Why is Being Cheated On So Painful?

I have lived through the agony of being cheated on, and I know how painful and soul-destroying it is. As a betrayed wife, being cheated on is one of the most painful things to happen in my life and one of the most difficult to recover from.

While Being Cheated On Life Stops Feeling Safe

I know how utterly heartbreaking it is to have the person you love and trust the most disclose that they are no longer in love with you. It is sheer agony to hear from the person who means the world to you. Those words instantly turn you from a healthy, secure person into a painful hot mess. Being cheated on is truly painful, leaving us feeling fearful and unsafe.

 I didn't know the classic cheater's phrase, " I love you, but I am not in love with you."

When I heard those words it felt like someone cut the brake line on my car, and suddenly I couldn't stop the vehicle no matter how hard I hit the brakes. I was heading for a corner, going too fast and entirely out of control. Life was no longer a safe place; it just became full of alarm bells and confusion. I was gripped with fear when my husband said he loved me but was no longer in love with me. I stopped breathing...

Deep feelings of panic grew inside me

Compelled by an unknown force, I knew I needed to end this fear after hearing that dreadful phrase. It had me scrambling to fix whatever had gone wrong, even though I didn't know what had gone wrong. I became driven to solve the problem. In my head, I believed I could sort this mess.

My fear was so triggered, and my need to restore our relationship was so powerful that sleep eluded me. My mind was going a million miles an hour and wouldn't turn off. Propelled by fear to fix what was broken, I became a walking wreck

Panic gripped my throat whenever I tried to talk with my husband. His face reflected distaste when he looked at me and he closed himself off from me. Why was he so cruel towards me? My alarm grew as I realized I didn't know what was happening.  It was unknown territory, and I was tying myself in knots trying to fix it and reconnect with my husband.

My intuition knew my husband was cheating, while my conscious mind believed they couldn't.

Something was wrong, very wrong. I replayed our life, conversations, and choices. Searching for answers to fix the problem, I began combing everything; clues become leads. No stone was left unturned. I became a master detective. My overwrought brain never stopped as I searched and questioned everything. I was determined to put together the picture so I could solve the problem.

Why? What was driving me to this behavior? I searched compulsively because my intuition knew they were cheating, even though my conscious mind believed they couldn't. I felt that if I knew what was going on, I could control it. I even believed I could fix it or change what was happening. 

I didn't know the truth then, that I couldn't change anything. I was not in control of what my husband was choosing to do. Only he could change his behavior. But unbeknown to me, he was caught in a deluded web of deceit and fantasy. Rather than face his own personal sense of lack, he was blaming me for it. Cheating was his way of making himself feel better, but it wasn't working because he felt worse.

I began piecing together a picture of a cheater.

Not knowing what I was doing, I began to place the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. Receipts, time frames, and attitude changes started forming a picture. The more I found out or uncovered, the greater the horror became. Yet it was all so foreign to me that I couldn't clearly see the picture in front of me. Convinced that my husband was a good faithful husband, my brain told me he would never cheat on me.

My brain was not ready to accept that he was cheating. 

Discovering that my husband had a secret life, one I wasn't even aware of, shattered everything inside me. Yet I couldn't believe it to be true. I clung to a hope that none of it was true. I knew he would never do something like this, so the evidence could not mean they were a cheater. There had to be a logical explanation.

So I took what I had and confronted him, hoping that what I had discovered was wrong. Heartbroken and tied up in fear, I begged for answers. His answers were not what I expected to hear.

Life as I knew it changed forever.

I clung to a hope that it wasn't true

My husband turned around and blamed me for their cheating.

I was expecting an explanation from my husband, not confirmation of my worst nightmare. Instead of compassion for the shock this information brought, I got anger from him. My husband was furious that his secret was out, and I was devastated. Yet he disregarded my pain like I was a fool to be upset. In fact he acted appalled at my painful reaction. Anything I said was dismissed or belittled, and he treated me like I no longer mattered to him. Rejection and hate oozed out of his body language towards me.

To make things worse, he blamed me for his actions. It was like he somehow expected me to know that being married to me was so awful that he had to create this disgusting persona to survive. According to my husband, I made so much unhappiness in him that I had given him no choice. I had forced him into a double life, a life which he disdained.

I stopped breathing, went small, and searched for something safe. Facts were safe...

So I started to ask questions to which I already knew the answers, and before my eyes, my worst fears suddenly became real. It is the worst form of torture to have the person you trusted with your life look you in the eye and blatantly lie to your face. It sucks the life out of your blood and turns it cold to watch them do it. The realization that he was a liar hit like a sledgehammer to my heart. If he was lying now, could this mean everything about us was a lie?

"Everything you thought to be right about the life you shared with your husband is instantly upended when you discover that they are a liar. Everything in your shared history is sprayed out in front of you as a massive tornado ripped through your life. Who you thought you were is instantly smashed, broken, destroyed. Nothing is left whole. Life as you knew it has gone."

I was overwhelmed  when I discovered his cheating.

Not knowing what to do, because nothing in life ever prepares you for this reality, fear spurred me into red alert mode. I looked up counselors; searched the internet. I sat in a twilight of calm, knowing that my intuition had been right about there being more to his behavior. Yet, agony knowing the person who I loved was an adulterer. Nothing made sense, and I began a long, painful journey of discovery, more discovery, and grief.

For me, I was drowning in the pain of being cheated on. My marriage and my life were over. The pain and grief were so overwhelming that I couldn't breathe. But, like the time several years earlier when I nearly drowned, adrenaline kicked in just as I was sinking and letting go. It was like a clear voice spoke to me at that moment. It explained what was happening to me and told me what to do. I had a choice to let go or listen to the voice and take action. I listened to the voice...

I was drowning in pain.

I chose to listen when that voice spoke to me again in that dark hour. It said to wait, not make any decisions yet, and just stay still. I am glad I listened; I realized that I needed to heal before I would know what to do next. So I stopped any thoughts of planning an exit, and I followed my intuitive voice once again.

But it was a long-term plan, and I desperately needed to do something now to cope with the pain I was in. Discovering I was being cheated on was far more painful than I could ever have imagined. I needed to survive the pain...

Discovering his cheating created a painful agony like no other inside me.

I thought the next best thing to do was book a counselor. So I searched the internet and found someone close who had good reviews. I didn't know what to look for in a counselor or realize the importance of infidelity-specific help. Our counselor was a good man, but this was another painful experience for me. In my ignorance, I was like a lamb led to slaughter!

I sat in shock at the counselor's office, hearing my then #limerent husband telling the counselor all my faults - all the ones he had made up about me! It was a painful and overwhelming experience hearing all these lies. I was being wounded and re-wounded every visit. My jacked-up partner was in a chemical state where his brain was full of fantasy and addiction. A year later, he would come down from this high and see how wrong and deceived he was. But not yet. I was in a state of extreme pain, and this was torture on top of it.

#(Limerence is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person and typically includes obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship with the object of love and have one's feelings reciprocated.)

During our counseling sessions, my husband poured out all the justifications he had created in his mind to feel better about cheating on me. He had made-up reasons for stealing all those years of my life with his deceit. I could not believe my ears that his reality was so skewed and distorted. At this point, I sunk into despair, and shock eventually set in.

My heart was ripped out and being stomped on

When you are in so much pain and disbelief from discovering your husband's infidelity, it feels like you can't think. Nothing makes sense.

It was excruciatingly painful when my husband took over the counseling sessions with his fantastical lies about me. It was further abuse to me because he did it so kindly and convincingly. He appeared to believe his made-up stories completely. They made everything feel worse to my already messed-up head and broke my heart further.

I didn't need marriage counseling; I needed support to heal the pain of my husband cheating.

Those sessions made me look like "The Crazy Lady," and I could not bring any rational thought into them. My husband's words humiliated me, and I was confused about why he would say them. I was left in a state of shock and wholly destabilized.

I got PTSD after being cheated on.

The shock of his cheating on me and the pain of ongoing lies while my husband came out of his limerant state were too much for my brain to cope with. I knew I needed to find support, or I would not survive this pain. Overwhelmed by it all, I was not living and barely surviving to keep my family life together. So I ended the counseling because I could not cope with the added pain it brought me. I felt alone, in pain, and desperate. I had PTSD and was barely breathing. My body and brain were shutting down.

Support was what I needed after being cheated on.

It took me months of tears and hard work to climb out of the hole my husband's cheating had pushed into me. Yet I knew I needed support, and I knew I needed to surround myself with people who understood my pain. I didn't have family or friends who understood my pain, and I felt incredibly alone and isolated. Being cheated on was a desperately painful and lonely experience.

How I got the support I needed after being cheated on.

As I searched the internet, I discovered online support. Initially, I didn't think myself worth spending the money on. Thankfully my husband did, so he subscribed me to a course. There, no one knew me, and it didn't involve my children! It felt safe as it was confidential, yet I was connected. It was all about me and my journey, and no one judged me for how I felt. I was accepted. 

But the infidelity forums only provided me with a safe place to vent and other hurting women to identify with. I still had pain that needed addressing. I needed to heal the pain cycling around my body and mind. I knew I needed ongoing guidance for that to happen. I had a long, painful journey ahead of me to recover from being cheated on.

Sadly, at that time, I couldn't find that support for myself to help me heal the pain. I knew the pain needed to stop and was afraid all the stress would make me sick. As a cancer survivor and mother of four, I urgently needed to learn how to turn this pain around. I needed self-care, support, and a plan to follow to get out of the pain my husband's cheating caused.

I turned the pain of being cheated on into a life lesson.

So I did what any good teacher would; I began researching how to heal infidelity pain, PTSD, and broken relationships. By applying it to my life, I soon discovered what worked and what didn't. I trained as a life coach, which I had wanted to be as a teenager, but I had gone the safe route of teaching instead. Then I created a self-care lesson plan for the recovery of betrayal pain. I applied self-care in practical steps to my life and still use it daily, breath by breath. I live what I teach because it saved my life.

There is no doubt that if I hadn't chosen self-care and built it into my life in a habit-forming way, I would not have survived the pain of being cheated on. I now have the self-care skills to cope with pain when I feel pain.

I view everything that happened in my life, including my husband cheating on me, as a life lesson. His cheating was painful, and I don't wish that pain on anyone. But I used the pain to create a better version of myself instead of letting it destroy me.

Connection helped heal the pain of being cheated on.

I knew that the connection with the ladies from the online course helped ease the pain of my husband cheating. In fact, it was the best thing I ever did for myself after being cheated on. Connection is a human need, and without connection, we feel pain. Through my research to heal my pain, I discovered that connection was only one of the many ways we can reduce our pain from being cheated on.

I prioritized and kept in weekly connection with the ladies from the online forum, and we all benefited from that connection. They watched me grow and change as I researched, learned the value of self-care, and applied it to my life. They witnessed a woman transforming her pain after being cheated on into a strong, healthy boundaried person. They also began using my self-care tips in their lives and found their pain reducing and their lives transforming. The truth is that I put together the online coaching course about self-care for other betrayed wives and became a certified life coach at their recommendation.

Learn how to heal the pain of being cheated on.

So now I want to share how you can heal the pain of being cheated on, put it under your feet, and stand up more robust from the experience of being cheated on. We don't need to remain broken after our husbands cheat. Instead, we can walk out of this pain as transformed women, women who live the lives we have as victors, not victims.

Take a look at the Self Care After Infidelity Course to learn how to get more support as you travel through this painful healing journey after being cheated on. Please my gift of a free call with me if you need to talk about your experience of being cheated on or want to learn more ways to heal from the betrayal pain. Why? Because being cheated on is painful, and I understand how painful it is. If you are drowning in the pain of being cheated on, please take the hand I am offering you; I can help you back to safety. But you need to take the first step...

Much love,

Yours on the Journey

You may also find these helpful:

How Do I Control My Cheating Partner?
Mindset of a Cheating Man – Habits Cheaters Have
Why Did My Husband Cheat?

About the Author

I'm the Betrayed Wife, mother of adult children, former teacher, and now a certified life coach and relationship facilitator.

The betrayed wife's personal experiences, her highly attuned ear, and deep insights are what her clients love most about working with her. She lives on a farm with her husband and spends her days gardening and tending to her flock. More about  the betrayed wife's personal infidelity story...


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