Few people would argue with the idea that honesty is the best policy. However, policies are not always adhered to even those that we believe in and support. Regardless of how much we may desire to live a life of integrity in which we “walk the talk” and live in accordance with our inner principles, it’s likely that there will be times that we miss the mark. Nobody’s perfect. Every relationship is going to have occasional slippage.
Great relationships require a high level of integrity in order to thrive. When a violation of trust, large or small, occurs it’s important to examine the conditions that contributed to the situation and to engage in a healing process that will restore trust and goodwill to the relationship.
A betrayal is a broken agreement, implicit or explicit, that is considered vital to the integrity of a relationship. The capacity of a relationship to recover from a betrayal has a lot to do with the responses, particularly on the part of the betrayer to the situation. The more open and non-defensive they are, the more likely it is that there will be resolution. When both partners are committed to this as an outcome, the likelihood increases exponentially.
When there has been a cover-up to a transgression, the lies and denials can do much more damage to the integrity of the relationship than the violation itself. Even if the offense is never revealed, there can still be great harm done to the foundation of the relationship. Trust is inevitably sacrificed even when secrets go undetected. Most, but not all betrayals and acts of deceit can be healed. While there is no generic template to apply to these situations, there are some guidelines that can facilitate the recovery process.