Experiences of a Betrayed Spouse: 

Healing from an Affair

by Sally R. Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

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It is common for both spouses, the betrayed spouse as well as the one who cheated, to feel a great deal of anxiety and depression, sometimes even suicidal thoughts, after the affair has been uncovered or revealed.

The crisis of infidelity shakes even the strongest people and the reactions are like any traumatic event.

The Betrayed Spouse Has Many Painful Thoughts and Feelings

The betrayed spouse moves through feelings of despair, despondence, fear, anger and rage. The initial responses
may range from the desire to do anything to save the marriage with a desperate pursuit of their spouse to insistence that the cheating spouse immediately leave the house with threats to file for divorce.The stronger the trust, the greater the surprise and that generally leads to the most intense reactions by the betrayed spouse.

The Cheating Spouse Also Has Many Painful Thoughts and Feelings

The cheating spouse generally feels a great deal of guilt and remorse, although that may not be what comes out of his or her mouth. Initially the response may be defensive ones that blame the marriage or blame the behavior of their spouse as the reason for the affair.  We often hear that they, the cheating spouse, is no longer in love and fell out of love long ago.

Sometimes the cheating spouse has strong loving feelings for the other person.  These feelings FEEL real even if they are more about a change in brain chemistry.  If there has been an emotional connection with the affaire', there may also be some ambivalence about ending that relationship and hurting the other person.

The Betrayed Spouse Wants to Talk, The Cheating Spouse Wants to Move On

While the betrayed spouse wants to talk a lot about the affair, the one having the affair generally has no desire to talk about the specifics of the affair.  They often say that this is both to protect the betrayed spouse as well as to protect themselves.  This, of course, does not feel like protection but rather like more betrayal.
Have you experienced cheating in your relationship?  Would you like help healing your marriage?  We can help.  Click here to be taken to our online counseling web site and find out how we might help you either in person or by skype, chat or phone counseling.

can heal after an affair.

Marriages Can Heal and Even Grow Stronger

Most couples that experience an affair … and both halves of the couple decide that they want to save the marriage, can recover. In fact, one research study noted that 70% of couples who wanted to save their marriage reported a healthier and stronger relationship.

Healing, however; does take a lot of very hard work, open communication, damage repair and eventual forgiveness.

Sometimes it may take a while before one or both make a clear decision to work on the marriage. Ambivalence may hang around for quite a while.

If there has been more than one affair, the reasons for the cheating are often more complicated and recovery can be more complicated, but not impossible.  We are glad to meet with you to talk about your own relationship to help you sort through what is happening in your life right now.