How to Get Over Betrayal in a Relationship, According to the Experts

Having open and honest conversations about betrayals is vital in moving past them.
How to Get Over Betrayal in a Relationship
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Elizabeth Ayoola
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Elizabeth Ayoola
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Updated Mar 28, 2023

If you're weighing how to get over a betrayal and untangling emotions around what has transpired, it can be a complex task. Be it a partner's infidelity or a broken promise, having open and honest conversations about betrayals in your relationship is vital in moving past them—and even in determining if you want to.

Whether the betrayal is fresh or something you're still navigating, avoiding what comes with feeling betrayed before walking down the aisle (and progressing the relationship further) can lead to a range of issues down the line, says Kasey Scharnett King, a therapist based in Texas and Mississippi. "Going into your marriage where there has been this hurt and it hasn't been worked through often leads to a very unfulfilled marriage…possibly, even divorce." So, where does one begin when it comes to unpacking and healing from relationship betrayal? Below, learn more about what it means to be betrayed and what you can do about it.

Meet Our Experts:

Kasey Scharnett King of Lavender Healing Center is a licensed marriage, couples, and family therapist with several years experience in working with individuals and families. She specializes in issues surrounding intimacy, sexuality, and relationships, and works with clients in their journey towards healing and strengthening their relationships.

Michaiah Dominguez, MHC is a mental health counselor, author, and relationship expert based in New York. Known for her engaging TikTok presence, she aims to bring space for healing, learning, and empowerment to her thousands of followers.

In this article:

What Does Betrayal Mean?

Betrayal is defined differently for everyone. One person may only consider cheating sexually a betrayal, while another person may see it as their partner not telling them they're thousands of dollars in debt.

In short, a betrayal is any sort of violation of trust or confidence that occurs in a relationship—be it a romantic relationship, a familial one, or a friendship—oftentimes resulting in hurt feelings, conflict, and even long-lasting psychological trauma.

According to King, some of the most common forms of betrayal she notices with her clients include infidelity and finances.

Common Types of Betrayals

Similar to how the definition of betrayal may vary from person to person, betrayal in a relationship can take on a multitude of forms and present itself in all types of relations.

There are some common types of betrayals, however, that we typically see occur in romantic relationships and partnerships.


The topic of infidelity is broad and looks different from person to person. It may be comprised of having an emotional connection or sexual relations with someone else. In this day and age of pervasive social media usage, inappropriate virtual engagement with someone (coined as "cyber infidelity") may come with or without intentions of connecting offline. Either way, this is still considered a betrayal within a relationship.

As Michaiah Dominguez, MHC, a therapist and relationship specialist located in Staten Island, New York, explains: emotional infidelity is the "establishment of an emotional attachment, time investment, and commitment to someone outside of the relationship."

Surprisingly, emotional infidelity can sometimes sustain the longest impact on a couple. According to Dominguez, this is because this particular type of betrayal "erases and replaces your partner's role and importance in your life."

Financial Betrayal

Financial infidelity or betrayals happen when a partner lies about money. To be more specific, they may not disclose how much debt they have or they could be keeping a "secret stash." Financial betrayals include harboring a gambling or shopping addiction. The recurrent theme boils down to the betrayal of not being honest about their financial situations.

Three in 10 couples have experienced financial infidelity, according to a survey from the U.S. News & World Report. Moreover, The Knot Financial Survey 2022: For the Love of Money found financial infidelity to be one of the biggest relationship dealbreakers. According to the study, the most prominent lies partners were hiding were about spending, debt and income.

A Health Betrayal

Your health status can affect your partner during your dating relationship and in marriage. Not disclosing things like your STI status or any other long-term/chronic conditions you have can be a form of betrayal. Not only can your partner feel hurt by you not sharing this information, but it could also put their own health at risk.

What is Betrayal Tramua?

Before one can determine how to get over a betrayal (or if they wish to), it must be acknowledged that one or more parties in the relationship may have experienced or be experiencing trauma as a result of the betrayal.

This type of lingering emotional distress is called betrayal trauma, as coined by Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD, and can occur when trust is betrayed in a relationship that the betrayed party was/is dependent on for emotional or financial support or survival.

According to Healthline, it can manifest in a variety of symptoms, depending on the specifics surrounding the betrayal (e.g. whether it occurred during childhood and involved a caregiver, or in adulthood with a romantic partner).

These symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Physical symptoms, such as stomach discomfort and G.I. issues

If you suspect that you may be experiencing betrayal trauma, it's encouraged that you seek support from a professional mental health resource to begin healing and address any negative emotional and physical effects.

How to Deal With Feeling Betrayed

So, how does one begin to get over a betrayal? Betrayal doesn't necessarily have to lead to the end of your partnership, but repairing the relationship takes work. Fortunately, there are some professional tactics you and your partner can enlist to work through the betrayal and feeling betrayed.

First, Be Radically Honest

No matter how quickly you may wish to "just get over" whatever has transpired, minimizing the effects of the betrayal doesn't help anyone fully heal.

According to Dominguez, leading with honesty and being open about what you're feeling can help you move forward.

"Hiding how you feel or minimizing your pain will only further hurt the relationship," she says. "To repair the breach of trust, both partners must agree to be transparent about what they are thinking and feeling. Sharing honestly about what you need and want from one another in order to feel respected and loved is key."

Build a Support System

Having a support system or community to help you and your partner work through betrayal can help move your relationship forward, says King. "Oftentimes we really forget about community because we've been told, 'Don't tell anybody your business.'"

Support systems can come in the form of trusted friends or family members—someone you trust will hear and validate your feelings. Think about someone who is in a position to give you objective advice and won't be biased.

Exercise Patience as You Heal

The path to healing after a betrayal isn't always a straight line—it requires tons of patience from both parties in the partnership.

"I oftentimes find that a person who did the deceiving really wants to move past it quickly. 'Now it's over. I said that I'm sorry. Can we not talk about it anymore?'" King says.

However, it's not always that simple, as lingering questions or feelings may still need to be addressed. Patience is key, as is a willingness to hear one another and for the space to acknowledge feelings of mistrust.

"Even if it does hurt, be open to listening to your partner's feelings, their emotions, and everything behind that betrayal," says King.

It's also key the betrayer forgives themselves for their wrongdoings and not hold themselves ransom to it.

Turn to Therapy

Having a neutral professional work through the issues you're facing can help mend the relationship—and it's always best to seek help from a relationship therapist sooner rather than later. "Many couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy before getting professional help. Within that time, couples can grow further and further apart," notes Dominguez. Therapy can help you both share your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, ensuring that you both are heard, as well as create an action plan to repair and heal your bond.

Relationships have everyday challenges, but betrayals can add an extra layer of stress and difficulty. It's essential you actively work through the hurt, even if the process itself is emotionally taxing. And remember: as much as we hope to work through issues like betrayal, they can't always be repaired. It's okay to choose to end a relationship if it's negatively affecting you or your partner. Always take care to prioritize your physical and mental health.

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