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8 Types Of Betrayals That Can Be As Damaging As Having An Affair

8 Types Of Betrayals That Can Be As Damaging As Having An Affair

Relationships and marriage are hard! There are some obvious things that would break a relationship, such as physically cheating on your partner, or you and your partner having radically different values, or maybe one wants kids and other is decidedly child-free.

Cheating is one of the most common betrayals that people talk about when it comes to relationship-enders. And cheating is horrible, I agree. The trust that is broken and likely irreparable, the emotional betrayal of it. But cheating is only one of many different types of behaviors that are a betrayal to your relationship and the commitment you made to your partner.

This article in Psychology Today addresses how to own up to any betrayal, cheating or otherwise, with good advice such as acknowledging your actions before they find out another way, being honest, answering questions, and knowing your intentions.

Here are 8 other ways to betray your partner and your relationship, that you may not realize are just as damaging, if not more than physically cheating on your spouse.

1. Putting your wants and needs above your partners

Relationships are about partnerships and equality, but there is also a saying that “love is putting the other person first.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Researchers call this “compassionate love”—recognizing a partner’s needs and concerns and putting them ahead of your own. “It’s not just making people feel good,” says Harry T. Reis, a University of Rochester professor of psychology, “It’s a way of communicating to the other person that you understand what they are all about and that you appreciate and care for them.”

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When you start to forget about the other person’s needs, or start to put your own needs above your partners, you will begin a gradual decline in your relationship. Yes, your needs are also important. But your consideration should be about your partner’s needs and how both of you work together to meet each others wants and needs. Over time, losing the focus on your partner and only focusing on yourself will spell disaster for the relationship — especially if your partner is still putting your needs above their own. This is a breeding ground for resentment.

Watch out for this. Loving someone isn’t about just saying the words, it’s about showing it through actions.

2. Taking your partner for granted

When you’ve been with one person for a long time, it can be easy to stop thinking of that person as a separate individual person, and just a person who is part of your family. When you stop trying to be romantic, stop dancing, stop saying “I love you,” or stop saying please and thank you, you’re taking your partner for granted.

If your partner is feeling unappreciated, resentment can occur over time. If you stop helping clean the house, or don’t help with the kids, or don’t recognize and appreciate your partner’s contributions to your life, you will eventually get to the point of having a roommate, not a loving partner. This is a betrayal that gains speed over time. It happens little by little. One person stops recognizing and thanking and appreciating the other partners work, and the other partner begins feeling overworked, under-appreciated, and this breeds resentment.

Take the time to remember every day why you love your partner, help your partner, and listen to them. And always say please and thank you!

3. Emotional cheating

“An emotional affair is essentially an affair of the heart,” says marriage therapist Sheri Meyers, “All of this [flirty texts, deep emotional connection, telling them things about your partner or things you wouldn’t tell your partner] drains energy from your primary relationship.”

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Of course you can still have opposite-sex platonic friendships, Sheri explains, “Just be sure you’re not taking attention away from the closeness you should be nurturing at home.”

Emotional affairs are as damaging, if not more damaging, than a physical affair. Physical affairs are often not emotionally involved, and are easy to cut out if you’re trying to repair your relationship. Emotional affairs can be incredibly difficult to end, and many people will “mourn” the loss of this very close friend, a person they have been receiving emotional support from. Emotional cheating can irreparably damage a relationship and all trust very quickly.

4. Not standing up for your partner

You and your partner should be a team. When someone makes fun of or denigrates your teammate, you should stand up for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friend, a colleague, or your mother. When you married your partner, that person became your closest family. If your mother calls your spouse names or thinks they “aren’t good enough for you,” then it is your responsibility to stand up for your partner. This is the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with. You wouldn’t allow someone to talk nastily about your children, so why would you allow it for your life-mate?

Check out https://www.reddit.com/r/JUSTNOMIL/. It is full of real life stories about marriages and relationships that have crumbled due to in-laws interfering with their relationships, and spouses who don’t stand up to their family for them.

On the other hand, it could just as easily be outside the family. A friend may say something against the way you and your partner are raising your child, a colleague who complains about their wife all the time tries pointing out negatives about yours. Your significant other should be your partner in every sense of the word. You should stand up for your partner, and be a united front with them against the rest of the world.

This is the type of betrayal to your partner that most people don’t recognize as one. But by allowing people to speak against or badly about your partner, you become complicit in the crime, and this is something that will tear a relationship apart over time.

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5. Lying to your partner — even about stupid things

In this article by Lisa Firestone, Ph.D, she discusses Deception and the Destruction of Your Relationship. While she does talk about the ethics of infidelity, Dr. Firestone states “Lying to someone, especially someone close to us, is one of the most basic violations of a person’s human rights. Whatever one’s stance is on open versus closed relationships, the most painful aspect of infidelity is often the fact that someone is hiding something so significant from their partner.”

Lying is never okay. Being caught in a lie will destroy your partner’s trust, and if you’re lying and hiding things from the person closest to you, why are you in that relationship in the first place?

She concludes with this: “An ideal relationship is built on trust, openness, mutual respect and personal freedom. But real freedom comes with making a choice, not just about who we are with but how we will treat that person. Choosing to be honest with a partner every day is what keeps love real. And truly choosing that partner every day by one’s own free will is what makes love last. So while freedom to choose is a vital aspect of any healthy and honest union, deception is the third party that should never be welcome in a relationship.”

6. Using your partner’s vulnerability/insecurity against them

There are many types of abusive and controlling behaviors out there, which would be a whole article on it’s own. One I want to focus on is more subtle: manipulation.

Skilled manipulators are experts at rationalizing their behavior and their attempts to control you. Someone might say “I’ve been cheated on before and that’s why I don’t want you to have any male friends.” It sounds like a rational thing to ask, except that no one should control who you’re friends with, and the person would be trying to use their insecurity against you. World of Psychology continues, saying “Consideration is shown with love while manipulation is ruled by guilt.”

Eden Strong, the author of the WoP piece and another article on the same topic for Yahoo, discusses how one tactic of good manipulators is to use your own insecurities against you. The person will constantly point out what you’re doing wrong or something they know you are sensitive about, and talk about how they could have done it better, and how you can be better, but only with their help.

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Knowing these signs and seeing a partner use your weaknesses or insecurities against you could and probably should be a dealbreaker in a relationship.

7. Distancing yourself emotionally

Neglect and distraction can lead to distancing oneself emotionally, creating a gulf between partners.

Marriage and family therapist Stan Tatkin discusses emotional distance in his book Wired for Love, which delves into people’s different attachment styles. He describes emotional distance and some consequences, saying, “Emotional distance is characterized by a lack of an emotional, spiritual, or intellectual level connection with your partner. [sic] When your partner does offer a response, it’s remote, guarded, lacking in intimacy – perhaps because of a fear of intimacy. Emotional distance can indicate an impending physical separation; in fact, intimate partners may develop certain defense mechanisms to protect feelings and protect themselves from pain in their intimate relationships.”

When you’re in the same room physically, but not connecting to your partner anymore, you’re putting distance between you that can lead to the end of the relationship. Neglecting your partner, becoming easily defensive over little things, valuing the time with your friends and colleagues above time with your partner, or being distracted by work and other issues that you aren’t sharing with your partner are all signs of emotional distance.

8. Pressuring your partner to change

You should be absolutely clear on this: you should be with someone for who they ARE, not who they could/should/might someday be. That’s not how people work! Smokers know that smoking is terrible for them, but they can’t quit because YOU want them to, they can only really successfully quit when THEY want to. That’s how changes work. Overweight people know they should lose weight for their health, but telling us to do it doesn’t make me do it.

You can’t make someone change. “My partner would be perfect if he just listened better/cleaned more/had different political views!” It’s a simple truth of life that you can only change yourself.

Trying to force someone to change against their will, even minor things, can spell the end of a relationship. Healthy communication and compromise should be the backbone of a relationship, and will allow people to make gradual changes on their own, if they want to. As this great article on Elite Daily points out: “More likely than not, you want to change them for the wrong reasons – selfish reasons.”

Featured photo credit: Stokkete via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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