Most important: Establish trust. / Eric Audras / Getty Images / Onoky
Betrayal, the root of all broken relationships, is a failure to put a partner first, says John Gottman, co-author of What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal. While betrayal is commonly seen as an affair, it can include keeping secrets, lying or not responding to a partner’s needs. Betrayal’s antidote is establishing trust, says Gottman. Here’s how to start:
Get invested. Bring any complaints about your partner to your actual partner, rather than to someone else, he advises. When a couple has a new baby, there is a big drop in relationship happiness 70% of the time. One fix is to shoulder new responsibilities together and to make time to preserve intimacy.
Support each other. The secret to building trust? “It’s as simple as being there,” Gottman says. “It goes both ways.” In relationships where trust is eroded, conversations don’t happen. “Trust really drops at that point, because one partner says, ‘I’m alone in pain.’”
Personal connection. “It would be a really good idea if people talk face-to-face more,” he says. “Particularly when someone says, ‘I’m really unhappy right now,’ and their partner says, ‘I can see why you are worried.’”