Six months ago, I found out that my husband was having an affair with my best friend in Murcia. I left my husband and I have not spoken to either he, or my friend since.
I have tried to remain strong and continue on with my life. Work is okay and I have great family support around me, but I feel incredibly low. I am struggling to be positive. I worry whether I am capable of fully trusting a partner, or a friend, ever again.
Do you have any advice for me?
After the betrayal that you have endured, truly trusting another person will inevitably feel like an impossible task at this time. To have been betrayed by two of the people closest to you, is devastating. But you can and you will recover.
Firstly, let’s normalise your feelings that you might never trust again. It is absolutely natural that you feel this way Kate, because when we experience betrayal such as this, we often process it via a series of traumatic responses. Betrayal of this magnitude can induce shock, grief, anger or waves of self-doubt. It can also dramatically impact your inner confidence and self-esteem. As is the case with any form of trauma, we each need time in order to recover.
Secondly and very importantly, do not feel that you have to fight back the tears in order to remain strong. To share a bond built upon trust creates for each of us a haven of safety, dependency and love. When this bond is broken, it can feel hugely unsettling and hopeless. Of course, you feel low. Let it out. All of your emotion, be it sadness, heart-break, anger, despair, resentment. Whatever it is, express it. When we suppress our emotions, even with the best of intentions, the result is often in the form of anxiety or depression.
If you find that you are struggling, do not hesitate to seek therapeutic support. The therapy process will allow you the safe space in which to reflect and process your pain whilst being supported and lifted in a constructive way that enables you to continue with your day to day life. Therapeutic support also offers you the opportunity to explore coping mechanisms unique to your experiencing, in order to enhance your overall positivity and sense of self.
An action plan
There are of course, gentle steps of self-care that you can take right away as a means of action to properly process your feelings: –
- Make yourself the priority: Step away from all distractions and all unnecessary drama. This time should be about you and you alone. What do you need at this time? What do you want, moving forwards?
- Do not be held back by the past: Focus on what it is that you want. Do not allow negative emotions such as resentment or anger to cloud the vision that you have for your future.
- Do not feel pressured to recover quickly: Allow yourself to process your emotions in your own unique way. There is no timeline to adhere to but your own.
We often refer to the absence of trust within any given relationship as a ‘‘loss’’. We do this because it is a loss. We must mourn the loss accordingly. For you Kate, this means grieving the loss of your husband and your best friend. However, as you do so, remember that they let you down badly. What they did was inexcusable. It was most definitely their fault, not yours. As such, do not allow the negative thoughts and emotions such as guilt or shame to transfer to you. It is theirs alone to carry.
Trust and the capacity to trust, is essential in order to lead a happy and fulfilled life. Trust is rather like a shield that we can hold up high in defense against life’s uncertainties and hardships. Finding the courage to trust again will take time Kate, but you are most definitely capable.
Do not allow this experience to govern how you trust other people in your life moving forwards. Instead, keep that heart of yours open. Do not deny yourself the beauty of trusting relationships in the future because two people failed you. You deserve far better.
Wishing you every happiness,
Caroline Holbrook: Psychotherapist | Life Coach | Counsellor
If you are looking for professional and qualified advice in and around Sitges (Spain), then please call me directly at +34 603 63 29 24. If you are based remotely, then you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Either way, more information about the services I offer can be found here at the Here to Help website.