*This post is not a substitute for counseling. Please see a couples/marriage counselor at your earliest convenience.
*This post is Part I: Analysis. Be sure to read Part II: Making Amends
*Check out my Romantic Betrayal Worksheet
The roots of every relationship is different, but experts say that a few key values are important in every relationship: communication and trust. Trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy. Trust needs to be earned. When that trust is broken, it may be very difficult to trust anyone again.
Being betrayed by anyone hurts. Being betrayed by someone you love is traumatizing. It can affect a person for the rest of their life, not only when it comes to relationships. It does not have to be that way. There are many things you can do to start living a better life.
Part I: Analysis
As I started thinking about this blog post, I quickly realized the infinite number of roads. From the mundane activity of going on an innocent lunch date with a coworker to a year-long martial affair with multiple partners, the possibilities were endless. This blog post is for you to analyze this betrayal whether you were the betrayed or betrayer.
Whether you are/were exclusive with your partner is important. Not formalizing your relationship status can make your partner think that they can date outside of their relationship with you.
2. Relationship Status
What is/was your relationship to this person?
-Friends with benefits
Are you still with this person currently?
Do you have any children with this person? If so, how many? How old are they? Do they know about the situation? Having children does not define what status the relationship is in, but it does have an effect on the situation as far as who knows and who can help you through the process. Ultimately, staying in a relationship after a romantic betrayal because of children is okay as long as circumstances and how to best move forward are agreed upon by both parties.
4. Who Else Knows?
Who else knows about the situation? What happens in a relationship should stay in a relationship. At times, word gets out. People will rate you, judge you, and say mean things about you. The less people who know about the situation, the better.
5. First Occurrence?
Is this the first occurrence? If not, how many times has this happened before? If this is not the first occurrence, you might be in a relationship with a serial cheater. If you realize this, then it will hopefully awaken your eyes. A person who has cheated more than once needs professional help.
6. Length of Romantic Betrayal
How long has this current romantic betrayal been going on? Some people catch their lover’s actions within one day. For others, it could take months or years. Stories come out of men or women who find out that their lover has been living another life for years. Is one day or one time different than a month or a year? It depends person to person.
7. People Involved
How many people are involved in the wrongdoing? The betrayer and the people he is cheating with are the ones to blame. If the person does not know and is also being lied to by the betrayer, than they should not be at fault.
8. Suspicion vs. Confirmation
Is this a suspicion you have or has it been confirmed?
What behaviors or behavior changes do you find suspicious?Suspicious behavior will include a change in tone of voice, habits, interests, etc. Look for emotional responses to certain questions, are they clean when they arrive home, leaving or arriving to work late, etc.
Are You A Suspicious Person?
Would you consider yourself a suspicious person? Overly suspicious people are lacking a fundamental level of trust with others, including their partner. They will ask questions repeatedly and accuse others of wrongdoing when nothing has happened. Suspicious people need to exercise some self-control and self-reflect on why they act the way they do. If you have been told you are an overly suspicious person by your partner, don’t listen. If you have been told the same thing throughout your life and by others, it maybe time to suspect something else is happening and it starts with you.
Do you have any hard evidence that this is occurring? Some people hire a private investigator, some may chose to investigate themselves via following, snooping through their partner’s belongings including their briefcase, wallet, purse, phone, etc. Evidence or a lack thereof may include notes from someone, a hotel business card, an unknown phone number, deleted phone calls, text messages with someone, deleted text messages, etc.
There are three types of confessions:
1. Honest betrayers who confess and ask for forgiveness should be commended for their honesty. However, the betrayal is still a wrongful act.
2. Betrayers who confess because they cannot live with what they have done need to be held at a distance. These people are and probably will continue to look out for themselves.
3. Betrayers who confess as a sign of power, “Yeah, I did it” are abusers and the betrayed needs to find a way out quickly.
What is the betrayer guilty of?
- Thoughts (Finding someone attractive)
- Fantasies (…of dating, touching or being intimate with a specific person)
- Inappropriate conversations (Face to face, text messages, online activities)
- Inappropriate touching/grabbing (long hugs, massages, hands on back/thighs/face/private areas)
- Going on a date
- Kissing on the lips
10. Is There Anyway To Save This Relationship?
If there is, please go to: Romantic Betrayal Part II: Making Amends
Good luck on your journey.