Betrayal comes in many forms. Whether it’s your dog running away from you, a friend gossiping about you, or even an affair, we will all feel a sense of betrayal at some point in our lives.
How do we go about describing our feelings to our family and friends, or even a therapist?
Some common words that can be used instead of “betrayal” include affair, disloyalty, treachery, bad faith, fooling, duping, scamming, and even abuse.
All of these words can be used to describe the same act, which is having a person take advantage of your kindness and trust for their own personal gain.
When it comes to relationships, by far the most common type of betrayal includes having an extramarital affair…also known as cheating.
In fact, studies show that 15% of American women and 25% of American men have stepped outside of the marriage in order to have an affair.
This usually means having sexual intercourse with someone else. However, other common types of betrayal include the following.
Romantic affairs are perhaps the most common and the most hurtful.
When a spouse betrays their partner in order to start a romantic relationship with another man or woman, this is known as a romantic affair.
Romantic affairs can include:
- Leaving the other person to be with the new romantic partner
- Spending money on the other partner
- Promising the affair partner they will leave the original partner for them
- Having sexual encounters with the affair partner
- Meeting the affair partner’s family to establish a relationship
Unfortunately, romantic affairs are not far-off, and it can be easier for your partner to start now with the advent of social media.
Emotional affairs might or might not involve physical intimacy. However, they do involve a partner being emotionally involved with another person. This can mean:
- Turning to the affair partner for advice instead of you
- Constantly thinking about the other person
- Thinking about cheating, but never pulling the trigger and physically being intimate
- Spending more time texting, calling, and meeting with their emotional affair partner than with their original partner
Although they do not involve physical intimacy, emotional affairs can still be hurtful.
In fact, studies showed that women felt angrier and more hurt by emotional affairs than men did and felt even more hurt about emotional affairs than sexual affairs.
This just goes to show that even having an emotional affair with someone can be considered betrayal, and it can wreak havoc on a relationship.
If you’ve ever been the victim of a one-night stand affair, you might have been left dumbfounded at your partner’s attempts to justify their acts.
There are many common excuses for why someone might have a one-night stand, but they in no way make their actions excusable. These excuses include:
- Being too drunk
- Being too high
- Losing control of their physical sensations
- Saying they were just friends
- Promising it won’t happen again and that it only happened once
- Blaming it on you for finding out about the affair
- Putting the blame on their friends instead of themselves
One-night stands should never be taken lightly.
These types of affairs are somewhat dangerous, especially if done with a partner that is unfamiliar, such as a stranger at a club or bar.
Having unprotected sex with a total stranger can lead to a host of issues, including sexually-transmitted diseases – known as STDs – and pregnancy.
If your partner has told you, or you have found out, that there was a one-night stand, it’s best to visit a clinic right away and get tested for STDs.
Some STDs can cause neurological damage, such as syphilis, which can lead to cognitive impairment and even seizures in later stages.
Even if an affair only happened once, it is still a betrayal!
In today’s modern age, it’s now easier than ever to find a partner online.
In fact, about 24% of all internet users with dating experience use the internet to maintain a steady relationship with their partner!
Dating someone digitally can still be considered a betrayal in the eyes of you or your partner. Digital dating can include:
- Buying gifts online
- Sending nude pictures
- Sending sexts, or text messages that are sexual in nature
- Emotionally cheating with the affair partner
- Distancing oneself and abandoning their original partner
Starting a digital relationship can still be devastating to the person that is cheated on.
It’s never okay to betray someone’s trust with any type of affair, even if it’s only online.
It’s estimated that 10% of men in the United States might be suffering from sex addiction. Sex addiction is a debilitating illness characterized by:
- Inability to stop having affairs
- Risky sexual behaviors, such as having unprotected sex or seeking out sexual services from sex workers illegally
- Inability to function at work, school, or maintain a good home life due to the need for sex
- Deviant sexual acts such as voyeurism (which is illegal)
- Hours spent masturbating or consuming pornography
Sex addiction is a very real disorder that can have serious consequences, including destroying a relationship.
Tiger Woods is perhaps the most famous figure that has undergone scrutiny due to his sex addiction.
Although it can be painful to live with a partner and be betrayed by a sexual addiction affair, it’s important to understand that this is a serious condition.
If your partner is a sex addict, they will need to attend professional counseling and receive other mental health treatment in order to recover.
However, you are under no obligation to stay with your partner during their treatment.
In fact, it’s best to give them their space until they can fully recover and get the help they need.
If you are married to your partner, consider separating or speaking with a couples therapist before divorcing.
If you choose divorce, however, this is not a bad decision on your end.
The betrayal from an affair caused by sex addiction is still hurtful, and you have every right to pursue a divorce if you feel it is the best decision to emotionally heal.
A staggering 43% of partners admit to financial deception or financial betrayal!
This is a type of betrayal that involves spending money from joint finances on expenses that are not discussed beforehand. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Secret homes
- Secret vacations
- Secret cars or boats
- Financing an affair
- Hiding money
- Intentionally not paying a bill
- Intentionally lying about expenses
- Going on shopping sprees without their partner’s knowledge
Financial betrayal can not only be damaging emotionally, but it can cause devastating effects in your household.
Losing a home or even getting a car repossessed are all very real consequences of financial betrayal.
If your partner has lied to you about finances, it’s best to break things off until they can handle their money better or simply leave the relationship due to a lack of trust.
Although the above forms of affairs can all constitute betrayal, it’s important to have a set definition with your partner beforehand.
For instance, if you and your partner have an open relationship, having sex outside the marriage or relationship might not constitute a betrayal.
On the other hand, if you and your partner are completely devoted to each other, something as simple as texting another person can constitute betrayal.
Although some might see this behavior as a bit toxic, if you and your partner are comfortable with this level of closeness, by all means, use it to define your definition of betrayal.
However, if your partner considers having sex okay and you don’t, there is a serious lack of communication going on.
It’s best to sit down with your partner and truly understand what it means to betray each other.
Only through communication and a solid definition will you be able to determine if your partner has truly betrayed you.
If you and your partner have already discussed what it means to betray, deceive, or be disloyal to one another, you should make the decision to leave if it makes healing easier for you.
If your partner refuses to let you walk away, to work through the affair and betrayal, and is otherwise dismissive of your feelings, this is a huge red flag and constitutes abuse.
Similarly, if you have innocent friendships but your partner insists you do not have any outside friends, this is also a form of abuse (not betrayal).
Again, it all boils down to whether or not your definition of betrayal lines up with your partner’s.
Betrayal in a relationship comes in many forms. There are many types of affairs that can all cause the same amount of emotional damage.
No matter the type of affair, it’s best to talk with your partner about what it means to betray each other and find ways to communicate your feelings with each other.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of betrayal, such as depression, anxiety, distress, and anger, the best decision might just be to walk away.