The feeling of being in love definitely makes the world a brighter, happier place. When in love, we tend to walk with a spring in our step. The birds are cheerily chirping all around us (even if it’s just in our head). We feel happy when in a trusted, committed relationship. Even when the initial honeymoon phase is over, we assume our partner is looking out for us. We trust our partner is protecting our heart. When we feel we are in a secure, betrayal-free relationship, life is good. Here’s how to move above and beyond a relationship betrayal.
Moving Beyond Relationship Betrayal
If you were betrayed by a partner or spouse, the feeling of love and happiness may quickly be swept aside. Many feel as though the rug they stood proudly on only moments before is suddenly yanked from beneath their feet. Those faced with betrayal usually feel blindsided by it. Trying to even stand on two firm feet again and breathe afterwards is suddenly a major undertaking. While there is no magic solution to make the hurt and pain of betrayal vanish, there are steps to take that help make life more bearable. Below are some steps to take after a betrayal has impacted a relationship.
Identify the betrayal
In a relationship betrayal trying to get the facts is often tough. Despite solid efforts you may never be able to uncover all the answers to know the full extent to what has occurred. Even if you found some questionable text messages from someone else in your spouse’s phone, this may not paint a complete picture of what has taken place. Hopefully after confronting your partner he or she is forthright with information, but that seldom occurs. But at the very least, you want to try and get enough information to know what has taken place and for about how long. Having this information will allow you to process it better and know how you want to handle the relationship, along with the betrayal, going forward.
Take time to Process
Nobody likes to experience emotional pain. Unfortunately, a wound of a relationship betrayal takes a long time to heal. And even then, some never fully recover. Many feel that an innocence may be permanently lost. It is important to understand that recovery is NOT a quick process. While there can be good days, there are days when the emotional sadness of the situation is all-consuming.
Questions to ask
Many therapists hold the opinion that when there is a betrayal in a long-term relationship, it takes about two years to fully recover. And while no one likes to experience long-term emotional pain, this is also a time for learning and growing. The following are some questions to ask, and maybe revisit as part of moving beyond the relationship betrayal:
- Was I happy prior to the relationship betrayal?
- Am I willing to stay with my partner and work to get passed this? Is my partner willing to work to work with me to get beyond this?
- Do I think this relationship betrayal is likely to occur again?
- Is there anything I can do differently to make my future relationships better?
- What do I need to do to get through today?
Just like every person is unique, every relationship is unique as well. Everyone is going to process and handle a relationship betrayal differently. The important thing is to take the time for reflection. A betrayal often leads to an ending or death of a relationship; going through the grieving process is important for mental health. Even though it may seem like rubbing salt in the wound, taking this time makes a stronger individual in the long-run. Additionally, it hopefully paves the way for a better relationship in the future.
Don’t jump into a new relationship
Getting out of a hurtful situation and getting into a better one is initially appealing. But the wound of being betrayed tends to run deep. Starting a new relationship only serves as a bandage. It’s crucial to let the wound ample time to heal before getting involved in another relationship.
Rebounding is usually a bad idea for a couple reasons. One, it takes a messy situation and makes it messier. After a relationship betrayal or break-up there is a lot of hurt and emotions to sort through. Starting a new relationship adds more feelings to a plate that’s already full. Adding these new relationship feelings to existing ones makes the entire situation even more complicated to deal with.
Secondly, rebounding generally leads to an unhealthy cycle of relationships. After being in a relationship betrayal, taking the time to process and grow from it is essential. Jumping into a new relationship seems initially enjoyable. But after some time old issues find a way of resurfacing. Your own mental state eventually experiences angst. Or, you may find that you are experiences some of the problems of your old relationship – just with someone else. It is important to develop skills to function better in a relationship, and this is not attained overnight.
It’s easy to get up in in the emotions surrounding a relationship betrayal, In fact, many of those who experience this distress have a tendency to spend too much time inside their heads. It gets difficult to even focus on the here and now and what is going on around us. Ad while it’s often difficult to focus on the simple things in life, it’s important to not let negative be all-consuming. Otherwise, it will take a toll on your mental health.
Also Read: Staying Mentally Healthy
One way to take a break from the emotional turmoil is to use the present situation as an opportunity for personal exploration. Betrayals are generally unexpected. And once it happens in a relationship, there are an abundant of unknowns for the future. And since those unknowns do exist, and can’t necessarily be controlled, it’s nice to be able to control something in life. Taking the time to explore a new interest or hobby is a great way to have that sense of control.
Sign Up For A Class
An easy way to go about this is to sign up for a class. Most community centers offer a wide-range of lessons from beginning golf to cake decorating. Electing to take a class and choosing to attend it is a way to have control in life. And it’s possible to meet new, interesting people also in the pursuit of something different.
Try Something New
Exploring interests can also be a positive way to redirect life when things get to a negative or stressful point. Having something new to learn forces you to direct your thoughts on learning that new skill rather than on the negative emotions of the betrayal. And by continuing to attend that new class and practice that new skill you will begin to feel that the betrayal or negative relationship no longer holds as much significance in life. Despite the fact that unfortunate situations happen, you do have control over the decisions you make in life.
Also Read: Why Swimming Is Important
Sort through the friendly advice and support
After a discovering a betrayal in a relationship it is natural, and usually a good idea, to seek out the support from family and friends. Having these close bonds adds some stability when your marriage or relationship is in turmoil. However, often times comments from these friends and family members adds to the emotional confusion. Sometimes comments people make can be helpful. However sometimes they may be hurtful – even if the comments were made with positive intent. For example, consider the following comment a friend might make. “I can’t believe he cheated on you, although I always thought he was a complete jerk.” While the friend saying this is just trying to show empathy, a comment likes this is delivered with a sting.
No one likes to feel that they picked a jerk as a partner or spouse. And no one likes to feel like they are a poor judge of character. Getting bombarded with similar comments from close family and friends can make the emotional rollercoaster of a betrayal an even more distressing experience.
After sharing the news of the incident, some family and friends have a tendency to continually pry for information and details. You may feel like discussing these specifics of your situation, you may not. At some point you may want to take a break from the emotions running around inside your head. And therefore, you may prefer to discuss something other than the betrayal with family and friends. Sometimes chatting about a lighter topic, such as the latest movies in the theater, is a way to channel your thoughts elsewhere. Good family and friends should respect your needs and not add to the drama.
Likewise, it is a good idea to learn to sort through the comments others make regarding the unfortunate situation. If someone’s advice or comments are continually rubbing you the wrong way, you may not want to continue to disclose details of the betrayal to that person. You also may want to keep your emotions in check as well. Or you may want to wait until you have achieved some clarity and stability for yourself. If you’re betrayed and are experiencing distress in your partnership measures can be taken and may be able to regain emotional stability. Until that is established you may need to find a different, grounded source to confide in.
Seek out help from a professional counselor
It is especially difficult to move beyond a betrayal by yourself if you’ve been in a relationship that is long-term. Seeking out help from a mental health professional is one way to make this process easier. Despite the recent betrayal, you and your partner may find that you still want to move forward in life as a couple. Being able to simply pick up the pieces and move on in the relationship is often tough for either person in a relationship. It’s hard to know where to start. A marriage counselor helps couples work through their issues. It is even possible to learn how to move forward even when the betrayal seems a gigantic hurdle to get over.
Even though counseling often improves a broken relationship it’s not easy. Often times during counseling issues may arise that probably may not discussed before. Also, counseling generally brings out even more angry feelings from both parties at the beginning. But over time coping skills may be developed. Although the betrayal is seldom forgotten, it is possible to grow as a couple in a more positive direction.
If your situation unfolds so that you are no longer with your partner, counseling is still worthwhile. Having a professional listen to you allows a safe place for your feelings. A counselor will also guide your healing in a positive manner. A good therapist will help you attain clarity of your situation. In addition, a counselor will help you to develop better skills for a future relationship, and help you to become a better you overall.