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Whether it was a nagging gut feeling or a strong suspicion that led our clients to seek an Infidelity Investigation, when we provide evidence of the cheater in question, the aftermath is almost always traumatic. For many of our clients, while there may be an initial sense of relief in knowing the truth, this is quickly overpowered by the hurt, anger, and blame experienced by the victim. Discovering an affair and dealing with the affects can be a highly emotionally charged situation – the impacts may surprise you.
In this post, Toronto’s infidelity experts at Star Quality Private Investigations are sharing the realities of the aftermath of infidelity, and how to seek support for navigating this stressful, emotional process.
What to Expect as The Betrayed Partner
When the realities of infidelity are exposed, research has revealed that many betrayed partners experience symptoms that are characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This includes heightened stress, anxiety, and depression, the extent of which can leave some in a debilitating position. Sure, it may seem extreme that victims of infidelity may share the same impacts as battle-scared soldiers. But for many, the trauma from the sense of betrayal by someone they loved, trusted, and shared a life with, can be profound.
For some, these feelings or symptoms are exacerbated by a cheating partner who pushes the blame of the infidelity back to the victim. The cheater may suggest or outwardly claim that:
- “I wouldn’t have cheated if you weren’t neglecting my needs”.
- “You are always so hostile, so I figured you we’re just as unhappy in the relationship”.
- “Stop holding a grudge so that we can put it behind us and move on.”
When the cheater fails to recognize the trauma that their betrayal has ignited, it can make it even more challenging for victims of infidelity to recover emotionally from the aftermath.
The Extent of the Aftermath
While there are inevitable commonalities between each infidelity case, there are also a host of factors that make each circumstance unique. Each of these defining features can impact the level of pain or trauma experienced by the victim of the infidelity:
- What did the partner do, and with whom? While “cheating is cheating”, there is often a distinct difference in the depth of betrayal experienced, depending on the intimacy of the affair. For some, discovering that a partner has been engaging with multiple sex workers may be different than discovering a single emotional and sexual affair with a mutual acquaintance.
- How long did the affair(s) go on for? In general, a one-time cheating transgression can be less devastating than discovering a relationship that has persisted over months, or even years. A victim of longer-term infidelity will naturally question everything that took place within their own relationship while the affair was happening.
- How did the infidelity come to light? Sometimes the manner in which the cheating was discovered, or first suspected, can impact the intensity of the aftermath. Some of our clients learn the true nature of the other relationships from our collected video evidence…some may be confronted with the truth on a phone call from a friend…while others piece the story together once they learn from their doctor that they have a sexually transmitted disease. While neither form of discovery is necessarily less devastating, in our experience, it can impact the time it takes for the partner to come to terms with the reality of the situation.
- Your relationship history, and past experiences with trust & infidelity. In cases in which the betrayed partner has a history of abuse, neglect, infidelity, or abandonment in past relationships – or has endured previous trauma over the course of their life – it is common for the symptoms of PTSD to be intensified (since they are reacting not only to the situation at present, but also to the traumatic events of their past).
Moving Past the Infidelity Aftermath
Fortunately, unlike those who are burdened by lifelong PTSD, the grief and trauma symptoms experienced by individuals who are betrayed by infidelity (for most) is temporary. It is possible to move past the sense of betrayal, and to even learn to trust again, whether in your current relationship, or a new one. Our Infidelity & Relationship Investigation Senior Case Managers recommend the following to our clients who have recently discovered that their partner is cheating:
- Take Your Time! The worst time to make decisions is in the heat of the moment! Remove yourself from the situation so that you’re somewhere you feel safe, and wait at least 24 hours after the discovery before evaluating your options and laying the foundations for your next move. Time and patience will go a long way when it comes to surviving infidelity.
- Avoid Destructive Behaviour. It can be natural to let your inner vengeful monster loose while digesting the hurt, grief and anger, but violent or destructive behaviour (while it may provide a fleeting rush of adrenaline), won’t help you heal.
- Don’t Blame Yourself. Even if the cheater fails to accept responsibility for their actions, do not under any circumstances, blame yourself. Even if there were existing cracks in the relationship, this is never an excuse to cheat or destroy a family.
- Seek Help. Particularly as a victim of trauma, seeking professional help can go a long way towards helping you move past the infidelity aftermath. Although well-intentioned friends or family members can help serve as important sources of support during this time, a caring and trained counsellor, therapist, or relationship expert can help you digest your emotions in a healthy way, and in some cases help you repair the damage to the marriage.
At Star Quality Private Investigations, we are proud to offer our clients the unparalleled support of our Expert Relationship & Infidelity Case Managers who guide our clients through next steps in the infidelity aftermath with compassion and empathy, even after their investigation is complete. This holistic approach to client care helps us earn the trust of our clients as they navigate the emotionally complex nature of an Infidelity Investigation.