When There’s Betrayal in Your Relationship: 5 Steps Towards Healing Marital problems come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But the most prevalent forms of betrayal in a relationship include emotional affairs, various types of infidelity, lying about finances, abusing a substance or other forms of addiction. Relationships are fragile in the aftermath of a betrayal and this period can be quite challenging and painful. Some relationships never recover from betrayal. Yet still others go one to heal and become stronger than ever. Here are 5 important steps that assist in healing, as well as some red flags to be on the lookout for. Step #1: First and foremost, the partner who’s been dishonest must be committed to ending the hurtful behavior immediately (if they haven’t done so already). A betrayal is a demonstration of weak boundaries. Ending the behavior and avoiding everything associated with it restores the healthy boundaries that protect the relationship between you and your partner. Step #2: Partners often suffer in silence, feeling ashamed of their own behavior or embarrassed of their partner’s choices. Often times they’re afraid that friends would judge their partner or themselves if they knew about the betrayal. Ending this isolation and finding someone who is trustworthy enough to confide in is often the second important step towards healing. Therapy is a supportive and confidential place to address these concerns, whether you chose to attend by yourself or you enter into couple’s therapy together. On the contrary, keeping the betrayal a complete secret is often a sign of unhealthy coping and can be part of conflict avoidance. Step #3: This may be the most important step toward healing. The trust that’s been lost in the relationship MUST be rebuilt. In order for this to occur the partner who was dishonest must be ready to take accountability for their behavior and to take responsibility for the pain they’ve caused. There are four actions that help rebuild trust: 1) Be transparent instead of hiding information, 2) enforce healthy boundaries, 3) be forthcoming and volunteer information, 4) be consistent in your efforts. There is no magic number of weeks or months one must be consistent before trust is restored. The larger the damage that was done, the more repair the relationship will require. Signs that one is not fully taking accountability include repeated defensiveness and deflection. Continued to the next blog post on October 13th. Contact us to learn more about addressing betrayal in your relationship.
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