My ex cheated on me with my best friend and left me heartbroken. I feel betrayed not just by her, but also by my friend. And, now, after spending a year with him, she wants to come back to me. She says it was a mistake and is willing to make up for it. Should I forgive her?
Forgive her and thank both for allowing you to deeply understand the feeling of betrayal. When we experience betrayal we are hurt, but we have two options: Take up the role of a victim or empower ourselves with the experience. Hurt on its own is a part of life and nobody has ever succeeded in running away from it, whether empowered or not. When you accept hurt, it will fade away. On the other hand, hurt caused by what we understand as betrayal, puts you directly in the shoes of a victim. It makes you feel wronged, taken advantage of and powerless. Is this your life position, something that happens to you recurrently? Or is it just a one-off event driven by multiple circumstances such as: Your relationship not going so well, your ex not being happy with herself, unmet sexual or emotional needs that were never discussed, etc? If you feel that people letting you down is a common theme, you might be stuck in the past. Stuck in childhood events that have carved your life position today. This is an opportunity to revisit your negative script, ideally with the help of a professional. It will take time to rewire your beliefs and start seeing that there is a lot you can do about circumstances, but it is possible. Your ex and your friend have inspired you to start afresh, so thank them. You could have carried on living in your shadows for many more years. If you feel something was already lurking before the split, talk to your ex about it. Not to get back with her, but to understand what role you played in the dissatisfaction. Remember that anyone harming others has been harmed. Anyone lying, cheating is afraid. Forgiving people who are hurt and scared should be natural to human beings. Also, natural is deciding to not allow anyone to harm you. Do you trust that she won't again?
The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on email@example.com)
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