The legacy of betrayal lasts a lot longer than the act of betrayal
Betrayal is a devastating assault upon your ability to trust – trust in yourself, other people, your sense of justice, even God. For some people, the worst part of adultery is the dishonesty – sharing your life with someone whom you discover has been living a lie day in and day out. You start to doubt your own senses, let alone your own attractiveness. Who was he or she, really?
You go over in your mind past intimate moments and wonder what was he thinking. You recall clues and doubt that you dismissed, and wonder what was I thinking! When you hear the truth, along with the pain is a sense of relieve, because it validates what you intuitively know. But then you wonder did he or she love me all those years – was it all fake? Was I in love with a fraud? You begin to distrust your judgment in the future. Can you trust “love” again? Can you trust another man, or woman if your wife betrayed you?
When your partner was unfaithful with someone you care for and trust, you suffer betrayal by two people. Sadly, it happens that spouses betray one another with their mate’s housekeeper, best friend, or sibling. The pain of the double betrayal is horrendous.
Rebuilding trust can be a long process. (See “Rebuilding Trust”) Building bridges of empathy with one another can only begin when the betrayer takes responsibility. Sometimes, adultery is a symptom of problems in the marriage – a lack of open communication, sex, or emotional intimacy. Other times, it’s an act of anger or a way to stake out some freedom or independence in lieu of setting boundaries or expressing anger directly with one’s spouse. It can be viewed as an act of defiance. That doesn’t mean it’s the other person’s fault. It means that the relationship itself and both partners need help in changing their communication patterns and developing a healthier intimate connection.
Addiction is rampant in America – our codependent country – and sex addiction is rarely talked about. An addict’s family life is built upon shame and secrecy that eats away at everyone’s self-esteem.
You are never responsible for someone else’s behavior, nor does it reflect upon your worth. Only your actions are a reflection upon you.
If you’ve been betrayed, stop every self-doubt that creeps into your mind. Your value, and your self-respect, aren’t tarnished one iota!