Rebuilding Connection after Betrayal
After a betrayal occurs in a relationship, it can feel impossible to reconnect. Many relationships and couples who have this experience come to realize that they had been disconnected for a long time. It’s true that the disconnection didn’t necessarily cause the betrayal itself, but it begs the question: “how do you reconnect with someone you struggle to trust?”
- You have to figure out if this relationship is one that you want to work on. This level of commitment can be very scary. You’re committing to working on a relationship with someone you can’t trust fully. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t have to be a fast process for you. It takes time to decide that you want to commit to rebuilding the relationship. If you need time, just communicate that! Remind them that you’re determining what you want and that you need time to figure that out.
- Embrace acceptance. Betrayal brings out the problems and blindspots about the relationship that you’re in. However, the goal is to accept your partner if you’re going to want to make your relationship work. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t discuss situations where you would need to walk away from the relationship. Instead, there are going to be things that you wouldn’t leave your partner over, but that you wish would change. You can talk openly about this, but you can’t make your partner change. Sadly, I’ve seen many relationships where people pretend that they have made major changes after a betrayal, yet over time they return to keeping more secrets and lying again in order to protect that image that they created.
- The key to embracing acceptance is communication. Openly learning how to discuss things without puffing up and getting defensive is critical if you’re wanting to fix your relationship.
- Everyone does their own work. This may mean learning more about boundaries. It might mean that someone in the relationship needs to accept that they may have a compulsive behavioral problem. It also means that people have to work on trauma in order to heal and give their relationship the best chance at succeeding.
- Take mindful risk and chances to connect. Wouldn’t it just be great if you did all of this work and it just worked out afterward?! Unfortunately, there will be a lot of fumbling around in order to reconnect. Some of the efforts will work, while others will fail. It’s just as important in a relationship to learn how to deal with the failures.
Whether you’re dealing with a betrayal that has occurred from an affair or you’re in a relationship that is more linked to compulsive behaviors such as sex addictions, reconnection is going to be key.