9 Cruel Ways Betrayed Spouses Torture Themselves

Don't blame yourself because they cheated on you.

Woman beating herself up over husbands infidelity sanchairat, RapidEye, yamasan | Canva

Infidelity hurts. That’s all there is to it. A cheating spouse seems like the ultimate betrayal, like something that defines you completely and gnaws at you for the rest of your life.

Let’s be honest: if your spouse has betrayed you by having an affair, there’s a tough road ahead before you finish healing.

However, you won't feel horrible every waking second. You’ll have ups and downs like everyone, but you have more control than you think over the pace of your healing.


Infidelity doesn’t have to hurt forever and the damage it does to you won’t be permanent either, as long you don’t sabotage yourself with faulty beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

You might not be able to feel better right away, but there’s no need to make things even worse.

RELATED: The Only 3 Signs Someone Is Truly Sorry For Cheating


Think of it as a list of what NOT to do if your husband or wife cheats on you.

The first 5 are beliefs and attitudes that betrayed spouses use to torment themselves. These are the common ways that thinking errors can keep you derailed after infidelity.

Circumstances play a big part in our emotional health, but narrative can be just as important. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what our experiences mean go a long way toward determining our levels of happiness and satisfaction, so it’s crucial to think positively after a spouse’s betrayal.

The last 4 are behaviors betrayed spouses use to torment themselves. These are the things that you do or don't do that knock you down. They have a huge impact on how you survive infidelity and start your healing process.


Here are 9 cruel ways betrayed spouses torture themselves:

1. They blame themselves for acts of infidelity.

One of the worst things you can do is to take the blame for your partner’s dishonesty. Every marriage has problems, but your spouse’s infidelity comes from inside of them and has nothing to do with you.

2. They dwell on what happened.

Don’t deny your feelings, but move on from the experience of infidelity as soon as possible. You won’t always be able to control where your mind goes but redirect your focus quickly whenever you find yourself stuck in a problem.

3. They have excessive amounts of self-pity.

Grieving is normal, but feeling sorry for yourself will accomplish nothing. You can mope around for a little while if you want, but the sooner you stop, the better.

4. They nurture anger.

There’s no way to avoid feeling some degree of anger toward your cheating spouse, but feeding it by obsessing or constant criticism will only make you feel worse in the long run. We sometimes take a perverse sort of pleasure in being angry, but compassion and forgiveness are always your best medicine.


5. They internalize betrayal.

Internalizing your spouse’s betrayal might be even worse than self-blame.

Internalizing it means letting the betrayal dominate you completely, to the point where every part of your identity emerges and returns to feelings of low self-esteem, suspicion, and being wrong.

RELATED: How To Forgive A Cheater (& Whether Or Not You Should)

6. They argue with their cheating spouse.

A betrayed spouse does themselves a grave injustice by arguing with their cheating partner. Just like with anger, arguing can become toxic to your soul no matter where the fault lies. Don’t start or participate in arguments and you’ll start to heal that much faster.


7. They isolate themselves.

Long-lasting despair and depression can set in if you spend too much time alone right now. Get out of the house and spend time with the people you love and enjoy as much as possible.

8. They alienate friends and family.

Betrayed spouses can do this by constantly complaining to friends and family about the infidelity or by ignoring their needs completely. Either way, the result is damaged relationships and protracted heartache.

9. They fail to compartmentalize.

Your marriage is a huge part of your life, but it’s not the only thing you have in the world. Things can become truly awful if a betrayed spouse allows infidelity to destroy everything else that’s valuable to them.

Leave infidelity at home and continue to work, live, and enjoy the things that remain intact.


RELATED: The Most Surprising Reason People Cheat, According To Research

It’s more the same than ever after infidelity

There’s no doubt infidelity is one of the most painful things you’ll ever go through, but it still doesn’t trump the basic psychological truths that lay under every other human experience.

No matter what your circumstances are, your attitudes and behaviors are the main causes of your emotional states. How you feel is up to you.


The upshot of this is that nothing really changes after infidelity, at least not in how you should treat yourself. You need to practice the same levels of mental hygiene and self-care during this difficult time as you would under normal circumstances.

If you’re vigilant about your attitudes and behaviors, your happiness will take care of itself.

RELATED: The 3 Types Of Couples Who Experience Affairs (& The Ones Most Likely To Stay Together)

C. Mellie Smith is a relationship and infidelity expert who uses her expertise to offer programs and tools to help other couples dealing with infidelity.