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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 April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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