Intimate betrayal can take on many forms, the most common one being "cheating." As an esteemed colleague once said to me so poignantly, it is not so much about the "cheating on" that is painful, as it is the "cheating out of" that hurts. Partners of a spouse who cheats via an affair with another person, substance abuse, financial betrayal, workaholism, are cheated out of what and whom they thought they were committing to: an honest, loving, faithful person who they could trust. They are cheated out of a life they had hoped and dreamed of, cheated out of future plans, especially if their loved one refuses to get help or get better.
The spouse who causes the intimate betrayal is cheated out of the same things: a life they deserve with their loving partner and children, living in ways that are congruent and authentic to who they truly are, honoring a value system and belief system that feels good in a healthy way; one that entails fidelity, trustworthiness, honesty, and accountability.
Many individuals I work with ask if healing from intimate betrayal is possible. My answer is "Yes."
The question is, "How?"
First, it depends on whether or not the person with the cheating behavior, which can entail cheating with an addiction of sorts, wants to get well. If they do want to get help then,
SEEK HELP:The person that has caused the intimate betrayal needs to seek treatment by a qualified therapist that is trained to deal with these intricate and complicated issues
HONESTY: They need to be 100% honest and fully accountable for all of their behavior
COMMITMENT: They need to be committed to changing at ALL costs
WORK A PROGRAM: They need to work a recovery program where they have daily homework, support, guidance, and accountability
TRUST: They need work daily to rebuild trust in their relationship with themselves and their loved ones. This takes as long as it takes, however, can happen if they are willing to stay the course.
Sometimes the person that has committed the intimate betrayal will not want to get help. Regardless of whether or not they do, in order to heal, we encourage partners do the following:
SEEK HELP: It is crucial to get therapy, as the entire family system gets sick when their is an addiction and/or intimate betrayal has occurred. Seek therapy from a qualified professional who specializes in treating intimate betrayal, as it can be complicated
BOUNDARIES: It is crucial to learn and set healthy boundaries with a spouse that has done the cheating. Lies and manipulation are often a big part of the intimate betrayal. Setting healthy emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual boundaries in the relationship is a sign of love of self and other, not a punishment.
SELF CARE: Sometimes spouses who have cheated are afraid of their partner getting healthy for fear that they may leave them. As a result, some try to sabotage the partner's progress in an attempt to maintain control. It is imperative to stay the course and get the support one needs to get well. Finding time to take care of oneself-even if it is as simple as reading a good book or drinking a cup of tea snuggled in a blanket on the couch- is extremely important for one's mental, emotional, and physical health.
TRUST YOUR GUT: Addicts lie, cheaters lie. Can they learn to be honest and accountable? Absolutely. But for partners of spouses who cheat, they have gotten attuned to a sense inside that their loved one is lying, using, cheating. Trust that! Don't buy into the lies and manipulation. If you feel your spouse is using drugs, have them drug tested. If you feel your spouse is having an affair, trust that. Your gut will never lie to you. Seek guidance from your therapist if and when this feeling arises.
Healing from intimate betrayal is possible, with time, and the proper guidance and support from professionals who specialize in treating this complex issue. If you feel like your spouse is cheating on your via a person, or substances, with the finances, etc., seek help. Know that you are not alone, and that in time, you too can and will heal.
In humble gratitude dear ones.
Contact info: NAMASTEADVICE.COM; 801-272-3500
Lots of new groups coming to Namasté in January!
-Courage to Heal Men's Substance Abuse Recovery Group-I am Enough Women's Trauma Recovery Group-Mending a Shattered Heart Female Partner of Intimate Betrayal Group-New Year, New You Saturday Workshop to create a 12-Month Wellness Plan for your health-Healing Adrenal Fatigue On-Going Group for individuals who have experienced chronic stress and exhaustion from life's many stressors-Couples Yoga Intensive Weekend for Couples wanting to improve trust, learn forgiveness, and connect on a more intimate level Email Cari at admin@namasteadvice for a copy of our Group and Workshop Schedule and Fees.
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