Ask Julie: How To Move On After Betrayal
I was with my ex for only a few months, but as far as I was concerned it was a serious relationship. Towards the beginning of our relationship we discussed various issues which we both had – he had been sexually abused as a young child, and I had been sexually assaulted only a year before I met him. We discussed these issues and how they affected us in terms of our relationships with other people. I realise it sounds naive, but I fell in love with him and would have done anything to help him. He confided in me that he was in a substantial amount of debt and was constantly worried that his house and possessions would be repossessed etc., and despite the fact that I am a student and have very little money to myself, I had a part-time job (while he was unable to find a job) and lent him around £1000. He always swore that he would pay this money back, but after splitting up with me he decided that he wouldn’t. Legally, I can’t do anything about this because neither of us signed any kind of contract.
It’s not the money as such which has hurt me, but is the betrayal from a man I love. Only a few days ago he was telling me that he still loved me and missed me, and that his new girlfriend didn’t make him as happy as I once did. We appeared to be getting things back on track, but as soon as I mentioned him paying me back, everything changed. I was reasonable about it, and said that he could take his time to pay me back in installments as he still hasn’t been able to find a job, but despite me being civil and reasonable about the situation, he has thoroughly betrayed me. Although I don’t feel that I love him anymore, I’m extremely concerned that I can’t trust people like I trusted him, because I’m too worried that I’ll be betrayed in the same way. Can you offer me any advice on getting over/moving on from this kind of betrayal? I’d be ever so grateful. Thank you.
A: Thanks for writing in for help. How incredibly painful to experience to have someone you’ve loved promise something and then go back on his promise. It sounds like this is just one of several betrayals in your life. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Why was I attracted to someone whose life was financially unstable and who was living in fear?
- Were there any relationship warning signs in the beginning of the relationship that I didn’t want to see?
- Why was I so willing to get back together with him after he had broken my trust by refusing to to pay me back?
If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you get some therapy to help you work on your earlier abuse experience so you can see warning signs in relationships more clearly. I know you’re concerned about not being able to trust again, but honestly, I am more concerned that you will continue to trust people who aren’t trustworthy and put yourself at risk for being hurt. Please find a therapist who can help you understand and resolve emotional and relationship patterns so you can be free to create healthy relationships. Thank you again for your courage and honesty, and for asking for help.
Take good care of yourself!
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.