The Damage of Betrayal in Marital Relationships
Trust and respect are cornerstones of all human relationships, particularly marriage. Can your spouse count on your word consistently without doubts? Marriage relationships cannot be healthy or last without both partners having integrity in both actions and words. Some failure is inevitable in every marriage. Therefore, trust is not built on the absence of failure as much as on the genuine attempts by both partners to take responsibility for and try to repair those failures. In healthy relationships, the failures can actually lead to greater trust when they are handled with honesty and love.
We all experience betrayal in marital relationships. Forms of betrayal in a relationships can differ depending upon the person who betrayed you. Betrayal in marital relationships may come in the form of being talked into an unwise purchase or being lied to by a friend. The damage being described here is the kind that comes from something very severe like infidelity.
The damage of deceit
I have seen the damage of deceit in many marriages. It turns relationships from caring and considerate into a struggle for power. If the foundation of trust is broken, the wronged partner becomes almost exclusively focused on attempting to control and minimize the pain of that betrayal in marital relationships. Something deep inside us is touched when we have been deceived and betrayed. It destroys the belief in our partner, in ourselves and causes us to begin questioning all that we believed about our marriage.
The people who are betrayed in a marital relationships often wonders how they could have been so stupid or naïve to have trusted their spouse. The shame of being taken advantage of deepens the wound. Often the injured partner believes that he/she could have prevented the betrayal in marriage if they had been smarter, more alert or less vulnerable.
The damage done to the partners who experience betrayal in marital relationships is usually the same whether they decides to end the relationship or not. A spouse who has been betrayed begins shutting down the desire for relationship. The one betrayed feels that no one can really be trusted and it would be foolish to ever trust someone to that extent again. The spouse who experiences the pain of betrayal in marriage usually builds an emotional wall around them in order to not feel the pain again. It is much safer to expect very little from any relationship.
Betrayed spouses often become amateur detectives.
One of the effects of betrayal in marriage is that the spouse become hyper-vigilant in monitoring and questioning everything related to their partner. They become very suspicious of the motives of their partner. Typically, in all their other relationships they often wonder what the other person really wants. They also become highly sensitive in any interaction where they feel pressure to make the other person happy, particularly if they feel it requires some sacrifice on their part. Rather than seeking out ways on how to get over betrayal in a marriage spouses become cynical towards people around.
The ultimate damage physical or emotional betrayal in marriage is the belief that authentic relationships are unsafe and a loss of hope for real intimacy. This loss of hope often leads to experiencing all relationships from a safe distance. Intimacy has come to represent something very dangerous. The spouse who is feeling betrayed in a relationship begins to push the desires for deep connection with others deep down inside. Those in relationship with the betrayed partner may not recognize this defensive stance because he/she may appear to be the same on the surface. The way of relating may seem the same but the heart is no longer engaged.
Possibly the most damaging aspect of serious betrayal in relationships is the self-hatred that may develop. This comes from the belief that the marital betrayal could have been prevented. It also is a result of coming to believe that they are undesirable. The fact that the partner they trusted could so easily devalue and discard the trust in the marriage is proof of this.
The good news is that whether the marriage continues or not the betrayed spouse can experience healing and find hope for real intimacy again. Dealing with betrayal in marriage requires a real investment of time, effort and help. When a spouse betrays your trust ,letting go of the self-contempt through forgiveness is the starting point. Getting past betrayal in a relationship takes a lot of patience and understanding from both the partners.
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