A good friend of mine is going through a tough time concerning the girl he loves. They were best friends for a year before he decided to tell her that he wanted to be in a real relationship with her. Then she dropped a bomb on his heart: not only was she bisexual (which she had never shared with him), but she also had a girlfriend and had been with her for the majority of her friendship with him.
My friend was devastated, hurt, and angry for two major reasons: First, after he had shared so many personal things with her, she hadn’t trusted him with a huge part of her life: her sexuality. He had other gay friends, so it wasn’t like he wouldn’t have supported her. Why had she kept this secret from him? She was supposed to be his closest friend. And second, why had she never told him about her girlfriend? They had done some physical things together—not sex yet, but enough to qualify as cheating for sure. Her girlfriend didn’t know about him, either, his friend confessed. She also said that she didn’t know what to do—she loved her girlfriend and didn’t plan on breaking up with her, but in a way she loved him, too.
After he finished telling me the whole story, he said that he’s still trying to be her friend and hang out with her, but she sends him mixed signals. She basically acts the same as she did before: she’s still touchy-feely with him, she acts like she wants to be more than his friend, etc. Yet now she flaunts her girlfriend in front of him. My friend goes through periods of intense anger and intense sadness. He wishes he could just erase the fact that he ever met this girl.
I hated to see my friend so torn up. He’s like a younger brother to me. I don’t claim to be any good at giving relationship advice, but I’ve been through enough to feel like I’ve learned something essential in getting over a betrayal.
I told him that he needs to ask himself this question: What will it take to make this right for me? His answer was that finding a way to forgive her and move on was what he felt would make the situation right for him. Once he figured out a way to do that, he would be ready to let the situation go. Answering that one question gave him the information he needed to get to where he wanted to be, which was out of that situation.
About a week later, he came back and told me that he’d done what I said. He decided that in his heart he wanted to forgive her, but she had never said she was sorry that she hurt him or even asked him for forgiveness. It was as if she only felt sorry that HE was upset—not sorry for what SHE actually did. She really didn’t seem to feel any remorse for the way she’d treated him OR her girlfriend (who was still unaware of everything going on). When he confronted her, she told him that she couldn’t do what he was asking because she just didn’t feel the way he wanted her to. So he employed my second piece of advice: he told her that he was taking a step back from the situation and that he didn’t want to talk to her or spend time with her for a while.
While he is still taking things one day at a time, he said that he feels relieved that they are no longer trying to be friends. He doesn’t want to be on that rollercoaster of emotions anymore. We talked about the fact that he told her the truth about how he felt and what he wanted from her, but in the end he could only control his own actions. Since she wasn’t willing to meet him halfway, he needed to be the bigger person and let their relationship go. He now understands that forgiving her is what’s best for him and so he is able to go on.
The one simple question tactic doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. I’ve used it with friends and even family members. It is vital to look inside yourself and really figure out the root of your pain. Answering this question often allows you to see the root by identifying the remedy or solution. If the solution is unrealistic, then you need to distance yourself from the person or situation that hurt you. Unfortunately, people are often not willing to change or admit that they did something wrong. You can’t control what they do, but you CAN control what you do. By focusing on that, you can choose to move forward. Chances are there are already people and situations in your life ready to fill the void that is created when you leave the negative behind.
So, the next time you’re faced with a betrayal ask yourself the question, What will it take to make this right for me? Listen to the answer and then determine the best way to make it happen. With an open heart and a willingness to do what may not be easy, it works every time.
By Lauren Raines & Diathe Garnes for Uplifting Woman
Image courtesy of [Nenetus] at FreeDigitalPhotos.netDiathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman