After discovering betrayal, most partners typically experience a period where they are flooded with memories and emotions as they begin to connect the dots about lies and secrets in the relationship. Past niggling feelings that something was wrong unexpectedly resurface as partners begin to fill in the missing pieces.
That anniversary trip to Hawaii when he disappeared for an afternoon with no good explanation…was he with a prostitute? The many times he told you he had to go downstairs and do ‘work’ on the computer…was he looking at porn and masturbating? The lack of sexual interest on her part…is that because she’d been with him? The times you were brought extravagant gifts for ‘no good reason’…was this because he felt guilty?
As the memories flood in, lines begin to stretch from one dot to another. Signs and indications that weren’t clear before are now glaringly obvious. Shock, grief, and rage roll in like waves during this phase because each memory or realization feels like another brand new betrayal.
These realizations and connections often come at random times. You can be standing in the line at the grocery store and suddenly two plus two become four. You can overhear a snippet of conversation and suddenly a piece of information will slide into place and reveal that this must mean that.
During this period, it is important to stick with the facts of what you know. Because your fear is running high and your body is in a state of hypervigilance it can be easy to create dots that don’t exist or to connect events that don’t belong together. One way to help yourself with this is to stay focused on processing what you do know rather than focusing on what you might not know. Sometimes the search for more information is simply a way of distracting ourselves from the pain of what we already know.
This phase can feel unending, as though the revelations will never stop coming; but there is an end to them. Remember to use your tools of talking with others, working with your therapist, journaling, crying, breathing, and being gentle and kind with yourself. This is a finite phenomenon you are dealing with and eventually these new stabs of betrayal will stop. You will be able to begin to truly heal.
About the Author:
Michelle Mays, LPC, CSAT-S is the Founder of PartnerHope.com and the Center for Relational Recovery, an outpatient treatment center located in Northern Virginia. She has helped hundreds of betrayed partners and sexually addicted clients transform their lives and relationships. Michelle is the author of The Aftermath of Betrayal and When It All Breaks Bad and leads the field in identifying and crafting effective treatment strategies for betrayed partners.
Braving Hope is a ground-breaking coaching intensive for betrayed partners around the world. Working with Michelle will help you to move out of the devastation of betrayal, relieve your trauma symptoms and reclaim your life.