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The Complete Guide On How To Deal With Betrayal In Relationships

Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.” ― Sherrilyn Kenyon

Having been betrayed by someone I loved more than I have ever loved, I know that the follow-up question can cut like a shard of ice suddenly plunged into your heart.  How do you feel? A seemingly innocent (even concerned) question from friends and family- nonetheless hurts. For a long time, I knew it wasn’t the ‘story I wanted to tell.’ But in time, I have come around on the reasons that made me want to reject the offer of ‘sharing my feelings’ and refrain from comment.


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Betrayal in relationships is no new thing. It happens as much as Snapchat stories and the betrayed faction feels ‘powerless,’ no matter the path they choose. Forgiveness comes hard but exacting revenge isn’t a restorative mechanism either- and healing, my friends, happens in its own time, irrespective of whether you can forgive, forget, avenge or even, move on. The reason I say so is because I chose to keep quiet for a long, long time after being cheated on by my long-term boyfriend. Not to mention, the feeling of betrayal was compounded by the fact that he cheated on me with a friend I had known for the longest time- a friend who knew the intricacies of my relationship with him, a friend I trusted just as much as him! So, after the unfortunate event transpired and my friends poured in, I decided to stay shut. Between the obvious anger and the inescapable pain, my emotions were flipping sides like a maniac on murder-prowl and yet, I wasn’t as blindsided as to taint my feeling of being betrayed with  ‘story’ that would make me loathe myself.

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You see, I am not the kind of person who’d badmouth people- even if the situation warrants it- because speaking disparagingly of someone, I have learnt, only makes you negative. Also, the ‘egocentric bias’ in my memory has me believe that I am the reason a negative event has occurred. However, in making myself more important than the actual event, I am attributing the cause to myself- and subjecting myself to  unjustified pain and hurt. I am not responsible for any action outside of myself and my locus of control- and hence, could find it liberating to not account for the same. In replaying it in my head and speaking of it, I may keep looking for cues that link the causation to me.


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Also, hindsight bias is a real thing. The more I reflect on past events, the more I tend to believe I could have had more control over the sequence of events that built up to the final act of transgression i.e. the betrayal. Betrayal in relationships is a choice- and I need to accept that it wasn’t mine. If I ruminate on the details of conversations, meetings and/or other events that transpired before the final act, I may simply subject myself to the hindsight bias that shall have me believe I had more control over events than I did. It is important that I alleviate the additional suffering by cutting myself loose and being objective. The ‘if only I would have/could have…’ and ‘I should have…’ train only serves to derail my rationality and multiply my pain.

If you have been dealing with betrayal as well and need to know how best to counter the pain, here are the only truths that can help:

1. Avoid self-blame

The key to drawing the sting out of betrayal is to avoid the urge to place blame- especially on one’s own self. You had no control over another person’s choice and no matter the dynamic you two shared (even if the relationship was going South), betrayal isn’t (and cannot be) justified. So, do not blame yourself and avoid the impulse to blame another or their actions as well. It is only going to keep you embroiled in the betrayal and before you know it, you’d be in too deep to escape. Avoid the trap and allow yourself to be free, sooner.

2. There’s no one way to heal


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A lot of people (even mental health practitioners) may advise practicing forgiveness. But remember you aren’t obliged to forgive or forget. You aren’t obliged to exact revenge nor do you always need closure. You don’t need to have the last word nor do you need to know the reasons behind the betrayal. Maybe you do need one or all of the above. Nobody, save yourself, knows the optimal route for recovery. Choose the route you are prompted to take. Listen to your instinct and let nobody judge you for your choice. Like with the betrayal you feel, you aren’t answerable to anybody for the healing process you decide to act on.

3. Give yourself time

They say time is the best healer- and they aren’t lying. Give yourself the time to release the negativity- the resentment, the anger, the hurt, the pain…every emotion that you associate with the betrayal. In the interim, allow yourself to feel everything that you do feel. Do not restrain your emotions. If you feel pain, cry. If you feel hurt, take to your place of solace. If you are angry, burst out. At the end of the day, you need to feel it to heal it.

Allow the tick of the clocks to guide you home.

4. Restore trust in your life

trust in a relationship_New_Love_Times

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While there has been a massive mistrust seed sown in your heart by your partner, you cannot allow it to develop into fear. That shall only pave the path for projecting this fear onto others and wrecking any relationships you may have. Allow yourself to accept that not everyone is the same and that you have plenty of relationships in your life to be thankful for. Use the trust in your existent relationships to reinforce trust in possible or budding ones and strengthen your ability to trust again. Focus on building trust and allow yourself to invest in wholeheartedly in relationships so you never have to grapple with doubt, fears or insecurity.

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5. Have faith

Do not kill the possibility of a future relationship based on your past experiences. Have faith in love and its ability to beat betrayal blues! There is nothing in life that faith cannot conquer. However, in keeping faith, you must remember to be reasonable and objective. You cannot hold on to something that’s harmful for you, no matter how you feel about it. But there’s no rule that says you can’t try. Do what your instinct bids and know that your first and foremost obligation is to your self.

I hope you heal! :)

Featured image source: quotesgram

Article Name
How To Deal With Betrayal In Relationships
Betrayal hurts- but there's a way out and it isn't necessarily forgiveness!
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."