How Infidelity Affects Mental Health
Sexual betrayal trauma is the shocking discovery or disclosure of the ultimate deception and complete shattering of trust. No one ever wants to be on the receiving end of relationship betrayal. The emotional pain of discovering that your partner has deceived you and has been living a double life can be overwhelming. The person that you love and trust the most has been cheating and lying, often gaslighting and manipulating you, making you feel that you are going crazy. When you are the victim of emotional and sexual partner betrayal, it can leave you feeling angry, sad, confused, resentful, and deeply hurt. Partners experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including an increase in anxiety and depression and a decrease in their self-esteem. Infidelity negatively impacts your emotional health and well-being. This can lead to becoming disoriented and confused about what happened to them.
Some of the classic symptoms of PTSD often experienced by sexually betrayed partners who have cheated on them are:
- Looping intrusive thoughts
- Inability to regulate emotions
- Disturbing images of the discovery
- Out of body experiences
- Oscillating between feeling numb and rageful
- Hyper alert (looking for new potential threats)
- Feeling helpless and vulnerable
- Confusion and disorientation
- Problems with memory and cognition
- Shattering of trust
- Sleep disturbance
- Appetite changes (under or overeating)
If you have been the victim of infidelity, then know that you, like a soldier returning from war, have been psychologically injured, and you require tender care to set you on the path back to you.
Healing from Infidelity
As devastating as it can be to learn that your significant partner has betrayed you in such an intimate way, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can pick up the pieces of your life and find joy and comfort again.
Here are some ways you can begin to heal after infidelity:
Be Gentle on Yourself
Don’t fall into the “I should have known…” trap. This is not your fault. Now is the time to be on your side.
Your emotions will be overwhelming for a little while. You will feel lost, anxious, and panicky. When these feelings start to rise, STOP, take a slow, deep breath, and let it out. Take another one and another one. It is amazing how deep breathing can completely calm us almost instantly. Your breath will become your new best friend.
Remember, you are not only healing from infidelity; you are recovering from the PTSD that the infidelity caused—professional guidance to help you cope with the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
If you would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to help you heal and recover from your partner’s emotional and sexual betrayal trauma on your journey to becoming whole and happy again.