Why a partner’s infidelity can really feel like demise

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Discovering the infidelity of a spouse is, in some ways, very similar to a loss. Regardless of whether you chose to go or stay and settle things, the marriage as you once knew it is over and you will be forced to endure that loss.

“In cases of betrayal, sometimes people do not understand the principles of grief and loss that make recovery difficult,” said Dr. Lori Schade in an essay published on her blog.

Dr. Schade went on to say that infidelity is as much as loss or death because the betrayed partner “mourns the marriage that she believed she had but not and will never return – the marriage in which her partner has remained loyal to her . “

If you subscribe to the idea that discovering a spouse’s betrayal can feel like death, it is important to recognize that the betrayed party ultimately has to go through a similar grieving process.

The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, describes the series of emotions a person goes through after suffering a traumatic loss or an incurable illness. While it is important to note that not everyone experiences the phases in a linear fashion, we must all go through this pattern of adjustment after suffering a tremendous loss.


At this stage, you are usually so shocked to discover your partner’s infidelity that your mind struggles to understand what happened. If your partner chose to lie about what happened despite the obvious and damaging evidence you have against them, at this stage you will usually be trying to investigate the possibility that the lie was true – no matter how terrible she is. You can start questioning things you’ve seen with your own eyes and ears while struggling to come to terms with your life partner cheating on you in such a big way.

Ironically, the experts at Psycom reason that the rejection phase is actually an important part of the process as it can help keep you from getting overwhelmed.

“Denial helps increase your feelings of grief. Instead of being completely overwhelmed by grief, we deny it, don’t accept it, and at the same time fluctuate its full effect on us, ”explained Christina Gregory, Ph.D. “Think of it as your body’s natural defense mechanism that says, ‘Hey, I can only handle so much at once.” Once the denial and shock subside, the healing process begins. At this point the feelings that you once suppressed emerge. “


As soon as the shock of betrayal wears off, feelings of anger begin to build. You are likely to experience strong feelings of anger towards your spouse and the other party that played a role in the matter. You can begin to question your beliefs.

“Researchers and psychiatrists agree that this anger is a necessary stage of grief. And encourage the anger, ”explained Gregory. “It’s important to really feel the anger. Even though you feel like you are in an endless cycle of anger, the anger is believed to resolve – and the more you really feel the anger, the faster it will resolve and the faster you will heal. “


The negotiating phase can be one of the most painful parts of the process as guilt usually creeps in. At this stage, many partners will begin to question what they could have done differently, or blame themselves for pushing their spouse into someone else’s arms.


The stage of depression can vary from person to person, but is generally characterized by crying, withdrawal, numbness, difficulty getting up every day, trouble sleeping, and other symptoms consistent with depression.


The final stage is acceptance. During this phase, the intense emotions may subside a little. And while the pain is still there, it becomes easier to function and focus on everyday tasks. As Gregory points out, it is at this stage that you begin to realize that you will be fine.

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