive from them. If they value physical touch, give them regular hugs. If they value the little things you do for them, be sure to get them drinks or fetch them a blanket if you think they need one. Speak to them in the language that they understand best and they’ll realize how much you care.

Will I ever be able to regain my partner’s trust?

Not all betrayals of trust can be forgiven. Some lies are just too big and cut too deep to move beyond as a couple. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try your very best to build that trust up again.

It’s important to listen to them and ask them what you can do to help them trust you. They may say they want to attend couples counseling to discuss the whole issue through. If so, you need to show enthusiasm for that process and be willing to be honest as you work together to find a solution.

You must be patient and give you partner time to deal with their feelings. They might wish to talk about the lies you told on more than one occasion – you can’t expect to have one big talk and that’s that. Your partner may need clarity on things and you should engage with them and be honest with your answers to their questions.

Trust does not form overnight, and if their trust in you was broken, it will take time to come back. It may never come back, in which case your relationship will be unsustainable in the long run.

Will my relationship go back to normal if my partner forgives me?

Even if your partner can find it in their heart to forgive you, your lies may still cast a shadow over your relationship. Forgiveness for a past act is not the same as trusting someone again, not completely anyway. Forgiveness is a very important step on the road to regaining that trust, but it is not the only one.

You can expect to have to behave differently in your relationship going forward. There has to be greater honesty and transparency in terms of your actions. Trust isn’t simply about the other person believing that you’ll do the right thing; it’s about you showing that you are doing the right thing.

You will likely have to communicate better in terms of where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing. If you didn’t already, your partner may want to pool financial resources so that you can’t hide your spending from them if that was the basis of your lies to begin with.

What you have to remember is that the ‘normal’ you want to return to was a situation in which you felt comfortable lying to your partner. That shouldn’t be the relationship you are aiming for going forward. You should want a better relationship in which you don’t feel the need to deceive your partner.

How does it feel to be lied to?

If you are wondering what your partner is feeling right now, try to switch places with them in your head and imagine how you would feel if they had betrayed your trust in the same way.

You’d be extremely hurt. You would probably have immediate doubts about the relationship. You might ask yourself what you did wrong for them to hurt you this way. You might feel disrespected. You might feel unloved. You might be angry, sad, resentful, ashamed, confused, or any number of other things.

This is how your partner is feeling right now. All of those things and more. No matter how big or small you may think the lie is, it’s going to hit them hard.

My partner lied to me – how can I trust them again?

A lie is a betrayal of the trust you had in your partner. It’s not going to heal quickly, but it is possible to move past the incident and find a way to trust them again.

Forgiveness is the first step. If you can’t forgive your partner, you will be forever fighting ill-feelings toward them. Forgiveness takes time and requires a lot of thought and soul-searching, but it is possible. That doesn’t mean it is always possible, at least not in the sense of being willing and able to continue the relationship. Some hurts run too deep, and even if you forgive the act, you might not be able to trust them again.

The next most important thing is to be open and honest with them about how you are feeling both now and in the future. Don’t shy away from your mistrust of them – address it and find ways to adapt to situations when your trust in them is stretched thin. You need to build the trust up little by little through concerted effort on both your parts. Consistency in yours and their actions is vital so that healthy expectations are set and new ways of being a couple are formed.

And don’t feel you have to go it alone. If you and your partner struggle to discuss the matter in a calm way, or they try to avoid the issue entirely, seek the guidance of a relationship expert. They can be the voice of reason and clarity as you communicate with each other with their help. Sometimes it’s the only way to move beyond the betrayal that occurred. If you want to give this a go, try the online service from Relationship Hero.

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About Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.