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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 14, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

Reference

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