- Shock/Despair/Depression – The betrayed spouse is oftentimes numb and somewhat unable to function. Other people may be livid and screaming that they should take action (separation, divorce, etc.), but early on the betrayed spouse is more often seeking insight, validation for his or her feelings, and emotional stability as opposed to drastic action.
- Self-Doubt/Remorse/Shame – As stated above, many betrayed spouses blame themselves for not having seen the patterns of lying and deceit, and for not acting sooner. Some will tell no one about what they are going through due to shame and fear of judgment. Sadly, this leaves them isolated in their fear and hurt.
- Honeymooning – Some betrayed spouses move full-force into romance/seduction mode, thinking that if they provide enough sex, their partner won’t “need” to stray.
- Blaming Third-Parties – Betrayed spouses often direct the brunt of their anger onto the person (or people) with whom their partner cheated, viewing their spouse as an “innocent victim” of someone else’s unscrupulous behavior. Cheating partners are supportive of this, as it takes the heat off them.
- Detective work – Betrayed spouses often go through cell phone and credit card bills, wallets, and pockets, and ask endless questions, all in an attempt to understand the entirety of what has occurred.
- PTSD Symptoms Such as Rage, Mood Swings, Withdrawal, and Hyper-Vigilance – Betrayed spouses will display love and then become rageful for no overtly obvious reason. For example: inadvertently seeing a sexualized image in a magazine ad or watching a romantic movie scene can trigger feelings of hurt, insecurity, and anger.
- Poor Boundaries – Lacking others who will understand and wanting to lash out, a rage-filled spouse may act in ways he or she later regrets. This behavior may include co-opting children by telling them “what daddy or mommy did to me,” and telling bosses, mothers, and others about the infidelity. Some spouses will resort to verbal and even physical abuse toward the unfaithful partner.
Emma is a successful, 46-year-old realtor who accidentally discovered her husband’s ongoing pattern of infidelity.