In the past few weeks, I’ve read three helpful books on the subject of healing from betrayal.
I just finished reading, When Your Lover is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal by Susan Forward, PhD with Donna Frazier.
High school health teachers should add Ms. Forward’s book to their curriculum so that young women can be warned in advance about the charismatic side of liars and how to avoid them. This book helped me move through thinking that my betrayal was unique to seeing the universality of betrayal. My boyfriend is a life long liar. In the first few months of our reunion, I believed that he had changed, but as it turned out, he was still a liar. Had I read this book in advance I may have been able to bail out of the relationship by realizing that the lying was never going to stop. If I had left the relationship earlier, I would have been spared the heartbreak of his betrayal. Liars lie. They keep on lying.
I liked this book so much that I sent a copy to my daughter at college to give to a friend who was trying to escape from a relationship with a liar who was cheating on her. I also recommended it to a friend my age (44) who had just finished a nasty divorce from a liar. She thanked me for the recommendation and said that she recognized many patterns from her own experience while reading the stories of the women in the book.
Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity , by Shirley P. Glass, PhD, illuminates the phenomenon of friendships at work budding into extra marital affairs. Obviously, this is nothing new, but Ms. Glass believes that due to increased time spent in the workplace and the availability of secret communications systems such as texting and email, this trend is growing. This book focuses on how women and couples can repair marriages and other committed relationships after an affair between ‘just friends.’
Ms. Glass also clearly delineates how these friendships, unlike one night stands, focus on emotional intimacy and grow as the two people involved view their special friendship as a type of fantasy relationship, free from the troubles of their committed relationship. Intimacy between the friends develops slowly over months or even years, so that it seems innocent and natural for them to finally embark upon a sexual relationship. This type of relationship is all about selfishness; the person sneaking around developing an intimate relationship with a friend is trying to avoid dealing with the real life problems in the committed relationship.
If I had read this book beforehand, I never would have trusted my boyfriend’s ‘friendship ‘with this other woman. I would have recognized certain warning signs early on. There was a point when they began spending more time together, and in retrospect it is clear that she was pursuing him, and that he probably turned to her to discuss problems he was having with me. It was the perfect set up as they worked together, and so he created a parallel relationship with her with very little effort. Since I’d never experienced infidelity before, and trusted him completely, I was thinking, “Oh that’s nice, he has a good friend at work.” As he’d asked her out a year before he and I had reunited and she had turned him down coldly, I had thought that this woman was ‘safe.’ She just wanted to be friends with him. It never occurred to me that her feelings would change. I was doubly at risk because he and I lived a couple hours apart, so it was very easy for this ‘just friends’ relationship to bloom into sexual intimacy with him running very little risk of me finding out.
Finally, How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To, by Janis Abrahms Spring, PhD, is a breath of fresh air. I have always been a proponent of forgiveness and have forgiven many things in my life. But I knew fairly quickly after discovering my boyfriend’s betrayal, that given my long history with him,I could never forgive his recent lying and web of deceit which he’d been spinning around me for eighteen months, with me never suspecting!
Ms. Abrahms Spring offers acceptance as an alternative to forgiveness. This concept has worked very well for me and helped me move forward with my healing process. I will write more about this excellent read in another post soon.
- True Confessions of an Adulterer… Who Happens to be a Shrink! (psychologytoday.com)
- An Affair May Be the Best Thing That Happens to Your Marriage (blisstree.com)
- The effect of betrayal (167hours.net)
- Betrayed Yes! – but you can still trust and love again. (herbertmtowo.wordpress.com)
- Infidelity (jkvegh.wordpress.com)
- When Your Man Lies: Read the Body Language of Liars (simplygetexback.wordpress.com)
- >Lies Kill Heart (recipenet.wordpress.com)
- Trust (behindtheseprettyeyes.wordpress.com)
- When Friends Come Between Your Romantic Relationship (blisstree.com)