Rebuild Trust by Changing Your Expectations
By Susie and Otto Collins
If you are attempting to rebuild trust in your love
relationship or marriage you might still be healing after a
betrayal such as infidelity.
If so, you and your partner may each be working on staying
open and honest with one another.
As you follow trust-restoring suggestions and advice such as
that offered on this website, you are hopefully feeling
better about your relationship and hopeful that you will one
day enjoy the closeness and connection you want.
But there might still be a wariness deep within you. If your
partner had an affair or broke trust in some other way, you
might experience a hesitancy and a feeling of having to stay
While you'd like to completely forgive and release about
what happened, a part of you may be having a difficult time
If you were the one who cheated or betrayed trust, you might
not have fully forgiven yourself. Perhaps trusting your own
judgment and impulses is something you are working on.
You might feel stuck wanting your partner to own up to his
or her role in the disconnection between the two of you.
These are all important areas which deserve your
attention. We urge you to keep exploring what's holding you
back from enjoying the sense of trust and connection you
desire with your partner.
One way to get a clearer look at what might be creating
further distance between you and your mate is to examine
Cailin and Hal made a commitment to rebuild trust in their
relationship after they almost split up a year ago.
They found themselves very far apart at that time and when
they each confessed to betraying their relationship, they
realized it was time to either end it or attempt to rebuild
trust and their connection.
Working with a relationship coach and making a conscious
effort to make their relationship a priority has helped. But
Hal notices that he still feels skeptical about certain
things Cailin says.
Cailin realizes that she feels defended around Hal-- she
knows that she still does not fully trust him.
What is your "default" expectation?
If it is your intention to rebuild trust with your partner
and you aren't feeling the results you'd like, take a look
at your expectations.
What is the "default" expectation you tend to have about
yourself, your partner and your relationship?
Much like a computer has default settings upon which it
relies time and time again, we humans also have usual
thoughts, reactions and expectations that have been
programmed within us-- usually by past experiences and
Until you take a look at what your default expectations are,
you can't make changes that will support you moving closer
to your mate.
Cailin and Hal sit down together one evening and have a very
honest talk about each of their expectations.
While both of them want to rebuild trust, they also both own
up to their default expectations that are more in line with
where their relationship used to be and not where they are
trying to take it.
Hal shares that, deep down, he has an expectation that
Cailin will lie to him about her true feelings. He almost
expects her to just tell him what she thinks he wants to
hear instead of what she really thinks and feels.
He acknowledges that this was more accurate in the past when
she lied to cover her actions and feelings and doesn't seem
to fit what's going on now.
Cailin also notices limiting expectations she has about Hal
that are rooted in his infidelity. She has an expectation
that Hal will use her deep and honest feelings "against" her
She also continues to harbor an expectation that Hal will
cheat again even though she sees him
frequently demonstrating his trustability now.
Your default expectations might not make sense to you.
They may seem to defy the logic of your present moment.
Try not to figure out your expectations.
Instead, notice them and ask yourself if they are in line
with rebuilding trust and connection.
Consciously change your expectations.
Now that you are more aware of what you tend to expect, you
can make a choice. Are you willing to release that
expectation and replace it with a new one?
Answer this question honestly within yourself. There might
be completions that need to happen in order for you to truly
release this expectation.
It could be that you are still feeling raw and unsettled
about a particular issue.
If so, you can come up with a new expectation even as you
address what's unresolved for you. Write down your new
expectation and leave it out where you can read it often.
When you read this new expectation, try to breathe and allow
the feelings that come up for you.
After their honest communication about each of their
expectations, Hal and Cailin decide to each come up with new
They write them down and talk about how it feels to open up
to these different ways of approaching one another.
They make an agreement to sit down together at least once a
month to check in about their expectations. They also agree
to pay attention to how it feels when they affirm the new
expectation within their own minds.
Another agreement they make is to be patient with one
another as these changes and shifts happen.
It can take time to reprogram yourself with new
expectations. Be clear about the direction you want your
relationship to go.
When you realize that you are falling into your default mode
again, congratulate yourself for the
noticing and then ask yourself if you are willing to make a
shift toward the new, desired expectation.
You can also appreciate it when you notice your partner
making changes. From this place of noticing, appreciation
and conscious shifting, you two might also notice trust
rebuilding and closeness increasing.