It is difficult to RECOVER from infidelity when you are in a deeply traumatized state. It is hard for a couple to work through the issues surrounding the affair
if both people are not able to emotionally participate.
1. Personal healing strategies for both people:
Obsessions & Flashbacks, Constrictions, How to cope with flashbacks, Hyperarousal, Hypervigilance, Intrusion, Anger.
2. Focus on Communication & Conflict Resolution- rules & boundaries
will be focused on
3. Changing the relationship with Rituals
Common Emotions of the betrayed spouse
1. Betrayal: This is the big one. Betrayal is the sense that someone has intentionally taken advantageof your trust. Betrayal is at the very root of infidelity. It is
what causes many of the other emotional problems that come up when you find out your partner has cheated on you.We invest so much in the people we love.
We bare our souls to them. We trust them with the most intimate details of who we are. We are naked in front of them, both physically and psychologically.
When they take advantage of this trust, the sense of betrayal can run very deep.
2. Guilt: Many people feel guilty when they find out about an affair. On some level they think that the affair is their fault. They might think, “If only I had been
a better partner, this would never have happened.” No matter what kind of partner you were, or are, you did not choose to have an affair and take advantage
of the trust that was established between the two of you. You did not choose for the other person to hurt you. There are many other ways the other person could
have met his needs without going outside the relationship. If you feel guilty, rest assured, this isn’t your fault.
3. Disappointment: When you have spent years building a life with another person and they come home and tell you that they have cheated on you, you are
bound to feel disappointed. You will likely feel disappointed in them. But you might also feel disappointed in yourself, in men or women (depending
on the cheater’s gender), in humankind as a whole, or even in life itself. These reactions are normal. But be careful not to let your feelings slide into the despair of hopelessness.
4. Anger: Anger is the fraternal twin of betrayal. They go hand- in-hand, arm-in-arm. When you feel betrayed, you almost immediately feel angry. If you are
feeling a sense of betrayal and you aren’t feeling any anger, look to see if you aren’t hiding something from yourself. Anger can sometimes lead to violent feelings (we will talk about vengefulness below). These, too, are natural. If you have gruesome images playing themselves out in your head, it is nothing to worry about; they are feelings, not a call to action. If you are considering acting out your angry scenarios, though, I urge you to seek personal, professional help immediately. You don’t want to do something you’ll later regret.
5. Vengefulness: This emotion is usually associated with anger. Many people want to take revenge on the cheater, on the person the cheater was involved with, or both. They envision hurting the cheater as much as they have been hurt. The desire for revenge is natural. However, playing out any vengeful fantasies inevitably has terrible results and often ends up hurting the vengeful person more than the object of their vengeance. Obviously, you will regret physically harming another person. But even subtler attempts at revenge (for example, having an affair yourself or doing cruel things to make the cheater pay) will just end up being ugly in the end. Ultimately, you will feel disappointed in yourself for acting the way you did.
6. Fear: When you find out your partner has had an affair, there are so many things to fear. You might be afraid that the life you once knew is over. You might be afraid that you will never be able to repair your relationship. You might be afraid that they will do it again. You might even have more extreme fears. Some people become afraid that “the world is out to get them.” I even had one client tell me, “I’m afraid God has abandoned me.” None of these fears is unusual. When you are faced with an experience as extreme as having your partner cheat on you, you are bound to be afraid that the very earth under your feet is no longer stable.
7. Frustration: There is no question that having someone cheat on you can cause frustration. You likely will be frustrated with the cheater, frustrated with the
person they cheated with, frustrated with yourself, and frustrated with the whole world. After all, something has been done to you and to your relationship that
was and is out of your purview. This feeling of frustration is often compounded by the fact that you now have to cope with so many painful thoughts
and feelings. Sometimes it might feel like you are heaping frustration upon frustration.
8. Paranoid Feelings: I use the term “paranoid feelings” here to mean feelings that include suspiciousness. I am not using “paranoid” in the technical or diagnostic sense. Paranoid here is meant to indicate a deep fear that someone or something is out to get you or is engaging in some activity that will cause you pain behind your back. It is quite easy to see why the injured person in an affair situation might feel paranoid. Paranoid feelings can be destructive to your peace of mind if taken too far. But a bit of suspicion or, perhaps, skepticism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You deserve to have the cheater prove to you that they are not carrying on with the affair and will not get involved in another one. Be suspicious enough to get that need met. If you don’t, developing trust will be that much more difficult.
What we will focus on in Step # 3
How to deal with the cyclone of emotions and thoughts that have taken residence in body and mind
The mantra at this time is don’t make a bad situation worse. We will discuss what the cheating spouse can do for the betrayed spouse to bring calmness to the relationship