Prodependence: A New Perspective on Intimate Betrayal

By Dr. Kim Buck


When someone experiences betrayal in a close relationship, like cheating or addiction issues, it can hurt deeply and feel impossible to overcome. Traditionally, people have seen this as "codependency," where the hurt partner is seen as contributing to the dysfunctional problems of the other. But now, there's a new treatment model gaining traction in the therapy world. Prodependence, created by Dr's Robert Weiss and Kim Buck, offers a kinder way of looking at things, without blaming or shaming.

Prodependence understands that humans naturally need connection and support, especially during tough times. Instead of criticizing the hurt partner for trying to keep the relationship going or helping their partner, prodependence sees these actions as signs of love, loyalty and commitment.

In prodependence, there's a focus on "relational trauma," which recognizes how betrayal hurts our sense of safety and trust in close relationships. It's like getting emotionally hurt from a bad event, like an accident or violence. Prodependence validates this hurt and offers a way to heal with kindness, connection, and support.

Unlike codependency, which looks at individuals, prodependence stresses the importance of caring for each other in relationships. It's not just up to the hurt partner to fix things alone. Both partners share the responsibility of creating a supportive and loving environment. This means talking openly, understanding each other, and respecting one another in order to rebuild trust and closeness when possible.

Another important part of prodependence is the focus on self-compassion and care for the betrayed partner. Instead of blaming or guilting yourself for your partner's actions, prodependence encourages the betrayed partner to take care of their well-being. This might mean getting therapy for yourself, setting boundaries, and engaging in activities that promote self-nurturing and resilience. By valuing your own feelings and needs, you can take back control and start healing.

Ultimately, prodependence offers a kinder way of looking at intimate betrayal. Instead of seeing it as something broken or wrong, prodependence sees it as a chance to grow closer and stronger together. By reframing the narrative from one of dysfunction and pathology to one of connection and resilience, prodependence invites healing and growth for both partners involved.

Family Strategies Counseling Center has actively serviced clients since 2000 who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction issues. Our SABR program for adults, Tribe for college, and Band of Brothers for teens can help you! Give us a call (800) 614-8142 or visit our website for more information:


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