“I want to break up with him, but I feel like I’m betraying him,” she said. I think she’s wrong, and here are several reasons a break up isn’t a betrayal.
A betrayal in a love relationship is when you lie, cheat, and steal. You promise your partner you’re faithful and trustworthy, but you’re lying. A betrayal is hypocrisy, while a break up is being true to yourself.
Why do you feel like a break up is a betrayal? You need to sort through that on your own. I don’t know what you’ve done in your relationship or how you’ve treated your partner. But, I do know that we need to end relationships that don’t feel right to us.
5 Reasons a Break Up Isn’t a Betrayal
Love always brings vulnerability. I’m not a big fan of divorce, but I’m grateful it exists. I believe we speak the truth when we say “til death do us part” and “for better or worse” – but I also believe we need the option of freedom when our marriage becomes abusive, unhealthy, or unbearable. I meant it when I said my wedding vows, but I am also aware that all marriages are vulnerable to the crazy things life brings! Love is risky. To me, this means a break up isn’t a betrayal because there is always the possibility that things won’t work out.
Break ups can be the best decisions we make. A break up isn’t a betrayal when it is an escape from an intolerable situation. On 10 Signs of a Bad Relationship, a reader said, “I have dealt with many problems created by my boyfriend. He has thrown me out of our home over a misunderstanding. He has put his hands on me on more than one occasion. He has cheated. And every single time I have tried leaving him he would cry and beg me to forgive him. I love him so much and I am so hurt with him. But I believe him every time he swears he loves me and will never hurt me again.” Later in her comment, she said a break up would be a betrayal of him because she believes love should conquer all.
Staying in a bad relationship is a betrayal of yourself. If you think breaking up is betraying your partner, what do you call staying in a relationship that you aren’t happy or healthy in? It seems to me that either way, betrayal is part of the picture. When you stay in a bad relationship, you are betraying both your partner and yourself. When you break up, you feel like you are betraying your partner. The break up, at least, is a betrayal of only one person.
A break up isn’t something to be ashamed of. Betrayals are often things we’re ashamed of doing, such as lying to our parents, stealing from our bosses, or cheating on our partners. A break up is not something that is shameful. A break up shouldn’t make you feel horrible about yourself, because it’s not a violation of trust. You might argue that a relationship is based on trust and the expectation that you will always be together, but that leads me back to my first reason a break up isn’t a betrayal. Love brings vulnerability, always.
There are some situations in which break ups are betrayals. On Affair Breakups Are the Worst Betrayals, I describe why an “affair break up” is a serious moral betrayal. This is in contrast to a break up that happens because you’ve grown apart, or your partner is mistreating you. For sure, there are certain circumstances in which a break up is a betrayal. But a simple, clean break up is not a betrayal.
What do you think – is your break up a betrayal? Every situation is unique…there is no one “right” answer.
If you still think a break up is a betrayal, read 3 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Boyfriend.