The immense grief we feel upon the discovery or disclosure of a partner’s infidelity is indescribable. Anger, denial, self-blame, apathy, physical pain, fatigue, rage, paranoia, insomnia, forgetfulness – all symptoms of trauma and completely normal though truly tragic that anyone must experience such horrible things at the hands of another’s abuse. At BTR, we stand with you in your pain and will hold your hand through this journey.
Infidelity is Emotional Abuse
Yes, infidelity is abuse. At BTR, we consider any extra-marital, secret sexually perverse behaviors, including pornography use, to be infidelity.
Even while it is so difficult to form a coherent thought during this traumatic time, it is necessary for you, the partner of the abuser, to take set personal boundaries to make sure that you are safe.
- Request a formal disclosure within a set amount of time. Center for Peace can help your partner write out and share his disclosure with you. While this will be painful, it is necessary for you to have all of the information that you need to make choices for you and your children’s physical and emotional safety. If your partner refuses, you are experiencing additional abuse: the withholding of vital information to base the partnership on is abusive.
- Set an appointment with your OB/GYN to be tested for STD/STI’s. Unfortunately, abusive men lie. While your partner may never have acted out with another person, there is a chance that he has and has not disclosed or will not disclose that information to you. Your physical health is important.
- Make sure that your basic physical needs are being met, and if they aren’t, seek help. Often, women in trauma struggle to eat and sleep properly for a time. There are many ways to help the physical body “wake up” from trauma: massage, meditation, yoga, exercise, napping when tired, and even consulting with a medical doctor in cases of sleep disturbance and malnutrition. BTR coaches specialize in helping women navigate through trauma and its diverse, debilitating symptoms.
- Create a self-care plan that includes physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational care-taking. You may feel completely overwhelmed, especially if you suddenly find yourself single. However, taking a few moments each day to make sure that you are caring for yourself will help you to stay balanced through this difficult time.
- Set boundaries. Find support as you navigate your new reality: you will need to let your abusive partner know what is okay and what is not okay: you will need to protect yourself and your children by not allowing abusive behavior in your home or in your life. Support is pivotal during this time as abusive men will push boundaries and see what they can get away with in the beginning stages of your safety-seeking.
At BTR, we advocate for the safety of women and children. Boundaries are not fences that can be broken or jumped over: they are actions that you take to protect yourself from the abuse being able to effect you and your children. You may feel very numb and confused right now, that is normal.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is a live, interactive support group that offers community, support, and validation to women all over the world. With live sessions every day in every time zone, find the help that you need. Join today.