The pain of betrayal is like no other. Without taking anything away from people who have experienced other forms of loss, the pain experienced by a betrayed spouse is oftentimes experienced like that of a death. Betrayed spouses grieve the loss of the person they thought they married, the “we” and “us,” the loss of innocence, of the concept of love, the plans for the future and even the past – and much more. There is the role of husband or wife, the in-tact family, and their entire sense of safety in the world.
While life-changing and completely shattering, surviving an affair cannot technically be diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder unless there was also an element of a life being threatened and/or violence involved.
There are several books on the market and websites available to help people who have experienced the pain of betrayal. If you have a good suggestion, please post it in the comment section. One of my recommendations is Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends by Fisher and Alberti. As the name implies, it is for people who are experiencing the ending of a relationship and not for those who wish to stay in the marriage / relationship after said affair.
If you have suffered due to the choices of an unfaithful spouse, please seek help and support. You can survive and come out stronger. However, it’s a difficult journey that may require some loving support.
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‘Can We Talk?’ is on online therapy youtube channel dedicated to psychology, therapy, relationships, healthy living, well-being and the like. It should not be considered therapy, nor a substitute for therapy. If you need help with any mental, emotional, family or relational struggle, please seek help from a qualified professional in your area.
Melinda Haynes, LMFT California license no 102308