Ada — Remember, forgiveness is a process. It will take a while as you regulrly look back at your deep hurts and see your partner as weak and fallible, and separate what he/she did from who he/she is.
If you are helping your partner forgive you, you might consider taking the time to put yourself in his/her shoes for a moment and feel what your partner must have felt when you hurt him/her so deeply. Write your partner a letter, describing what you felt (use feeling words), apologize for hurting him/her that way, promise to never hurt him/her that way again, and ask him/her if they will start forgiving you.
Next, rebuilding trust must occur. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that you must feel safe before you can feel genuine love. When we begin most relationships, we give a person a full tub of trust — for free. They do not have to earn it. We give it to them in a full state.
The tub will stay full even though we make mistakes and hurt the person we give it to. Normal hurts of everyday life do not tend to affect our partner’s trust.
But, if we ever dump that tub through betrayal, we have hard work ahead of us. We only get one tub per relationship. If we dump it, we must refill it. It is just not possible to say, “Let’s start all over again,” and expect your partner to make him/herself trust you fully again. It is hard work to refill a trust tub, and it can take a long time.
If what we have covered so far makes sense, let’s move on to the actual process of rebuilding trust. It will start with you asking your partner to make you a trust list. Ask for a long and comprehensive list. The longer, the better.