The Pain of Betrayal

The reality is much worse than I imagined.

Back when I was writing fiction, one of my plots involved two characters who developed a deep romantic relationship.

be•tray | biˈtrā |
verb [ with obj. ]
1 expose (one’s country, a group, or a person) to danger by treacherously giving information to an enemy: a double agent who betrayed some 400 British and French agents to the Germans.

  • treacherously reveal (secrets or information): many of those employed by diplomats betrayed secrets and sold classified documents.
  • be disloyal to: his friends were shocked when he betrayed them.

2 unintentionally reveal; be evidence of: she drew a deep breath that betrayed her indignation.
be•tray•al | -əl | noun,
be•tray•er noun
ORIGIN Middle English: from be-‘thoroughly’ + obsolete traybetray,’ from Old French trait, based on Latin traderehand over.’ Compare with traitor.

Jack, the woman in the story, was damaged goods — she’d lost her husband, who she loved dearly, when he killed a man in a jealous rage and was locked up in a foreign prison. For years, she tried bribing guards to get him out — stealing to get the money she needed — only to learn that he’d been dead almost as long as he’d been gone. She’d become an outlaw, basically destroying her own life, to get back a man who would never return. Along the way, she lost their child to a family member who threatened to expose her if she tried to find them. With everything she loved taken away from her, she took refuge alone in an outpost city, a borderline alcoholic watched over by a very close friend named Alex. That’s her backstory.

The man, Ray, entered at the beginning of the story as another outlaw who had chosen to take refuge in the same outpost city. He quickly became friends with Alex, and through him, with Jack. They had many similarities in their knowledge and skills and it was natural that they should hook up. They worked together as a team. His companionship and their lovemaking helped her forget the tragedy of her past. She fell in love with him and it seemed pretty clear that he felt the same way about her.

The only problem is that Ray wasn’t what he seemed. In reality, he’d come to take Alex out of the city. He was using his friendship with Jack and Alex as a means to achieve his real goal. As the plot unfolded, he stood by while one of his men gunned Jack down. Jack survived it, but was left with the pain of the feeling of betrayal.

As a writer, I had to instill my character with that emotion. It had to come through her in the way she spoke, looked, and acted. It wasn’t enough to say she felt betrayed; I had to get inside her head and make her feel betrayed. And then communicate that to readers.

That’s fiction. Whether I pulled it off will never really be known; the work is at a standstill and will never be published or shared.

But one thing is for certain: the feeling of betrayal is far worse than I ever could have imagined.

I’m going through it now. After 29 years of a life with a man I loved, a man who claimed he loved me and acted as if he did — right up to the moment I last saw him! — I’m discovering a huge web of lies and actions behind my back. As I learn more and more about his betrayal of my trust, everything that comes before our last communication is in question — including his true motivations for marrying me in the first place. As I realize that I can’t believe a single thing he told me, the pain grows and grows.

What makes it even worse in this situation is his complete failure to explain his actions. It’s as if he just doesn’t care — something I’m finding so hard to believe and accept after a 29-year relationship. But it confirms my worst suspicions about his actions and motivations.

A complete and utter betrayal of my trust, possibly going back for years and years.

The pain of betrayal is the worst pain possible. It’s a pain without end, rooted in once fond memories now analyzed and questioned. It’s pain made worse by realizing that someone you thought really cared about you apparently doesn’t care at all. Or, worse yet, is now bent on hurting you as much as he possibly can.

That’s where I am today.

2 thoughts on “The Pain of Betrayal

  1. Dear Maria,
    I am so sorry about the pain you are going through. There may be more pain ahead, but I hope you are through the worst of it now, and that you will break out into the clear sooner than you think. Some day soon life will be good again.

  2. Maria, please don’t despair. Easier said than done, I know. Things will get better. Believe me. I’ve been there twice. Once you go through the grieving process, the strong feelings that you are feeling now will subside. If you find yourself thinking about it, try to get engrossed in something else. It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it almost becomes automatic. Then just let time do its thing. But don’t despair. If you have to talk to someone, give me a call.

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