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  • Writer's pictureGary Katz

Dangerous Points for Couples on the Path to Recovery From Betrayal

Here's what to watch out for...


Navigating the aftermath of betrayal trauma can be a delicate and challenging process for couples who are going through one of the biggest challenges a couple can face. Every couple has their own unique journey but there are a number of common points along the journey of recovery and repair that are common.


These include:

  1. Discovery

  2. Post Discovery Challenges

  3. Relapses 

  4. Pre-Disclosure

  5. Disclosure

  6. Old Dynamics Superceeding the Betryal Dynamics


To help you stay informed and prepared, we will dedicate each week to exploring a specific "danger point" in the recovery journey.


This week's focus: Discovery

Discovery: The Initial Shock and Confusion


The discovery of a betrayal can be a devastating and disorienting experience. It shatters the foundation of trust and throws the relationship into turmoil.Here are some key challenges couples may face during this initial phase:


  • Emotional Rollercoaster: The betrayed partner experiences a range of intense emotions, including shock, anger, grief, and confusion.The betraying partner may also feel guilt, shame, and fear.


  • Loss of Trust: The foundation of trust is broken, making it difficult to believe anything the betraying partner says or does.


  • Sense of Betrayal: The betrayed partner feels deeply betrayed by someone they loved and trusted. This can lead to feelings of isolation, insecurity, and worthlessness. 


  • Decision-Making: Both partners are likely to be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next.They may need time and support to make informed decisions about the future of the relationship.


Tips for Navigating Discovery

  • Stop doing damage control and try honesty. Frequently, the person who has been discovered only admits to what they think has been discovered. They may try to calculate what is now known and how much they need to be honest about. This rarely works in the long run. Being honest from the beginning of a discovery will do a lot less harm to your partner and relationship than continuing to lie and gaslight your partner. 


  • Don’t flip things and attack your partner. If you have been discovered, stop and own it. Going on the defensive and attacking your partner for something else isn’t going to resolve this.


  • Don’t blame your partner for what you have done. It’s not right, but it’s also extremely damaging to your partner who may internalize it and blame themselves. It’s also childish. No one makes you do anything. You are an adult and responsible for your actions, even if they are part of an addiction. 


  • Don’t JADE - Justify, Argue, Defend or Excuse


  • Seek professional help: Individual or couples therapy can provide a safe space to process emotions, rebuild trust, and develop coping mechanisms. 


  • Communicate openly and honestly: Both partners need to be able to express their feelings and needs openly and honestly. 


  • Focus on self-care: It is important for both partners to prioritize their physical and emotional well-being during this difficult time. 


  • Be patient: Healing takes time. Don't expect things to return to normal overnight.


Remember: Discovering a betrayal is a painful experience, but it doesn't have to be the end of your relationship if you feel that is the best case for you. Nearly everyone you talk with will have an opinion about what you should do but this is your relationship and your life. YOUR own opinion is the one that matters. 


Next week: We will explore the challenges couples face in the Post-Discovery phase.


Do you identify with the issues discussed in this post? If so, book a free 15-minute consultation to explore how we can support your journey to recovery and healing.



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