What’s Happening to me? After an Affair. How Betrayals can cause Trauma | Infidelity Counseling, Lutherville, MD

Darina AlbanInfidelity Counseling, Marriage Counseling

Infidelity Counseling Lutherville, MD

Infidelity Counseling Lutherville, MD  & Couples Therapy Works by Darina Alban LCSW-C

“Its been many weeks since discovery day”, in some ways it feels like it just happened. As I help couples with Infidelity Counseling in Lutherville, MD, I often hear stories like these: I cried all the tears I could cry, felt devastated, out of control, overwhelmed and broken at the same time. I’m so confused, conflicted about what to do, and the worst thing is that I can not function well. Its hard to go to sleep, hard to get out of bed to care for the kids, go to work or face my partner. One minute I’m charge with anger and want to end the relationship, next minute I want to fix us and hold my partner and pretend this never happen to us”

First let’s define a traumatic event: 

A traumatic event is an experience that causes physical, emotional, psychological distress or harm. It is an event that is perceived and experienced as a threat to one’s safety or to the stability of one’s world. It has the potential to destroy important assumptions or fundamental beliefs about the world or specific people – in this case your partner and your relationship.

Let’s talk about your beliefs and assumptions about your relationship you relied on in your relationship. These beliefs provided a feeling or safety and security in your relationship.

  • I trust that my partner values our relationship.
  • I trust that my partner will protect our relationship and keep it safe from others.
  • I trust that my partner values me and won’t hurt me.
  • I trust that my partner won’t lie to me.
  • I trust that I can count on my partner being there for me.
  • I trust that my partner will honor the commitments we made to each other.

You relied on these beliefs for years, they grounded you, made you feel safe and connected and most definitely made you feel that life was somewhat predictable.

Now all of this is out the window! It’s not only that you can’t believe in it anymore, you feel foolish about believing in it in the first place.

Affairs bring about many losses: loss of safety and predictability, loss of being able to say I know my partner, loss of your love maps, loss of dreams, loss of memories made prior to the affair. Goals you had before don’t matter anymore, your symbols have lost meaning and your roles need redefining. This is exhausting! So tiring that you may start developing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The following are common thoughts that people experience after affair was discovered.

  • You don’t know who your partner is: you used to believe that your partner is honest and trustworthy – now all that has changed. You don’t trust anything he/she says and does.
  • You question his/hers motives: does he/she really care about you or is he/she is just looking out for him or her self?
  • Your belief in stability of your relationship is shattered: you can no longer count on your relationship as a source of support and fulfilment – your relationship has lost all meaning.
  • Your memories are now being questioned: not only the memories together but you question if they were meaningful in the first place.
  • Your thoughts about the future are filled with anxiety and doubt.
  • You have thoughts about more lies to be discovered and or hidden lies, no matter how honest your partner is – this once sticks around for a while.
  • Thoughts about your loss of control over your relationship, the sense that things are spinning out of control without your influence.

The following are common feelings people describe after the discovery of an affair:

  • You may feel strong overwhelming feelings of emotional pain, sadness, profound sense of loss or grief, anger and worry.
  • You feel foolish for not being able to put the pieces together earlier.
  • You feel strong sense that you have been wronged, this is unfair and you didn’t deserve it.
  • You feel uncertain about your sense of being attractive, you may start questioning your body image. You may compare yourself to the affair partner – which is unfavorable to you.

Your feelings initially change as frequently as every few moments – this is the feeling of being on an emotional roller-coaster. Eventually they change every few hours until you may get a day with predictable emotional states.

  • You may experience flashbacks in which you may relive your painful feelings, memories or images from the affair.
  • Your emotions may have the potential to overwhelm you and or make you feel out of control.
  • You may have periods of psychological numbing where you may not feel much of anything.

Everything changed, nothing is simple anymore, your rituals are gone, a simple kiss on the cheek may bring back painful memories. Making coffee for each other in the morning becomes conflicting.

The bottom line is your partner’s affair is a big deal. Its Traumatic. You can anticipate a variety of feelings most of them negative. You will have to change some of your core beliefs to survive this. It will be very difficult and it wont get better anytime soon. But please know your reaction is Normal. This is how we feel after being faced with trauma. But as research and my clinical work experience suggest you can get through this!  These feelings will become less strong and they wont be there all the time. Your marriage can survive this!

Thank you for reading,

Now if you have a question or a topic you would like me to write about to help you, drop me an email to darinaalban@gmai.com or go to my website: www.darinaalban.com and on my “contact” page you can send me an email. Please know I will keep your information confidential even though you are not my client.

If you need help with Infidelity Counseling Lutherville, MD and to get past this short article please feel free to contact me soon, don’t wait, things don’t get better with time in relationship. Call me at 443-977-9463 for an appointment.