If you have broken your partner’s trust with a lie and need to make it right, here’s how you can earn that trust back to save your relationship.
So you slipped and told a little white lie, and your partner caught you red-handed. Now, you’re faced with the frustrating consequences of your actions, and your partner no longer trusts you. If you truly care about your partner, you should have realized pretty quickly that what you did was hurtful, no matter how small the lie was.
It doesn’t matter if you lied about being on your way to work or who you were chatting with on Facebook. A lie is a lie, and it has the potential to plant doubts in your partner’s mind. Don’t be tempted to call your partner shallow and petty for making this seem like a big deal. Lies are a big deal, no matter how inconsequential you think they may be.
How to get your partner to trust you again
Earning your partner’s trust back may not prove to be an easy task, but it is possible. If your heart is in the right place, and you are truly remorseful for your actions, you will put in the necessary effort to rebuild the trust you broke. Here are some of the ways you can work on gaining that trust back after you lost it:
#1 Make amends. The first step to take after being caught in a white lie is to apologize. Instead of making excuses, show that you accept full responsibility for your actions, and that you are willing to work hard to earn back their trust. Be willing to wait as long as it takes for your partner to trust you again.
Don’t expect their forgiveness, but instead work on earning it through your actions from this point on. The situation will not resolve itself without any effort on your part, so make sure you are putting in the work. [Read: 5 ways to stop an old affair from ruining your marriage]
#2 Honesty is the best policy. This is a crucial point, especially since lying got you in this unwanted situation in the first place. Do not make the same mistake twice, or attempt to cover your previous white lie with another one, in hopes of saving face. Two wrongs really won’t make a right.
Tell your partner the honest reason for why you lied, and explain how it will be different the next time around. Let them know that your actions will be sincere, and your words will be genuine from here on out, and your partner can hold you to that. This is not an empty promise, you really have to prove it.
#3 Be prepared to be seen as the villain for a while. Your partner won’t be giving you their trust so easily after you lied, nor will they be loving and affectionate towards you for a while. You made a mistake, and you have to deal with the consequences, so be prepared to be seen as the villain until you’ve made it right.
Take it as a lesson learned. That should be enough incentive to make you never want to make the same mistake twice. It won’t feel good to be given the cold shoulder, but if you know you were wrong, you’ll know that you deserve their reaction.
#4 Be reliable. When you are reliable, this shows that you are a person of your word. Being dependable and available when your partner needs you will help build back the trust that was lost. Consider this a part of the bargain when you start making amends. [Read: 5 unique traits of a trustworthy person]
#5 Be an open book. Since you put doubt into your partner’s mind with whatever lie you told, it’s a good idea to start being more open than usual about yourself and your whereabouts. Volunteer information without making your partner have to ask, and make sure it’s true!
If they decide to do a background check to confirm that you are being honest, you want to make sure you have all the facts straight. Keep the lines of communication open, and keep your phone on, since one lie can cause a lot of other suspicions to build up in your partner’s mind.
#6 Respect your partner’s needs. If your partner asks for space or time to themself in order to help them get over the lie, respect their decision. Don’t abandon ship or beg them to forgive you, but rather let them know that you are there for them when they come around.
Make sure they know that you will make whatever changes necessary to prove that you won’t hurt them that way again, and that you are committed to working it out.
#7 Show remorse. Remind your partner that you are doing everything you can to build the trust back, and you will stop at nothing to make sure they never have to feel betrayed again. Don’t be overly flattering or affectionate, as it might look like you’re just sucking up. You will want to come across as someone who knows they’ve done wrong and feel horrible about it.
#8 Stick to your promises. When you promise to make changes and put in the extra effort to build trust in your relationship, your partner won’t take this promise lightly. Any promise you make will be set in stone, and if you fail to keep it, you can bet you added another dent in your credibility as an honest person.
#9 Make your actions speak the loudest. Words can spark the process of forgiveness and healing, but your actions have to really prove that you are trying. Put all of the above plans and promises into action, and don’t stop when you assume you have been forgiven.
Your partner has to notice all of the changes in you and make it clear that they are ready to move past the lie and start fresh. Until then, you aren’t off the hook.
#10 You’re only human, born to make mistakes. Don’t degrade yourself, even though you might feel really horrible about yourself after telling a pointless lie. Human beings make mistakes, and if you want to be better, make the necessary changes.
Start acting like the person you want to be, which should be an honest person with integrity. Cowards tell lies, so be the type of person who isn’t afraid to speak the truth.
#11 Let your partner speak. Allow your partner to tell you how much it hurt when you lied, and how they feel throughout the process of trying to learn to trust you again. Pay careful attention to what they need from you, and why it’s important to them. Helping your partner to heal and forgive you is easier when they know they are being heard.
Be a shoulder to cry on, or prepare for them to find comfort in someone else. Even though you might not want to rehash the events of your stupid mistake repeatedly, it is important for the both of you to talk about it, so that it doesn’t form into unspoken resentment that will continue to build. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener in your relationship]
#12 Seek help if you can’t help but lie. If your lying is compulsive and uncontrollable, consider seeing a therapist to help you figure out the root cause, along with how to become more honest in your relationship. If you don’t find the root of the problem, you might never have a fighting chance at winning back your partner’s trust.
No relationship will survive without trust. So if you have lied to your partner and made them feel like they can’t trust you, the steps above can help you get on your way to getting back to your partner’s good graces.