How to save a relationship without trust

Do you and your partner constantly fight? 

Does it seem like you can’t get through one day without the other questioning your motives? If so, then a lack of trust has likely played a role. 

Without trust, a relationship is doomed to failure.

I have had some experience with trying to save a relationship, and even though I am happy now, it was not easy. 

No matter how much I tried to ignore the facts, it was clear something had to change.

So how do you save a relationship without trust? 

1) Be clear about your boundaries and stick to them! 

Due to the lack of trust in your relationship, it might be a good idea to consider setting boundaries between you two.

So what are boundaries? 

Boundaries are rules you set for yourself and then communicate to the other person in your relationship.

These rules keep you safe and help you to feel good and in control. 

Boundaries are very individual to each person, but here are some examples: 

“Don’t ask me to do things that I’ve already committed not to do.

Don’t ask me to do things or say things that are hurtful. 

Don’t expect me to tell you everything about myself and my life. 

It is okay for me not to be available 24/7 and for you not to expect that from me.”

Boundaries keep us from being a doormat for our partner. 

They help us to retain our own self-esteem and protect our self-worth. 

When we have clear boundaries and stick to them, we are more likely to move toward true love in the relationship. 

2) Communicate your emotional needs

Once you have clarity about your own boundaries, it’s time to talk about emotional needs—especially those that may have been neglected or ignored by your partner.

The most important emotional needs are: 


Affection (or touch)

Understanding (which includes listening to you) 

These things are basic human needs and without them, people start to feel deprived and frustrated. 

Once those clear boundaries are in place, the next thing you need to do is to find a way to connect emotionally with your partner.

The longer you are in a relationship with someone and the more emotionally distant you become, the harder this is going to be. 

It’s like starting a relationship fresh! 

Communicating your emotional needs means being vulnerable and throwing yourself out there. 

It’s taking a risk on loving this person, knowing they might let you down. 

It will take some time, but stay strong and be willing to keep reaching out over and over again.

3) Talk about the past and present

I’ve found that the past can hold many secrets. 

If you have had a relationship without trust before, it’s important to work through all of the hidden hurts and resentments. 

This is where opening up and sharing your feelings comes in.

Past hurts can be aired in several ways, but here are three of my favorites: 

“I need you to know what happened so I can feel safe sharing it with you.” 

“I need you to understand why I’m upset about that so we both don’t replay it over and over again in our minds.

This kind of communication is an important step toward true love in the relationship because it helps both partners feel heard and understood by each other.

4) Active listening 

In order to save your relationship, being an active listener plays an important role here.

Active listening means that you are really listening to your partner

You are processing what they are saying and what they need. 

You discover that your mental picture of their situation is different from the one you see in their eyes. 

This helps you feel more connected to them and it shows them how much you love them. 

This is also a great way to stay present in the relationship because when we pay attention, we don’t take things so personally and emotions stay in check.

I know that it’s hard to be present when you’re feeling hurt, but practicing active listening can help you feel more connected and a lot less mad.

5) Practice forgiving!

The first step was remembering that everything happens for a reason.

If we do not forgive, it will be impossible to move on 

When we forgive, we can turn our anger into gratitude, our hurt into compassion and our grudges into lessons.

Forgiveness is the key to unblock and clean your energy field which is blocked by negative emotions!

I highly recommend forgiving the unfair things your partner has done to hurt you.

 It’s a hard thing to do, but it can restore trust in your relationship. 

Be careful not to forgive if you feel that it might be too late for your partner. 

If you have forgiven already, knowing that they would have forgiven you makes forgiveness easier for both of you. 

6) Don’t hold grudges or be triggered by small things

I know the feeling of being triggered, and I have been there many times. 

It feels like the end of the world when you are triggered.

What was worse than feeling triggered? Trying to explain it to your partner and having him or her acknowledge it. 

The only way I learned to stop this from happening was to try my best not to be negatively affected by what someone has said, even if the situation is completely irrational.

Holding grudges and being triggered by small things is a sign of low self-esteem. 

These types of behaviors only serve to make you look weak. 

If you are constantly walking on eggshells, your partner is never going to respect you for it. 

You have to be able to be happy with yourself even if your partner isn’t clear on his or her feelings, and never allow yourself to be the cause of conflict.

7) Be responsible for the relationship

This is a time-tested rule that helps me to deal with my emotions and those of my partner. 

It goes like this: “If I take responsibility for my own behavior, I am more powerful in a relationship than if I hold them responsible for how I feel.” 

This mindset will help you to stick to your boundaries and not play games with your partner’s feelings.

I remember a time my partner thought that I had cheated on him. 

He told me he didn’t trust me anymore, so I asked him to leave my home. 

I told him if he didn’t trust me then the relationship wasn’t holding.

He left but wouldn’t let it go. I loved this man and knew I have to find a way.

But I have to let him know that he crossed the line and hurted me.

If you want to save a relationship without trust, then learn to set limits on your partner’s actions and emotions. 

8) Remain calm during arguments

Conflict is inevitable in a relationship, and when you have trust issues it can be really difficult to manage conflict well.

A good rule of thumb is to not raise your voice or hit below the belt. 

Instead, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. 

Another thing you can do is to give yourself silent time in a safe place where you can remove as much stress from your current situation as possible. 

You may also want to enlist the help of a friend or counselor who can assist with managing your emotions and learning how to effectively communicate them.

9) Show him you are calm by staying in control of yourself

Often when I have had a conflict with my partner, I want to do something to show him how angry I am; this is my first mistake. 

The next thing I do is tell him what he is doing wrong. 

Then we start the cycle of argument and blame back and forth. It’s a terrible cycle that takes us nowhere fast, and it poisons our relationship! How can you break this cycle? 

Take some time out by yourself, but be sure to give your partner time out as well. 

Don’t call or text…just breathe and move on without contact for a while.

10) Don’t “move on” with someone else

I see this all the time, but it’s a big mistake. 

If you have trust issues, you should never move on with someone else until you are completely sure this isn’t just another relationship that will end badly. 

Moving on with someone else will only lead to more heartbreak.

Being vulnerable in a relationship is hard and takes time. Don’t give up right away. 

Learn to communicate with your partner and take an honest look at your own feelings. 

Developing trust takes patience, but if you put in the work, you can have a happy and healthy relationship.

11) Don’t try to change each other

One of the most painful things in a relationship is when you try to change your partner, or they try to change you. 

I was guilty of this too.

I thought that if I could just get him to change his behavior, then everything would be okay between us. It didn’t work though, and it just made things worse. 

Instead of trying to change each other, find a way to accept your partner’s differences and learn how to trust each other despite them.

pexels alex green 5699479 How to save a relationship without trust

Look, I know it’s hard when your partner makes big mistakes or you believe they have hurt you.

But remember you love them for who they are…the person who fits perfectly into your life. 

You can’t change what you love in them, so don’t even try! 

Imagine how difficult it would be to be with another person who acts just like your current partner? 

Not very likely. 

So instead of trying to change a person, focus on changing yourself.

12) Use your intuition to guide you

I can’t say that this is the only way a relationship works, but it has worked for me. 

This is the most important tool you have for making decisions about your relationship. 

If you have a feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is not right with your partner or in the relationship, then they probably aren’t safe. 

My rule of thumb is…” if my gut tells me ‘no’, then I can’t do it.” 

Trust only those people who are worthy of trust and pay attention to your gut feelings.

13) Don’t leave a relationship to be alone

I have left relationships to be alone in the past, and it was definitely a mistake. 

I know this sounds unrealistic, but it’s also important not to leave your partner for the sake of being alone.

It’s important not to let him feel abandoned and lonely. 

If you are in a relationship, then make sure that you are together. 

If it is clear that the relationship has reached its end, then in my experience you should accept it as a new beginning or restart…A new chapter for both of you.

Give yourself time to heal and surround yourself with people who will care about you and support your decision of staying in the relationship or moving on.

No matter how much of a difference this time you’re making, you will one day regret it if you don’t give yourself the chance to work on your relationship and make it work for you. 

It’s important to find someone that is truly going to love and care for you. 

14) Find the solution together

When you work on a problem together, it’s important that both of you know exactly what you want and what is going on. 

If one person isn’t sure of their feelings, it can be very hard to communicate and solve the problems. 

Most people are reluctant to tell their partner about their real thoughts and feelings for fear that they will be rejected or judged. 

Many people will initiate changes in the relationship first, but leave the decisions up to the other person.

They will force themselves to make changes even if they don’t want them, while they may not be willing to do anything on their own.

15) Listen with your heart!

This is so simple, yet so hard to do. 

When you listen with your heart, you connect on the deepest level with the person you love. 

You’re not thinking about what to say next or how to defend yourself, but are truly listening with an open heart—and this is really only possible when you have good boundaries in place. 

When you don’t give your partner a chance to talk, they will lose trust in you and the relationship will suffer.

When you start to feel afraid, ask yourself: Am I being honest with myself right now?

I have learned that when I am feeling afraid and worried, it’s time to take some time out by myself. 

I like to write down my fears and concerns and then sometimes take an emotional inventory; this helps me get a clearer picture of what is going on in my life. 

Sometimes I will make a plan for what steps I can take to work on some of these issues that are bugging me.

Yes, we all want relationships where we feel accepted and valued, but it’s not always possible to be totally sure whether your other half is interested in a relationship or not.

Don’t give up hope – work on the relationship!

No matter how hard things get, don’t let yourself give up hope. 

Take a break, but come back and make an effort to work on changes in the relationship instead of letting it go completely.

The more you’re in contact with each other, the easier it will be to solve problems together and strengthen your relationship.


Relationships aren’t always easy and sometimes you have to work hard before things get better. 

However, it’s important to remember that there is nothing more rewarding than having a good relationship—especially when you’ve seen how bad it can be.

I hope these relationship rules help one day, maybe in the not-so-distant future. 

You deserve good things!

Picture of Nguyet Yen Tran

Nguyet Yen Tran

Yen is a freelance writer and a researcher specializing in mental health, self-awareness, and psychology. Her hobby is studying human behavior throughout their reaction upon situations. Be sure to check out her other posts on our blog.

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