Betrayal is one of the most powerful negative experiences in a relationship. In the previous post, we discussed some of the many challenges that are brought on by betrayal, as well as the emotions that are often triggered when one partner betrays another.
But as we discussed, betrayal does not always mark the end of the relationship. Many couples want to work hard to overcome the betrayal, and find ways to build a strong relationship once again. As a couples counselor on Long Island, one of the first notes I give couples that are ready to overcome betrayal is that the process involves both parties.
Although only one partner may have betrayed another, both individuals need to be committed to listening, changing, and working hard at their relationship. When both partners are committed to making the relationship work, change can occur.
How to Overcome Betrayal in Relationships
Loss of trust weighs heavily on relationships, which is why I do recommend that you consider going through the process with a trained relationship therapist, as there are many difficult emotions that must be dealt with in order to overcome the betrayal.
Learning how to forgive entails each person coming together to:
- Understand the factors that lead to the betrayal. There are often multiple psychological factors at play when someone chooses to betray the trust of another. Identifying these factors and thoroughly exploring them are critical, especially because being a “bad person” is rarely the reason that someone chose to be unfaithful.
- Understand the emotions involved. Betrayal often causes an extreme form of pain. Both partners need to understand the emotions that they are experiencing and the pain that betrayal has caused. Once those emotions are understood, they need to be reframed, as loss of trust can cause partners to focus on only the negative parts of their relationship. There needs to be a focus on the positive.
Time is also critical, which is why patience is so essential. Only passage of time can show both partners that changes have been made, trust can be rebuilt, and the shared experiences you have are making your relationship stronger. Rarely can anything be rushed, because trust is built on a foundation, and betrayal causes that foundation to crumble.
From there, the next steps need to be determined on a couple by couple basis. For example, some couples need to hear the details of the betrayal in order to stop their imagination and move forward. Others would prefer to hear nothing at all, and benefit from not knowing some of the most stressful parts of the experience.
Over time, the couples that are committed to overcoming the event can find relief, and in many cases they may find that their relationship is even stronger as a result. For more information, please call me today at (516) 732-0273.