Can You Still Have a Loving Relationship Without Trust?


In her article, “What To Do When There Is No More Trust In The Relationship” Ruth Purple claims that you can. She claims that a person can still have a loving relationship if they can earn the trust of their partner back. How does one earn the trust of their partner back? Trust can be earned back by following the 4 principles that Ruth has laid out. Those Principles are:

• Both individuals should have a deeper and unselfish need to save the relationship. This is important, because building it needs a lot of effort and compromises. If either one of you believes that there’s nothing much in the relationship to be salvaged then there’s no hope for it to be repaired.

• If you’re the partner who have been betrayed and having trouble trusting again, the first thing that you need to do is to take a moment. Listen to what your partner has to say, and make the decision to forgive him and yourself, then make realistic conditions on what your partner needs to do to win it again.

• If you are the one who started the trouble, then the biggest burden to prove yourself worthy to be trusted again is yours to carry. The first thing you need to do, is of course, apologize, admit your mistakes and say the magic words, “I am willing to do anything...” Stand by your words. Be transparent whatever it takes.

• Both of you need to compromise. For the perpetrator, when your partner takes out a list of ways to win her or his trust back again, be thankful! Appreciate the fact that he or she is willing to tell you what you need to do instead of playing mind games on you. For the victim, again, be sure that your conditions are realistic and doable. If one or two of the things on your list seem impossible for your unworthy partner to do, then compromise.

The author claims that by following these guidelines and having a little faith, a relationship that has lost the element of trust can be rebuilt as strong as it once was.

I have to say that I vehemently disagree with the author’s logic, reasoning and conclusion. To begin, the author’s logic is based on an absurd assumption. That assumption being that both the victim and the betrayer suffer equally when the trust bond is broken. The betrayer may feel genuine remorse for breaking the trust of his/her partner but such feelings pale in comparison to the victim’s feelings of betrayal, shock and anger. So right from the onset, the author is quickly running down the wrong road.

My second objection is that it seems that she also holds the victim of the betrayal as partly responsible for the trust bond being broken when she says, “Listen to what your partner has to say, and make the decision to forgive him and yourself.” If you are the one who has been betrayed then why would you need to forgive yourself? This makes absolutely no sense. Even if your actions or inaction did contribute in your partner’s decision to break your trust, it was still your partner’s decision. There are a multitude of options that could have been pursued before betrayal.

One significant aspect of healthy relationships is the couple’s willingness to compromise. If both individuals are people of integrity, with a flexible and giving attitude then they will always find a way to work out their differences. However, there are some things in relationship that cannot be compromised. Trust is one of those things. Once the trust bond is broken, it can never be repaired. It is like an elastic band that is pulled at both ends. Once it snaps, it can never return to its previous form.

The author asks the victim to forgive the betrayer but in order to truly forgive; the victim has to also forget. Unfortunately the victim cannot do that. This is far too big a compromise for the victim to make. The victim may claim to forgive the betrayer and attempt to reconcile but this is an exercise in futility. From that point on, every time the couple has a disagreement, the victim will bring up the past betrayal. You can bet that when Bill and Hilary Clinton fight a certain intern gets mentioned from time to time. You can also bet that if an whenever Bill Clinton gets home late Hilary has to wonder where he was and who he was with. Hilary cannot truly forgive Bill because she cannot forget what he did to her. When you try to reconcile a relationship after the trust bond has been broken, it is the same as trying to make good wine with bad grapes.

It is a naïve fantasy to think that once he trust bond has been broken a romantic relationship can be repaired. To believe this is to deny what makes a strong foundation for a romantic relationship in the first place. Respect is one of the foundations of a healthy romantic relationship. Without trust there can be no respect and without respect there can be no love. The very best you can hope for is an arrangement like Bill and Hilary Clinton.

Having faith is not going to repair a relationship in which the trust has been broken because there is nothing to have faith in. You cannot have faith in your partner because their actions have shown that they cannot be trusted and faith is based on trust. You cannot have faith in the relationship because it has been damaged at its very core. You cannot even have faith in yourself because you know deep down that you can never forget the indignity you have suffered. It is my belief that the author’s advice is downright irresponsible. What she is promoting is to continue on with a relationship that will be a detriment to the individuals involved breeding further resentment and contempt.

Remember Cadets, once trust has been severed it can never be repaired.