In order for Steven to rebuild her trust, there must have been trust to begin with. But he done messed up! Now he’s trying to figure out how to rebuild trust.
Steven was supposed to be at happy hour with some co-workers (plural)….so he told his fiancé, Tracey. But half the truth is a lie; he was at happy hour with a coworker (singular)…in a two seater…in the corner…hugged up…gigglin’! A friend of a friend of Tracey was there too.
Camera phone…take picture…text to friend…forward to Tracey…Steven’s busted!
Fast-forward through the confrontation, the lie, the evidentiary findings, the admission, contrition, and plea for forgiveness…to the place where we are now. They’re still together, but Tracey doesn’t trust him. So how does Steven rebuild trust?
If nothing, TRUST is a complicated cocktail of past experiences, values, status symbols, expectations, and behaviors…mixed in a blender and poured all over our relationships. To understand how to rebuild trust, you first must understand how trust is built. So forget whatever you heard about trust…here’s how it really works.
Value System and Beliefs
Trust begins with Tracey’s past. From her past experiences, Tracey learned life-lessons that helped shape and form her values and value system. Those values are deeply rooted in the core of what she believes is right/wrong, good/bad, and acceptable/unacceptable.
Status and Esteem
Two very important values she assigns worth to are status and esteem. Status is the position one occupies or the objects one controls (e.g., a title, an expensive car). Some refer to such objects as status symbols. Esteem is the personal qualities one possesses regardless of position or status (e.g., trustworthiness, faithfulness) (Bass & Bass, 2008).
In Tracey’s life, Steven holds the status of fiancé…and she highly esteems him as trustworthy. And based on that, Tracey has an expectation — an expectation that comes from her value system and core belief of what is right, good, and acceptable behavior — that Steven will behave like a trustworthy fiancé.
How Trust Is Built
Trust is built by building confidence in your expectation that someone will behave according to the status they hold in your life and the esteem you assigned them. Tracey had confidence in her expectation that Steven would behave in an acceptable manner because she esteemed him as a trustworthy fiancé.
Loss of Confidence
But when Steven got busted…gigglin’, Tracey lost confidence in his ability to behave like she expected a trustworthy fiancé to behave. This “loss of confidence” mumbo-jumbo is just a fancy way of saying ‘she doesn’t trust him anymore’. But I break it down like this so you’ll know how trust is built…and how it’s demolished.
How To Rebuild Trust
Rebuilding trust is simple to do…that is, the process is simple. But the fortitude and stick-to-itiveness required to do it is a mutha! This is largely because you have the option not to. I mean really, who wants to voluntarily put themselves through the meat-grinder just to get back to zero. Some find it easier to bounce and start over with someone else…than to stay and work it out.
But for Steven, who wants to work it out, here are 3 ‘simple’ steps he must do to get back in Tracey’s good graces.