Just referencing the word infidelity can bring great pain to one that has been in a relationship where it has occurred. The grieving process when a partner has cheated with one, or even multiple partners is often compared to death. To a degree that process is the same. The pain is deep, and it is real. Life as you knew it has ended.
Initially it begins with the shock and denial phase. You just can’t believe it. Even when you have seen the signs and your partner lied, this phase is a tough one. The emptiness in the stomach and the pressure you feel on your chest is unbearable. It is as though you stood under a crane and a piece of a concrete wall just fell on you. It squashes you.
Once you realized this is your new reality you begin to bargain, and reason. Then comes anger! You want every memory and trace gone. None of it was real. There is no need for memories to inflict more pain. You become consumed with thoughts and visuals of who your partner really is. What they were doing all those times you trusted them. Often times, you are ready to hurt someone and there better be not a soul that rubs you the wrong way. Anger, is dangerous.
Depression comes next, and then eventually you reach a point of acceptance. Anyone who bears the pains of an unfaithful partner will have experienced all five of these stages. They occur in any order. They can come one at a time, two at a time, and sometimes all at the same time. The betrayed partner could simply be driving down the road, then suddenly FLASHBACK! Ahhh, the pain is back! And it is all so real! It is hard to control! Mourning that loss of someone you loved. Someone you believed it. Your lover, and your friend. Now that is a painful bump in the road. A bump that can be crippling. It paralyzes the victim, they become frozen. They feel as though they were watching this movie, and out of nowhere the movie ends. IT’S OVER, THE END!
What makes the grief process with infidelity different from that of a death is the fact that as humans we expect death. Even when it’s premature death, it is reality that we will all eventually die. What we do not expect to have is that a partner is unfaithful. We do not expect them to be out with others laughing, and sexing it up. They are living a double life, all while the faithful stay faithful. They stay true to themselves. They stay true to who they are. And that is what makes it so devastating. The faithful, now bear a pain that they never deserved.
The faithful now visit doctors in hopes that they haven’t contracted a life long illness for that sake of their partners addiction to sex. The faithful now wonder if anything was ever real. The faithful ask why? Why wasn’t I worth the truth? How could you do this to me? Why did you string me along? How could you lie to me all those times I asked and you made me think I was crazy making up scenarios? How could you throw away everything we ever had for someone who meant nothing?
The absolute worst part of having suffered from the actions of an unfaithful partner, is that the victim is not only hurt by their cheating partner. The victim is not just going through the stages of grief and mourning the loss of a person, or a dream. The victim often feels sexually assaulted. The victim has no idea where there partner has been, or where those other people have been. The victim wasn’t worth their partner using protection to prevent infecting innocent people. The victim, has now slept with people that he/she has never met or known. The feelings of this, are devastating. The victim feels dirty.
So to the victims that read this, I am sorry. You aren’t dirty. It is not your fault. Your partner is sick. They need help. You can’t help them and that is not your fault. Their connection to you was deep. They avoided their feelings by using other people in place of what they really loved. They didn’t know who they were. They were weak and insecure. And they will get what they deserve.
To the whores, and cheaters – Thanks for continuing to populate the world with your infectious bodies. Now go get a hobby. Gain some respect for yourself. Show some character. And grow the hell up. It is not all about you and fulfilling your selfish desires at the expense of other people.
Your friends that support your lifestyle you lived while cheating on your partner(s), are worthless. A true friend would have told you it wasn’t right. A true friend would want you to do well in life. A true friend would want you to become the best person you can be. So as the partner you once had leaves, remember that your pathetic people who supported your ignorance, are the same classless bastards you deserve. And keep an eye out, this will all come back around. Karma, is karma. And you will get yours!
11 thoughts on “How The Pain Of Infidelity Surpasses The Pains Of Death”
I think the same could be said for other types of betrayal, too. My X’s betrayals for his drug habit put me in all the same stages of grief.
Absolutely. Good point!
This hits home so hard. Everything said here – I know it only too well. My life changed last fall and so it has now been a year since what I thought was a faithful marriage turned out to be a lie. He also has an alcohol problem which I have tried to blame the behavior on, but he made the choices he did. How true that you feel sexually assaulted by the person you loved and believed in. The person you felt “safe” with. He actually told me that if I had never found out, I would not have been hurt. As if he is not capable of contracting an STD! So I feel as if our 26 years together have been nothing but a lie. It has been devastating. And yes, the company he now keeps no doubt supported him in his betrayal and cheating ways. And that’s because misery loves company… the same goes for the alcoholic crowd he now keeps. They support his behavior because they are all the same . My recovery has been slow and so many setbacks and tears – I am in the depression stage and hope it ends soon because I have never known such loss and sadness in my entire life.
I am sorry to hear that Jules, nobody deserves to carry that load of pain. The depression stage is the hardest and darkest but it does say one thing; you are that much closer to sunshine.
I wrote an article on healing depression the natural way that you should check out when you have time. It helped me to keep a full social calendar, even on the days I didnt want to get out of bed.
I will keep you in my prayers! Brighter days will come.
I hope you are right – I try to force myself to believe it. I think the veil of tears has to be lifted somehow. Who would want to live this way? I sure don’t. I have not enjoyed life in nearly a year. I’ve spent it in mourning, grieving, and the loss of self esteem has been tremendous. I have no doubt emotionally neglected my children in all of this dealing with my own pain – they are teens and one is in college now but what has this done to them? I have not shown a very strong self during all this – but it came as such a shock. How is it that when he came into my life, he was the best thing that ever happened to me – we were happy – we have two great kids and we did everything right financially, paid our house off early, put money in retirement funds for our future together, and yet behind the scenes, his other life was going on. I feel like a joke. But all I did was believe in him. He was the best thing that ever happened to me and now we are at a place where he is the worst thing that ever happened to me. How can someone so loving and caring change so much? I know alcohol has played a role, changed him, changed his value system. He can tell me one minute he loves me and then the next, it’s a volley of horrendous swear words, the worst kind. Life is so Jekyl and Hyde with him. I hope I will find the strength and courage to let him go and move on soon. I see no possibility of him changing at this point in the game.
Keep believing Jules, keep believing. It may take a while, but it will get better. The average healing time is 1-3 months for every year in the relationship. Average time for most is 2-3 years.
His guilt and misery cause him to play the Jeckle or Hyde roles that you speak of. That guilt can be a nasty barrier, and it could last indefinitely. But what you must remember, is to not lot his guilt allow you to feel bad. That is his to carry.
Now is the time to reinvent yourself. And it can be a fun time. For me, I began to do all of the things I had always wanted to do, within reason of course. But nonetheless staying busy, eased the sadness.
Keep your head up, and feed your mind with uplifting things. Say some prayers, and keep going. You will look back someday and say “Damn, I am one heck of a strong woman”
Thank you, Miss Angela. Another thing that compounds this horrible grief is the fact that those who mourn the loss of a loved one to death are supported by those around them, while those who are victims of cheaters lack that very special kind of support.
Sometimes there is support, but it is very rarely of a nurturing kind. More often than not, it is wreckless and sometimes even spiteful. Friends want to encourage the bereaved to drink too much, have illicit sex, and get revenge. None of this is helpful or healthy.
The victim often also loses mutual friends after this break-up, adding to the grief.
Many times, victims try to hide the fact that their partner has cheated. They cover the break-up with some other reason. For some strange reason, they feel shame. More grief.
What I’m saying is, the grief of being a victim of a cheater is a tidal wave. Our society gives nothing in the way of support. Meanwhile, the good-ole-boys club offers up high-fives. What a travesty.
Very well said Moda, I would love to add this as an insert to a book I am working on. May I?
So true! I rarely comment usually – but this article touched a sore spot. Thank you so much for writing this article, and making me feel that I am passing through ‘normal’ and expected emotions. It’s SO painful – can’t explain the raw pain. It’s been nearly 3 years now, and the pain still comes and goes. Like mentioned – it comes in waves and unexpectedly.
Also I totally agree with a previous comment, where someone mentioned that you don’t get the sympathy from people as you would if your partner died. And this is worse, as you don’t feel like you have the support from people. And if your partner died there is some closure, and you know that the partner loved you till death parted you, but this is so different – where you feel like you were not good enough, where you feel that the whole time together was a lie.
Another thing which I find really painful is how I was adored by my partner’s parents, and now someone else took my place. It hurts so much – this thing that I was so easily replaced and forgotten by my partner.
I hope this comment helps someone who is searching for answers – to make him / her feel sane. Keep strong.
Thanks for taking time to not only read this, but to share your thoughts Claire. The most optimistic way to approach the situation is to be glad that someone else has inherited your old problems. Don’t look at it as though you weren’t good enough. The pain does go away, eventually. Just learn from the experience, and keep your head up.