When You Discover Your Partner’s Been Unfaithful
Many people live in long-term, intimate relationships with a general feeling that something isn’t quite right, that something is off. They can’t quite get their significant others to open up, to share, to be present in life. But in their wildest dreams they never suspect what they eventually discovery to be true: their loved one has been unfaithful, even chronically so. For those who are married or in relationship with sex addicts or chronic cheaters, the experience of discovering their partner’s behavior is not just pain, but traumatic.
Betrayal is Traumatic
Human beings are wired to be in secure relationships, to have “primary attachments” with whom they journey through life. This is important for our physical and emotional health. When our primary attachment relationships are threatened, our brain is wired to automatically respond with fear and panic. For those who discover that their primary attachments have been betraying them—that the real story of their relationships hasn’t matched what they believed to be true—the result is trauma. Research now confirms that those who discover that they have been in relationship with sex addicts or chronic cheaters experience symptoms of trauma and can even develop PTSD.
SYMPTOMS OF BETRAYAL TRAUMA
The lists below present some of the most common effects of betrayal trauma. If you are experiencing a significant number of these symptoms, please seek professional help as soon as possible. You can call us for an intake appoiontment at 855.602.2554.
Increased Worry / Anxiety
Episodes of Rage
Intense Shame of Guilt
Feeling Detached from Others
Inability to experience positive emotions
Sense of Being ViolatedFeelings of Worthlessness
How does betrayal trauma affect the brain?
Partners of addicts deserve care and healing for themselves.
Sometimes partners are eager to receive their own treatment and support after discovery of addiction or chronic betrayal. Other partners do not understand why another person’s behavior should require treatment for them.
Research shows that partners of addicts regularly experience trauma at the discovery of chronic infidelity or deception in their relationships, and their own treatment is often necessary for their own healing and the heading of the family system.
At Daring Ventures, we are committed to compassional care for betrayed partners. We will not pathologize the desirer to stay or go. We come alongside betrayed partners in quest to understand their reality and make informed decisions from a place of safety and in congruence with their own values.
Treatment of Betrayed Partners
Rejecting the Co-Addiction Foundation
Older models of treatment for the partners of addicts began with the assumption that addicts marry or establish relationships with co-addicts. From this starting point, partners of addicts were considered enablers who in some way knew about or contributed to the addict’s acting out behavior. At Daring Ventures, we reject this notion.
Understanding Partner Trauma
More recent research has discovered that the partners of addicts experience symptoms similar to those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who have suddenly had their worlds turned upside-down by learning of wide-scale dishonesty and infidelity experience multidimensional trauma that creates a number of triggers. Treatment must first attend to this trauma before moving on toward attempts to grieve losses or rebuild trust.