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  • Brooke Aymes

What is a Betrayal in a Relationship?


Many times people assume infidelity when they think of betrayals in a relationship. However, betrayals in a relationship can involve several different behaviors that may come up throughout a significant relationship. These behaviors can be anything from not listening to our partner when our partner is speaking to us, speaking to our partner in a negative manner (especially being disrespectful in public), all the way to sexual and/or emotional infidelity. Below is a list of some of the most common betrayals that may come up in a relationship—

A couple in couples therapy in new jersey discussing a betrayal in their relationship.


1. Violations of the couples physical/emotional exclusivity — meaning that a partner becomes invested emotionally and/or physically with another person. An example could be texting another person looking for emotional validation or spending a lot of time with another person/becoming physical with another person outside of the relationship.


2. Not sticking up for our partner in social settings, this includes social media — This is so common in our society where it has become second nature to put our significant others down in public and online. An example of this is when us Moms are like, “Oh Dads what do they know about raising kids.” Or when we’re in the Mom support group pages posting negatively about husbands. 


3. Dishonesty — Dishonesty kills relationships. Not saying something our partner would want to know about is dishonest. 


4. Emotional Coldness — My husband likes to call this ‘robot mode’ when we become so consumed with day to day tasks that we tap out emotionally.


5. Disrespect — Not listening; going tit for tat rather than trying to understand; speaking down to our partners; not supporting their values can all be examples of disrespect.


6. Acting Self-Indulgently — Not considering our partners feelings before making decisions. An example of this is overspending or scheduling plans without having a conversation with our partner.


It is inevitable that some betrayals are bound to come up in a long term, significant relationship. There is no way that we will be capable of hearing what our partner has to say at all times and some days might be super demanding and we might unintentionally head into robot mode. 

A happy couple that communicates and avoids betrayal in their relationship.

Betrayals always cause some harm to a relationship no matter how small or how big they may seem.  It is the couples responsibility to determine what betrayals are acceptable and which are completely unacceptable, especially in today’s world that is full of technology. Let’s run through a few examples—


  • My partner and I are having a conversation, during which I state I do not want to have people over this weekend. My partner is not listening and ends up in a social setting where they casually invite people over during the weekend. This is unintentional, however it is a betrayal and the other partner decides if they can offer grace and acceptance in this scenario or not.


  • My partner clearly states that they do not want to take a vacation this year. I book it anyway hoping that they will come around. This is intentional and my partner will decide if they can offer grace and acceptance in this scenario or not.


  • My partner and I agree to save money. I secretly go on a spending excursion without saying anything. This is intentional and my partner will decide if they can offer grace and acceptance in this scenario or not.


  • My partner likes the opposite sexes inappropriate pictures on social media. I consider this a betrayal and need to express that it is unacceptable. If my partner continues to engage in this behavior after I voice my needs, that is disrespect.


  • My partner is out alone with friends. Their friends begin negatively speaking about their significant others. My partner chimes in and begins saying negative things about me in the relationship. This is a betrayal.


  • My partner and I decide that porn is allowed in our relationship. However, one day I walk in and the lady in the porn is speaking to my partner. This feels like a betrayal because they are interacting with one another. I need to express that it is unacceptable. If my partner continues to engage in this behavior after I voice my needs, that is disrespect.


It is the responsibility of the couple to decide which betrayals are acceptable and which are unacceptable. It is also the responsibility of the couple to decide what is cheating in the relationship, especially in regards to technology. Each individual will have different beliefs and therefore each couples measure of acceptable and unacceptable will look different.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nj Addiction therapist Brooke Aymes climbing Mt. Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap as a form of self care

Hey, I'm Brooke --I'm a licensed anxiety and addiction therapist serving individuals, adolescents and couples in the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. My experience brings both a personal and professional perspective to the work that I do with my clients. If you are interested in learning more about the therapy process and would like to schedule a free consultation, I would love to chat with you!



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