As it turns out, closeness and betrayal sometimes go hand in hand. You can only be betrayed by someone you trust, and typically that someone is the person you love the most. It’s difficult to let someone get close to you without the possibility of being betrayed by that person at some point in time. When we’re in love, we expect a lot from our partners and hold them to the highest of standards. Our partners, however, sometimes exercise poor judgment, make mistakes, and fall short of what’s expected.

Simply put, our close relationships create incredible rewards, but they also come with some potential hidden costs that can catch us by surprise: heartache and betrayal. As Tim tells students, if you don’t want to risk being betrayed, don’t fall in love.

But going through life without love and intimacy completely misses the point of living in the first place. As social animals, humans need love and companionship in order to flourish. The key to having a fulfilling life is not to avoid close relationships and the betrayals that may occur. Sure, there are many ways you can prevent bad things from happening, but betrayals in a romantic relationship can never be completely ruled out. The secret to a successful relationship is learning how to deal with intimate betrayals constructively—in a way that brings people closer together, not further apart.

Our approach to dealing with an intimate betrayal is unique. We don’t automatically assume that discovering a betrayal means that your relationship is damaged beyond repair. Our approach takes into account the reality that many relationships are faced with breaches of trust from time to time. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship—in other words, the idealized version of love and romance heavily promoted in our culture where partners who are truly in love never make mistakes or hurt each other.