How Infidelity Affects Mental Health
No one ever wants to be on the receiving end of romantic betrayal. The emotional pain of discovering that someone you love and trust has been cheating and lying to you can be overwhelming.
After discovering deception and betrayal, it can leave you feeling sadness, confusion, resentment, and anger. Many people also feel increased anxiety and decreased self-esteem. Infidelity doesn’t just affect our emotional health, it also affects our mental health.
In fact, the experience of infidelity can mimic the same symptoms that are linked to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), becoming totally disoriented and confused as to what has happened.
Some of the common symptoms of PTSD often experienced by betrayed partners are:
- Looping intrusive thoughts
- Inability to regulate emotions
- Out of body experiences
- Oscillating between feeling numb and rageful
- Hyper alert (looking for new potential threats)
- Feeling helpless and vulnerable
- Confusion and disorientation
- Problems with memory and cognition
- Lack of trust
Healing from Infidelity
As devastating as it can be to learn that your significant other has betrayed you in such an intimate way, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can pick up the pieces of your life and find joy and comfort once again.
Here are some ways you can begin to heal after infidelity:
Be Gentle on Yourself
Don’t fall into the “I should have known…” trap. This is not your fault. Now is the time to be on your own side.
Your emotions will be overwhelming for a little while. You may feel lost, anxious and panicky. When these feelings start to rise, STOP, take a slow deep breath and let it out. Take another one and another one. It is amazing how deep breathing can completely calm us almost instantly. Your breath will become your new best friend. Your breath is your greatest source of guidance to inform yourself of your emotional needs.
Seek Therapeutic Services
Remember, you’re not just healing from infidelity, you are healing from possible PTSD that the infidelity caused. You may need some professional guidance to help you cope with the symptoms you are currently experiencing.