Can Marital Infidelity Cause PTSD?

Infidelity as Trauma

No person has ever said, “I cannot wait to fall in love, give myself completely to my spouse, and then find out one day that he or she has cheated on me!”

In marital relationships, sexual betrayal elicits a trauma response. Sexual betrayal is extraordinarily significant and causes deep wounds because it involves an offense against the body, mind, heart, and soul. In a conjugal union, each person is vulnerable and trusting. Because of this, the act of betrayal violates the recipient’s sense of safety and elicits a trauma response. It can destroy your ability to relate to your family, friends, and children. It can affect your ability to function at work and at home.

Is this your story? Do you remember the day and the hour when you discovered your spouse was using pornography, having an emotional affair, or having a full blown physical sexual affair with another person? The shock is jolting, and the wounds are deep. Whether this was a one-time event or it is an ongoing problem in your relationship, sexual betrayal may be causing PTSD symptoms in you.

Trauma Symptoms

The following are all symptoms of unresolved trauma and PTSD. If you are experiencing several of these symptoms, you may want to be assessed for PTSD. Leaving traumatic experiences unresolved can negatively affect your relationships and your physical and mental health, so don’t wait too long to reach out for help.

Do you…

  • Have intrusive thoughts about the infidelity?
  • Have nightmares or other sleep disturbances?
  • Have ruminations about the event or events?
  • Feel constantly on edge or hypervigilant?
  • Avoid triggers that remind you of the initial trauma?
  • Detach or feel detached from others?
  • React to daily events with over-exaggerated emotions?
  • Have trouble focusing?
  • Feel hopeless, numb, guilty, shameful, or bad about yourself, others, or the world in general?
  • Not want to participate in activities you used to enjoy?
  • Not trust anyone anymore?
  • Feel out of control?

Getting Help with PTSD

If you have been betrayed by your partner through sexual infidelity, know that you can heal these wounds and move forward with your life! We here at the Marriage Recovery Center want to help and walk with you through your healing. We provide PTSD assessment and trauma counseling that can help you resolve your unprocessed traumas. We provide you with a safe place to be heard, tell your story, process trauma through EMDR or CBT/Narrative therapy, work on forgiveness, restructure your life by identifying how to be safe, and regain trust in yourself and others.

If you’d like to learn more about our trauma counseling or other options at the Marriage Recovery Center, please contact our Client Care Team. Remember, you are a valuable person and worth the effort!