Losing faith in relationships is a normal response to betrayal, and how a person feels after being cheated on may vary from person to person. Infidelity is not gender-exclusive, and men and women both cheat in relationships. However, studies show that men are more likely to cheat than women.
Infidelity is one of the top reasons for divorces and breakups. Infidelity can strongly affect the mental health of those facing it. Those dealing with a cheating partner or spouse may feel sadness, depression, anxiety, and emotional distress.
Dealing with betrayal can bring up a roller-coaster of emotions. Dealing with these emotions depends on your resilience and coping mechanism. Everyone may cope with a cheating spouse differently. Some may even try to reconcile and forgive their better half, while some might choose to move on and rebuild themselves.
Moving on from cheating can be difficult. Most people have a bond of trust with their partners, and once their partner cheats, it is usually a shock for them. Due to this, coming to terms with infidelity can be hard, because not everyone has preset mechanisms to cope with this situation.
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7 Psychological effects of infidelity
Absorbing and dealing with your partner’s infidelity take a toll on your mental health. Even if you chose to forgive them, it will never be the same again. The emotional trauma you face can haunt you for a long time. You can consult a Psychologist in Lahore who may be able to help you come to terms with the reality.
Here are some psychological effects that you may face due to the infidelity of your spouse:
1. Lack of trust
Trust is essential for every relationship, but it is a pillar that holds marriages or romantic relationships. Once a partner cheats, the trust may not remain, resulting in trust issues even in everyday life. You may find it hard to trust anyone. For this reason, many people opt not to rush into a relationship.
2. Eating disorders
Problems with eating are a response to trauma from betrayal. Some might find it hard to eat anything, or some may indulge more than necessary. Emotional eaters are more likely to gain weight by eating in access or binge eating. Others may not feel like eating anything, which can cause serious issues, such as anorexia. They may also indulge in other risky behaviors, which include alcohol abuse and drug abuse.
It can be hard to digest that your partner has been disloyal to you. Your love for your spouse may make you question yourself. In your quest to figure out the reason behind your partner’s infidelity, you may blame yourself and try to pinpoint mistakes that could have led to this.
Questions like, “Why did I not figure this out before?” or “ What was my mistake that led to this?’ may cross your mind and make you feel there is something wrong with you. Stop doing that. There is no use fretting over the past, and it is time to admit that the person you love is not as perfect as you thought. Instead, start doing some positive self-talk in your mind and moving on.
Anger or rage may be one of the initial emotions after discovering that your partner cheated on you. You may feel enraged when you are absorbing the news. It may make you act out or fight with your partner. You may feel other feelings, such as hurt and anger, as there is so much to take in.
Extreme anger can also result in an outbreak of violence that can physically harm your partner. Even though it may seem like a justified response, violence is never a good idea. It can risk your partner’s life or hurt them a lot.
Letting go of someone you love or realizing that the relationship will never be the same again. You may miss the feeling that you had before for your spouse. Cheating can end your relationship, leading to a divorce or breakup. If that is the case, you must process the grief of losing your partner.
Even if you choose to stay, the relationship you once had with your partner is not there. Things may never be the same again, and it can feel like a loss, even when you are with that person. You must come to terms with the loss by taking time for yourself and allowing yourself to grieve. It may get easier to deal with it once you process your feelings.
The betrayal trauma can make you feel anxious and make you feel even worse. Stress due to infidelity can increase your cortisol levels and lead to anxiety and depression. Anxiety can also have physical symptoms, including headaches, panic attacks, palpitations, dizziness, etc. Feeling anxious can worsen your fights with your partner if you stay in the relationship. It can make you clingy that may irritate your partner.
Even if you leave and move on, anxiety may still exist as a response to the trauma you had to go through. You can try different breathing techniques that may reduce your anxiety. You can also consult the Best Psychologist in Karachi to get help if your anxiety does not get better.
7. Deteriorating self-esteem
Being cheated on can make you feel it is your fault or that you were not enough. It may also be difficult to understand why and how someone you love and care for chose someone else over you. Coming to terms with these feelings can reduce your self-esteem. Self-loathing and overthinking about which actions led to this betrayal can also lower your self-esteem.
Self-esteem issues may occur after getting to know about your partner’s infidelity. You need to remember that it is not your fault and stop your inner critic from putting you down. It takes time to heal from this massive trauma. Practice self-care and rebuild your self-esteem. Focus on more constructive thoughts and try to avoid negative emotions.
Healing from the betrayal
Getting to know about your partner’s betrayal can be traumatizing, and it may take a lot of time to heal from the psychological after-effects of it. It is a testing time for anyone who goes through it, and you may experience a roller coaster of emotions during your healing process. Whether you decide or stay, your relationship with your partner will change. You may feel more anger and resentment towards your spouse.
As you are dealing with multiple emotions, you may act out and direct your feelings to people who are not responsible for your trauma. Seeking therapy can help you process your sentiments. You may need to train your mind and build coping mechanisms to redirect your emotions. Meditation and yoga can help calm you down. It is time to restore your self-esteem and work towards building a new life for yourself.
You must take your space from the relationship and figure out what you want. It is time to evaluate how you feel about your spouse and the way forward for your relationship. Some people might choose to stay and forgive their spouse. Forgiving your spouse for what they have done can be a long process that may require a lot of effort and patience from both sides.
On the other hand, some individuals may choose to leave their partner under such circumstances. Taking that path is not easy too. Divorce, which is already a stigma in Pakistan, comes with its own obstacles. You have to involve lawyers and may have to visit courts, which can be emotionally and financially draining. In cases of a breakup, processing your feelings can be daunting.
Grief, loss, and sadness are natural. Instead of ignoring them, try to address them and take your therapist’s help to heal. Talking or taking support from your loved ones may give you peace. Ensure adding things you love to your daily schedule to make you happy. Remember, healing is not simple. It is testing time, and you may need all the support to pull yourself out of this.
Your partner’s cheating can adversely affect your mental health. The news that your partner or spouse is cheating on you can come as a surprise, and you may feel several emotions, such as rage, resentment, sadness, anxiety, and depression. It can destroy your self-esteem and make you feel like something is wrong with you. The relationship is never the same again when one partner cheats on the other. It can cause grief and loss.
Getting through this is difficult, but not impossible. Channeling your feelings in the right direction can expedite the healing process. Relaxation techniques can help in calming you down. Try to work on how you view yourself and keep a positive attitude.