5 Stages Of Heartbreak Women Go Through After Being Betrayed By Someone They Love

A broken heart can lead to a beautiful new you.

How To Get Over Someone You Love & Heal A Broken Heart After Traumatic Betrayal getty

We have all gone through traumatic experiences that cause us to learn how to grow and move on, but it is a little different when that experience is a betrayal. Whether the deception comes from a friend, a partner, or even a coworker, the healing process is the same.

In the process of learning how to heal a broken heart and recovering from the trauma of being betrayed, women go through five distinct stages of healing.


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In an interview with Dr. Debi Silber, an expert on post-betrayal trauma, she shared her story of betrayal and the research she’s been deeply involved in about the five stages of recovery.


Dr. Silber and her husband were together since the 80's, and had four beautiful children. The betrayal came when she found out her husband had cheated. She was devastated and wasn’t sure where to go from there. Her first step was getting him out of the home so she could clear her head.

In learning how to move on, Dr. Silber began to focus on herself, after realizing she had spent the majority of her life caring for others. Enrolling in a Ph.D. program, she went on to study how women experience betrayal and what helps them heal. While looking at the stages of grief vs. stages of betrayal, the study showcased five predictable stages.

Betrayal primarily means breaking an unspoken rule, which can leave you traumatized. Regardless of what the deception was, be aware and allow yourself to experience each step in your healing process.

Here are the 5 stages of recovery women go through after betrayal that help them learn how to heal a broken heart and move on.


1. Bottoming out

Entering into phase one when you've had your heart broken can feel a lot like everything has bottomed out. Think of it as the four legs of a table and each leg represents a different piece of you. There is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. If one of those legs it a bit off, everything will tip over.

Once you hit this low, what’s next? If you’re thinking crash and burn, you are correct.

2. Physical breakdown

The breakdown of body, mind, and worldview can be physically harmful. This can cause the immune system to become suppressed, inviting illness.

If that isn’t enough to deal with already, we begin to view the world as shattered. If you find yourself exhausted and on edge, know it’s a sign you are in this stage, but you’re moving forward.


3. Get outta my way

This stage carries you into your natural instincts of survival and allows practicality to come into play. In getting over heartbreak, we must find a way to survive and you know you are here when you think "If you can’t help me, move out of my way."

Putting up walls and shutting people out might help you survive but you’re forgetting an essential part, there is no self-care happening. The stress response might still be ignited, however when you know you will be safe, that’s when you can move onto the next stage.

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4. New normal

Finding and adjusting to "a new normal" sounds very intimidating, but if you’ve made it this far, you are in stage four. Though this path may not seem familiar in the slightest, know that it will be okay.


This is the time to turn down the stress response and turn up the self-assurance so that you can start to make sense of things.

5. Renewed and re-energized you

The final stage of the process is healing, rebirth, and a new worldview. It is time to love yourself enough to take care of you now. Gaining a fresh set of beliefs and pursuing new things will help you achieve the strongest version of yourself.

It may not be the best time to seek out a new squeeze yet because if you are not fully healed or this person isn’t on the same wavelength, it will not work.


The big takeaway from all of this is not to fall back into betrayal patterns. If you find you are numbing yourself, it’s time to get real. Ask yourself, "What will my life look like years from now or what am I pretending not to see?"

Transformation and going through these stages is not easy, but once you stop resisting, the world will open up to you.

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Midori Verity is the author of 'Secrets to a Kicka** Marriage', host of 'The Kicka** Relationship Show' and the founder of 'Couples & Bubbles Events & Retreats’. For more information, visit her website.