Infidelity and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


(This article is reprinted from “Infidelity and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” found on Marriage Advocates)

While not all betrayed spouses experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, many experience it to varying degrees. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), PTSD affects 7.7 million American adults. For most people, the symptoms of PTSD appear within the first three months of the trauma. For others, it can take years and another triggering event before PTSD emerges.

Those suffering from PTSD may have the following symptoms: They startle easily and have persistent, heart-pounding anxiety about what this all means for them. Not wanting to be fooled again, they often become hyper-vigilant, on the constant look out for any sign that things aren’t as they appear to be. That hyper-alertness tends to extend to other relationships as well because being betrayed by the person you trusted the most can make you feel like you can’t trust anyone. They may lose interest in things they normally enjoy. They may constantly relive the facts around the betrayal and/or the moment the betrayal was uncovered. They avoid situations that remind them of the original incident, and anniversaries of the incident are often very difficult. They may have trouble concentrating and problems sleeping. They may feel hopeless and helpless. They can have crying jags or feel numb and detached, especially with people they were once close to. Emotions are easily triggered. If the husband is 15 minutes late getting home from work, his wife is a wreck when he arrives because that’s what he used to do when he with the Other Woman.

The physical effects of PTSD can be alarming. According to Dr. Mark Lerner, of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, physiological responses may include rapid heart beat, elevated blood pressure, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, chest pains, cardiac palpitations, muscle tension and pains, fatigue, fainting, flushed face, pale appearance, chills, cold clammy skin, increased sweating, thirst, dizziness, vertigo, hyperventilation, headaches, grinding of teeth, twitches and gastrointestinal upset.

Knowing that the crazy feelings you have are a “normal” part of betrayal can help with the scary feeling that you’re “losing it.” The good news is PTSD is treatable. Treatment can involve a combination of medication, talk therapy and EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR uses eye movements, auditory tones and tapping, or other tactile stimulation to help trauma suffers process the information about disturbing situations.


Do you have any of the following problems? If you can check at least seven of the following items and it is several months after you have experienced a catastrophic event, it is advisable to have a professional consultation to determine if therapy for PTSD is indicated. In some cases, the emotional and mental changes are irrevocable.

____ 1. I have strong physical sensations (e.g., sweating, rapid heart beat) when I think about the event.
____ 2. I try to avoid having upsetting thoughts or having contact with things or places associated with the event.
____ 3. My feelings are numb and I have difficulty experiencing normal pleasure and happiness.
____ 4. I am always watchful to make sure I don t experience the same event again.
____ 5. I have feelings of guilt associated with the traumatic event.
____ 6. I have the feeling of being unreal or that the world is unreal.
____ 7. I feel alienated or isolated from others.
____ 8. I get irritated or angry a lot.
____ 9. I have flashbacks of the event (feeling like the past event is happening all over again in the present).
____ 10. I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because memories of the event come into my mind.
____ 11. I have memory difficulties and trouble concentrating these days.
____ 12. I am easily startled when I hear a loud noise or when danger seems imminent.
____ 13. I have been relying increasingly on alcohol or drugs to get through the day.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

1) Alienation, feeling disconnected or abandoned form the purpose of the world, feeling all alone
2) Avoiding activities that arouse memories of the trauma/abuse
3) Compulsive or extremely inhibited sexuality
4) Cynicism, believing others are only motivated by selfishness
5) Depression (sad, crying, angry, easily annoyed, on edge. These moods may happen in cycles or may be present most of the time)
6) Dissociation (spacing out)
7) Distrust of authority figures
8) Distrust of those previously trusted
9) Emotional distancing (not letting others see your true feelings)
10) Expressing a limited range of emotions
11) Explosive anger or over controlled anger
12) Flashbacks (intrusive memories) or feeling like you are reliving the abuse
13) Feeling helpless
14) Feeling hopeless, despair
15) Hyper vigilance (watchful, always in a ready state to respond to potential crisis or trauma)
16) Loss of interest in activities or work
17) Loss of sustaining faith
18) Memory deficits or blackouts
19) Negative self image
20) Nightmares – relieving the trauma experience through dreams
21) Numbness, inability to feel emotions
22) Panic attacks
23) Problems with intimate relationships
24) Repeated failures of self-protection
25) Self-injury
26) Separation issues
27) Shame, guilt and self-blame
28) Sleep disturbances
29) Suicidal feelings, suicidal thoughts, suicidal actions
30) Survivor guilt
31) Withdrawal or isolation from family, friends, etc.
32) A wide band-like sensation of abdominal pain in the first few days after D-day. It feels similar to muscle strain, and causes the BS to curl up in a foetal position in an attempt to relieve it. It is possibly caused by the constant crying. It appears to lessen after 2-4 weeks.
33) Mentally disheveled

The Physiological Response of the Body to Stress.

Within the body is a ‘reverberating’ circuit, called the limbic system. A reverberating circuit is a neuronal pathway arranged in a circle so that impulses are recycled to cause positive feedback or, reverberation. This means if one part of the system falls out of balance, other parts will endeavour to compensate for the lack.

The limbic system controls a lot of the processes within the body such as; sleeping and waking cycles, temperature control, temper control, eating patterns and even hormones. Its role is to keep all these functions in balance, compensate and act like a giant thermostat, otherwise known as homeostasis.

A individuals mood is normally very stable. Excluding bereavement, moods and emotions return to normal after relatively short periods of time. Just discovered that you have won $1,000,000? Your mood will rise very rapidly ad stay up for a few weeks. However after this time it will settle at the old levels with only minor peaks as you buy your new car, diamond bracelet, or book a Caribbean cruise. Your mood will be no more different than it was before the life changing event occurred.

However, like any other part of your body, the limbic has a limit. If you bash a bone for long enough and hard enough it will break. This can be caused by illness such as flu. Post flu depression is normal in humans, although short term and not normally debilitating. Other causes of limbic malfunction are alcohol abuse, illicit drug taking, some prescribed medications, too many life changing event in close succession, and too many losses or facing of choices that involve conflicting needs. The commonest trigger is stress.

The point of malfunction is in the synapses. There are millions of these within the limbic system. They are the gap between the end of one nerve and the beginning of another. When a nerve impulse travels down the nerve fiber, it reaches the end with no difficulty. The tricky bit is jumping the impulse across the gap – the synapse. This is done by the nerve releasing certain chemicals into the gap to bridge it. When a sufficient amount of them reach the beginning of the next nerve fiber, an impulse is triggered off. Thus the gap is crossed by the impulse and the circuit keeps running.

These transmitter chemicals are greatly affected during times of great stress. They respond with plummeting levels, and it there is strong evidence to suggest that the nerves become less sensitive to the small amount of chemicals that are being released, although no-one really understands why. When this happens the limbic system grinds to a halt.

From this characteristic symptoms arise:
– feeling worse in the morning, better in the afternoon
– Early morning waking
– Loss of appetite
– Loss of energy
– Lack of enthusiasm
– Memory and concentration is reduced
– Loss of confidence
– Loss of sex-drive
– Less patience

The loss of memory is apparent, rather than real. As the sufferer is struggling to concentrate, they are unable to take in information correctly; therefore later on the information is just not available to be recalled. The ‘feeling worse in the morning’ is primarily driven by the reduction in the hormone cortisol which normally peaks in the morning and slowly drops during the day. The body expects this peak and the feeling bad is cause by the lack.

Elizabeth Edward’s Reaction to Husbands Confession – excerpt from ‘Resilience’
“In recounting her reaction when her husband confessed his affair to her, the wife said, “I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up.” Though it’s not often written or spoken about, it’s well-documented that infidelity victims experience physical reactions such as nausea, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal disturbances, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia – just to name a few.

As a result of the trauma of infidelity, many betrayed spouses also experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms such as depression, anxiety, raging anger, intense shame, guilt, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, nightmares, and more. Many marriage and family counselors are now using trauma-based therapies in treating victims of infidelity.”[/u]


Following a traumatic event such as infidelity, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful or numb, and find it difficult to stop thinking constantly about what happened. However, for most people, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift.

If you have PTSD however, the symptoms may not decrease. You may not feel a little better each day, and in fact, you may start to feel worse. But PTSD doesn’t always develop in the hours or days following a traumatic event, although this is most common. For some people, the symptoms of PTSD take weeks, months, or even years to develop.

The symptoms of PTSD can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell. While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are certain types of symptoms, as listed below.

– Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
– Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
– Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
– Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
– Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

PTSD Symptoms of Avoidance and Emotional Numbing
– Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
– Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
– Loss of interest in activities and life in general
– Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
– Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

PTSD Symptoms of Increased Arousal
– Difficulty falling or staying asleep
– Irritability or outbursts of anger
– Difficulty concentrating
– Hyper-vigilance (on constant “red alert”)
– Feeling jumpy and easily startled

Other Common Symptoms
– Anger and irritability
– Guilt, shame, or self-blame
– Substance abuse
– Depression and hopelessness
– Suicidal thoughts and feelings
– Feeling alienated and alone
– Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
– Headaches, stomach problems, chest pain

Suicide Warning Signs

– Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
(Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)
– Talking or writing about death or suicide.
– Withdrawing from family and friends.
– Suddenly visiting friends or family members (one last time)
– Feeling hopeless.
– Feeling helpless.
– Feeling strong anger or rage.
– Feeling trapped — like there is no way out of a situation.
– Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
– Abusing drugs or alcohol.

– Exhibiting a change in personality.
– Acting impulsively.
– Losing interest in most activities.
– Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
– Experiencing a change in eating habits.
– Losing interest in most activities.
– Performing poorly at work or in school.
– Giving away prized possessions.
– Writing a will.
– Getting affairs in order
– Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
– Acting recklessly.
– Buying instruments of suicide: gun, hose, rope, pills or other forms of medications
– Writing a suicide note

In 2006, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the USA, and 33,000 people took their own lives. It may surprise you to learn that suicide actually outranks homicide as the cause of death. Among teens and young adults, 15-24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death.

It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs, however about 75% of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs. We need to be aware of what the suicide warning signs are and try to spot them in people. If we do see someone exhibiting suicide warning signs, we need to do everything that we can to help them.

If someone you know exhibits several of the suicide warning signs listed above, immediate action is required. If you have concerns for a person, Google ‘suicide prevention’ in your area. If you, yourself, are contemplating suicide,please reach out to someone.

Sometimes professionals assess suicide risk by using an assessment scale. One such scale is called the SAD PERSONS Scale, which identifies risk factors for suicide as follows:
– Sex (male)
– Age younger than 19 or older than 45 years of age
– Depression (severe enough to be considered clinically significant)
– Previous suicide attempt or received mental-health services of any kind
– Excessive alcohol or other drug use
– Rational thinking lost
– Separated, divorced, or widowed (or other ending of significant relationship)
– Organized suicide plan or serious attempt
– No or little social support
– Sickness or chronic medical illness

Always take suicide warning signs seriously.

Children and PTSDs

Many people are impacted by D-day, not just the betrayed spouse. Children, relatives, friends, co-workers, church members, etc, all will experience some feeling about the revelation of infidelity. The Devastation can reach far and wide.

Originally Posted By: Jennifer Harley-Chalmers
Infidelity greatly impacts the family in a negative way. Not only does the betrayed parent feel crushed emotionally, but the child in the family unit is also emotionally damaged from it. Infidelity in a marriage can negatively impact a child and the effects can stay with him throughout his life.
When people think about the effects of infidelity they often look at the person who was betrayed and the changes that they go through. This is an important side to look at when calculating the damage that will occur in someone’s life because of infidelity. But in order to get a better understanding of the far reaching effect that infidelity has on the family then step back and take a look at how it touches the child in the family.
“[T]he following are core responses experienced by sons and daughters of every age-from young children to adults-once they find out that one or both of their parents has been sexually unfaithful. Loss of trust…., Shame…., Confusion…., Anger and ambivalence toward the betraying parent…., Resentment toward the betrayed parent…., Acting out….”(Nogales). Every child is different and may not experience all of these responses when confronted with the revelation of a cheating parent. Every child will, however, be effected. ” But even if it is in the deepest subconscious level, the effect of parents on children is always profound.”(Walsh)
It doesn’t matter if the child is five or fifteen, she is going to be hurt and confused when she learns that mom or dad has betrayed the family. She will feel that her parent has betrayed not only the other parent but, her as well. Anger towards the cheating parent is also common. ” Regardless of what is actually occurring behind the scenes, kids will commiserate with the parent who is the victim. This can actually lead to bitter feelings and resentment toward the parent who is being unfaithful.”(Taylor) This child also becomes confused about love and marriage.

Following the trauma, children may initially show agitated or confused behavior. They also may show intense fear, helplessness, anger, sadness, horror or denial. Children who experience repeated trauma may develop a kind of emotional numbing to deaden or block the pain and trauma. This is called dissociation. Children with PTSD avoid situations or places that remind them of the trauma. They may also become less responsive emotionally, depressed, withdrawn, and more detached from their feelings.

A child with PTSD may also re-experience the traumatic event by:

-Having frequent memories of the event, or in young children, play in which some or all of the trauma is repeated over and over
– Having upsetting and frightening dreams
– Acting or feeling like the experience is happening again
– Developing repeated physical or emotional symptoms when the child is reminded of the event

Children with PTSD may also show the following symptoms:

– Worry about dying at an early age
– Losing interest in activities
– Having physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches
– Showing more sudden and extreme emotional reactions
– Having problems falling or staying asleep
– Showing irritability or angry outbursts
– Having problems concentrating
– Acting younger than their age (for example, clingy or whiny behavior, thumb sucking)
– Showing increased alertness to the environment
– Repeating behavior that reminds them of the trauma

The symptoms of PTSD may last from several months to many years. The best approach is prevention of the trauma. Once the trauma has occurred, however, early intervention is essential. Support from parents, school, and peers is important. Emphasis needs to be placed upon establishing a feeling of safety. Psychotherapy (individual, group, or family) which allows the child to speak, draw, play, or write about the event is helpful. Behavior modification techniques and cognitive therapy may help reduce fears and worries. Medication may also be useful to deal with agitation, anxiety, or depression.

Child and adolescent psychiatrists can be very helpful in diagnosing and treating children with PTSD. With the sensitivity and support of families and professionals, youngsters with PTSD can learn to cope with the memories of the trauma and go on to lead healthy and productive lives.

Healing and PTSD

When we look at how emotional problems affect us, we can look to tangible wounds and how our bodies heal from those. Take a broken leg, for instance. If left to mend on its own, the bone may heal improperly. The leg bone may heal and may look healthy and strong but it can still cause pain, discomfort and can even lead to walking difficulties. However, in order to be set properly, the leg will be supported by a cast during the healing process. Thus, the broken leg will heal better and once healed, the leg will function normally.
Just like with a broken leg, even one set well, your healing will happen in spurts rather than a constant stream. You may have days when you initially feel wonderful. You embark on an ambitious project, only to discover your energy and enthusiasm flags and you are left feeling tired and weepy. What happened?

What happened was that there was a small amount of healing, such as that with the broken leg. You felt ‘better’, especially in comparison to how you felt ‘before’. Taking that to mean you are healed, you run around expending the small reserve of energy/healing you have gained. Once it is gone, you crash back into the emotional place you were. Unfortunately, because of the tendency of humans to think “I feel bad right now, ergo I will always feel bad”, depression sets in and the internal critic says things to the effect of “your hopeless, you couldn’t even perform this task the way you use to. You’re never going to be any good”. Since the Betrayed Spouse already has a substantially negative personal view about themselves, due to the sudden abandonment, the problem can easily become exacerbated.

You need to remember to take things in small amounts. Feel better right now? Try a small task. Still feel ok, try another small task. Starting to feel stressed, anxious or upset? STOP NOW. Leave it, come back to it later. You may baby your broken leg for a time after the cast is removed and that may also be the case in your emotional healing, but eventually, your life returns to normal. You never forget that you broke your leg and you won’t ever forget your inner wounds, but one day, they will not be the focal point of your life any longer. They will have their place, an inner place, to access but not to overwhelm. With the wounds properly healed and the toxic poison removed your life will resume with a measure of normality.

Marriage Advocates
C-PTSD – Wikipedia
When You Discover An Affair
Shirley Glass and PTSD
Facts for Families
Facts for Families
The Aftermath 
Marriage Builders
National Institute of Mental Health
American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress

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60 thoughts on “Infidelity and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  1. I wish my husband would understand that when I am in the middle of struggling with all these things, that I cannot stop and think about his feelings and give him support. Yes, he feels bad because he cheated and lied. I know that. I’ve known that since D Day when he looked at me with tears and told me what he did. But when I have been begging for his help for a very long time, and I struggle with PTSD every day, I can’t stop to take the time to comfort his ego. I just can’t. I need help for myself. Its my turn. I’ve been carrying us both since D Day and I’ve been waiting for him to come out of his comfort zone and help me with the mess he created. But when I am at my worst, he is nowhere to be found. And when I call him out on that he scoffs and me and says that he has feelings too. I’m just now after years, arriving at the realization that he is not going to offer me the help I have needed from him, and I don’t want to care about his feelings anymore. I have to start putting myself and my kids first. I think I’ve wasted way too much time caring more about this relationship than he has or ever will.

    1. Your comment mirrors my sentiments exactly. EXACTLY. I have been seeing a counselor without his knowledge now to figure out what to do. I feel like I took him back, the least he could do is talk to me about what was going on with him at the time, help me try to understand. But he is just not interested. He came clean now life should go on with no more mention of his mistake. So, I have to ask myself, is this the marriage I want? He says he loves me, but how can someone love you and not want to help make you better and heal from the injury they inflicted upon you?

    2. I’m going through the same thing. No help or understanding from my husband, but I’ve been there for him and have tried getting through this on my own. I guess if he wasnt so completely wrapped up in himself, maybe I would never have suffered infidelity trauma to begin with. It’s up to me to help myself just as you mentioned and quit focusing on someone that’s incapable of thinking of anyone else. Thanks for posting your comment. As much as I would hate for anyone else to suffer the pain we have. The sad reality is that it happens way too often. It’s nice to have someone that relates to what I’m going through now .

    3. To all,
      It has been 9 months since the discovery of my wife’s affair and I still experience flashbacks to this day. My wife also wants to “just move on” and for that matter, I guess I should too.

      After 9 months of an endless endeavor to have all of my questions answered and for her to justify her actions that nearly destroyed me as a human being, I have come to realize one thing…


      All of us deserve better.

      1. I just discovered my wife in bed with a man naked I froze my life flashed my two daughters that were in the house was the last image I saw I pulled out my phone I brought two days prior and started recording instead of explain a psychotic act I’m going to get a divorce tomorrow and show the video Some things you have to be strong for its not only about me but yeah 12 yrs 3 yra married and boom naked….I died my kids are idk no more I just had to share its people that do think and your kids are important even if it hurts they gotta know u didn’t leave if u can’t obtain them in court cause its so real and heart breaking its tramatizing

  2. I thought I was crazy… “It’s done, I was on drugs, I’m not with her anymore, why can’t we move on?” “I don’t know… There are triggers. They never go away.”. “What will help us get back to the way we were?” “NOTHING can make us go back to the way we were before… My fairytale snowglobe has been shattered. I am aware that you are not God anymore. We are both human. In a cruel world. The only thing that’ll make me better is that we become better than what we were before.” That’s our goal now: Be better than what we were before.
    I thought it was a weird bonding thing: I have been with him 6 years, and gave him my purity. But then he took the purity of this girl, significantly younger than him and I… I thought it was that “You never forget your first” thing. I’m even considering getting my hymen reconstructed so that I can say I was the last virgin he took. Now I know: It’s PTSD. I need serious help. I need support from my husband. We must become better than we were before.

    1. My sympathies are with you and prayers for your recovery. I am in the same situation; however trust my word that your partner who cheated on you did it with full knowledge and does not care for you enough. It is naïve and self damaging to think he will come to your rescue. I tried to patch up with my husband of 15 years with whom I have two kids – he continues to mistreat me and calls me crazy. Save your sanity and get away from him….its going to be really hard to do that but you do not have a choice. he will destroy you further if you stay with me. it will NEVER be better than before…its a myth ! men who cheat have a poor moral compass and they are capable of being viciously selfish. Compassion and empathy for you is not in their caliber.

  3. Ladies please get enlightened about your entitled POS husbands who are probably still deceiving you:( once a cheater ALWAYS a cheater…
    You see it’s not a ‘mistake’ ( a mistake is forgetting to buy milk at the supermarket). …
    It’s a matter of poor character and these core issues do not change unless the cheater has a brain and character transplant.

    1. Totally wrong. If this is correct then you’re saying it’s nearly impossible to change. Which it isn’t. I have seen serious change when serious adjustments are made and help is sought after. There is hope. “Once a…always a” is a sad view to hold to. There is always hope.

  4. Pingback: PTSD-like symptoms
  5. Since there is such a thorough description of PTSD I think its essential that the only component that is missing be included. Criterion A.

    Criterion A: stressor

    The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, as follows: (one required)
    Direct exposure.
    Witnessing, in person.
    Indirectly, by learning that a close relative or close friend was exposed to trauma. If the event involved actual or threatened death, it must have been violent or accidental.
    Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to aversive details of the event(s), usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, collecting body parts; professionals repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). This does not include indirect non-professional exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures.

    Thank you.

  6. I just experienced my wife’s second infidelity and it’s crushed me completely. I can eat, sleep and shaking constantly. My wife doesn’t want to try to understand just thinks I’m weak. I don’t know how to go forward with no support.

    1. I have experienced my wife’s second infidelity as well and I am too familiar with that crushed feeling. I survive on 3 hours of sleep each day (since April 2015) and she has kept it a secret for almost 5 years before the guilt made her confess it. Don, you are not weak, you have been severely wounded and have been left alone to pick up the pieces. You are showing signs of survival and courage. I am currently where you are at this very moment. I get it and I am struggling to keep it together but I’m not completely down and out and will use this last ounce of fight in me to take a step closer to full recovery.

      What has helped me is seeking professional marriage counseling, speaking to friends or family you trust and letting all that hurt pass through you like you are riding a wave and stop trying to fight it. Observe the hurt from the outside looking in and tell the story rather then relive a painful memory of the affair. That is really hard to do, especially when you are pretending to sleep at night or you are having sex with your wife. But it doesn’t hurt to try. Limit or avoid the use of medication or alternative substances because they don’t work. Been there, done that.

      The number one thing that is helping my marriage is daily prayer and marriage devotional reading with my wife. The cruel, lying, insensitive, bitchy, selfish person that was revealed to me through the confession of the affair is transforming into the wife I always dreamed of marrying. She is now much more loving, caring, understanding and loyal to me like never before. Prayer and marriage devotional reading helped us to communicate at a higher level of intimacy that I wished I learned before getting married. Whether you are a Cristian or not, I am sure you love your wife enough to take courage when it comes to fighting to save your marriage.

      If you can convince your wife to do counseling or prayer, read or anything with you then you are a step closer in the right direction. I sure hope you don’t give up. It does feel like a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you believe in a God or not, there is always someone out there to help walk with you until you find your feet and are ready to work diligently at your marriage. I wish you all the best my friend.



      1. Riki, stay strong my brother who I know only through Christ – thank you for your post and encouragement. I will pray for you and your wife as well – is a great place to start as well for biblical healing. Rob

  7. So, I’m the cheater. I hid a previous affair for 10 years. I became involved with a much younger woman again and admitted to the previous affair thinking that my wife would end it (as she said she would since she suspected the first affair) . We fought constantly so I moved out at the end of march 15. August or 15 my wife found pictures that revealed in detail the on going affair with the younger woman. Yes I lied, yes I deceived, yes I hurt her beyond comprehension. I have been going to a sexual addiction counselor, celebrate recovery, personal psychotherapist, church and other programs.
    I mentioned that she could be suffering from PTSD and she became very agitated and defensive. She has all the signs…all of them. She sees a counselor but says her counselor has not mentioned PTSD. I screwed up big time, she changed the locks on the house and said I am not welcomed. She has seen a lawyer and laid out terms and divided the debt. I feel as though I can do nothing right. I am kept at arms length. Nearly every conversation we have turns into arguing and is destructive. I think she needs help for ptsd.

    1. I am the victim of my husband’s infidelity. She felt safe, you cheated, probably wounded her forever. I forgave my husband the second I found out. It’s been 8 days. Emotions are still raw but what I need most is his affirmation of my feelings and him to seek help for what he is going through. We are seeing a counselor. I am afraid he will do it again but after 4 years of investing my all I don’t what to do. Keep taking care of yourself and maybe try the love dare. If she comes back then win, if she doesn’t than at least you know you loved her enough to keep trying. I’m sorry for your loss and grief. Being the victim sucks though. It’s bad.

  8. My husband acts like a complete jerkface to me. He was a person in a ministry position at a church who had 2 affairs, both nearly a year long, both with women in the church. He is playing mindgames and its absolutely ridiculous. He only cares about himself. I have changed the locks on the house and he tells me repeatedly that if I loved him I would let him move home. He wants to come home. But he doesn’t want me. If I used the same logic. I would say If you loved me you never would have cheated. He has started seeing counselors, and of course only telling them his manipulated and diluted version of the truth. It has been 7 months since my D-Day. The first 4 months were extremely rough with new truths coming out nearly daily. After 4 months I discovered exactly what the truth was with the 2nd affair. It took a couple of weeks to process the images that I saw and the disturbing text messages between the two of them. I caught him! He didn’t confess to it. Before that point in time he was still nice to me, after that point in time he has acted like a mean, ugly monster. I feel much better than those dark months. I have completely let go of it and found peace. I do have bad days occasionally, very occasionally. Do I have PTSD? IDK. I don’t really think so. i think that I function pretty good considering. i am a homeschooling, self-employed mother of 4 actively involved in church and am doing pretty darn good keeping up with everything. I feel like my self-centered, narcissistic husband is trying to use “You have PTSD” as something against me. I truly do not feel I do, however….SO WHAT IF I DID YOU JERK, YOU DID THIS! I just wish he would focus on trying to fix his character flaws and relationship with the Lord instead of worrying about what issues I have. Ya know, it would be one thing if he were saying it out of legitimate concern, but he isn’t. He also is still in communication with the other woman.

  9. As soon as my wife became a police officer she cheated and left me for the other man. Not to mention we have a 2 year little boy. I have experience such despair i dont know what to do anymore. My soon to be ex wife shows no remorse whatsoever. It gets to the point where its hard to function on a day to day basis.

    1. I have been left with three months child – the father went to different country. After 7 years i still don’t know why? and i don’t even try to know. . . because i have unloved him and i had shut down emocionaly immediately towoards him for not loving and caring for his son but instead i have feel deep in love with my son – he is all what i have – feeling very lucky to be his mum. I’m not very socialable any more and i do feel uncomfortable around people especially more then one. For the few years i had short terms relationship – whenever i had done something wrong every single one men had cheated on me. I have never cheat in my life and i don’t feel that i need. I think i have some problem as depression or PTSD since i start reading about it. I have stick up with my boyfriend who cheated and dump me for two different womem already, why? because he is good for my son and would love him to be in his life. Im not any good for my boyfriend but try to work things out. I feel a bit stuck for the all expirience of bein left or cheated several times. I have hope to get well and leave him as soon as i can…

  10. My partner and I have been together about fifteen years. I know of two affairs and suspect more. If there are two I know of why wouldn’t there be more? He still works with gabby the woman he was involved with for one year sexually (he says) but emotionally was involved for three for sure. Everyday he goes to work I feel he’s cheating all over again. I have no trust in him. She knew about me and is a married woman with two children. She said she didn’t care about me at all, I guess that’s how it’s so easy. I really dislike her and him most of the time. He doesn’t care about how hurt I am and refuses to discuss it. I have frequent breakdowns and just can’t accept that he ever loved me. I feel completely traumatized and want to get over this. We still live together. I stay in my room most of the time while he’s home. Nothing is the same. None of it is normal. He has no remorse and tells me I’m crazy. He’s stolen from me, cheated, betrayed, lied, manipulated and used me. I really think he hates me. I feel really trapped as I don’t earn a lot of money and have three children at home. I have two grown children that don’t live with me and take care of two grandchildren several times a week. Life is so hard now it’s just so hard to comprehend how someone can continually hurt you and not care at all. i’m sad most of the time but I’m trying to get past this. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to let this go ?

  11. My husband had an emotional affair, was involved in porn and had a full-blown affair with a much younger woman.
    None of these he ever confessed. I confronted him with all. The emotional affair I found out as a friend told me she saw him having lunch with a woman. The porn I found by accident. The last thing, the very worst, I did not know. I saw him changing into an withdrawn egocentric and horrible person. I asked I probed, I knew he was inappropriate and had bad boundaries, but I did not known he had sex with the clerk from work. It broke my heart. It broke me.
    Indeed as someone said, it is no mistake, Only narcissistic and/or self centered people get into something like this without ever considering the pain they do to their wife and children. The person he had an affair with is a nobody. A gold-digging nothing. He fell for this person as she admired him and she used all the tricks in the book (internet). Women like her are everywhere. It is men like him who are to blame. He did not care about me and his kids. He is a purely selfish person. I confronted him, I educated him and I did all the work. I am tired and broken. Now that he knows that I can not take anymore and that he has to change or he loses everything, he is finally doing something. I am not holding my breath. I loved this man for a long time. I was a good wife and mother. I am not to blame. He withdrew many times from the marriage and I healed it. This is the very last time. I deserve better.

  12. I recently discovered my wife’s affair. This would be the third time I discovered her cheating. The first two happened in our newlywed years. I suffered PTSD from that up until this most recent affair. I feel I am at the deepest, darkest place I have ever been in my life. I feel suicidal. Homicidal. I just don’t see the point of going on with this destroyed life. Nothing tastes like it should. Nothing feels right. Nothing makes me happy. I have sex occasionally with her to numb the pain, but it’s only temporary numbness. My heart hearts every damned day, morning and night, and I am unable to put more than a few seconds thought into anything I do. Nightmares left and right. Woke up screaming the other night. I don’t think I can hold on any longer. This is a sad and cruel world.I was starting to see it differently, but that’s what it is. Never changes.

  13. 3rd of july 2011 i discovered my husband having an online ,cell phone,long distance emotional affair that lasted 3 months with an old flame. Which included sexting, phone sex, nude picture mail to each other. Etc, maybe ,but cant prove if they ever met up in person. We have been married 33 years, i was devestated,traumatized,and sickened by the discovery. I was home alone when i discovered it. I still remember the sheer shock and Auh of it all. I couldnt breath, i went into shock,and completly went bolistic until loosing my mind and winding up on the floor and looking up at the sealing fan until reality came back into focus. I cant believe i didnt confront him until a few days later because i was simply in shock. I actually pretended nothing was wrong. Then all hell broke loose. I confronted him at first very calmley. Tossing him the phone book size cell phone bill with all the calls and text messages. Picture mail logged.that i printed out on the internet. I dont think i have made that many calls or text messages since ive owned my phone. Ugh! Anyway, my husband cut all contact the day i confronted him. He is extremey remorseful, regrets it deeply, every day he is so loving ,caring,worries about my feelings and is genually in love with me. And i am still very deeply in love with him… But there is an elephant in the room. It has been 4 years but i still have triggers that cause emotional havoc. I see a psychologist every 3 months for ptsd. I do have great days.wonderful days with my husband, i am happy for the most part, but i cant control things that pop in my head about his affair. I still at times have night mares about him and her. I wake up crying. The closer the time frame gets hear the more nurvous i become. Triggers are every where, and my mood swings come right along with them. Frankly i cant believe this is my norm now. I dont understand. I feel like i am stuck in this perpetual roller coaster ride from hell. 4 years is a bit much….i wonder if i will ever get over it. I think maybe the added punch in the gut is the fact that she is his old flame from before i knew him. I still cant seem to convence myself that i wasnt his second choice… Ptsd i hate that lable…

    1. I completely understand your situation. It really sucks. It has been 7 years since I discovered his affair. All the trust I had rebuilt since then has been destroyed due to his recent shady behavior. Even when I confronted him with solid proof he still tried to deny it. Whenever I try to talk about things he just clams up. It is driving me crazy.

  14. I have experienced full-blown PTSD during the early months following D-Day. Actually, I still do, at almost 8 months out. It is a frightening experience, as you really do, for the duration of the experience, feel like it is happening right now, all over again, just as it did the first time. And as the PTSD episode is happening, it feels as if a trap door opens beneath me, and I desperately must grasp and cling to anything I can to keep from disappearing into that hole. I have PTSD over several aspects of the affair, but the worst ones are abandonment feelings. I believe that D-Day is the most intense trauma stemming from feelings of abandonment you can experience. If only our wayward spouses could get over their guilt and fear, and reach out to us with what we need, instead of dread, silence, or anger.

  15. Found out about wife’s affair and within the same week found out she was sexually abused at the age of 8-10. Was in ideal relationship, second marriage to wonderful woman who was taken advantage of her weakness and attachment disorder. Trying to get the full story but she’s incapable due to her PTSD, shame and guilt from her CSA and affair. I want revenge on him, I have PTSD, have lost 40 pounds, can’t sleep well even after 8 months. Still in love with her, she ask “how cold you still love me after what I’ve done to you”? Sometimes I wonder this myself. Recently having suicidal thoughts, see my body hanging just to punish her. It’s all screwed up. She is seeing psychologist, I’ve seen psychologist and done EMDR, but only helps temporarily. Going to go back soon. Some days are good many are filled with depression and despair. D-day was day I retired after 30 year career. Life an really mess you up. I want to forgive but don’t know how!

  16. I got cheated on, if it never were physical it certainly was and is (I caught a WhatsApp message that indicated that they still talk early this year) an emotional relationship. He says that it was harmless that the whole affair took place online, but I intercepted ridiculously frequent communication between them three years ago D-Day. Some of it suggests that they did meet because she knew what he looked like when sober and he gave her a compliment on a very detailed sexually intimate act between them of how he enjoyed ‘dipping his dick in her’ and that ‘she’s still got it’. At the time his business was going down the tubes and that whole time when he was supposed to be at work, he was actually meeting up with the rich politician’s wife. They were constantly on Facebook at the time and the conversations happened while I was asleep, right next to him and of course throughout the day while I was at work. 12 am, 3 am, 2 am, 6 am…. they were hot and heavy and it is no wonder he was just too busy at work, but not bringing any bacon home! She was not the first, but she was the most recent to affect me and the marriage the most even if it was three year ago. They had or have a chemistry going that I don’t even think we ever had in our marriage. That pisses me off because I try to follow what God wants and I have made a choice to keep my eyes on him only and no other man, also divorce is not an option for me. There probably are others right now, but I am still stuck on at least two that stand out. Besides he is one of the supposed 95% of men who cheat. I just wish I had gotten one of the five percent. It is easier to heal broken bones and bruises than a broken heart and emotional scars don’t go away.

    My infidelity trauma has manifested gradually… I rage most times, especially that he just has not lifted a finger to help pick up the pieces of the mess he has created. In fact, right after he grovelled for me not to kick him out on D-Day after an entire night of grilling me on how I got the messages while I asked him to explain himself and the politician’s wife, I actually stuck to my guns for counselling or nothing. He backed out of our agreement to get counselling right after he realised that he was still home and I was willing to work things out. He even blamed me for the politician threatening to come by our house to ‘sort him out’. It turns out he was consorting the a political thug’s wife who can use muscle to get his way. I turned down the politician’s offer, but I am angry husband put me in a position to tool myself to get over the effects of the infidelity. He says he loves me, but I do not trust him any more. I’ve lost complete respect for him because of him opening doors of infidelity to other women including exes and platonic girlfriends (as the second woman was ‘just a friend’) and showing them that he is interested in them, and at times I feel bad about how it has gradually affected me and how I have changed in the process because of his mess.

    Over the last weekend I learnt that he could have divorced me at least twice in the almost 10 years of our marriage. First time he didn’t go ahead with the divorce because he thought it would be too much of a hassle to start over with accumulating assets. The second time the woman he was going to leave me for was also seeing someone else besides him and that put him off….it was until last night that I managed to piece together who it was, some chick he was pinning over before he chose to pursue and marry me. I could be wrong, but of all his exes or female friends she is the only one who is no longer a friend on his social platforms. So to me that suggests she cut him deep, so much that they severed ties. I have also some time back made contact with both of the women and their version of their liaisons with him are completely different from his ‘truth’…. he says they chased him, they say he is the one who pursued them… the latter even told me that he had told her we were broken up at a time he was staying in an unfinished house we were meant to move into with the kids – I stayed on at my mother’s with the kids so he stayed at the house completing the work ‘for us’. He did her nudes at that house and I believe for him she was the one that got away because she some how rebuffed his advances the entire time of their ‘friendship’, but they always spent time together before she left for university overseas and her visits home on vacations thereafter, and even after she got married. He told me they were good friends, but I know he wanted more with her. She played coy, I know she has her role in all of it, just like the politician’s wife. I could forgive, but his ‘truth’ is still a lie. I hope to someday be able to get past all of this and be somewhat myself again. The lies just keep piling up I just think he is incapable of being honest and truthful. I feel stuck and that they haunt me with the mess they’ve created. I already have had too much to forgive in this marriage and he is always the one creating messes. Three kids later, two of whose pregnancies he had wanted me to abort, I feel I am so affected and changed that I have to find myself again. It bloody hurts and I am pissed about how he won’t even consider counseling when I am the one falling apart.

  17. I discovered last year my husband was cheating since we got engaged 17 years ago. Paid and inpaid affairs. I was suspicious on 3 occassions and he denied them over a course of 15 yrs. With no evidence, I accepted it. He made me think
    I was controlling wife wanting to know when he’d be home after his ‘work events’ which for him would finish at 3am. Andof course no one else had a wife wanting to know when her husband would come home. He would text sayong he wOuld be in can at 11am and then not be contactable for 4 hrs and wondered why I would be upset and waiting up gor him. He has manipulated me, used me, ony wanted to make babies with me. He would take many of these girls into our homes (all 5 houses we’ve lived in). They have all slept in my bed when I’ve been away visiting my mum or family – with pictures of my children by our bedsides our wedding photos all over the walls. My personal
    Items in the bathroom she would have used. My towels she would have wiped with. Not once did he wash the sheets. At other times He would sleep with them, come home to me and sleep with me after he had his mouth all over them. He then went on dating sites registering looking for more. He has confessed to everything. We had therapy. Moved forward and 6mths later he decided he could behave on a weekend away with work colleagues abroad much to my protest. Of course I’m the bitch wife preventing him from having a ‘life’. Shame he organised that whore while away last weekend. I have since cut my wedding dress (he said he never wanted to marry me and never loved me) and now it is the end. I have had difficulty understanding this person who I thought only had eyes for me has slept with over 200 women and comes home innocent and play acting dad and husband . Once I get my finances in order (yes he has dwindled all my savings) he is out and he can kiss his realtionship to his children goodbye. Its called Karma Mr Narcisist.

  18. I’ve been married for 17 years and unfortunately, almost two months ago, I learned my husband had been watching porn almost every night after I went to sleep and pleasuring himself, and on top of it all, started seeing prostitutes for the past year. I found out when I noticed lipstick on the bottom of his T-shirt.

    We are currently seeing a marriage counselor, but can anyone tell me how to get over this constant hurt that goes through my heart 24/7? Our counselor said that I have PTSD. How do you get over something like this? I cry every day, When I watch TV, I can’t concentrate. I have no interest in much and the biggest problem with him is that he says “he is dead.” He has no sexual feelings for me since I found out and he says he doesn’t know why. (I think he does, he just doesn’t want to say.)

    For 17 years, I trusted this man and now living each day worried about what he’s going to do next is not something I want to deal with. I still love him with all my heart, but feel that I eventually will have to divorce him due to the lack of trust that I don’t feel will ever come back.

  19. I have been in love with the same person since I was 9 years old. I knew since the moment we met in 4th grade that I was going to love him. We remained best friends for years and years. When I was 19 I got married, never new why he didn’t come to my wedding. Only to find him again 2 years later when he confessed he had always been in love with me but never said anything. We remained friends but I kept my distance so I wouldn’t betray my husband. Things didn’t work out with my ex-husband so me and him have each other a chance. Life with him was amazing. I, for the first time truly experienced pure love. But we “be-friended” this older woman with money and he cheated on me with her for several months, only to finally confess to me he wanted her money to get his daughters back but the realized he didn’t want to be that type of person and he came back to me, but then while I was in a coma he began facebook relationships with other women. My entire universe is crushed. I have up a business, a home, a safe secure life for him, moved across the country with my children for my fairytale life and the clock struck hard, so hard I ended up in a mental health clinic and we are trying to move forward but I don’t know if we can. He seems different now, even more so than before, He really seems empathetic and sorry. and he seems even more “in Love” with me than even before the cheating, but i can’t erase the images in my head. I can’t stop agonizing in the pain, I just want to be happy. How can God pick him to be my soul mate if he would do such a thing to me. I know some may say than he isn’t your soul mate….. I beg to differ. he is my other half and I think that is what hurts the worst. for 18 years I tried to tell my self how could I love him since I was 9, but I could never love anyone like I loved him. We have known each other now for 26 years and 7 as a couple……… sometimes i just don’t want to stay awake anymore.

  20. I have never felt so numb in my life . I feel full of hate for myself and my husband . I have heard lie after lie and there was never a coming clean moment. It was always the I’m sorry after he got caught. He won’t agree to a divorce because he doesn’t want the kids to go through that . I feel like they would have a better chance of haveing two loving parents if we were not together. This has gone on our whole marriage 15 years . Nothing is ever going to change. I’m miserable and have pretty much all the symptoms listed. I have experienced this before but this time it’s worse . I feel violent and have crushed his iPad with a crowbar- the last few nights I have. Even going outside and hitting the concrete with wood or the crowbar pretty much anything I can grab. I am constantly looking on his Facebook and email . I just know he is hiding more . I know he is because he would never just tell me the truth he just begs for forgiveness after I find out . I hate the person I am because of this .thank you for sharing your stories and listening to mine . I hope you find the peace you need :

    1. Are you sure you even need his consent for divorce? Most states don’t require it. You don’t have to continue living in misery. Even if you can’t get divorced, you can still take your kids and move on. Even if you don’t divorce because he refuses consent, you can still file for legal separation and do a parenting planned for shared custody. See a lawyer.

  21. Hello, I myself am one of the ones that have made a poor choice in Judgement. Thinking back to the day it all started I still cannot give ONE answer that solves everything. But… I was flirting with another woman at work, while I was dating my fiancee. We had been together for about a year when it started. I never slept with the woman I was talking to, though I did kiss her once, it wasn’t a make out session. I literally kissed her on the lips for a split second, and decided it wasn’t right. I know, TERRIBLE time to decide. There’s NOTHING in this world I could use as an excuse, because nothing makes that okay. But my fiancee REFUSES to see a therapist. It has been a Total of 3 years in our relationship, it will be 4 this August. It has been two years since the incident, and she told me she JUST “took control over her healing process” just last October. However, there was a guy on Facebook that told me last year around that time he slept with my wife. I haven’t been able to talk to him since, and she tells me it never happened. Most people reading this probably think I deserve it for her to talk to another guy, but what I need is a woman who is ACTUALLY willing to help herself. I have NO problem with supporting her, with helping her through the PTSD but I KISSED this woman ONE TIME, and now the whole incident gives her flashbacks. She claims to be experiencing PTSD yet she refuses to see a therapist. Everytime she gets a “Flashback” she gets angry and punches me hard as crap in the arm. She isn’t sexually interested me anymore, and the longer we go without, the more I seem to start resenting her. To me it feels like she may have done something with another guy, but is holding on to the situation to make me suffer and use it as leverage. But, that could just be my insecurities talking. She appears to be honest, and for as long as I have known her she TENDS to be honest most of the time. So… After two years of improperly handling the situation, will a Psychiatrist even help at this point? I want to make things better, and according to her she was healing “Great” and things were getting back to “normal” yet…. She selectively decides when she wants me? Sorry I don’t want to be with someone who isn’t actually healing. To me, I feel like she has been flirting with guys since that day, and yet I digress because again, what if it is my guilt that makes me feel that way? What if she’s not, but what if she is!? I want her to actually WANT to help herself, I want her to WANT me again too! I never slept with the other woman, but she doesn’t believe me. I don’t understand… how can she be healing if she still isn’t interested in me, yet she has been before? Isn’t PTSD something consistent, not pick and choose? Like there are some days she actually does want me, other times its just “no” or “don’t touch me” or “i’m too tired” or “I just went to the bathroom” or EVERY F’N EXCUSE IN THE BOOK, but yet not ONCE has she used the excuse “No, I’m not interested in you b/c of what you did” instead she waits to tell me THAT’S why she hasn’t been interested until AFTER I’ve said something. NEVER has she spoken up when I try something in bed, she just plays the 10000 excuses game.

    1. My wife got into an emotional affair for 3 months and I found out the day she was supposed to see him. I fought this trauma well within 3 days, with the help of Bible and Gospels. Got into normal life after 15 days and now I have symptoms of PTSD. The flashback comes every now and then when I hear an infidelity news elsewhere, thoughts about her bf etc. I now seriously think of medication. I hope GOD will take me back to life, I am the CEO of a company and so many people depend on me.

    2. you don’t deserve to be cheated on, Infidelity is never deserved or acceptable! your fiance/wife sounds controlling and unfaithful. It’s highly suspicious that a man came forward saying he had an affair with her. I would believe him. I know it is hard but you need to face facts that she is not good for you. You might be codependent and need individual counseling (((hugs)))

  22. Hi guys I am completely lost and heart broken after being with my husband for 16 years I got a call from his bit on the side telling me they had been having a affair for 2 years behind my back he was sleeping over at her house pretending to work that night she was pregnant with another man’s baby and I was at home with 2 kids and another on the way too. He says he made a massive mistake regrets it all and loves me and wants to be with me. We both done councilling which I don’t find is helping much i cry every day I hurt sooo much think of everything they done and how they was I relive it all I know everything about wjat they did. And it’s broken me soo badly I hate h for it but I love him I took him back quickly and now I regret it Coz now I feel trapped I feel I can’t walk away from him coz I love h but I hate h for what his done to me and I’m so depressed and scared I feel I have nothing left anymore I was never this person before now I feel worthless and I’m sooo scared I don’t know what to do

    1. There are good medicines treating PTSD. Consult a psychiatrist. I am under that treatment and has considerable improvement. Next is hope and faith in GOD. Both of you will be alright

  23. You are grieving. You lost someone and something so important. A grief counselor may be your best bet. My husband cheated too. It’s so hard. The pain is so bad. I don’t know how it would feel to have kids and be cheated on. You must feel so alone and scared. I hope you come back and update how you are doing. Sending my best thoughts and prayers.

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