Betrayal, Affairs and Lack of Trust

By far the most viewed page on my website is the one about lack of trust in a relationship.

Many of my coaching clients speak of their fear of being betrayed by a partner, or perhaps a friend or even colleague.

In this article I would like to explain why we have such fears and show how we can manage them and re-build trust. I will look at it from two angles, the betrayer and the betrayed.

We betray people when we feel our needs are not being met in a relationship. If we started the relationship by falling in love, those needs would have been fulfilled perfectly in the beginning.

As time progresses, both partners reduce the amount of giving and receiving of love and then either start fighting or drift apart. Whatever we feel is now missing in the relationship, is the thing we may be tempted to search for in another person. This may turn into an affair or be simply thoughts and fantasies about other people. So the trick is to re-discover those qualities that were so obviously present when we met our partner. This may be as simple as having an honest chat about what is missing for each other in the relationship and then giving that very thing. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple…

Even if we have not been betrayed, we may fear that our partner will stray and may become paranoid or jealous. How can we deal with these feelings? It’s not about trying to change our partner, we must look at ourselves. This might surprise you – We have a fear of betrayal because we do not trust ourselves!

At first this might seem preposterous but let me try to explain. Everything we fear tends to appear in our lives. If betrayal or the fear of it is a recurring pattern in our lives, then at some deep unconscious level we believe we have betrayed in the past or have the potential to betray somebody. We then fear that the same thing will happen to us – we have a belief that relationships will always end in betrayal.

This means that in our formative years we probably had an experience of being abandoned or betrayed. It may not have been a dramatic event like being left, but we may have felt the pain of being let down or emotionally abandoned. As we probe deeper into our minds we find that every resentment or negative belief we harbour about somebody, is mirrored in a belief about ourselves. Therefore, if we believe we have been abandoned by somebody, then we also feel guilty that we have abandoned them. 

From a spiritual point of view (assuming we have such views), the painful experiences of life might have brought us to the conclusion that there is no God or if there is, that they have abandoned us. This belief in abandonment then reappears in relationships. Once again the extent of our unconscious belief in spiritual abandonment is mirrored by our guilt for abandoning our own spiritual connection – our guilt at abandoning God. Even if we are atheist in our views, there may be a sense of having moved away from our natural joyous and creative self and therefore we may have an unconscious belief that we abandoned our own gifts.

So, the way through this most painful of issues, is to recognise our own temptation to betray others – it comes from a lack of belief in our own ability to meet our own needs – or put another way, our inability to find self love, whether on a mortal plane or through embracing our spiritual gifts. By forgiving ourselves, our partners for their betrayal and re-connecting in all our relationships (mortal and divine), but particularly with our partner we will take away the dynamic of betrayal.

Meaningful communication about our fears around betrayal, about our own temptations, and what we feel is lacking is always going to be useful. It is the fact that we have not voiced these concerns that has damaged the trust in the relationship. It might take great courage to voice these fears, but it is the only way to re-build a relationship so it can be based on honesty and trust.

Peter Granger |


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s