ADVICE FOR PARTNERS BETRAYED BY INFIDELITY
When Your Husband or Wife Has Been Caught Cheating
Coping with Betrayal
It’s normal to feel hurt, pain, loss, anger, upset, grief and a sense of failure. It’s normal to experience dramatic mood shifts, and sometimes, even loss of appetite and sleepless nights.
Sometimes a betrayed partner will feel guilty (and even shocked) at how deeply it hurts.
Let me reassure you…
You’re NOT crazy or more fragile than other people. Coping with betrayal is the same as coping with the death of a loved one. Except, in this case, it’s not the person that dies — it’s the dream.
Infidelity has a grieving period.
You can expect sadness. You can expect some days to be better than others. You can expect to experience inner turmoil. And you can certainly expect normal things NOT to feel so normal for a while.
With that said…
There are some pitfalls you should be aware of. These are like emotional booby traps, so many people wind up getting stuck. They prolong the pain and block the heart’s natural healing process. They will keep you down a lot longer than need be… if you let them.
Here’s the key to effectively surviving:
It’s only 5% about the situation and 95% about how you respond to it.
There are basically two responses to infidelity:
One response comes from ego-mindedness. This puts the focus on blame and punishment. The emphasis is on the wrongs that have been done to you. It’s fueled by anger, bitterness, revenge and pride. In the face of an undeserved hurt (like a partner’s betrayal), it’s normal to want to lash out, and yet it’s a very destructive choice.
Bitterness, contempt, anger and revenge are the ego’s poisonous darts, and hate is its weapon which destroys all in its effort to destroy one. Fueled by fear (and fed by pride), the EGO is a parasite that sucks massive amounts of power and energy from your heart and soul.
The other response comes from love-mindedness. This focuses more on understanding, gaining insight into the cause, healing, forgiving and letting go. (Obviously, the better of the two choices.)
The 6 Deadly Traps that Slow Down
the Healing Process and Prolong Suffering
THE VICTIM TRAP
“It’s so unfair! Why me?” This is the victim’s battle cry. How could he/she do this to me?
Here’s the truth: Life isn’t fair. Take a look at nature, and you’ll see that fairness isn’t apparent. Lions eat gazelles, birds eat worms, cats kill mice, and people who love each other sometimes hurt each other. It’s just a fact of life.
THE VICTIM MINDSET
- Sees a partner’s betrayal as a reflection of personal failure
- Perceives the partner’s betrayal as a deliberate attempt to hurt them
- Holds on to injustice for extended periods of time
- Uses emotional reasoning rather than rational thinking
- Appears needy and weak to others
The biggest problem with the victim trap is that it focuses on the problem rather than the solution. This kind of “stinking thinking” can keep you stuck forever.
HOW TO ESCAPE THE VICTIM MINDSET
Take the role of your own advocate. Replace “it’s not fair” language with “it’s unfortunate”. Look for insight rather than insensitivity.
Key Point: Life is equally unfair to everyone. That’s what makes it so fair.
THE REVENGE TRAP
It’s an irrational (and equally seductive) thought.
Upon the discovery of an affair, many betrayed spouses immediately begin to fantasize about having an extramarital affair of their own… to get even.
Their first reaction is to even the score… to make their husband or wife pay for cheating on them. This is called having a “revenge affair”.
Whenever we decide to do something out of spite or revenge, it’s a big indication that we’re being controlled by somebody else’s behavior. Two wrongs do not (and will never) make a right. Revenge can’t erase the pain or correct the mistakes that led to the affair happening in the first place.
Responding to infidelity with revenge is like responding to a fire with a bucket of gasoline. It can only make a bad situation much worse.
HOW TO AVOID FALLING INTO THE REVENGE TRAP
Revenge and spite do nothing to undo the mistakes of a cheating spouse. In fact, they can only make things worse. Infidelity is a mistake. It calls for love and understanding… not spite.
Key Point: In the drama of infidelity, the demand for revenge is always sought after by the ego.
THE ANGER TRAP
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it’s stored than anything on which it’s poured.
Anger is a defensive response to a perceived threat. Believing we have been attacked, we feel justified to strike back.
When we find out about a secret love affair, it’s almost impossible for us not to react by getting angry. We unleash all of our rage and project a lot of blame, shame and hurt onto others.
Attack provokes attack. Anger attracts anger. Either of these reactions always leads to more regret.
HOW TO GET OUT OF THE ANGER TRAP
Tell yourself, “anger is more about fear than anything else.” Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of.
The moment you get real with yourself about your anger, that’s when you’ll discover it’s nothing more than hurt… which isn’t worth holding on to.
Key Point: Blame and accusations are not conversations. They are simply other forms of attack.
THE MARTYR TRAP
You can’t make a person love you. All you can do is give and receive love.
The martyr believes that in life, everyone is always out to get them. The martyr is the ultimate collector of injustices.
SIGNS OF THE MARTYR
- Supplication: Bargaining, begging and giving in order to get. None of these inspires love or friendship. Like all victim behavior, this can be addictive. Some don’t even realize how much of a martyr they are. It may seem effective in the short term, but it is a horrible strategy for getting what you want in the long term. Not only are people repulsed by begging and pleading, they wind up disliking (or even hating) the person doing the supplication. They see them as helpless, passive-aggressive, weak and dishonest.
- Constant external reassurance: When you need someone else to constantly reassure you, it robs you of your own self-esteem and gives the other person power over you. You may even begin to loathe yourself for constantly seeking the approval of others and being so needy. This type of behavior does you no favors.
- Extended suffering: There’s a big difference between pain and suffering. If you get out of bed and stub your toe in the morning, you feel pain. But if you spend the entire rest of the day wishing you hadn’t stubbed your toe, you have chosen to suffer.
Key Point: In life, pain is guaranteed. Suffering is optional. Extended suffering is a sure sign that your interpretation of events is incorrect.
HOW TO GET OUT OF THE MARTYR TRAP
Key Point: Empower yourself by accepting reality for what it is, rather than wishing it was different.
This is the first step toward dealing honestly with reality and finding out that you’re not alone. You’re not being abandoned or persecuted. You’re simply facing a challenge like so many others.