In any kind of relationship, it is normal to sometimes feel let down, hurt, and in some cases, betrayed. All it takes is a healthy bond paired with a grounded mindset to figure out the next step.
If you have experienced being betrayed by someone you love, here are a few ways to better cope with it.
1. Identify your emotions
You may be feeling a rollercoaster of emotions; some come and go, some happen all at once. By naming each feeling, you can better understand and tackle them one by one. (Ex. “I am feeling anger. I am feeling shame.)
2. Take time away from them
Especially for couples, this may be a difficult but essential step. Try not to be around them, talk to them, or check their socials – let them know they need to respect this break while you sort things out.
During this pause, you are giving yourself time without triggers to let your emotions settle. By then, you will be able to better process what you want to do next.
Think of why they could have betrayed you to understand the difference in intention and how you really feel about it.
Was it an accident due to carelessness?
(Ex. Your loved one slipped a secret or forgot a special event.)
Was it due to shame/embarrassment?
(Ex. Your recovering loved one relapsed and was too ashamed to tell you.)
Was it done on purpose?
(Ex. Your partner cheated or a trusted friend spread lies about you.)
4. Weigh it out and communicate
When you have a better idea of how you really feel, assess the value this person holds in your life and communicate how you wish to move forward.
A great way to keep a conversation healthy is by structuring it around your feelings instead of counting blame. They will be less defensive and be more willing to communicate this way. (Ex. Instead of saying “You messed up when..”, try saying “I felt hurt when..”)
It’s okay to still feel like you haven’t fully recovered, getting over a betrayal isn’t a straightforward process. Allow yourself time to grieve and try not to suppress emotions. When ready, you can take steps to forgive the betrayer, not for them but to gain inner peace for yourself.
If you are finding it difficult to move past or merely want to get things off your chest, seeking professional help in coping with betrayal trauma is advised. Our Edmonton therapists can help. Our couples counsellors are experienced and trained in dealing with affairs and other betrayals and we can help you and your partner navigate through this tough time. Marital therapy can provide you and your partner with hope for healing and reconnection.