Affairs and Betrayals
Betrayal comes in many forms including affairs, financial secrets, threats to leave or addictions such as gambling or substance abuse. All of these can have a massive influence on the health, well-being and overall quality of life not only of the person doing the betraying but also of everybody around them.
Affairs and betrayals can bring any relationship to breaking point. Once the bond of trust is shattered, it unleashes an intense tide of emotions in the person that has been betrayed
There can be any number of reasons for betrayal to occur within relationships and they are often the symptoms of long-term problems rather than the cause. For instance, the one who committed the act of betrayal may have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the underlying problem which has increased over time
Relationship sessions with Lazzaro gives people a framework to help them analyse and work through their issues of hurt and trust. Through this process it is very possible to restore feelings of intimacy and goodwill. This page will cover in more depth how my sessions can be used to generate positive outcomes following an affair or betrayal. It will also look at reasons why betrayal can occur and what the consequences can include.
To Save The Relationship
In some cases people will commit a betrayal or affair in an attempt to address a need that is not being met within the relationship. They may see the rest of the relationship as being healthy and they want to hang onto it but they just need this extra ‘thing’ to complete the picture. For example; if one partner has a chronic condition that causes a loss of libido or sexual function, the other may initiate an affair in order to meet their own sexual needs or to get away from the problems that have occurred within the relationship as a result of the condition.
In situations like this, the person doing the betraying may also seek to meet their emotional needs such as connection, admiration and validation. This can happen following the birth of a child or some other life-changing event.
Sometimes, the one who committed the act of betrayal may have depression or a chronic condition themselves which may make them behave differently or they may want to hide the problem from others.
Another example of someone intending to save the relationship would be a gambler who wants to win ‘the big one’ in order to create a better life for their family.
Sometimes a betrayal may be a misguided attempt to regain power within the relationship following an unhappy or difficult situation. Through an affair feelings of anger and loss can be dispersed temporarily with no regard for any consequences.
“How could they do this to me?”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“What did I do/not do to deserve this?”
“Should I blame myself?”
“Did our relationship have problems that I couldn’t see?”
“What made them do it?”
“What other things have they lied about?”
“How can I ever trust him/her again?”
“Why do I feel so hurt and stupid for this happening?”
“Can we recover from this?”
“Should I simply walk away from this relationship?”
The person who committed the betrayal may also be very confused and distressed about their behaviour and feel extremely guilty – especially if they did not set out to hurt the other person.
They Could Also Have Questions Such As:
“Why did I have the affair/committed the betrayal? I don’t really understand my own behaviour”
“How has it come to this? What caused it?”
“Do we need help?”
“Will he/she ever get over the betrayal?”
“I want to save the relationship but he/she doesn’t trust me.”
“I feel bad about the betrayal and I’ve said sorry, but he/she keeps going on about it.”
“How can we get through this?”
Relationship sessions with Lazzaro gives people a vehicle through which they can reflect on these questions and progressively work through them. Learning how to process the situation in a non-judgemental way can help foster acceptance and lead to a better understanding of what happened.
Flight or fight response
After a betrayal has been uncovered both parties, but especially the person who was betrayed, will experience a massive cocktail of emotions. After the initial shock , strong feelings of anger, resentment, blame and bewilderment can rise to the surface. These may prompt knee-jerk reactions such as filing for divorce or blocking all forms of communication with the perpetrator.
These are known as ‘flight or fight’ responses and stem from earlier times of hunting and gathering. They are our body’s way of signalling danger when in threatening or dangerous situations and prompt us to escape or find a means of defending ourselves.
Loss of predictability and certainty will also contribute to knee-jerk responses. It is also common for either party to want to run away from the situation instead of dealing with it.
When someone learns they have been betrayed by somebody they trusted and cared for their emotional turmoil can manifest into physical symptoms. They feel their world has been almost literally turned upside down and this can generate feelings such as dizziness, disorientation, nausea and even out-of-body sensations. These symptoms are normally associated with shock and trauma which, in a sense, is exactly what has happened. They may find it difficult to accept the situation and may remain in a state of denial or disbelief which is unhelpful and inhibits their ability to begin the healing process.
Effects of affairs and betrayals
In the aftermath of a betrayal the one who has been betrayed may not allow themselves time to think rationally and they may become focused on ways they can deal with the problem or make the pain go away instantly. Usually, the methods they choose are inappropriate or ineffective. They may even complicate the problem further and block any chance of resolution.
A common initial response to a betrayal is to demand full transparency from the perpetrator. This could include insisting on having full access to all forms of communication such as emails, phone messages and social media sites. They do this with the intention of recreating trust however it rarely works and can even backfire, causing even more pain and distress. While the reaction is understandable, it does nothing to address the original issues.
Lazzaro Sessions for Affairs and Betrayals
Many couples I work with come to relationship sessions in the hope of working through feelings arising by the discovery of an affair or betrayal.
Trust is at the very foundation of intimate relationships. It takes time to build trust, and in a moment it can be shattered. The discovery of an affair or betrayal turns a couples world upside down. Very strong feelings of shock, anger and guilt come between partners. For many, the question of whether they can ever trust their partner again must be addressed. How to rebuild trust is at the core of the crisis in the relationship.
In my experience working through the painful feelings surrounding the affair and beginning to understand what led to it, can strengthen the bond between people.
In my work with couples I provide a safe, structured environment where you can begin to:
- Make sense of what happened
- Ask and honestly answer questions
- Work through painful feelings
- Begin to understand and grieve the impact the betrayal has had on the relationship
- Talk through concerns about trust and how to move forward
- Rebuild connection
If you are in a relationship and are looking for support and guidance on issues between you and your partner, you may find couples sessions to be the most effective way of addressing your relationship issues. Think of a relationship as a dance and the way you and your partner interact as steps in that dance. If the steps aren’t helping the dance flow and you are ‘stepping on each others toes’ you need to find new steps that work for both of you. The best way to discover those new steps is to explore your options together.
However there are times when you may prefer to explore relationship issues through individual sessions. It may be that at this time your partner is not ready to begin a session and you want to find ways you as an individual can meet the challenges of your relationship.
You may not be in a relationship at present but want to have time to reflect on past relationships and how your experiences from the past are effecting the way you feel about relationships and your willingness to enter into new relationships.
You may be grieving the loss of an intimate relationship and need the support of a professional to help you understand and manage all the feelings you are experiencing around that loss.
Individual sessions can be a rich and rewarding experience where you are able to explore your thoughts and feelings in a supportive and caring environment.