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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 January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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