Dr. Kevin Skinner

How to Cope with Infidelity

Recently, I had a betrayed partner ask me how to cope with infidelity they experienced in their relationship. Over the past twenty years of my career, I have been asked this question many time. My response has evolved as I have discovered more about the impact that sexual betrayal has on betrayed partners. My hope in this blog is to help betrayed partners understand how they can cope with infidelity.

Suggestion #1: Be Kind to Yourself

To all betrayed partners my first suggestion is to be kind to yourself. I have observed that after discovery, many betrayed partners internalize their spouses betrayal. They wonder what is wrong with them. Sadly, it is common to feel like you are not enough or that something is wrong with you. So my first idea on how to cope with infidelity is to be kind to yourself.

Suggestion #2: Be Patient with the Process

My second suggestion is to be patient with the process. Far too many clients I have met with want the painful emotions and difficult memories to go away. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way to overcome betrayal. Instead, the healing process is a journey. Infidelity creates a cascade of emotions that often surprise betrayed partners. They often feel anger, their minds race, and they can’t stop thinking about their partner’s betrayal.

Suggestion #3: Learn about the Symptoms of Betrayal

Infidelity is one of the most difficult things anyone can go through. It is a betrayal that rocks the foundation of trust in people and all relationships. It will make you question everything about yourself and your marriage. When infidelity occurs, you are left with feelings of shock, anger, and profound hurt.

In my research with more than 15,000 betrayed partners, over 70% report symptoms associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (1) These symptoms include reliving the memories of discovery, avoiding people and places, feeling unworthy of love, and intense emotions (e.g., anger, racing mind, etc.).

Unfortunately, many people who have gone through infidelity do not understand their emotional response and consequently they conclude that something is wrong with them. 

Suggestion #4: Learn How to Resolve the PTSD Symptoms Associated with Betrayal
In my trainings with therapists around the world, I often say, “If betrayal triggers PTSD symptoms then our fcous should be on helping your clients reduce their PTSD symptoms. If you are having nightmares and flashbacks that what is an area that should be focused on in your healing. If you would like to learn more about how to assess if you have PTSD you can take a free assessment in the course for betrayed partners here at Human Intimacy. I would also encourage you to read, Treating Trauma from Sexual Betrayal.

Key Take Aways on How to Cope with Infidelity

Many people who have been betrayed want to know how to cope with infidelity. It is common to question what to do after betrayal. While not easy, it is possible to heal. Some of the best things you can do include:

  • Be kind to yourself
  • Be patient with the process
  • Learn about the symptoms of betrayal
  • Resolve the PTSD symptoms associated with betrayal

Extra Support for Your Healing

It has been my experience that many betrayed partners are afraid to reach out for support. You don’t have to go through this painful experience by yourself. If you want extra support, below you will find resources to help you discover how to cope with infidelity.

Begin Your Journey to Healing
Free Answers with Dr. Kevin Skinner