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.
- 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.
THE GUILT TRAP
Here is the belief: Whenever there’s any kind of emotional affair or physical infidelity, we feel it’s up to us to put emotional pressure on our partner to force them to change.
Here is the truth: Emotional affairs or any kind of infidelity hurts. These forced attempts are just a way we use fear and pain to get another person to conform to our expectations.
Even if it means using manipulative and underhanded techniques, people think the end justifies the means. It doesn’t. And it never works anyway, especially when dealing with something as volatile as an emotional affair or some other kind of infidelity. Guilt is a trap that’s fueled by fear, self-righteousness, superiority and judgment.
Key Point: Guilt NEVER creates positive change. It simply creates resentment. And during an affair, it usually drives the husband or wife towards the person they’re caught in the affair with.
HOW TO GET OUT OF THE GUILT TRAP
Recognize that using guilt is a decision to pass judgment onto another person. Acknowledge that judgment is NOT your function, and infidelity (as painful and unappealing as it might seem) doesn’t call for punishment — it calls for correction.
THE OBSESSION TRAP
It’s the chronic reanalyzing, replaying and rehashing of the details in your head. No matter what you do, you’re unable to let go of the thoughts and images of infidelity and deception. Everywhere you go (and everything you see) reminds you of the pain.
As much as you want to turn off those horrible images, they seem to take on a life of their own. They haunt you night and day. If you’re going through this, you’ve gotten stuck in the obsession trap.
This is when the mind puts the “hurt” on automatic replay. Without asking for your consent, it plays those thoughts over and over and over.
The obsession trap is both dangerous and deceptive.
On one hand, it tells you… by rehashing the painful imagery, you’ll somehow be able to “understand” or “find meaning” in what happened. On the other hand, the very “act” of doing this adds more emotional energy to the pain. Talk about a mind trap. Obsession is a vicious revolving door to nowhere. Plus … it’s exhausting!
HOW TO GET OUT OF THE OBSESSION TRAP
Take a deep breath and be gentle to yourself. Tell yourself you’re now willing to face change creatively. Obviously, infidelity introduces a new set of circumstances in your life. Constantly pressing the rewind button on the past is just another way of resisting this “change”. Remember: healing happens in the NOW. The hurt is in the past. And since the past no longer exists, it’s no longer here. Resolve to leave it there.
Now, for the ultimate deciding questions…
Would you rather stay hurt or be happy?
Take a moment to really think about this.
If this is where you are, you might not be ready to give up the hurt.
If that’s the case, then hold on.
You’ll get no judgment from me. I’m not worried about you in the least. Here’s what I’m certain of: it’s not a matter of WILL you heal… it’s only a matter of WHEN.
If your “WHEN” is now, here’s what we can do to help you get on the road to recovery:
HEALING THE HURT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE
What would happen if I let go?
Key Point: Without forgiveness, you could spend months (and even years) trying to pick up the pieces after infidelity.
No one can say for sure how long the healing and restoration of love takes. Yet a journey of a thousand steps… begins with the first step. Because you took the time to read this article, we know for sure that you have already taken that first step.
In order to overcome infidelity, it’s necessary to switch from ego-mindedness to love-mindedness. This means you don’t focus on the “loss” — you focus on the “love”.
- You love yourself through this process… and allow this experience to strengthen your self-esteem… rather than deplete it.
- You love your partner through this process and allow this experience to teach you how to forgive.
Love means letting go. Love means overlooking mistakes. And love means you’re forever unwilling to settle for anything less than your highest good.
Does this mean you have to stay together?
Not at all.
What it does mean is that… whatever decisions you make… you make them from a place of love. That’s the only way you’re guaranteed to have no regrets.
Are You Willing to Accept a Little Help?
For many betrayed spouses, pride, shame, embarrassment and a sense of failure keep them from reaching out and getting the help they need and deserve. And even those that do get help… often turn to the wrong people for advice or depend on the wrong methods to get them through.
I want you to keep this in mind:
Drugs can help suppress the pain of an emotional or physical affair… but they can’t heal the pain, the hurt and the suffering. There’s only one thing that can do that, and that’s your very own inner healing system. If deep down you’re suffering, having trouble sleeping, experiencing obsessive thoughts, and having a hard time getting over this affair… then I encourage you to accept my invitation to talk about it.
Will it be easy? No. Not at all.
In life, it’s not about what’s “easy” — its about what’s effective.
If this sounds good to you, then don’t let hesitation, resistance or skepticism stop you. I want to encourage you… to book a coaching session with me. Since affair recovery is all I have been doing for more than 15 years, and I have helped thousands of betrayed partners so I’m very confident I can help you get perspective around what’s happened and help you get started with some specific action steps… so you can recovery sooner rather than later and discover what’s truly possible for you.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!