6 Cruel Ways His Cheating Affects You (That No One Ever Talks About)

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being cheated on

THIS is why you can't "just get over it."

You find out your partner is cheating on you.

You picture him or her laughing, kissing, making love to someone else on a blanket in the country or in a fancy hotel. Your partner then comes home, lies to your face, deceives you, and makes you feel guilty about even thinking such a thing could ever happen.

You feel rage, shock, devastation, obsession …

These are just a few of the gut-wrenching, but entirely normal reactions when your partner cheats.

From personal experience, and from helping other women recover from divorce, I know that the wounds of infidelity last much longer than anyone wants to admit. All the while, friends and family say, "Just get over it!" or "Move on already!" 

So, not only must you face and deal with the hurt of betrayal, but you feel like a "wuss" for not being able to move on fast enough to satisfy those around you.

Those of us who know the heartbreak of a partner’s betrayal are usually left to suffer on our own, pretending we're OK. No one fully understands the depth of the pain or realizes how many scars we carry long after the affair.      

Some of my divorce recovery clients put it this way:

  • "When I first found out, I had to keep telling myself to 'breathe … breathe … breathe.'"
  • "I felt like I was abandoned naked on an iceberg. Vulnerable."
  • "I’ve built an armor for protection that keeps me isolated and lonely."
  • "Infidelity destroyed my innocence. It destroyed my belief in true marital love."
  • "It destroys your sense of worthiness. Your sense of being enough."

When your partner cheats, you feel not only those immediate kicks in the gut, but long-term emotional distress, as well. Often an overwhelming lump of despair starts in your chest every morning and takes over everything in your life. Many people wonder if they'll survive it, or if they even want to.

Here are 6 excruciating ways you suffer after your partner cheats (that no one talks about):

​1. Your most intimate relationship is now the topic of public chatter.

The intimacy that was just between the two of you is now being talked about casually among friends, family and acquaintances. You feel naked, exposed, and humiliated. It feels as if everyone is evaluating YOU for flaws that likely "caused" the trouble in your relationship.

2. You feel like you can't let your guard down.

When your partner betrays you, he or she makes a life-changing decision with no input from you. You think, "If the person I love most cheats on me, how can I trust anyone?" 

According to Dr. Omar Minwella, the betrayed person sometimes experiences PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Symptoms including trauma-induced panic attacks and triggering events demand constant vigilance.

3. You feel pressure to measure up to some vague, undefined ideal.

When your partner has an affair, you often feel like you're not "enough" — not fun enough, sexy enough, smart enough, pretty enough, fit enough or whatever.

You start obsessing about bettering yourself, so you won’t be hurt or betrayed again. It’s an exhausting, stressful, insecure way to live. By constantly trying to prove yourself, you become an actor in your own life instead of freely being exactly who you are.

4. Your partner’s infidelity makes you the odd-person out.

Your partner and his or her lover know everything they shared between them. You know only what you’ve discovered or what they decided to tell you. 

If your marriage survives, there will always be secret information only the two of them share. If you divorce, your partner and the lover feel better than ever about life, while you're left picking up the pieces alone.

5. Infidelity disrupts your sense of your past.

According to psychiatrist Anna Fels, infidelity undermines the truth of your personal history. It corrupts your life story. You now question memories. You constantly review the past trying to piece together what you thought was happening with what was actually taking place.

You beat yourself up for being so naive, and you become bitter about others who knew the truth, but didn’t tell you.  

6. Your partner violated your body by denying you sexual agency.

If your partner has sex with someone else (without your knowledge) and then has sex with you, not only was your health put at risk (because of STDs), but your partner also robbed you of your sexual agency — your ability to chose for yourself the terms in which you do and do not engage in sexual activity. After all, would you have had sex with your partner if you'd known he or she just slept with someone else? Your partner broke your shared sacred trust of sexual oneness and fidelity, and that is the most damaging violation of all, and often one of the hardest aspects of infidelity to "get over."

Infidelity causes a loss of self esteem and changes how we see the world.

No matter how long it takes or how complicated healing is, know that you can seek help and connect with others who truly understand what you're going through. Recovering from a blow this severe takes personal commitment. You must decide to heal and then rise into a future that includes everything you desire and deserve. The tools and support to help you do this are out there.

Suzy Brown is the founder of Midlife Divorce Recovery. Sign up for her free 10-day Divorce Recovery Crash Course, or contact Suzy at 816-941-4911 for a free conversation.


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