Addressing the Pain
Betrayal of a relationship occurs when the expectations you have are violated. This can be caused by many things such as creating debt, sharing confidences outside the relationship, not being there when something major happens, secret and/or excessive alcohol or drug use, and one of the most disruptive and hurtful is sexual infidelity or having an affair. The effect of betrayal is to break down trust. The assumptions you made cannot be relied on and it calls many things into question. Every relationship has an agreement or contract although this may be implicit rather than explicit and on examining it it may be that it is not the same on both sides.
An affair may feel like the ultimate betrayal of trust. You may feel so hurt that you wonder if it is possible to work through the pain and save the relationship. It’s not an easy journey, but it is possible to keep your relationship intact after an affair.
Some feelings that you might be experiencing following discovery of a betrayal include:
Grief & loss
Difficulty trusting anything your partner says
Fears and doubt
These feelings are common and understandable; however, unresolved feelings can result in resentment, which will further damage the relationship. Psychotherapy/Counselling can help you work through these feelings and begin the healing process. If both of you honestly want to save your relationship, then you’re off to a good start.
How You Can Start
The first step is to stop the behaviour that is a betrayal of the relationship agreement or contract. If an affair hasn’t come to an end or there is still contact with the “other person,” then this will need to be an important step if your relationship has an opportunity of being saved.
For the person who had the affair, are you ready:
To sever the relationship with the “other person?”
To be completely honest with your partner?
If the behaviour has stopped, the next step will be to effectively express your pain and hurt to one another without becoming angry or defensive. This can be difficult, as usually the one who has committed the betrayal wants to quickly move past the pain and guilt they are experiencing, in hopes of returning to a sense of normalcy. This can make their partner feel like they are on rollercoaster, as they are still processing their own grief and there might be doubts as to whether the relationship can be saved. Only you can answer that question, but I have met with many couples who have made the commitment and the decision to save their relationship.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do we really want to save this relationship?
Are we ready to explore the impact of of this on our relationship?
Are we ready to face the challenges that caused this to happen in the first place?
Do we have the commitment to work through those challenges?
If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, then you’re on the right path! You don’t have to go through this alone. I would like to help you as you take this journey to resolve the pain and renew your relationship. Take the next step and contact me.