Give Yourself Time To Process
How can you overcome an affair? If you have just found out about your husbands affair, the smartest thing you can do is give yourself time to grieve. When thinking of how to cope with an affair, you may consider this as grave as the death of a person.
Even if you choose to try and work on the relationship, your brain may still experience a loss that is sometimes mentally compared to death. This may be the end of your old relationship, and its perfectly acceptable to take time to grieve. Anxiety after a husbands affair is difficult to overcome and often takes time to process and heal.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Is The Next Step
Your spouse may be resistant to counseling. If infidelity is a pattern, he or she could have a full blown sex addiction. If this is the case, your spouse may be stuck in the addiction cycle and lack hope that anything can change.
Even if your spouse refuses to seek counseling for his or her infidelity, its still important for you to pursue betrayal trauma recovery. Betrayal trauma recovery is a critical part of establishing your own health and happiness, regardless of what your spouse chooses to do.
It can be hard to have a healthy perspective when youre dealing with betrayal trauma. A therapist provides an outside perspective that cuts through the mental fog caused by PTSD and infidelity.
Over time, as you work on betrayal trauma recovery, you will be able to see more clearly for yourself and respond to your spouse in healthier ways. Its up to you to set healthy boundaries, take care of yourself, and develop supportive relationships outside of your marriage.
What Does Research Say About How Cheating Affects A Man
No matter who you are, you can still be impacted by infidelity.
One study that looked at gender differences in response to infidelity found that women tend to be more distressed by emotional affairs, and men tend to become more distressed over physical affairs.
This difference in response to emotional versus sexual infidelity is reinforced by an extensive study on infidelity with approximately 64,000 participants, which had similar findings.
This study also examined the impact that cheating has on gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. There was no significant gender difference in degrees of upset over infidelity among LGB+ folks.
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Infidelity Results In A Betrayed Spouse Experiencing Emotional Triggers
Emotional triggers are essentially intrusive emotions and thoughts resulting from the trauma of the infidelity. Similar to PTSD, experiences in your day to day life will quickly remind you of the betrayal, leaving you swept up in a flood of painful thoughts and emotions. Your nervous system kicks into high gear, responding to the situation as a threat to you. Additionally, you feel a surge of adrenaline your whole body is on high alert. Only after this intense initial response, can the prefrontal cortex kick in, the part of your brain used for reasoning and higher-level thought. Its the part of the brain that makes sense of situations, and in this case, whether or not you are actually in danger.
The reality of the situation: Significant emotional trauma creates triggers. For the betrayed spouse this means the devastation of the infidelity. Betraying spouses have triggers as well. Often they experience overwhelm when they come face to face with the shame and guilt of their actions. Recovery from these is not optional and will not be mitigated by ending the marriage. Instead, we must learn to navigate these triggers effectively.
Unstable Emotions And Disorientation
Do you find yourself struggling with a wide range of emotions?
Do you find yourself crying one minute, raging another, way too happy and then back to the tears? Do you find yourself sitting in the car looking out the window only to realize that an hour has passed?
People who struggle with PTSD struggle with unstable emotions and disorientation. The pain that has been caused to them is so extreme that it renders their emotions uncontrollable. Because of the power of these emotions, our brain is overwhelmed and disorientation is the result.
Time will help with emotions that are out of control they are strongest right after the pain is caused but they dissipate as time goes on. Often times, without help, they dont go away completely but they can, at the very least, be managed. And when managed, the disorientation will be resolved.
For now, have awareness that the wide range of emotions that you are struggling with are completely natural. Chiding yourself for feeling them, for not staying calm, for being angry with life and at the same so very sad will only make the emotions worse. Accepting them as a part of the healing process will allow them to help you do that heal.
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Replies To The Potentially Long
Puzzled, So well said and I feel the same way. I am just different. The way I see and feel about everything. And it cannot be undone. I try to focus on the positives and what is in front of me. I also gave my all and devoted everything to being a good person, wife, parent, friend, daughter etc. And it is hard to comprehend what was done by the person I was supposed to trust the most. It has made me guarded. It is very hard for my husband since the after effects are that I do not enjoy being around others. I am distant and struggle to have fun. I dont have it in me and also I am worn down from this entire recovery. I cannot put myself out there to anyone. My husband shows a great amount of empathy and even guilt since this was 100% his doing. But all we can do is move forward. I try to do that as much as possible. I feel fortunate that we have created a great relationship and he is changed in so many ways. But in the end beyond the regret of having the affairs and hurting me it is very hard on him seeing me not have friends.
Changed ForeverEven if they gave us a 100 page story would we ever really understand how they could make such hurtful choices? I have waited so long to understand.but the understanding never seems to come.
But you are rightlife does go on.
Understand That You May Never Understand
Accept that you may never understand the reasons behind your partners infidelity. Of course, your capacity to deal with this will depend a lot on your partners dedication to not repeating their terrible mistake. Remember that forgiving someone is different than condoning what they did. Be patient with yourself and remember the goal.
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Post Infidelity Stress Disorder
How would you react if you found out that your spouse was cheating on you? No doubt it would be a severe shock and you would find yourself filled with anger, surprise, sorrow and all kinds of other emotions. In fact, research shows that the effect of discovering infidelity is so severe it can be likened to recovering from a life-threatening traumatic event.
Today were going to be looking at something many wives experience following the disclosure of infidelity which is basically PTSD with a twist. If youre struggling with your marriage after infidelity then todays sound, research-based advice, should bring you hope.
A guy called Dennis Ortman literally wrote the book on this in 2005. Its not a well-researched subject area since it is relatively new. However, this is definitely something I have observed and it is very real.
So Ortman noticed that many of his clients who had experienced infidelity within their marriage showed similar patterns of stress in response to the betrayal. I dont have a reference for this but I remember when I was studying for my masters in the late 2000s I came across one article that pointed out that 60% of wives who were sexually betrayed shows all but one of the symptoms of PTSD. And Ortman noticed that these spouses he was working with also mirrored the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Change The Message In Your Mind
To recover from an affair, you must move through the initial response to post infidelity trauma disorder.
As mentioned before, a therapist can help you understand how your brain works to cope with post infidelity trauma disorder and teach you ways to reclaim your calm.
The result of trauma treatment is to enable you to retreat back into a calm and relaxed mode, opposed to feeling overly aroused, hyper-vigilant, and on edge.
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Ptsd And Anxiety After Your Husbands Affair
There is a myriad of psychiatric research that strongly associates post-infidelity anxiety as a branch of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Post infidelity stress disorder symptoms are similar to the symptoms when someone experiences a life-threatening event such as sexual assault, war, or a physical attack.
Anxiety after a husbands affair can be an emotional side-effect of the traumatic episode. You need to learn how to deal with triggers from infidelity and how to get past infidelity.
What to do after your husband cheats to manage your anxiety? Here are some suggestions for coping with a cheating husband experience.
Symptoms Of Post Infidelity Stress Disorder
Symptoms of PISD include fear, helplessness, confusion, and intrusive thoughts. Some individuals may try to protect themselves by avoiding reminders of the traumatic, restricting their lifestyle to limit triggers.3
Symptoms that may occur after infidelity include:
- Withdrawal from social interactions
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From Infidelity And Betrayal
The trauma left behind by infidelity has many similarities with the experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Yes, being cheated on can make you go through the symptoms of PTSD.
Of all of the threats to a committed relationship I have treated in four decades of working with couples, the most difficult to heal is infidelity. When a trusted partner in a committed relationship betrays the sacred trust of the other, the relationship will undergo severe instability.
The partner who has been betrayed is emotionally tortured and humiliated when knowledge of the infidelity emerges. They are clearly in trauma and experience the same array of symptoms that professionals now describe as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Similar to any others who have suffered threats to their physical or emotional well-being and security, they are disoriented and confused by what has happened.
Relationship partners of both genders experience similar of the classical symptoms of PTSD:
- Repeated intrusive thoughts.
- Alternating between feeling numb and striking out in retaliation.
- Inability to stop scanning for any new data that might cause more distress.
- Feeling overwhelmingly powerlessness and broken.
- Needing to regain self-worth by assigning blame.
- Confusion and disorientation.
For there to be any chance that the couple undergoing this situation can ever transcend the distress of broken trust, they must deal with two simultaneous challenges:
Surviving The Trauma Of Infidelity
Michael is trying to focus while at work, but all he can think of is finding his wife and his best friend in bed together. He is consumed with intense anger and he feels as if someone had punched him in the stomach. How could the two people he cared for the most do this to him?
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Ptsd: National Center For Ptsd
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PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over whatâs happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.
Itâs normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event . At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.
If itâs been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.
How I Knew I Had PTSD
When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your traumaeven things you used to enjoy.
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Treating Affairs And Trauma
Affairs and trauma are two of the most challenging issues clinicians face when working with couples. Both rupture trust and undermine the very foundation on which committed relationships are built.
After studying thousands of couples over the last four decades, we now understand a great deal about the process of healing, and we want to share this knowledge with you.
Dive deep into our proven, research-based approach for treating couples impacted by infidelity and PTSD to learn clinical skills that will empower your couples to not only rebuild their relationship, but also create immunity from future betrayals.
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Surviving Infidelity: Healing The Trauma Of Betrayal
If you are reading this article, you might be dealing firsthand with the painful aftershocks of an affair a psychological, emotional and relational disruption that can quickly turn your life inside-out.
Learning that your partner has been unfaithful is traumatic the deeply held assumptions and beliefs youve had about the person you love are dramatically altered, and as a result, youve been robbed of the relational foundation that was central to your life. Because of that, you may now be experiencing a range of post-traumatic symptoms.
Despite the pain, it is important to note that healing from an affair is possible. Because surviving infidelity isnt a simple, linear process, however, the road to repair takes commitment and perseverance.
There may be times when feelings of depression and hopelessness overwhelm you, when anger and despair consume you, when the urge to end the relationship is all you can think about. Anxiety, insecurity and suspiciousness can rattle you at your core.
These painful, emotional way-stations on the journey toward affair recovery are common and should be understood as a natural part of the healing process. Self-care becomes paramount in dealing with these overwhelming emotions. Support from trusted others is often essential, especially in the acute phase of the post-affair recovery process.
You See No Silver Lining
Your experience turned your life upside down. From someone who always tried to see the best, you are now fearing the worst so much that it makes you anxious.
All the scenarios you predict always have a lousy outcome. You often find yourself thinking that you are cursed because everything you do falls apart.
In reality, your pessimistic thoughts invite negativity into your life. For example, if you fear your boyfriend will abandon you, you will harass him with it that much that he will see no other option but to leave.
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Strategy : Take Care Of Your Body
Taking care of your body entails everything from eating well to taking time for self-care. Though they may seem unrelated, the body and mind are intricately connected. When you consistently meet your bodys needs for food, water, and rest, you are also taking care of your mind by building a strong base for your mental health and well-being.
You can begin by eating well and getting plenty of sleep. Proper nutrition is essential all throughout your lifenot just during times of stressand has been linked with improved mental health. Drink lots of water and eat healthy foods that contain vitamins and minerals .
Try to establish a regular routine so you know what to expect from day to day. This predictability will help as you move closer toward recovery.
You may also find it helpful to take time each day for yourself to relax and recharge. For example, read a good book instead of watching television, take a walk outside, or do something nice for another person.
Exercise is also one of the best ways to take care of your body. When you exercise regularly, you release endorphins that naturally boost your mood. Its also a great way to get rid of pent-up emotions.
As you put in the time and effort required to meet your bodys needs you are telling yourself that you are a valuable person worth taking care of!
Stay Present When Youre Pushed Away:
I do hope these tips, dos, and donts make sense to you. They are worth the effort, judging by the results couples get in my program by applying them.
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