What is the least addressed topic when dealing with sexual betrayal? The topic that is often left completely out of couple’s therapy? The topic that often gets almost no focus in addiction treatment? The topic that betrayed partners can hardly find a book or article about? You got it. It’s sex.
Despite the fact that the betrayal is sexual in nature and cuts to the core of trust and intimacy in the relationship, almost no one is talking about or focusing on the ways in which sexual betrayal impacts the sexual relationship of the couple, but even more specifically the sexuality of the betrayed partner.
This leaves betrayed partners without a clear direction and path for healing the sexual wounds created by sexual betrayal. Even worse, it leaves betrayed partners in silence about this very personal and very sensitive topic. What I have found in seventeen years of working with betrayed partners is that everyone has a sexual story. Often that story is riddled with questions, confusion, shame, and pain, all of which are for the most part contained within the person in silence as they have had no safe and trustworthy place to open the door and speak about all that they hold within themselves.
Each partner who has been cheating on and betrayed sexually has been wounded in the area of their sexuality. Most of you have seen this graphic below before. This is the model of Complex Betrayal Trauma that I have created, and you will notice that one of the three types of injury that combine to create Complex Betrayal Trauma is a sexual injury. This sexual injury is defined as the impact to the betrayed partner’s sexuality resulting from the cheating individual’s pursuit of sex either inside the relationship, outside of the relationship or both.
Over the next few weeks we are going to talk about sex after betrayal and look at the impacts of cheating on the betrayed partner’s sexuality. I bite off this topic knowing that each betrayed partner’s story around their sexuality, sexual history, sexual relationship with themselves and their significant other, and the wounding they have experienced sexually is completely unique. Yet, there are some common stories that I hear over and over again and so we are going to look at some of those and hopefully break the silence around the sexual injury that betrayed partners experience.
In addition, we are going to let you in on a brand-new 5-day intensive that I am offering through the Center for Relational Recovery called SEX AFTER BETRAYAL: RECLAIMING YOUR SEXUAL SELF so stay tuned for more information about that in the coming weeks as well.