This is the 200th PartnerHope blog post!
To celebrate this milestone, I thought I would share a little bit about our big-picture vision and how the blog and other resources play into what we are doing and creating at PartnerHope.
As many of you know, I went through my own story of betrayal. That was more years ago than I really want to tally up (sigh) but it was during that time that the seeds for all that is happening now were planted.
Like you, I did not want to volunteer as tribute for betrayal but was selected anyway and went through a prolonged and difficult process of dealing with my partner’s sexual addiction and winding my way to recovery and healing. During those years, I was appalled at the lack of knowledge, understanding, research, empathy, and resources for betrayed partners.
While I knew I was dealing with sexual addiction, which was just starting to be recognized, I was also acutely aware that cheating was as old as humanity. Intimate betrayal is incredibly common. I could not figure out why there was not a clearer understanding about and pathway for healing for those suffering from the ordeal of betrayal.
Over and over again, I ran into incredible bias, prejudice, and misunderstanding about the experience of being a betrayed partner. Often, the resources that did exist blamed the victim, labeling partners of sex addicts as co-addicted and codependent and blaming partners of those having affairs as not providing a ‘good enough’ relationship (sexual or otherwise) to keep the cheater from cheating.
This. Made. Me. Mad.
Never in my life had I been in such need of effective help. I was desperate for information and resources to clear out the confusion and point me in the direction of healing and wholeness. Instead, I saw professionals who pushed me toward more loss of self, more compromised integrity, and more broken relationship.
As I wandered in the desert looking for healing water, that little seed planted by the experience of betrayal began to sprout and grow into a conviction that betrayed partners needed better treatment, resources, strategies and understanding. I wanted to be part of creating this change.
And that is what I have been working toward ever since. First in private practice and then through founding the Center for Relational Recovery and building a clinical team that works together to treat individuals and couples dealing with sexual addiction, betrayal, and trauma.
In 2017, I wrote the first blog post at partnerhope.com and we began our mission to change the way the counseling and coaching fields understand, treat, and interact with partner betrayal. Below is an outline of the ways that we are accomplishing this mission and resources that you can take advantage of:
By treating betrayed partners directly…
…through our Braving Hope 12-week online coaching program, our Braving Forward alumni community and our Braving Together couples mastermind all based on the groundbreaking Attachment-Focused Partner Betrayal Model. And through the Center for Relational Recovery where we work as a team to treat individuals and couples in our local area.
By providing free and low-cost educational resources to betrayed partners and treating professionals…
…through the PartnerHope blog, through the Michelle Mays YouTube channel, through our free private Hope After Betrayal Facebook group, through ebooks and tools for use in treatment, through the Relational Recovery Disclosure Prep Model, along with workshops, and the books The Aftermath of Betrayal and When It All Breaks Bad: Ten Things to Do (and Not Do) After Betrayal.
By creating new treatment models addressing partner betrayal…
…through my upcoming book The Betrayal Bind: How to Heal When the Person You Love the Most has Hurt You the Worst. This book (out in February 2023) introduces a new treatment model called the Attachment-Focused Partner Betrayal Model. The book outlines new language, concepts, and imagery to explore the crucial relational dilemma that betrayed partners face when their significant other is unsafe to connect to, yet connection is the key to healing.
And we are just getting started! There is more to come as we continue to evolve in our capacity to serve betrayed partners and create transformation.
This blog has been the heartbeat of PartnerHope since we published our first post in 2017. Some of you have been on the journey with me since the beginning and others of you have joined along the way. I am so grateful for each one of you who have read and replied and received support.
It is impossible to summarize in words the joy it brings my team and me when we see betrayed partners transform their lives and relationships and break free from the chains of fear, shame and powerlessness created by betrayal.
Betrayal is a dark, chaotic, confusing, and humbling experience. Our hope, is to shine a light into the darkness, bring clarity to the confusion, ground the chaos, and usher in healing. Thank you for being with us on the journey as we continue to learn and grow.
About the Author:
Michelle Mays, LPC, CSAT-S is the Founder of PartnerHope.com and the Center for Relational Recovery, an outpatient treatment center located in Northern Virginia. She has helped hundreds of betrayed partners and sexually addicted clients transform their lives and relationships. Michelle is the author of The Aftermath of Betrayal and When It All Breaks Bad and leads the field in identifying and crafting effective treatment strategies for betrayed partners.
Braving Hope is a ground-breaking coaching intensive for betrayed partners around the world. Working with Michelle will help you to move out of the devastation of betrayal, relieve your trauma symptoms and reclaim your life!