Betrayal

The Effectiveness of Truth Telling Toward a Deeper Healing in Relational Betrayal

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Beth had been partnered with Steve for 12 years. She thought they were doing just fine. There were a few scuffles and every now and then she felt some distance but overall she figured it was just what people go through in a relationship. Then she stumbled into a pit of horror one afternoon looking for a phone number for Steve’s brother. She noticed a list of numbers that were foreign to her. She called one and found out it was an escort service. She had no idea. She was numb with shock and even though the evidence of infidelity was clear as a bell she was hoping that there would be a legitimate answer to this horrible reality. 

There wasn’t. At first, Steve lied about the inquiry. Then he finally came clean. It was piecemeal. If Beth asked the right question he gave her an honest response. This went on for a few days until such a point that Beth was unsure she would ever get the truth to the full extent. Now she had a dilemma. Do I leave the relationship? When can I know the last shoe of disclosure has dropped? Do I ask for a polygraph? How do I live with him knowing that he has so prolifically, profoundly lied to me? Who in the hell can possibly understand this crazy-making experience that I feel from being gaslit? There were a ton of other questions that raged within. 

Couples like Beth and Steve who experience infidelity will only heal through truth-telling. While the steps toward healing are not cookie cut, truth-telling must be embraced, particularly when there is compulsive infidelity.  Every stone must be turned over so that there are no secrets. A polygraph can be helpful to establish that a full disclosure has been made. 

When truth is agonizingly piece-mealed it is torture to the offended partner. “I wanna believe, but how can I when details dribble out that break my heart” is a common response.

Truth-telling about secret behaviors is essential but not sufficient. The partner in shock wants to know “Where did this behavior come from”. “This is not who I thought I was partnering with or what I thought I would get!” It is significant for the philandering partner to understand the cycle of offending behavior and disclose what was going on within that led to the hurtful behavior. The behavior did not happen out of the blue. If so, you would have been even yet more unpredictable. Digging in and understanding the mistaken beliefs, build-up behaviors and triggers that precipitated betrayal is a necessary truth-telling step for both the betrayer and the one betrayed. At least the betrayed can begin to grapple with what’s been going on inside their partner who betrayed. 

Truth-telling establishes a ground zero in a relationship pockmarked with infidelity that helps to determine the potential future of the relationship. It does not guarantee that the relationship can be salvaged, but without it, healing doesn’t happen.

Once these two momentous steps in truth-telling have been taken, there will be questions that nag the betrayed. How could my partner pull off this behavior under my very eyes? Why would they do this? What is wrong with me that I ended up screwed over like this? 

A process of clarification is a necessary next step of truth-telling. It is important to understand that when you choose to violate the values of another it is a victimizing behavior. There is an offender in every one of us which expresses itself through a mentality that “wants what I want when I want it”. It is this part that is the core of offending behavior. The offending behavior must be exposed for what it is—the epitome of narcissism. 

What must be cultivated in the heart of the offending person is the capacity to tell on themselves to the offended party. It is one thing for your victim to recognize by his or her own insight that you, as an offender, have victimized. It is a more powerful healing experience to the relationship when the offending party demonstrates awareness of ways in which they have victimized. Clarification is a way to “unbrainwash” your victimized partner so they understand that you “get it” and that they were not responsible for your abusive behavior in any way. 

There are 12 steps:

1. The obvious. Identify the way you offended your partner.

2. Identify 5 memories of special promises that are now spoiled because of your betrayal.

3. Make a list of 3 overt and covert ways your partner would have resisted your behavior had they known.

4. Identify 3 ways you groomed yourself and your partner around your betrayal behavior.

5. Identify 3 lies you told yourself, excuses you made to justify your behavior, and rationales that gave you a sense of entitlement to betray.

6. Describe the “smoke screens” you used to keep your partner off track (moodiness/busyness, etc).

7. Share how dishonesty around relationships occurred before you ever knew your partner in attitude, fantasy, and action.

8. Validate the confusing mixed messages you gave your partner through examples that you own. (secrets you kept)

9. Identify 3 others who would not do what you did, and areas it would not be wise to be trusted without accountability.

10. Give examples of ways you tried to hide your behavior from certain others.

11. Validate your partner’s boundaries and ways they distanced themselves from you after learning of your betrayal.

12. Validate that whatever weaknesses your partner may have, they are inconsequential to your choice of destructive behavior. Also, identify 3 hardships that your behavior has caused for your partner. 

    When you complete these steps, weave your responses into a letter. Share them with your partner. Ask her to have a supportive person (therapist, coach, and/or others) to be with her as she listens. You will be wise to have the same support. 

    There is an offender in us all. It would be wise for the partner who has been offended to consider ways in which they have offended their partner. Likely, betrayal is not your concerned behavior. Of course, you have done nothing to make your partner act out and betray you. Yet, you have contributed to intimacy distance in some way. It will be helpful for you to compose a clarification process for your betrayal partner. You will find healing through common awareness of shortcomings whatever they may be. 

    The steps of truth-telling around betrayal require guidance. Usually, a trained professional is necessary but not always. For sure, truth-telling requires courage and being anchored to your adult self. Yet, those who engage in this courage know the freedom of healing that truth-telling achieves.

    The Fox and the Tiger

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    There is a well-known Sufi story about a man who was walking through the forest and saw a fox that had lost its legs, and he wondered how it lived. Then he saw a tiger come up with game in its mouth. The tiger ate its fill and left the rest of the meat for the fox.

    The next day God fed the fox by means of the same tiger. The man began to wonder at God’s greatness and said to himself, “I too shall just rest in a corner with full trust in the Lord and he will provide me with all that I need.”

    He did this for many days but nothing happened, and he was almost at death’s door from starvation when he heard a voice say, “O you who are in the path of error, open your eyes to the truth! Stop imitating the disabled fox and follow the example of the tiger.”

    No one gets through life without experiencing trauma. The unexpected happens. Feeling numb from tragedy and loss is a common thread for all humanity. No one will escape it. The Sufi story is universally applicable to all. When faced with misfortune we can respond like a helpless, legless fox or we can address misfortune by following the example of the tiger. Metaphorically, sorting and sifting whether you are responding to adversity as a disabled fox or empowered tiger often determines the impact of trauma in your life.

    Betrayal in committed partnerships is an insidious experience for everyone. The betrayer lives a life of deceit and a double life toward someone to whom they promised protection and propriety. The betrayed partner often experiences the edge of uncertainty without knowing the reality of ongoing devastation. Family members are torn with confusion and anxiety watching a horror story unfold in front of their eyes. No one is ever better off when betrayal occurs.

    The trauma of betrayal often triggers codependency that exists to varying levels. It would be a mistake to suggest that betrayed partners all suffer the same degree of codependent response or codependency at all. The pervasiveness of codependency is experienced far and wide throughout relationships in our society.

    Historically, the essential experience of trauma with betrayal has been under-emphasized while promoting the codependency that is often present with betrayal. Rightfully, many today identify as hurtful the diagnosis of codependency without raising consciousness to the raw trauma that must be treated for those who have been betrayed. There has been an over-emphasis upon codependency and co-addiction when trying to be helpful to those who have been betrayed. The emphasis upon the impact of trauma has been helpful and necessary.

    The importance of prioritizing and distinguishing the difference of trauma response from codependent response has been helpful for healing from betrayal. Yet, it is critical that the concern for trauma around betrayal not be blind to the possibility of co-addiction, the idea that a partner can be addicted to a partner, or the existence of codependency during the assessment of what needs to be treated. Each can appear in varying degrees from mild to intense.

    So, to be sure, trauma is a universal pathology for all engaged with betrayal. It is hurtful to minimize codependent or co-addictive behavior which may or may not have originated from betrayal behavior. New terminology about these behaviors can be helpful. Melody Beattie was helpful in popularizing the dynamics of codependency in human relationships. It is helpful to build on the foundation of understanding that her writings established. Assessing impact of betrayal trauma will require identifying the consequences of the trauma and then triaging needed interventions depending upon what is presented. This requires much needed process and awareness from an experienced therapist to examine the presence and intensity of trauma and related behaviors.

    Helping those victimized by the trauma of betrayal requires recognition of trauma indicators and application of helpful interventions. Those who are impacted by betrayal need careful appraisement and sensibility applied in the treatment of their response to betrayal. Only then can we help the patient move through their trauma of betrayal and help them shift from the paralysis of being a helpless fox to the reality of the empowered tiger.

    Ten Components That Cultivate Cherish in the Presence of Relational Betrayal

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    Cherish is a dynamic in relationship life that adds richness and protects the integrity of love between two people. Cherish promotes protecting and caring for something or someone in a very loving way. You hear about athletes who cherish an old coach who has long since retired. The athlete now cherishes the memories and lessons learned. Memories of old mentors who have passed away are cherished by all of us. Cherish means that we hold something or someone dear to our hearts. Historians cherish the Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, and other valued historic documents. Olympic athletes cherish the opportunity to participate with great hope for success. The word cherish represents magic that adds meaningfulness to romantic relationships. It is an important characteristic and life dynamic.

    Cherish can be drained from the experience of life. Disappointment can stop the flow of cherish in a promising job when you are overlooked. Selfish living can kill the cherish that exists in a community. Abandonment and neglect can choke the cherish from the dynamic of any relationship. Yet, nothing destroys cherish in a relationship like betrayal. 

    Gone is the protection and the care for the integrity of love in a relationship. Past memories of cherish are now sullied with deceit and lies. Meaningfulness in a betrayed relationship is demolished with chaos and confusion from gaslighting. Hope is destroyed with dupe and double cross.

    Relational betrayal is a societal travesty. The basics of how men learn to treat women begin with role-modeling in the home between mother and father. When dad treats mom as if she were a utility (responsible for all the domestic duties and for providing good sex) then it carries forward in the lives of the boys into adulthood. The seed for sexual objectification are planted in the minds of children by the way dad objectifies mom and how mom colludes with being a utility. 

    Objectification eradicates cherish. When one partner betrays another, objectification is the culprit that permeates the thoughts and behavior of the betrayer. The grass seems greener somewhere else. 

    When betrayal is exposed through disclosure, the betrayer most often will want to fix the problem with an apology and move on. Yet, broken hearts don’t heal this way. It becomes a feeble attempt to restore cherish in the relationship.

    At the moment of disclosure, both partners are unable to move forward toward rebuilding trust with a simple apology. Trauma ignites a systems failure. Unpacking broken trust and gaslighting truth requires a detailed healing process. Honesty moving forward from disclosure about every behavior is necessary. It is important for the partner to experience this reality from the betrayer.

    When both parties in a relationship ignore this understanding the efforts made by the betrayer to fix the problem will most likely be unsuccessful. A betrayed partner can heal when their experience is validated and their truth is respected and supported. Those who betray must offer this support toward healing. Betrayers who rigorously commit to honesty in all aspects of life in recovery create a healing environment toward rebuilding trust with their wounded partner. Working with an experienced therapist who has been trained in working with betrayal can be helpful. Partners who attend a self-help group for betrayed partners will steady their journey toward healing. Addicts who try to avoid their partner’s pain will slow the healing process in relational recovery.

    Here are ten suggestions to consider around healing betrayal in a relationship and restoring cherish:

    1. Accelerate your own commitment to your own healing. Whether you are an addict or a partner stay in your own lane. An addict must focus on doing everything possible to heal themselves, getting clear about why they cheated, with a commitment to radical interventions to prevent betrayal behavior in the future. Many betrayers get lost in finger-pointing, doing whatever their partner wants them to do, while avoiding what is necessary for their healing. So, take your eyes off your injured partner and concentrate on restoring your values.

    2. Practice telling on yourself. To heal betrayed trust, each person in the relationship must understand that they will not be perfect in recovery. Mistakes will be made by both parties. It doesn’t mean that addictive relapse is automatic or inevitable but it does mean that both parties are human and backsliding on commitments made will exist along the journey toward healing. It will be important to tell on yourself and commit to making amends. Any time you hurt your partner, make amends. It all begins when you tell on yourself. Avoid being defensive or explaining your behavior and actions. You do not need to clarify your intentions. Simply acknowledge and admit that your partner is hurting. Tell on yourself when you have done something that hurts the other person. 

    3. Practice not making assumptions. Making assumptions involves human error. You cannot know what you don’t know. Insecurity and shame accelerate the temptation to make assumptions. You can assume that your partner only sees you as disgusting. You can build an entire system of sabotage behaviors based on false assumptions you make about what your partner thinks of you. Intervene by stopping to check things out with an honest inquiry. Don’t bait your partner with hurtful behavior to repeat your false assumptions.

    4. Don’t personalize your partner’s behavior. Your partner’s response to healing is not about you. This may be hard to wrap your arms around but true nonetheless. Their behavior is about them and their pain. You may have hurt your partner with betrayal action, but, your partner will only heal when they are guided to embrace their pain and walk down that path toward healing. If you are the one who has betrayed, you will need to establish internal boundaries that help you detach from your partner’s healing. It’s not about you. What is about you is offering support and validation to your partner for your betrayal behavior. If the partner who has been betrayed becomes verbally, physically, and/or emotionally abusive, external boundaries will need to be established. Boundaries must have consequences to provide care for the person setting them, not to punish the other party. The strategy for healing is not that you become a pin cushion for your partner’s pain.

    5. Stop saying you’re sorry and validate. Sorry is a hollow word around betrayal behavior. So stop! Validation is about supporting your partner in pain with agreement and affirmation. “You are right, I was selfish, inconsiderate, and insensitive!” “I didn’t think of you and you have every right to be angry and hurt!” “I know you are hurting. How can I best support you right now?” These are compassionate and caring examples of validation that will require you to anchor yourself in the powerful adult that you are and can operate from in your relationship.

    6. Stop looking for a pat on the back from your partner as you work hard to maintain sobriety. If you are an addict, providing sobriety is a ground-zero expectation. Your partner did not commit to you thinking fidelity would be an added benefit. It’s assumed that you would preserve faithfulness. When you break your partner’s heart you cannot expect them to be your cheerleader. Your 12-step community and others must provide support at this level. 

    7. Know your partner’s love language and zero in on that behavior. Focus on being sensitive to what your betrayed partner needs from you. Making promises and giving your partner what you would want for comfort usually is not healing. However, when you focus on what is considerate and caring from their perspective, it can create emotional pain relief and soothing support.

    8. Ask for permission to express love to your partner in non-sexual ways. Taking the initiative to do nice things for your partner without first asking is often seen as inconsiderate when healing betrayal and building cherish. Doing what you think your partner needs without checking in with him or her is another way of taking up too much space. Asking for permission and framing it as “Would this be helpful to you” is a way of practicing dignity and respect that ultimately leads to healing.

    9. Pay attention to codependent responses while navigating through relational betrayal. Understandably, you want to please your hurting partner while both of you attempt to heal from betrayal behavior. However, when the primary motivation to do recovery is to satisfy your partner, it seldom works for the long haul. It is not sustainable. Sometimes the partner who was betrayed by an addict’s behavior wants to determine the particulars of an addict’s behavioral contract for sober living. This seldom works well. Oftentimes an addict will codependently abandon his or her truth in order to appease their betrayed partner. When this happens an addict often loses his or her way in recovery which ultimately leads to a relapse. Both addict and partner must cultivate healthy self-assertion regarding wants, needs, and expectations in the relationship. When this is not done a shallow recovery life is pockmarked with unhealthy codependent response. 

    10. Subconsciously, don’t make your partner your parent while recovering from destructive betrayal behavior. When betrayal is uncovered in a relationship, it is easy for the betrayed partner to put the betrayer in the basement of the relationship. Shame accelerates negative images and messages about the betrayer. This frequently triggers old pattern behaviors that resemble trying to gain approval from a parent early in life. A partner cannot be the other’s parent. Pleasing your partner from this framework of thought and behavior will never restore healthy intimacy. Recovery may trigger awareness that unresolved family-of-origin issues need to be addressed. When this is true, address it so that you can anchor healing that fosters equal loving care for yourself and your hurting partner.

    Rebuilding cherish in the appalling presence of infidelity and betrayal is a difficult undertaking. These ten suggestions are among many that can help make a healing difference as you navigate the treacherous waters of mending betrayal behavior.

    Hate Management

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    “There are only two ways: either we love–and love in action is service–or we put hatred into action and destroy.” —Mother Teresa

    When I was a junior in high school, a classmate, Chuck Fuller, shot and killed five members of the Cox family who lived in a country house a little ways from town. All the victims were children ranging from ages 5 to 16. He had been dating Edna Cox at the time. The motive for Chuck’s tragic behavior was unknown. Some thought he was upset because Edna’s parents denied his request to marry her. Others thought it to be because Chuck believed that Edna’s parents demanded that she work too hard with domestic duties around the house. I suppose only Chuck knows for sure. A couple of summers after the tragedy I worked at a summer job with one of the surviving Cox children, Tim, who was my age. Of course, he was still reeling from the tragedy with grief, anger, and hate. 

    Throughout my life, I have reflected upon the tragedies that seem to happen all around us every day. I have wondered how long a person should wallow in the extreme pain of grief and hate when faced with the sheer tragic results of loved ones killed from senseless mass murder, childhood sexual abuse, or any of a number of tragic endings of life.  I have often thought that religion and its emphasis upon a relationship with God would insure and insulate people from  extreme feelings like hate. Certainly, religious communities encourage people to avoid hate and in some cases to run from its presence. Christians admonish believers to forgive just like Jesus forgave. Yet, it doesn’t seem to work. Maybe, because you and I are not Jesus! All world religions encourage believers to quash and eradicate hate from their lives. However, who doesn’t hate? None of us would be so cruel to suggest to Tim Cox that he not hate the perpetrator of mass murder of his siblings. Be that as it may, what are you supposed to do with this bitter and biting experience of hate that at some level we all experience?

    Here are a few suggestions to consider:

    1. Lean into hate. I know it is counterintuitive to suggest that someone embrace hate. However, over the years I have learned better to embrace hate because for sure it will embrace you when you face senseless loss, deep disappointment, and dominating oppression. Hate is an energy that cannot be ignored or avoided when facing a serious crisis that alters your way of living. It is a powerful feeling that must be reckoned with. It is uncomfortable, even suffocating in its impact. 

    I once met with a man who walked into his bedroom with his partner being sexual with two men he did not know. Everywhere he goes in his mind, the image of relational betrayal stalks him like bloodhound tracking dogs. He simply cannot get away from the vile hate he felt. I suggest that you make an about-face from running away to facing the reality that an awful experience has happened and that you need to embrace the actuality that you hate the person, the experience, and the results that exist. Don’t minimize or get lost in trying to explain away your feeling of hate.

    2. Direct the hate to the person and the oppressive system that promoted the hurtful behavior. Many people are fearful and hesitant to admit what and who they hate. So they don’t. They walk through their lives with a chip on their shoulder, allowing the venom of hate to spew onto anyone and everyone they encounter. This approach to hate keeps you stuck in what hurts and leaves a venomous footprint of hate wherever you go. 

    Some people live out the mantra  “don’t worry, be happy”. They live the life described by the late John Prine in his song the “The Other Side of Town” and “A clown puts his make-up on upside down—so he wears a smile even when he wears a frown”.  These people live a life of self-sabotage. No one really understands what their frown is about because they are always smiling, hiding what hurts. People and systems can be oppressive. Naming the hurtful person and the hurtful behavior is a must if hate is to be addressed. Further, you must identify and call out the oppressive system that allowed the hurtful behavior.

    So, for the unfortunate client who walked in on his partner’s infidelity, he must name the infidelity and call out his partner who betrayed him. Further, he will need to draw critical attention to the dysfunctional system in the relationship that allowed for the oppressive behavior of infidelity to exist. At some point, he will need to unearth the way in which he embraced the improbable–the partner relationship is solid–and ignored the obvious–we are in deep trouble. You may need help to see where you were blind to the relational distance that was present and growing over time. Hate is an energy that enables you to address wrongful and hurtful behaviors perpetrated by others toward you.

    3. Transfer the hate to what you love. There is a fine line between hate and love. You can only shift from hate to love when you become indelibly clear about what you hate. The experience of hate is an energy that requires responsible adult administration. If you become stuck with who or what you hate, bitterness and resentment will take over your existence. Martin Luther King once said that “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Yet,  love is not operational by ignoring what is hate-worthy–unfair treatment, domination, and injustice. It requires an adult to transfer the energy of hate by embracing what you love.

    Some people say they love others but have not addressed their own self-hate. There is an African saying, “Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” Maya Angelou once said, “I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ “ When you do not learn to transfer the energy of self-hate to self-love it becomes very difficult to overcome hate with loving acts. 

    Tire Tracks

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    Alex had been cheating on Alice from day one. Secretly, he hired strippers at his bachelor party and never made it through his honeymoon without cheating with someone he met at the pool of the resort where he and Alice stayed during the week after the wedding. It didn’t stop. He slept with Alice’s best friend, hired hookers when on the road for his work, and was hooked on porn over the years.

    Alice caught him looking at porn on his phone late one night and suspicioned there was more but was afraid to confront him. Then, one evening Alex’s phone rang and Alice picked it up thinking it was their daughter needing to be picked up from volleyball. But it wasn’t. It was a strange female voice who asked for Alex. When the person recognized that it was not Alex she hung up. Triggered with suspicion, Alice checked his texts and phone messages. She discovered a ton of graphic sexting texts between Alex and a woman named Lisa. She checked the phone number and figured there were over 75 phone calls to this one woman’s number. She called the number on Alex’s phone and the same voice of woman answered the call and Alice hung up without saying a word. She burst into tears because she knew what she had been dreading for quite some time. 

    She confronted Alex about the call but he denied and lied about anything inappropriate. She stayed with it and laid out the enormity of detail that she uncovered and finally, after hours of adamantly denying and gaslighting Alice, Alex broke down and admitted that he had been having an affair with a woman named Lisa who worked at his company. He piecemealed his history of sexual misbehavior. It wasn’t till a month and a half later when through intensive therapy and an extensive sexual history polygraph that Alice learned that Alex was never faithful to her throughout their ten years of marriage. 

    She determined that the only way she would remain in the marriage would be that he move out, go to inpatient treatment recommended by his therapist, and do whatever they recommended.

    This is a common story for therapists who work with compulsive sexual betrayal. The stories vary and some relationships are able to heal betrayal brokenness while many are not. Addictive behavior is often concealed in deceit and secrets. In time, compulsive infidelity is discovered by partners and other family members. It is always traumatic for everybody.

    Healing around betrayal is difficult and dicey.  The trauma that is incurred impacts both the betrayer and the betrayed. The hurt is multifaceted. 

    Therapists treating broken trust have a number of considerations to assess when administering treatment. There are established guidelines for counselor support. However, while there are similarities that are common to all partner betrayal, no two betrayal responses are the same. Couples whose relationships have been riddled with compulsive infidelity with long-term dishonesty have a number of considerations to assess.

    1. The compulsive betrayer must prioritize the following in order for healing to be effective: Cut off all contact with the affair partner immediately. This includes text, email, phone calls, and face-to-face visits. If the affair partner is in a working relationship with the compulsive betrayer, contact must be only about business with a commitment to gate all nonverbal energy communication. Preferred accountability about this dynamic would be with a recovering person who also is working a program. The betrayer must prioritize stopping the runaway train going down the track of their entrenched compulsive sexual behavior that has been in existence for a long period of time. Individual treatment is an absolute must. Promises to stop fade away all too frequently for the one who refuses treatment intervention. 

    2. The partner must engage treatment for damage created by the betrayal. All too frequently the partner refuses treatment favoring that their betraying partner be the “identified patient”. It is familiar to hear “I am not the one who struggles with lying and infidelity. Focus on the betrayer. They are the culprit. This is like getting run over by a big mack truck and laying on the side of the road with tire tracks across your back. The paramedics are called and when they arrive they tend to the driver, put them in the ambulance, and whisk them to the emergency room for treatment, leaving the victim who was run over lying on the side of the road. It makes no sense. Betrayal breaks the heart and the spirit of every victimized partner. Induced trauma requires long-term partner treatment for recovery. Codependent responses are always triggered by underlying trauma. It must be treated and will not heal without it. 

    3. The 3-legged stool approach. I prefer the 3-legged therapeutic approach. Every stool must have solid legs in order for the stool to be stable to safely sit. I find it most helpful that when treating betrayal trauma that each party in the relationship do individual therapy and that the couple also engage therapy as a couple, ideally with three different therapist involved (one for each of the 2 individuals and one for the couple together). I have experienced good success when it is done concomitantly.  There are exclusions when situations are exempt to this approach. That said a three-pronged approach has proven most helpful in healing. 

    4. Triage priorities in treatment. Betrayal is chaotic and crisis is not uniform and predictable. Careful consideration and guidance is needed in treating the betrayer, the betrayed partner, family, friends, and extended community depending upon the roles people have in those communities. Both partners will need to embrace their wise-minded adult within, and if this is absent carefully accept the guidance from an experienced counselor to triage treatment based on your specific and unique needs. 

    Destructive behavior, broken hearts, and tire tracks across the back caused by betrayal can heal. However, it is a long journey that insists that both partners embrace the healing journey. One or the other being the “identified patient” will impact prognosis for healing and will stymy healing. Addict betrayal is not only about relational infidelity. Addicts betray their own values and the trust of those around them who are counting on them to work a program for healing.  It is crucial that the entire family treat the addictive behavior from a family systems perspective. Each family member will need to address the impact of trauma that warps perspective and undermines trust.