A healthy relationship cannot exist without trust. If necessary, can you rebuild trust in a relationship?

Lies, secrets, broken promises, and cheating—just one act can throw trust out the window. And these lapses can shake the very foundation of even the most loving relationships.

Couples aiming for reconciliation may find themselves at a crossroads after a breach of trust. In these moments, effective communication becomes paramount. But where do you start?

Here are 10 essential questions to help rebuild trust in relationship.

1. What Brought Us to This Point?

The question hangs in the air: Would you have come clean if they hadn’t found out? It’s a tough decision, especially if you’re the offending partner, but it’s a brave first step toward repairing broken trust.

Choosing to share the truth, with the sincere goal of fixing the mess you caused, lays the groundwork for honesty and the chance to reconcile.

Conversations aren’t just about sorting out the logistics. They’re a chance for clarity and insight into forgiveness and moving forward. Of course, this is easier said than done.

In cases of infidelity, the nuances of the affair can truly matter for some couples. Was it a one-night stand? Was it ongoing? Was it strictly and emotional entanglement without any physical intimacy?

Understanding what the affair meant to the unfaithful spouse and exploring their willingness to mend the marriage can influence whether the hurt partner is open to the prospect of reconciliation.

Keep in mind that these difficult talks serve a bigger purpose—they uncover problems, process emotions, and actively search for solutions.

2. How Have My Actions Hurt You?

Acts of empathy can be healing for both parties. Allow space for your partner to express their anger, pain, and frustration. More importantly, validate the hurt they’re feeling.

Senior couple having a hard talk

Be honest and kind when you’re opening up. Understand that your partner will need time to process what you’ve shared or what they’ve found out, and they’ll go through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Avoid downplaying the impact of your actions on your partner. Depending on the severity of what transpired, the revelation can potentially disrupt their entire world.

While it’s crucial to be forthright, ask yourself: Will it help to dive into unnecessary details? Isn’t this just going to inflict more hurt than healing? Will it only lead you to make more lies to spare them from further anguish?

Establishing healthy boundaries together and determining the depth of information shared can protect both partners’ emotional well-being. This could be a good time to involve a marriage and family therapist who can help you make the decision.

3. Do You Feel I Truly Understand the Impact of My Actions?

This question demonstrates a sincere concern for your partner’s feelings and acknowledges the emotional fallout of your actions.

Instead of a generic apology, asking them this question shows that you’re not only aware of the mistake but also committed to understanding how it affected your partner. It signals an openness to empathy and a willingness to validate their emotions.

Rebuilding trust in a relationship requires you to show your partner that their feelings matter to you.

4. How Can I Make You Trust Me Again?

Rebuilding trust doesn’t happen overnight. Words alone aren’t enough; what really matters is consistently demonstrating trustworthy behavior.

Discussing specific steps to rebuild trust creates a clear path for both partners. Keep no secrets and be transparent about intentions and actions.

A genuine desire to change is a powerful force in the process of rebuilding trust. It involves self-reflection and a commitment to personal growth.

One study revealed that partners were more likely to forgive past transgressions if there was already a solid foundation of trust. A mistake doesn’t necessarily have to spell the end of a relationship if you address it with sincerity and commitment.

5. Are There Positive Aspects of the Relationship Before This Incident That We Can Focus On?

Think back to those tough moments you faced together—how you had each other’s backs and came out stronger. Recall that time you both laughed so hard or those small victories that made you both proud.

When things hit a rough patch, this question serves as a reminder of the foundation upon which the relationship was built.

Recalling the good times will help your partner see you in a more humane light. It can reinforce your positive qualities and the reasons that brought you together in the first place.

6. How Can I Support You in Healing From the Betrayal?

Instead of guessing what your partner needs, simply ask them. Whether it’s emotional comfort, time alone, or specific actions, this question reinforces mutual understanding and healing in the aftermath of betrayal.

Couple Having Argument in Kitchen

Recognize how important reassurance is. Small gestures count, so put effort into showing love and giving emotional support without always promising it explicitly. The idea is to be there consistently, supporting without needing to make big commitments.

7. What Do You Need From Me to Feel Safe and Secure Again?

Think about adjusting what you do to meet your partner’s needs. Make sure you’re actively creating opportunities for candid talks. Set up routines that bring stability without making grand promises.

Keep your partner in the loop about your plans and any changes to make them feel more involved. Instead of just saying you’ll be careful with promises, focus on doing things that match your words over time.

Show reliability through actions—they speak louder than words.

8. What Steps Can We Take Together to Heal and Move Forward?

By using inclusive language like “we” and “together,” you convey that you see the healing journey as a joint effort. It opens the door for both partners to contribute to the rebuilding of trust and the overall health of the relationship.

This question encourages a constructive dialogue where both individuals can express their ideas about the practical steps they believe will facilitate healing.

Listen to your partner’s perspective and share your thoughts on the matter.

Remember the three Cs as you work together to rebuild trust: collaboration, compromise, and communication.

9. What Role Can We Both Play in Rebuilding Trust?

Both partners play a role—the offending partner in demonstrating genuine change, and the innocent partner in allowing room for that change.

Looking ahead, it’s helpful for both sides to figure out what they need from the relationship, learning from lessons of why it didn’t work the first time. Partners must be on the same page about what’s essential for a successful relationship.

So, participate in defining what’s necessary to stay committed. When communicating these needs, choose words that foster open conversation and don’t end up in blame games.

Instead of using words like “should,” “never,” or “always,” opt for language that inspires understanding. For example, saying “I appreciate it when we can spend quality time together” is more constructive than “You’re always too busy for me.”

10. Would You Be Open to Attending Couples Counseling?

In situations where the breach of trust may be too severe or complex to handle on your own, reaching out to a marriage and family therapist can be invaluable.

A professional can help you identify where the trust issues stem from and equip you with coping strategies to facilitate reconciliation.

Counselor talking to a couple during a session

Keep in mind that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure. Rather, it reflects courage and commitment to the relationship. You should also know that professional assistance isn’t a quick fix; it’s a process that takes time.

A qualified therapist can create a safe and supportive environment for both partners to address the pain and anger associated with the breach of trust. Yet, both parties still need to be completely open and vulnerable in sharing their feelings, thoughts, and expectations.

Key Takeaways

Here are some essential points to keep in mind when rebuilding trust in a relationship:

  • Trust is the foundation of a loving relationship, and breaches of trust can lead to emotional distance.
  • Communication is the building block of trust, and honest conversations are essential for addressing trust issues and creating emotional intimacy.
  • Trust-building activities, such as deep conversations and active listening, can contribute to a lasting connection.
  • Trust in relationships thrives on truth—the whole truth. Rebuilding trust requires one’s actions to align with their words. There should be absolutely no more room for lies and deception if you want your relationship to work.


Imagine a relationship without trust as a car with an empty gas tank. You can stay in it, but it won’t get you anywhere. 

There is hope whether you’re the one who slipped up or the one who got hurt. If your partner is willing to move forward, you can reignite the relationship and get back on track toward a place of reconciliation and growth.

That said, restoring trust is a journey, especially in cases of infidelity. It takes time, effort, and mutual commitment. Both partners should actively participate in the process and be patient with each other as they work towards healing.

Start with honest communication, guided by the right questions to rebuild trust in a relationship.