Betray: to be a traitor to; to prove faithless; to deceive.
I have three girlfriends who are going through a process of separation and divorce. Each of these women are facing an end to their relationship because of another woman. Two of the women suspected their husband was cheating and one was blindsided.
As I talk to these women I see firsthand the results of learning they have been deceived. The act of betrayal is insidious and holds within its tentacles the pain of rejection, abandonment, worthless feelings, anger, rage, grief, disappointment, sadness and all too often self-incrimination.
I hear the betrayed questioning themselves. What did I do wrong? Maybe, if I’d been better, sexier, more caring and loving, prettier, thinner, more fun, etc., etc., etc. he would not have cheated. In many instances the betrayed feels like the perpetrator.
I understand there are two sides to every story and in relationships we each play a part in the growth or demise of our bond to the other. It is wise to go within and be open to see where and how we failed in the relationship. But, no matter what one partner did, nothing excuses cheating, which is betrayal.
In my twenties, I was in a relationship with a man and we had two children together. While I was pregnant with the second child he cheated on me. She brought him home and I saw him get out of the car and kiss her. I still can recall feeling like my heart was shrinking as a feeling of dread and hopelessness washed over me.
When I confronted him about his cheating he offered no excuses; he met someone he wanted to be with and he took the opportunity to do so when it arose. I still remember how betrayed and angry I felt. I was devastated and spent months playing the what-if game.
If either of us had been mature people who knew something about life, or if we had been taught how to face adversity by being responsible and accountable, we may have tried to work on the partnership. But we didn’t know, and we weren’t mature, so I did what my instinct told me to do, which was to get the hell out of Dodge. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to trust this man again. Once trust is broken it can take years to repair.
As I look back on that time in my life I see how it was all part of my path. I did not know that then, but I do now. In hindsight I’m glad I left because it was a part of my learning to take care of myself.
Betrayal is hard to deal with and to get through it requires a huge amount of self-love. If we come from a place of kindness and compassion for self, with a willingness to see clearly, we can experience incredible insight and personal transformation. Or we can take another path and allow it to destroy us and turn us into bitter, unforgiving, revenge-seeking people.
As I listen to my friends I hear their desire to take the high road, which is the path of love and mercy. In doing so I believe they will recognize their truth, experience healing in their heart, and discover their authentic being. I pray for their highest and best and admire them for their strength and courage. I’m sure it is not always easy, but they are facing the fallout of betrayal one day at a time.