“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.

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2 thoughts on “5 Reasons a Break Up Isn’t a Betrayal”

  1. If breakup is never a betrayal then there should never be any love or relationships on this planet… Because anyone can leave anyone any time… My case is not of violence or mistreatment… I loved my girl to the best of my ability… Never misbehaved, never even yelled at her… She too was very happy with me… But the moment her father objected to our marriage as we belong to different communities she backed off and gone completely… I did not beg her to come back because the fact that she unilaterally decided to end our relationship itself broke me… I never wanted to show my pain to her because I am not sure if she even cares… And even if she cares her decision in collusion with her dad won’t change… It’s been 6 months… I hv been suffering internally… I feel she betrayed my trust… I could as well have used her but loved her because she wanted me to do so… Just to betray me at the end

  2. Hi,
    Have been married 23 yrs. (2nd marriage for both of us)…A long time ago… 7 yrs into our “relationship” (and a mere 2 yrs after we were married) I was “betrayed” by my husband. (he ignored it)..So.. I left him for 2.5 yrs. After 2.5 yrsof his pursuing me and asking forgiveness, etc, I decided to go back to try and make this marriage work;, but ever since, I have not felt the foundation of trust and we have had no intimacy in almost 20 yrs. I did not miss it – at first….I keep busy…And.. My husband is 24 yrs older than I. I have nursed him back to health – twice seeing him through two very serious illnesses. I feel I have “betrayed” myself. “Hindsight” is always 20/20. I probably should have NEVER returned but I did want to TRY and make my marriage work. Now, I am finding myself, miserable. A Caretake, cook, resentful and unappreciated. If I had to be honest, I would say that I am not happy at all.. and IF my husband were much younger, I would talk to him about leaving. But now, I feel it’s too late. He has had a stroke. Even though he knows what is going on, he has not been “with me” emotiionally for many, many years. I crave a kiss every now and then. I am 67 he is 92. If I leave, his family and mine, will know I am so wrong and a very bad person. I feel I am caught in a “catch” 22. I feel my life is over. I am sad and I cry myself to sleep many nights. I feel bad for both of us…but honestly, mostly me. I know I am selfish to feel this way.