Betrayal in relationships on some occasions is clear cut. There is no playing in the gray. It may involve one partner finding physical intimacy outside the existing marriage or relationship, eventually hurting and emotionally damaging the other. When such physical betrayal takes place, there is no pussyfooting around the subject. What has occurred is plain to see.
There are however other forms of betrayal where putting your finger on what is wrong might not be as simple. More specifically; things aren’t clear cut. One example is non-sexual betrayal and that is what we’re going to address over the course of this blog.
Walking a Thin Line
Non-sexual betrayal is tricky business because for starters, the clear cut red flag, i.e. physical intimacy does not exist. Non-sexual betrayal is more of the emotional or intellectual nature. It involves one partner finding a ‘friend’ of whatever gender they are oriented towards. The partner and ‘friend’ in question might share a relationship that sometimes borders on sassy or flirtatious.
There might be many of you reading this and thinking; what’s the big deal? Therein lies the conflict! On the surface the interaction may seem innocent but really – is that all it is?
What’s The Problem Exactly?
What you need to be clear on is the kind of friendship we’re describing here is not a clean, healthy friendship. The kind of friendship we’re referring to is loaded. It could in a sense be called a surrogate relationship minus the physical intimacy.
The problem with this is a healthy relationship depends on a balance between the emotional, physical and intellectual. If one partner seeks stimulation in one of these three key areas outside the relationship on a habitual basis, the situation can become problematic.
Healthy friendships are important; however, emotional straying is another matter. As one article published by psychology today states; the person engaging in the emotional betrayal so to speak often feels like they are not to blame and the friendship in question is innocent.
It also states that it is important to acknowledge the damage said friendship is causing the marriage or relationship and to determine if or not it is harmless. It is also important to see things for what they are and acknowledge any feelings of affection that might arise in such relationships. Unfortunately what often happens is the partner being betrayed is also made to feel like they are overacting.
Exploring the Situation
Keeping all this in mind, there may also be situations where the friendship being brought into question is in fact quite harmless or innocent. If this is the case, it usually springs from a place of insecurity within the partner who is feeling betrayed.
For this reason, when a couple is confronted with such a conflict, it is important to communicate, be open and honest, take ownership, and work through it delicately.
Easier Said Than Done
If you’re someone immersed in a predicament similar to what is described above, you probably thing communicating and sorting it out is easier said than done. True enough the task can be an arduous one. In such situations, it really helps to seek couple counselling with a professional couple therapist.
Couple therapy will allow you and your partner the space to dissect what is happening, get to the bottom of the situation and work towards healthy resolution.
If you’re located in Palo Alto, you can always connect with us at Silicon Valley Marriage Counselling. We specialize in offering couple therapy and marriage counselling as well as other therapeutic interventions for various concerns.
Remember, sometimes, all it takes is open communication and a little extra support. If you feel your relationship is slipping, get the help you need and set things straight!