Things you Shouldn’t say to a Spouse who’s Been Betrayed

Often, sitting there in silence, and just listening with compassion, will be the greatest gifts that you can offer at this time.

But if you do choose to speak, then please be careful with your words. Don’t blurt out empty platitudes or trite, hurtful advice.

Specific statements to avoid include the following:

1. “It will get better. Just give it time.” You don’t know their situation, and you don’t know what the future holds for them.

2. “At least he didn’t (fill in the blank)”. Betrayal is betrayal. Searing pain is searing pain. There isn’t a hierarchy. Don’t attempt to minimize.

3. “You should definitely leave him.” Maybe that’s what you would do – but this isn’t about you. And you have no idea what is right for someone else.    

4. “I think it’s pretty common. I’d say most men look at porn.” Here, you might as well have said: “Why complain. It’s no big deal” … When the truth is they’re in shock, and they have a broken heart.

5. “I know how you feel.” You might imagine you can feel something of what they’re going through. But the truth is, we don’t know what it’s like someone else. Their experience is unique to them.

6. “The best thing you can do is to forgive. It will help to set you free.” It is callous to suggest they should forgive, and just move on. Right now, that comment says to them: “Your heartache doesn’t matter.”

7. “Everything happens for a reason.” And usually that reason is our partner made the choice to break his promise to us, and to put his own wants first.

8. “Let it go”, or the sister comment, “This too will pass”. If only it was easy to let go of all the pain, to put it all behind us, and move on with our lives again. But processing betrayal can take years, if not a lifetime.

“They don’t understand our pain because their world didn’t stop when our did.”

The Power of Memory

Remember the first days, when you were in the throes of love? It all felt so exciting when you turned that crisp first page.

Remember how you dreamed of how your future would turn out? The life you’d build together. All those chapters. All those years.

Remember all the fun times – and the hard times – you went through? The photographs you added. Different family memories.

Remember, then, what happened. How your life forever changed? The news that pierced your heart and left your world ripped up, in shreds.

Remember the confusion, the deep anguish, and the shock? The fairy tale was over, and the future was a fog.


Remember how you worked hard to rebuild your broken life? To start again, recover, and get stronger over time.

You cleaned up all the carnage, dealt with triggers and landmines. You processed your emotions, and you gave love one more chance.

And, yes, your life is better and you’re at a different stage. It looks like you’ve recovered – but it’s hard to trust again.

We wish we could forget things. Pull the thorns out of our hearts. Erase the deep betrayals. Start afresh. Expunge the past.

But memory won’t let us. Self-protection over-rides.

We may think they are different, and we hope that we are safe.

Yet, still there is a wince, a hesitation, or a sigh. Our mind says, “Just forget it” but our instinct cries: “Watch out!” 

Perhaps the day will come when we now feel completely free. When memories won’t haunt us, and there’s no anxiety.

I’d love if that could happen – so the past stayed history.

But trauma leaves its imprint, for the wound was very deep.              

Sometimes it feels as if nothing is capable of killing the past.”

Don’t Succumb to False Positivity

When I was casually scrolling through the internet last night, I came across the following well-known quote:

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Yes, you’ve probably seen it, and scrolled past it too.

The problem for me is, I don’t believe it’s true.

There isn’t a good reason for everything in life. 

And a lot of stuff that happens is caused by someone else. It’s caused by their bad choices which blow our world apart.

There was no higher purpose. No plan to help you grow.

You’re just collateral damage. A victim in it all.

So don’t succumb to pressure to turn into a sage, or learn important lessons you feel compelled to share.

Don’t try to make things pretty. It’s fine to weep and wail.

Don’t say, ‘I’m glad it happened’.

Don’t do that to yourself.

Feel vulnerable and broken. Feel angry, lost and weak.

It’s actually more useful if you can just be real.

Note to self: It’s okay not to be happy and positive every single day. You are not a robot. You are a human being with emotions. And being happy and positive, all day every day, sometimes doesn’t happen. You have got to give yourself a break, and allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Go easy on yourself.” –

Some Things I’ve Learned in Life

Here are a few things I have learned in life:

1. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Awful things that you didn’t deserve. And there was nothing you could do to stop it happening.

2. You may think you know a person you love really well, but they may be hiding their true self from you. People can deceive us if they want to deceive us. They can cover up their tracks; they can conceal what’s in their heart.  

3. We need to process the past, to make peace with the past. Repression and pretending only stop us moving on. We stay stuck in our trauma, and our silent suffering.

4. Letting go isn’t easy. You can go for therapy. You can try to feel the feelings. You can want to start again. But it’s never quite as easy as you’d hoped that it would be.

5. You need to listen to your heart, as well as take advice from others. We’re all on different pathways, and we all had different starts. And what helped one individual might not resonate with you. Keep searching, and keep trying till you find what works for you.      

6. Believe in you – in the real, true you. Not the false, distorted person other people say is you. Don’t give away your power. Be who you know you are.

When you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

How to Find Hope When it’s Really Hard

“Reach your hand down into your pocket, and pull out some hope for me. It’s been a long day.” – Matchbox Twenty

Just having hope can feel empty and pointless; but, at the same time, it can be everything. If we give up on hope, it is hard to go on. So how do we find hope when we’re feeling really desperate?

1. Start taking small steps in the direction of things which would make your life better.  It might be something as small as reducing your sugar intake, walking for 20 minutes three times a week, or looking for a new community of faith.

2. Find comfort in relationships you already have. This might take the form of messaging an old friend from your college days (who you rarely talk to), meeting a colleague or a friend for a coffee, or even just talking to a neighbour in the street.

3. Do something small for someone else. Maybe an elderly person you know, needs you to pick up a few groceries. It would really make her day. Or, maybe a friend, who’s a stay-at-home mom, would love you to hang out the park with her, while she is trying to entertain her kids. Or maybe donate clothes to a charity. It’s amazing how much giving improves our mental state.

4. Listen to the other voice inside your head. The voice which tells you that good follows bad, and there will be a day when you feel happy again – even if it’s hard to believe now. Your intuition’s right, and you know it speaks the truth. Remember all those times when you thought there was no hope, and then life changed, and you were glad that you’d hung on?  This could happen again.   

5. Be willing to embrace the good that change has to offer. Change often brings us some new opportunities. It broadens our experience in ways we don’t expect, and often makes us richer, better people in the end.

6. Look for hope in new and unexpected places. Keep an open mind and look to, one day, be surprised.  We can’t always predict what will light that spark of hope.  And that’s why it’s so crucial to hold onto hope.

Know What You deserve

The one thing you can change is how you treat yourself. And that one thing can change everything.”

Somewhere along the way, we start accepting a lot less than we deserve.

So, in case you’ve forgotten, or can’t see your true worth, this is how you deserve to be treated:

1. You deserve to be allowed to decide what is important to you; what your values are; what your hopes and dreams are; and how you want to spend your money and time.

2. You deserve to be consulted about things which involve you, and to have an input, and a say on decisions which impact you.

3. You deserve to spend time doing things you want to do; things which build you up; things which bring you happiness.

4. You deserve to have your limits and boundaries respected – without having to beg.

5. You deserve to have your needs and your feelings acknowledged, and to be able to withdraw when you need to. You have the right to invest in good self-care.

6. You deserve to feel wanted, not just tolerated; to feel that you’re important to the people in your life.

7. You deserve to be noticed for what you have achieved, for what you bring to the table, for all your gifts and strengths.

Quote of the Day

I didn’t know how damaged someone could be until I tried to love myself. I didn’t know how much pain I carried until I started unravelling my emotions, one by one.” – Grace Espinoza

If you are in the place right now, go easy on yourself, and take some time out.

When we start to get in touch with such deep and intense pain, it can be both overwhelming and disorientating.

You need to be there for you.

You need to take care of yourself.

Betrayal is Loss. It is a Whole List of Losses.

“Betrayal is loss. It is a whole list of losses.”

Betrayal by someone we trusted and loved is a shocking experience. We experience a death on a number of levels.

Recognizing all the losses that this grief has caused, and then letting ourselves grieve them as fully as we can, is essential for our recovery.

Some of these losses include the following:

– Loss of the person you thought you were married to

– Loss of the picture you had of your marriage

– Loss of your past, and what you believed your relationship had been like, and what you believed you had meant to your spouse

– Loss of precious memories (including around key events, such as the birth of your child)

– Loss of your hopes and plans for the future

– Loss of trust – in your spouse, in yourself, in other people, and the world in general

– Loss of emotional (and often physical) intimacy in your marriage

– Loss of confidence in your spouse (to be there for you, or to simply change and be the person they say they want to be).

These losses are often difficult to grieve as they’re not seen and recognized by society. The term for this is disenfranchised grief. They are losses other people may not even know about; and even if they know, they might not be there for you – because you feel they judge you, and they do not understand. This can make the journey a long and lonely one.

However, it’s important that you’re able to talk, and share, your pain. You need to find a safe person, or a safe community, where you can be honest … and be rigorously honest.

You owe it to yourself to work on your recovery.

You owe it to yourself to grieve, and integrate your losses.