betrayal confirmed, opened a wound

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    Good afternoon, Tiny Buddha community. I have posted in the past about the end of my relationship and the struggles I’ve had with letting go and moving on. I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress since the three year relationship came to an end in December. I made the decision to leave my partner after a very difficult last year to year and a half in our relationship. It became clear to me that we were incompatible and unfortunately we had some irreconcilable differences. Despite that, there was still a part of my heart that held on, as I had never loved another person as much as I did him. However, in late December, I was confronted with a perceived betrayal by him. With my gut in knots, I knew at that point there was no turning back and that I needed to terminate the romantic relationship immediately because I no longer trusted him.

    He did not want our relationship to end, which made it even more challenging to be “strong” and follow through. For a few months after the break up, we maintained fairly regular contact via email & text. Throughout that time, he insisted that I was wrong about the betrayal, and that I didn’t understand the nature of his interest in this other woman. Every opportunity I gave him to confess, he added a tiny nugget of additional information, but continued to profess his love for me and only me and insisted he thought of her merely as a distraction, someone he took an interest in because she reminded him of himself at her age (she is 22 years younger than him). It never really sat well with me, but because I spent three years with him in the most intimate relationship I’ve ever experienced, there was a part of me that wanted to believe him, because to believe otherwise would tarnish what was the most important relationship of my life. It would make a certain swath of my past happiness seem cheap, the product of ignorance.

    Toward the end of last month, I decided that continuing contact in any fashion was not allowing me to completely move on from him or the relationship, so I cut contact completely and have not corresponded with him in any way for the past 24 days. The fact I know exactly how many days it’s been may illustrate how I am struggling through this. Overall, though, through reading, audio books and a daily effort to become more mindful, the pain has started to dull. However, today, I saw he had left a comment on a band page that we both enjoy and I went down the bunny trail of darkness – I did some internet snooping and confirmed my worst fears regarding the other woman were in fact, true. He had lied to me and betrayed me.

    I feel sick to my stomach. On the one hand, this reinforces to me that I need to “trust my gut” when things don’t seem right, but on the other, more pervasive hand, I am crushed. It is sickening to me that he manipulated me to feel that my doubts were a result of my “trust issues” versus some questionable behavior on his part. But more than that, I feel so very sad that I invested my heart and soul into a person capable of this. How could I have been so wrong? And the sad thing is I still want to believe he’s the good, honest, loyal, loving man I fell in love with and shared three years together.

    How do you move on from a betrayal? How do you learn to trust again? How do you recover from feeling a void of the last three years, wondering if any of it was “real”? It’s hard to pull myself up from this.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


    Hello Kelly,

    I went through my own betrayal this year and I am still working through my own journey. I learned that my ex has “gaslighted” (which is a interesting topic) me into doubting my own instincts as well. I have learned to forgive by first removing myself from his influence and focusing on learning to hear my own inner voice. I went to school, connected with old friends, allowed myself the permission to cry, and be sad. Then I realized that we have only so much time on this world and I wanted to focus on the love I was receiving from others instead of the love I was being declined.

    Another shift for me was learning to trust my gut when working with others and that action is a better indictor of character then words. I will never know what part of the relationship was real and which was an act but that is on him. How someone treats you is an indictor of their character not your value.

    Please be gentle with yourself and give yourself more time to process all this information. One thing that helped me was to change your ex’s name on your phone to “teacher” because he had taught me alot about what I wanted and needed to be happy.


    Thanks S.R. Such beautiful insight 🙂 You inspire me.

    Hi Kelly – my best wishes are with you. I know you are strong enough to come out of this betrayal as well. Hang in there and be kind to yourself !! J


    Hi Kelly!

    This is the first post I have made here in the forums! I just found this website and I have read through a LOT of these forums looking for insight about a situation I am currently having, and they have been so inspirational! I ran across a comment you had made on someone else’s post, and I really thought your words were genuine and thoughtful. Eventually I would like to post a question I have regarding my boyfriend and I moving in together (or should I say, NOT moving in together), but I’m out of time today (or at least for now)!

    I think it is good that you have found the “proof” of your ex’s infidelity. Don’t let it deplete you, use it to empower yourself to REALLY move on and be confident in your decision! Rejoice with it lady! 🙂 I hope to talk to you again soon!



    Thank you for posting. I’m going through much of the same myself. It’s difficult to bounce back from a betrayal! Consider yourself lucky… the woman mine betrayed me with works with both of us and it’s more and more difficult every day for me to have that situation directly there in my face. It’s taking strength that I often question having just to maintain composure. Even then, I have extremely high anxiety right now due to the fact that I am attempting to open myself up emotionally and finally deal with my own abandonment and availability issues. Every day that I deal with this I feel like I’m creating a whole new monster. It’s hard to find the balance between emotional openness and the right amount of emotional control… no less with so much hurt thrown at my feet.
    I really hope that you find that peace and get past the hurt, because as much pain as that realization brings you… No one willing to hurt you is worth suffering over. And I know, I’m sitting here suffering over my ex too. And wondering why and when I’ll get past it. Just know you can be happy and do all that you can to keep busy and move forward in positive ways. Please post whenever you have a positive breakthrough. We are all here for you through the darkness and the light. You’ll find your way.
    And wow, I just have to say… WHY is it that people who betray us always make us seek our own blame? This one did too! But therein lies the answer, right in the question. The whole point of the exercise was to deceive to get their own way. Remember that and just focus on you. It’s not YOUR issue in that case. You can’t blame yourself for being trusting, loving, or giving. These are things that women are inherently, it is in our DNA. You cannot blame yourself for trusting him, because you cannot know what is in the deepest spaces of his heart, only your own. We are not superheroes with x-ray vision and psychic powers. There is no way to truly know the mind of another. Learn to trust yours again. That’s all that matters. Xoxoxo.


    Thanks, ladies. Your kind words and support really mean a lot to me and have helped me to keep things in perspective and heal accordingly. I truly appreciate these forums and the kind hearted people who share their thoughts and feelings here.

    S.R., Your words spoke to me so strongly that I jotted a few things in my journal: “action is a better indictor of character then words” – how true it is! My ex certainly knew the right words to say to make me feel cherished and loved, but oftentimes his actions did not align with these words. I’ve heard it said that when someone shows you who they are, believe them. We met under precarious circumstances (he was married when we first met, divorced during our time together) and I took the risk in loving him despite the “red flags”. It’s funny what we’ll look past when we’re feeling the pull of attraction and a heart mate. I thought I was different, that our relationship was one in a million. In hindsight, having this “overlap” in relationships seems to be a pattern with him. I feel sympathy and even pity for him sometimes when I realize how desperate he must be to never be alone. But I digress, that’s his life now and not for me to concern myself about. I also liked your words “How someone treats you is an indictor of their character not your value.” I think I’ve always known that at some level, but have fallen into the trap of personalizing it and feeling regret for the things I did to push him away. Truth be told, our relationship was deteriorating well before he met this other woman, though it doesn’t do much to lessen the sting of the betrayal.

    Jasmine, thank you for the vote of confidence. You bring much optimism and joy to these boards.

    Laura, I’m touched that you acknowledged my comments on another’s thread. I look forward to hearing more from you. You definitely have a point that this solidifies my decision to end things. It’s bittersweet, because even though my gut was telling me the whole time that things weren’t right, I wasn’t getting the whole story and that I had reason to legitimately suspect infidelity, I didn’t WANT to be right, ya know? It’s hard to take in this information and not have it cast a dark shadow over a very significant love relationship for me. The irony is that until things went off the rails with our relationship, it was the first time in a relationship where I did not feel horribly insecure and mistrustful.

    Cherrymom, I feel for you and your situation. I can’t imagine having to face the situation on a daily basis. I feel enmeshed more than I want to be due to the fact one of my closest friends has business relationships with both my ex’s mom and his sister, so he’s always kind of there on the periphery and I get occasional “updates” from my well-meaning friend that I’d rather not hear. I appreciate your encouragment. I hope you learn to trust your mind and heart again too.

    At the risk of being corny, I thought I’d share a poem I find meaningful in recovering from a break up:

    Love After Love

    The time will come
    when, with elation
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    Derek Walcott


    In my opinion, to heal you must know you are hurt. Its totally okay and normal to feel that like there is a huge void and a part of you is missing. Its okay to bawl, to be angry and feel like you didn’t deserve any of this. Sometimes we really want to “get over it” when a relationship doesn’t work out, you want to rush to a new beginning and feel better as soon as possible but really you need to give yourself time to mourn.

    I know from experience it feels weird to feel hurt by the fact that his guy is no longer in your life, almost a sense of self-loathing because you know he is a prick. But, really you are mourning the loss of who you thought he was not necessarily because you miss the prick he turns out to be. I find that healing and moving on is much easier when you don’t bottle or turn away from the emotions you experience because they are pretty much universal and your not alone. It helps to cry, punch a pillow a couple of times and find a family/friend you can rant to.

    Have you ever heard of the 5 stages of Loss? It can apply to relationships, I like to be a know-it-all so it really helps when I can have something explaining things I feel and have something on paper telling me eventually I will reach acceptance and move on. 🙂


    Thanks, Marshmallow. You speak the truth! I do know the 5 stages of grief & loss and have cycled through them during the aftermath of this relationship. I’ve ventured into “Acceptance” only to be pulled back into “Denial”, “Anger” and “Bargaining”. I think I’m in a bit of denial still. Not so much denial that the relationship is over, but denial that this man I loved with all my heart is indeed a “prick”. I feel like I’m making excuses for him in my mind, or that I’m choosing to look at him with loving kindness and forgive him for the betrayal because I can sympathize with his reasons for his behavior. Well, they’re not so much his reasons as they are what my reasons would be if I were him, if that makes sense. I think the frustrating part for me to get over is that I spent months telling him I understood, that I would not blame him if he strayed because of the awful state of our relationship and that we could work through anything together if only he would be honest. And then for him to turn around and tell me no, he hasn’t betrayed me, I’ve got it all wrong and at the same time make daily overtures to win back my affections and urge me to see a counselor with him to repair this relationship. Why go through all that? Why continue to lie, cover up and deny when your partner is telling you I GET IT, I WILL FORGIVE YOU, LET’S MOVE ON TOGETHER? It’s almost like he is in such deep denial of his own behavior that he can’t even admit it to himself, let alone me. And then to find out later that I was right all along, it’s just exhausting. It makes me lose respect for him and feel sorry for him actually, but then the anger flares up and around and around I go.

    I would also be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling jealous. Even though I had my own reasons for withdrawing from the relationship long before this other woman came onto the scene, it hurts to know his focus is no longer on me. I used to be the one to light up his life, the one he was excited about. What does she have that I don’t? I know these thoughts are due to a weakened self-esteem, it’s just such a stark contrast from feeling like somebody believed the sun rose and set upon me and how quickly I can be replaced.

    I just don’t want to feel like it was all for naught. What lessons did I learn through this relationship? It’s really hard to say that trusting my intuition is one of them, because how did I get myself into this mess in the first place?

    As you can see, keeping things bottled up is not a problem I have, lol.


    These forums really are great! I am still eager to write out my question and get a few opinions for the brilliant minds that come to these forums! I wish I could just spend hours and hours ready through all of these! Kelly, I really liked the poem. It wasn’t corny at all, it was lovely!

    I hope things are going well. Keep writing, it’s good for ya!

    Bill Lee

    Hello Kelly,

    You have received amazing support and guidance here already. My advice is for you to avoid blaming yourself in any way for not seeing through the lies and deceit. In fact, I applaud you for being trusting and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Changing your nature would be a shame. Just learn from the experience. Your ex on the other hand, will live in fear always suspecting that people he (and his future children) comes into contact with are just as immoral as he is. Thanks for sharing the lovely poem.


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