Betrayed Partners: Are You Grateful for Your Relationship?

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , on by .
Scott Brassart

Gratitude is helpful to the process of recovery, and it leads to a happier, healthier life. It is also useful from a relationship healing standpoint. 

The best research on this has been conducted by Dr. Brené Brown. Over the course of several years, she conducted thousands of in-depth interviews examining the factors that underlie happiness. And she found one (and only one) difference between people who are generally happy and people who are generally unhappy. Happy people are grateful for what they have, and unhappy people aren’t. Further research by Dr. Brown and others tells us that grateful people are less stressed out, more hopeful, and more likely to heal after serious life issues (including relationship betrayal).

So, for betrayed partners, gratitude is powerful medicine. If you create a list of ten things you are grateful for and share this list with your partner, it can be an incredibly vulnerable act that helps to rebuild intimacy. If you’ve listed the fact that your partner is willing to work toward sobriety and rebuilding trust while you work through the pain of betrayal, your partner will appreciate that and their motivation for recovery will increase (as long as your sentiment is sincere). 

Warning: Do not ever put anything on a gratitude list to manipulate your partner or to speed your partner’s recovery. Your partner will see through that, and your attempt is likely to do more harm than good. Cheaters know manipulation inside and out, so they can smell an attempt to manipulate them from a mile away.

That said, if your gratitude is sincere, you can (and should) let your partner know about it. Generally, as you do this, it is best to use we and our statements rather than I and my statements. Consider the following examples.

  • I’m grateful that I have a good job and a great house for my spouse and kids to live in.
  • I’m grateful that we have a nice house to live in.
  • I’m grateful that my kids are healthy and happy.
  • I’m grateful that our kids are healthy and seem to enjoy life.

Which of these statements would you rather hear? 

This small change in language may seem like a subtle difference, and in some ways it is. But when it comes to rebuilding intimacy, little things mean a lot. The shift from I and my to we and our is something that your partner is certain to pick up on both consciously and subconsciously. More importantly, when you start reframing things in this way, your own thinking will change to reflect it, and that is a shift that bodes well for your individual process of healing as well as the long-term health of your relationship.

* * * * * * * * * *

If you have experienced relationship betrayal related to sexual addiction or chronic infidelity, you have experienced a significant form of trauma from which you will need to heal. At the same time, it will help you to understand how your addicted/cheating partner thinks and what your partner’s process of recovery entails. To this end, you may want to consider taking Seeking Integrity’s low-cost online Workgroup for Betrayed Partners. Our next six-week session starts January 4, 2023; click here for more information.