So, someone in your life has betrayed you. Might have been a spouse, a child, a parent, or a teacher. Often the level of betrayal is related to the level of personal authenticity and disclosure you shared with the other individual.
At one point, I felt compelled to “work with” and encourage a guy I had met through an online faith community. He often complained about his situation and his marriage to me but never felt compelled to do anything about it. He wouldn’t leave his wife (which I did not suggest anyway, nor did anyone else), nor would he suck up his 40k debt and pay it off, rather expecting someone else to pay it off by virtue of a medical release.
For over 2 years, after he got married, he was still banking on a medical release. And ignoring everyone advising him to take on the debt, get out of his situation (which had him living in another country from his bride), and go to his wife and improve his marriage. He insisted his wife would leave him, but they were both miserable living separately – and spending no less than 3-4k a year in travel to see each other….
After he decided that my feedback was no longer valid, the only times I would hear from this guy was when he wanted to update me on his situation, which rarely changed, other than him making a female friend that his wife didn’t trust. Each of our interactions was always and completely about him. And if I suggested something he found challenging, he shut down. Daily, at times.
Well, he had told me that he had given his wife his email password to display trustworthiness. He suggested I use FB to confer with him going forward, which I did.
My bride and I have been together now for 16 years and we don’t feel the need to get into each others’ email. We also don’t have a need to “hack” (which isn’t really hacking) into each other’s Social Media accounts.
Trusting each other, to us, is key, particularly with regard to my new field – counseling. Further, she knows that I have some friends who come to me with pretty personal issues and she respects my friendships with them as well, in order to help me maintain that level of trust with them, too.
What he failed to tell me was that he had given his wife (a short time later) his FB password as well. Now… I’m a pretty open guy if I know with whom I’m talking or typing. Or if I don’t know but I am aware that anyone can read what I have to say (like, for example, a blog or something like that 🙂 ) He was unable to confirm or deny if she read anything I had shared, but what I shared with him was not his to share with his wife. A woman, frankly, with whom I have some pretty serious concerns.
So, I cut him off. Entirely. He had known previously that I didn’t go for that kind of secrecy and duplicity within my friendships. I messaged him one final time telling him that we were done. I forgave him but could not trust him. At all.
And that, frankly, it was tiresome for him to try to keep contacting me for “help” when he really didn’t want it (as evidenced by his lack of action) without any semblance of concern for my life, my family, or my marriage.
At one point in my life, I considered him a never met friend. But friends care about us as much as we care about them. If I considered this relationship as a counseling relationship (and, no, I don’t look at my friendships that way), I was working harder than the other person. A big no-no in counseling.
When I mentioned this series of events to my own bride (who still has not requested my Social Media logons), she told me, “He doesn’t sound like a very good friend.” Indeed. I think that’s why I decided not to attempt reconciliation. And I’m okay with that. (I promise).
How do you handle betrayal? Forgiveness and stop? Reconciliation? What works for you?