Relationships can be tough sometimes. Just like they can be the biggest reason for your happiness, they can also sometimes be the biggest reason for your sadness and pain. Cheating is one of those things that can break apart a person from the inside, and truly destroy the most stable relationships. However, sometimes relationship betrayals are more than just having sex with someone who is not your spouse.
There are so many couples who go for marital counseling or couples counseling, with the hopes that it will heal their broken relationship. They open up about their biggest fears as well as their deepest longings and desires when it comes to soul-satisfying love, companionship, and commitment with a partner.
The pain and sting of infidelity are one of the toughest experiences a couple can go through. However, it is not the only thing that should be counted as there are so many other kinds of relationship betrayals that ruin relationships, disintegrate them, and finish them for good.
Let’s find out what these relationship betrayals are, that might be even worse than cheating.
6 Relationship Betrayals That Has Nothing To Do With Cheating
1. Not valuing the relationship.
Relationships are living, dynamic things. They need to be nurtured day in and day out. There are many couples who have bought into the idea that once they found a great partner and are committed, no more effort would be required and the relationship would naturally take care of itself. This is one of the many things that can ruin relationships for good.
So instead of prioritizing quality time and communication with their partner (like they did when they were dating), the relationship gets pushed to the back burner.
Your relationship will not thrive if you only invest in it when it suits you. This kind of neglect is a one-way ticket to splitsville. Your partner requires (and is worthy of) more than scraps of leftover time and attention.
2. Not putting effort in yourself, physically and/or mentally.
Some couples achieve a certain level of comfort in a relationship, and then gradually stop taking care of their physical and emotional wellbeing. This can mean your physical health falls by the wayside, or your personal growth work is deprioritized. This can lead to poorer communication, complacency, and selfishly ignoring your partner’s feelings.
When you put less emphasis on being the best version of yourself, you bring less joy and fulfillment to your relationship. In fact, you start to cultivate opposing feelings: boredom and dissatisfaction. True closeness with a partner requires true closeness with and value for yourself. Your own healing and self-care strengthen your relationship.
3. Neglecting the quality of your relationship.
This is one of the worst relationship betrayals. Humans receive so many cultural messages that teach them to think that they are not good enough, important enough, or desirable enough if they are single. In response to this, many people go on a fanatical quest to find a partner, get the engagement ring, and run down the aisle.
This way of approaching relationships puts the label “relationship” on a pedestal and distracts us from the thing that actually matters most: having the human experience we desire most. Dr. Robert Firestone refers to this as the “fantasy bond.” In his book, Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice, Dr. Firestone says the fantasy bond is the single most important factor leading to the deterioration of love and attraction in a relationship.
When you make the relationship label a higher priority than the actual relationship, intimacy, affection, and the strength of your bond will start to weaken, and in time, disappear altogether. This is one of those relationship betrayals which can be extremely hard to come back from.
You have to develop a solid friendship with your partner and routinely check-in. You need to ask yourselves at times, ‘Is our relationship truly everything it can be? Or, should we put in more effort to make it even better, stronger, and healthier?”.
4. Not being responsible for your own personal growth.
If you aren’t truly owning your development and growth as an individual, you can easily fall into patterns of codependence and begin to (unconsciously) expect your partner to be responsible for your happiness. This is incredibly draining for your significant other.
There are many people who resist personal growth work and then place the burden on their partners to make up for the emotional groundwork they’re not willing to cover for themselves. This creates an extreme inequality in the relationship—one person is mostly in “give” mode, and one person is mostly in “take” mode.
When you take responsibility for your inner healing and feelings, you consciously take away the weight of unjust expectations from your partner and help them support you as an equal, rather than they having to carry you, or being responsible for what you feel.
5. Focusing on being ‘right’, more than solving the issue.
When it comes to fear and insecurity, people sometimes react to it by shaming others and putting them down. This is one of the worst relationship betrayals you can participate in.
When you are afraid, or feel threatened or triggered into employing your coping mechanisms, you sometimes try to undermine the person you see as “threatening” by shaming or attacking them. The best way to handle sensitive situations like this is by working through them, by falling back on your vulnerability.
Shaming can be a statement, tone of voice, or facial expression, that communicates the idea that we think the other person is inferior—that there’s something wrong with who they are. You can also shame someone by simply rolling your eyes or being sarcastic.
Here are a few examples of shaming language:
“What is the matter with you?”
“You are just like your mother.”
“Be a real man.”
“You’re so needy!”
Learning to express how you feel versus calling names, reverting to judgment, or trying to undermine your partner, is the difference between pushing love away and building a deeper, more worthwhile connection and sense of trust in your relationship.
When we haven’t dealt with your baggage or developed healthy coping strategies for triggering circumstances, we often revert to damaging behaviors like comparison, belittling, shaming, and disrespecting our partners.
Behavior like this gradually ruins the emotional security and emotional depth of a relationship, and when you don’t feel secure and safe, intimacy takes a huge blow and it takes a backseat.
Lack of intimacy pushes any relationship towards destruction and a downward spiral and ultimately leads to its end. The need for being right should never eclipse the need for having a healthy, happy relationship.
6. Changing your partner into someone you think they should be.
It’s natural to grow and change over time. As you change, your relationship with your partner will have to adapt and change, too. As long as there is transparent and affectionate communication in a relationship, it will always evolve in a positive way effortlessly.
The more you grow together with time, you should always focus on having a positive and open-minded approach towards it, and not try to change your partner into someone they are not.
What is very unhealthy is trying to change the core of who your partner is—their unique qualities and personality traits. Trying to create this kind of change sends your partner the message that “I don’t accept you as you are,” or “I will love you more if…”
This is not unconditional love. This is a love that comes with a checklist.
When you try to change your partner (their wardrobe, their friends, their way of speaking, their career or business dreams), you’re basically telling them that they can only have your love and affection if they throw away their true self and become whatever you want them to be.
When you do this to your partner, you are basically putting them into a painful zone by making them choose between being loved by you, and being their real selves. This breeds resentment and almost always leads to the breakdown of the relationship, as well as to poorer self-esteem and emotional health for both parties.
Cheating is not the only thing that has the ability to destroy relationships, there are so many other relationship betrayals that can do the same or more damage. Both you and your partner should keep an eye out for these problems, and even if one of these exists, work on it before it becomes a huge problem.
It might end up being the difference between ‘together forever’ and ‘ it’s not worth it’.