Infidelity in marriage – does anything hurt worse? Sometimes the physical act of cheating is not necessarily the most painful part of dealing with an affair, it is the betrayal and broken trust that truly devastates your marriage.
Trust is the first thing to go after there has been infidelity in marriage and is often the hardest thing to earn back. Without trust, you cannot truly give your mind, body, soul, and commitment to your spouse. If you want to save your marriage, you must work on restoring trust in your relationship.
As much as you would like to save your marriage, you may begin to wonder if “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is true.
Before you can heal from infidelity in marriage, you must know what a lack of trust does to your relationship. This article looks at how a lack of trust causes your relationship to be unstable and how you can save your marriage after an affair.
You Trust Nothing
Once the bonds of trust have been broken in the marriage, the hurt spouse will begin to question everything. They may even wonder what was actually “real” in the relationship.
Not only will they doubt their partner’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions regarding fidelity, they may also begin to question every other aspect of the relationship. The subject of finances, parenting, work-hours, friendships, and family interactions will all be called into question.
Social Media Monitoring
The age of social media has made it very easy to be unfaithful to one’s partner. With texting, sexting, social media chats, picture liking, and apps designed specifically for affairs or the exchange of sexual photos, a whole new world of opportunity has opened up.
Many spouses of a cheating partner feel the impulse to monitor their mate’s social media behavior to see whether they are doing anything inappropriate online.
Partners who have been unfaithful are generally encouraged to be transparent about their online behavior and may even choose to give their spouse their online passwords. But, if the hurt spouse becomes obsessive or controlling about their partner’s social media accounts it can further damage the relationship.
Relationship Anxiety after Affair
One clear indicator that you do not trust your spouse is if they have already proven themselves unfaithful to you. Affairs of the heart, mind, and body are all painful in their own right, and if your partner has already shown themselves unfaithful in one or more of these ways, it can make it difficult to recover.
This may cause you to feel sick or anxious when they are away from you. You may obsess over thoughts of what they are doing or who they are really with. This lack of trust can trigger depression and anxiety, both of which make you less capable of being present in your marriage.
Your confidence is shot, especially if the affair came as a shock to you. Being cheated on makes the hurt partner feel unloved, unwanted, and sexually unappealing.
When your partner cheats on you it causes a flurry of insecurities to rise up. You may begin to wonder what this other person had that you didn’t, whether your partner cared for them more than they care for you. Were they better in bed? Would this have happened if you were more attractive/kinder/more attentive/more intelligent?
The list of questions goes on, but they all lead back to the same things: insecurity and low self-esteem.
In a healthy marriage, you should be able to trust that your partner only has eyes for you, that they think you are amazing, and you should never have to second guess their love or affection for you.
Drastic Change in Sexual Behavior
The sex life of a married couple seems to go one of two ways post-infidelity. Either the wounded partner’s libido soars in an attempt to “reclaim” their cheating spouse or their sex life drops off completely.
Sex is a powerful way to connect with your partner, so it’s no surprise that many couples go through periods of wild sex following an affair. It can also create a temporary feeling of safety and security between couples after experiencing a traumatic event.
Whether you’ve begun having frequent sex with your cheating spouse or the thought of being intimate with them makes your skin crawl, just know that both are normal behaviors after going through an affair. This does not mean either is healthy behavior if you are trying to save your marriage.
You need to focus on reconnecting emotionally and working on trust before you can truly share your bodies again.
Many people who go through infidelity in marriage go through a particular strand of relationship “PTSD”. This often leads to the wounded party acting out with self-destructive behavior such as drinking, abusing drugs, isolating themselves from family and friends, self-harm, eating disorders, or even cheating themselves.
This behavior may be a result of the lack of impulse control associated with PTSD or you may be trying to hurt your partner as deeply as they hurt you.
Healing After Infidelity in Marriage
The road to healing after infidelity has occurred is a long and stressful process that takes many years to fully overcome. But, it can be done.
Widespread use of the Internet has led to a wider venue for emotional infidelity and other sexual betrayals of one’s spouse. Such behavior can lead to depression for the offended spouse and can do lasting damage to the marriage bond.
Couples who are working on rebuilding trust are encouraged to seek the help of a marriage counselor to help them identify the root issues that led to a breakdown in the relationship. The counselor will also help each partner work on trust building exercises over the course of several sessions.
It’s difficult to heal after infidelity in marriage. This broken bond of trust was precious and cannot be restored overnight. However, with love, patience, forgiveness, and commitment, you and your spouse can be back on the road to happiness and save your marriage.