In personal development on
Thursday, September 21, 2017

10 Behaviors to Avoid Once You’ve Been Betrayed

What to do when you've been betrayed - the accidental heroine

10 Behaviors to Avoid Once You’ve Been Betrayed

Let’s say that this has happened to you. Let’s say that you’ve finally reached that point.

That point where you’ve raised your hand into a salute right about eye brow height and declared, “I have had it up to here. Things are about to change.”


It’s time to admit it: you’ve been betrayed.

I know that you’d like to break things or hit walls or set fire to his clothes and his expensive car in the driveway of his beautiful house (a la Bernadette from “Waiting to Exhale”).

I’d totally help; I really would. But I’m not down for us to share a prison cell.

So this is where we’re at right now.

Let me be the sage one that’s been here a time or two before; let me give you some advice.

What to do when you've been betrayed - the accidental heroine

1. Do not apologize for his* betrayal; it’s not your fault.

It’s not up to you to seek forgiveness. You had nothing to do with it. You can not try to speak on his behalf. You can not let him off the hook. He needs to own this.

2. Do not think that you could have done anything to prevent his betrayal; you do not control anyone else’s actions apart from your own.

He made the decision that he made for whatever reason he made it. You could not have been a better friend/wife/sister/mother/daughter, more encouraging, or more entreating. Your actions do not have any bearing on his. He alone is responsible for his decision.

3. Do not gloss over his betrayal; you must honor yourself and acknowledge the truth.

You are not allowed to let yourself think “the word betrayal seems like a bit much” or “it’s not really that bad” or “I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that.” It’s not too much. It really is that bad. And yes, oh yes he did.

4. Do not call his betrayal a mistake; it was a choice he made to betray you.

You can not say things like “well, maybe he didn’t know better” or “maybe he wasn’t raised the way I was” or “maybe he just needed more time.” You can not excuse his behavior as a product of bad upbringing. You can not make his betrayal akin to having bad manners. He didn’t burp at the dinner table; he betrayed you.

5. Do not try to understand why he betrayed you; you are not entitled to his why. 

You can not force him to explain himself. He owes you nothing in the way of an explanation. It shouldn’t matter anyway. An explanation will not change what he has done. And it certainly won’t make you feel better.

6. Do not utter the phrase “if we could just go back in time”; you already know that you can’t.

Stop allowing yourself access to the word “if”. There is not one single what if? that could make what he has done any more stomachable. Stop torturing yourself with scenarios that conclude in different outcomes. You already know the outcome. You already know the conclusion.

7. Do not think “someday he’s going to regret this”; he most likely never will.

You can not think for one second that he has your self-awareness and compassion and humanity. Clearly, he does not. You can not allow yourself to hope that he will develop an iota of guilt over what he’s done, what he’s allowed to happen. He will not. He would not be able to live with himself if he did.

8. Do not think that he’s ever going to give you an apology; you need to learn to move on without one.

An apology is reserved for hurting your daughter’s feelings or missing your best friend’s baby shower or bumping your grandma’s shoulder as you savagely reach across her for the last piece of cake. This is not a bruised shoulder; this is a betrayal. In order for him to ever muster up an apology, he would have to begin to feel regret. We’ve already established that he won’t.

9. Do not think that his betrayal has anything to do with your worth and value; your worth and value have not changed.


10. Do not let his betrayal consume you; you will get passed this.

You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to eat your feelings. You are allowed to drag your body to exhaustion on the treadmill. You are not allowed to stop and stay in this pain and hold on to it for fear that if you let go of it then no one will see that it was important in the first place. You are not allowed to be the keeper of the flame of the pain. You must let it go. You just have to.

What to do when you've been betrayed - the accidental heroine

I know you still have so much you want to say to him. So do it. Text him. Leave a voicemail. Write it down. Send it to him if you must. Do what you have to do.

I’m going to make you a simple promise: it gets better. It honestly does.

What do you do when you’ve been betrayed?



*I used the masculine pronoun just for emphasis not for blame or as an indication that men are always the betrayers. Seriously. You use the pronoun you see fit.

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