I was fascinated as I was listening to another talk by John Gottman recently. There are many possibilities for disappointment and hurt regarding intimate relationships. Someone may feel betrayed in a number of ways. Certainly infidelity is one possibility. but there are many possibilities. He was discussing the choices that we make regarding our intimate relationships, as well as the opportunities that are presented to us. The opportunities that we have to deepen our relationships and "turning toward" our partners in times of their emotional stress or discomfort. One option is to use this opportunity to comfort them and deepen our connection, the other option is to turn away from them. He discussed what he identified as the a "dynamic of betrayal", when one partner develops the belief that, "I can do better, who needs this crap". He states that there is a cascade of things that follow. The partner with this thought will withdraw their commitment from the relationship. They begin to trash the other in place of cherishing them, they develop resentment as opposed to gratitude, they have a lower investment in the relationship and stop sacrificing for the relationship, they intensify conflict, and develop less dependency for getting there needs met with the other. There are other options available, and we can choose to turn toward the other and develop the loving relationship that we want. I wonder if this negative attitude and orientation is part of our personal dynamic, will we in fact be able to, "do better". or is our belief, and behavior leading us to the hamster's wheel which will ultimately get us nowhere, alone, and isolated? Unfortunately we too often develop the belief that relationships should not take effort and just occur naturally. I suspect that for the most part our relationships are are what we make them.
The Dynamics of Betrayal
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