Make up or Break up? How To Bounce Back from Betrayal

Betrayal hardens the softest of hearts and unleashes a range of emotions from anger and blame to despair and doubt. From this emotional rollercoaster, we can’t help but question who we are, where we are, what matters, and where we’re going. We also struggle with knowing whom we can trust, and believing whether we’ll be okay in the end. But if there’s one thing betrayal forces us to do, it’s to rethink whether it is worth staying in a relationship with the person who has betrayed us. When this happens, Dr. Eve A. Wood, author of The Gift of Betrayal offers some guidelines to help you answer the stay-versus-go question for yourself:

  1. If you’ve never really been happy in the relationship, it’s unreasonable to think that you will be in the future. If it’s never worked, it can’t be fixed. And you deserve more. Give yourself that gift.
  2. Having children together is not a good reason to stay in a bad relationship. Doing so will teach your children to sacrifice joy in the same way. Is that the example you want to provide? If you stay when it’s really bad for you to do so, your children will learn to do the same thing.
  3. If your partner won’t come clean and commit to ending the offending behaviours, if he justifies his actions and criticises you, or if he doesn’t demonstrate true remorse and a desire to heal your pain, the relationship won’t work. Many studies have shown this. If the perpetrator isn’t honest, sorry, empathetic, and engaged in that process, it’s doomed to failure.
  4. If you can no longer respect your partner, there is no way you can have a satisfying relationship with him.
  5. If the crime is so terrible that anyone would have trouble forgiving and forgetting it, it’s unlikely you will be able to do so. You’re only human. Don’t hold yourself to a standard no one can live up to.
  6. If your partner wants out, it’s a blessing in disguise—no relationship with an unwilling, unengaged person can serve you. Remember that you can control you, and only you, so you can’t make a relationship work with someone who doesn’t want a future with you.
  7. If you’re heart isn’t invested in fixing it, your relationship is already over. Grasp the gift and get the heck out! You’re allowed to be finished! Your betrayal may have been the last straw for you in a problematic relationship.
  8. It takes two to tango—healing the relationship requires both of you to engage fully. If you have an inner desire to give it a try, and so does he, it’s worth doing. But if your desire or his willingness changes, it’s time to re-evaluate your decision.
  9. What feels right at first may well change. It can be hard to let go of your hopes, prayers, and dreams when they’ve been shattered. You may cling to a sinking ship. Conversely, you might find that it’s easier to jump ship when you’ve been betrayed than hang around long enough to figure out if the vessel is actually seaworthy after all.

Taken from The Gift of Betrayal: How To Heal Your Life When Your World Explodes by Eve A. Wood, M.D. (Hay House, RRP $24.95), available at all leading retailers.

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