A person with light skin and more masculine hands either removes or replaces a gold wedding band.

If your partner or spouse is addicted to sex or pornography, you may have experienced partner betrayal and infidelity trauma. 

Processing the betrayal of trust and your partner’s infidelity may feel difficult, if not impossible. You can choose to stay with your partner and deal with the repercussions together. Alternatively, you can choose to walk away and decide to deal with your trauma alone. 

The choice belongs to you. Just know that recovery and rebuilding trust is possible. 

What is Infidelity Trauma 

Infidelity trauma is the long-lasting impact when one partner betrays another. The partner who discovers the betrayal suffers through trauma and experiences trauma symptoms. 

Having your trust shattered, feeling as if you’re partially to blame, and coping with the constant intrusive thoughts may feel like an endless cycle of grief and sadness. 

Signs of Trauma After Infidelity

Infidelity trauma can develop into Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD, the most severe type of emotional trauma, may occur if the infidelity isn’t adequately addressed and you aren’t given the space and time to heal.

If you wonder if you are suffering from infidelity trauma, there are some specific symptoms you may be able to identify.

Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are one of the most common signs that you’re experiencing infidelity trauma.

Visions of your partner with another person or remembering their face when you confronted them the first time are examples of intrusive thoughts. 

Almost anything can cause you to return to a moment of trauma mentally. These triggers can lead you to seek ways to avoid them entirely rather than dealing with the root of the intrusive thoughts. 

Unstable Emotional Regulation

As a trauma response, you may find that you shut down emotionally. You may feel wholly detached, depressed, and become easily fatigued. You may lose interest in your previous hobbies and find little joy in activities that used to bring a smile to your face.

Alternatively, you could move from sadness to anger quickly. Rapidly shifting between yelling, crying, and emotional absence are all normal reactions while recovering from infidelity trauma. 

A woman with dark skin and curly hair sits on the edge of the bed with her head in her hand with a look of disappointment on her face. Her partner, a white male, is lounging in the background in his pajamas and smiling at his phone

Whatever your reaction is to infidelity, you’re fully entitled to those feelings.

Sex Addiction Trauma Among Partners and Spouses

Sex Addiction-Induced Trauma usually causes a myriad of complex and extreme reactions. You may notice that this trauma manifests in emotional and physical ways. 

Impact on Body and Medical Intervention

The body stores trauma and traumatic experiences. Meaning that, after you’ve experienced infidelity trauma, you may encounter physical repercussions as well.

Common physical symptoms of trauma include:

  • Aches and pain, especially headaches and in the joints
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panic attacks and difficulty breathing

You experience these symptoms because your brain connects with every aspect of your body. When you experience partner betrayal, your body responds by triggering your fight or flight instincts. Your brain senses immediate danger. Therefore, it prepares you for the battle as a means of self-preservation.

How BAI Can Help Heal Infidelity Trauma

At the Begin Again Institute, we can help support those suffering from infidelity trauma using our Multi-Dimensional Partner Trauma Model.

Unique to our institute, we understand that your trauma is specific to you and that simply “talking it out” may not be enough. 

Those who experience this type of trauma may also experience:

  • External crisis and destabilization
  • Reality-ego fragmentation
  • Family, communal and social injuries
  • Existential and spiritual trauma

BAI’s Approach to Treating Infidelity Trauma

It was a long-held belief that partners of sex or porn addicts were “enablers” or “co-addicts.” Not at the Begin Again Institute. Here, we know that you’re experiencing trauma yourself and deserve specialized healing.

More than just psychotherapy offered by therapists, developing a unique self-care routine is crucial for recovery. Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle and developing the tools to help abstain from other unhealthy means of self-soothing are just a few ways to support you in recovery.

We’ll also provide a space to connect with others who have shared a similar experience, allowing you to experience genuine empathy. 

Developing these skill sets is just the first step on your journey to creating a clear vision and path for your future. 

A couple, both with dark skin wearing denim, are sitting on a couch. They are clearly in conflict with one another.

Infidelity trauma can cause PTSD. One of the signature symptoms is sudden outbursts of anger – especially toward your partner.

Treating PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is pervasive for those who live through infidelity trauma. 

PTSD can develop when acute trauma symptoms continue for four or more weeks after the traumatic event. Symptoms may manifest as:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Avoiding thoughts, people, places, or activities that trigger your traumatic memory, making you feel anxious or upset
  • Feeling emotionally numb and detached from your life, your partner, or your loved one
  • Your outlook for the future is negative, and you have difficulties making long term plans
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being extremely irritable, including outbursts of anger or other extreme emotions

PTSD looks different for every person. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with a trauma-informed specialist to gain a deep insight into your trauma response

Writing and Receiving an Impact Letter 

Impact statements can be a powerful tool for healing. Those who have suffered an infidelity trauma will have a surplus of things to say to the one that betrayed them. It is usually easiest to write them down and share them with your partner.

These impact statements will allow you to share the betrayal experience through your eyes. You can explain how it has impacted you and give you the ability to ask you what you need from them to move forward.

Rebuilding Trust

While recovery from infidelity trauma may feel impossible at first, healing is possible. Of course, the relationship will be different from the way things were before. But you’ll establish new methods of communication and trust that make you both feel more secure about your relationship.

To rebuild trust, think about the things you’ll need to move forward. These may be things you need from your partner and yourself. Create a reasonable timeline for your recovery to have your eyes on the goal and a growth plan.

Participating in a Partner Support Program

Our unique Partner Support Program allows you to heal. It is included as a complementary part of our 14-Day Men’s Intensive because we know you deserve support.

As the first institute to offer this kind of support, we have curated a unique experience that allows you to connect with others who have experienced similar trauma. Hence, you know that you’re in a place of understanding.

We’ll also help you create a plan for your healing, learn tools that will help you move forward, and create a concrete plan for your future. 

Restoring a Sense of Safety

Having professional support as well as a community of others that have experienced infidelity trauma means you’ll have a place of strength and understanding to fall back on.

Knowing you’re not alone and that you and your partner are in this together means you’ll feel safer and more confident about your path forward. 

If you’re ready to get the care and support you deserve, you can contact BAI to ask questions or enroll.

  • Category: Relationships
  • By Begin Again Institute
  • May 27, 2021

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