Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

anemone20purple - How to survive a betrayal by a loved one

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Does your partner cancel dates at the last minute, or stand you up? The feeling of betrayal can make you angry when you realize that you can’t control your loved ones actions. You may feel like taking revenge or walking away in the most punishing of ways. You may want to walk away to make your partner feel guilty so that they beg forgiveness and swear undying love. But ultimately you know this is just going to happen again.

How do you prevent the same cycle of betrayal ending your future relationships? The secret lies in drilling down into the experience of betrayal and taking control of your situation and expectations so that you are never the victim of betrayal again.

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Foxgloves look wonderful but betray with their poison

After ten days of looking forward to a long weekend with Rudi, Gwyneth got a text message to say it was off. She was beside herself with fury and rage. Blind, spitting, cursing, destructive rage that spewed out of her as she threw things around and smashed her latest piece of carefully crafted sculpture made to enter in the art show.

Gwyneth had been counting the days until they could have three whole days together, away from the hassles of work schedules, obligations and chores. They had planned a retreat in the mountains, skiing, hiking, biking and snowboarding. She had packed some of their favorite DVD’s, foods and wines. Having Rudi all to herself was a luxury she had been savoring for a while. The text message wiped away her vision and dream in a split second.

Every bone and muscle in her body exploded with protest that she wasn’t ever going to have what she wanted. Every pore on her skin exuded hurt and anger that she couldn’t control Rudi and make him do what was right. Every breath in her lungs that went in and out reminded her of her helplessness to make her loved one want her and prove it in the way she needed.

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photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Deep under the betrayal was grief for losses Gwyneth had never mourned

Then the tears came. Tears that had been held back for years. Tears that had been dammed up by hope that someday a guy she wanted would want her so much that he would never want to leave her side. Gwyneth started mourning her loss.

Loss of the wish that she would be the apple of her loved ones eye.

Loss of the wish that she would take priority over everything else in her loved one’s life.

Loss of the wish that she would be irresistible to her loved one.

Loss of a childhood where her father never made her feel like his princess, leaving her hungry and yearning for that same feeling in her relationships with men in adult life.

Mourning made room for finding a new connection with Rudi

When the tears stopped, Gwyneth felt lighter and more at peace. She had space to consider things from Rudi’s perspective. She remembered how stressed he had been lately about his job and finances. She understood that maybe he was too embarrassed to say he didn’t have the funds to do the long weekend. Nor did he feel comfortable suggesting anything else for fear that he would look like a cheapskate.

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photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Rudi and Gwyneth find a fresh warm intimacy when betrayal is replaced by mourning

Two nights later Gwyneth and Rudi had the most wonderful night ever. They hung out on her sofa watching movies, eating, slouching, making out and sleeping over each other. They read each others signals and their bodies molded into one another with affection that was comforting and very secure. They didn’t need a lot of words or explanations. They didn’t need accusations and defenses. They didn’t need confessions and absolutions. They found a peace that comes when there is total and easy honesty between a couple having the most basic of intimate experiences – comfort in being with each other without any sense of self-consciousness.

How did Gwyneth get over her betrayal just by mourning a wish and a prior loss?

Gwyneth finally gave a voice to the betrayed child inside her that had been wishing for her father to claim her as his own and adore her. She stopped judging that voice as immature and childish. She stopped strangling the voice of pain and rage. She let herself feel it in its full force. She wrote down her feelings. It gave her real time feedback about how the past was clouding her present.

Now that voice was satisfied. That child part of her that really was betrayed by her father got heard and attended to and mourned for. Now Gwyneth was free to engage in adult relationships with men without the dark tint of betrayal lurking behind every change of plan. Now she had room for the simple connection that felt so natural and reassuring when Rudi hung out with her.

You can follow Gwyneth’s example to manage your frequent sense of betrayal.

1.    When it comes give full vent to the rage without judgment

2.    Write down your feelings and all the cursing you need to vent at your partner

3.    Get in touch with the original betrayal that this feeling echoes and mourn the loss of what you didn’t get.

4.    Put your fresh pair of lenses on and enjoy your relationship, remembering that you may still feel betrayed from time to time, but you don’t have to be its victim.


Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.