When it comes to relationships, there is no worse way to break the bond and trust between a couple than when one individual is unfaithful.
And going through the ordeal of being cheated on can be so much more than simply upsetting, it can be downright traumatic.
So, if this is something that you’ve experienced recently, try not to be too hard on yourself for feeling and expressing your emotions. They are fair and they are valid.
And in fact, those emotions can be so intense, painful, and heartbreaking that many individuals can experience the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
So, don’t ever let anyone make you feel as if your concerns about experiencing PTSD are misguided, foolish, or wrong.
Intrusive thoughts, heightened anxiety, and emotional distress, are all common PTSD symptoms that many individuals who have experienced infidelity in their relationship can often feel.
Of course, no two people are ever exactly the same, and neither are the relationships they engage in.
So, your level of distress can vastly differ from that of another person.
It’s really important not to compare the way you internalize and cope with the situation at hand with others’ experiences.
Just because someone you know may not have developed the disorder doesn’t mean that it’s not a battle you are facing.
Post Infidelity Stress Disorder
While there is no actual diagnosis of post-infidelity stress disorder, it is something that many individuals have reported experiencing.
And let’s face it, knowing that someone you love and care for has broken your trust in such a significant way can definitely be described as both stressful and traumatic.
So, it makes sense that you can have many of those similar symptoms to PTSD.
And this is no laughing matter, it’s no less important than other traumatic experiences, and it can definitely have just as many devastating effects on your well-being and mental health.
And so it should definitely be taken seriously.
The betrayal of infidelity can certainly feel like a personal attack on you as a person, can leave you questioning why this has happened to you, and can result in an individual experiencing interpersonal trauma.
The effects of which can be long-lasting and detrimental.
Can Infidelity Cause Diagnosed PTSD?
So, we’ve spoken a little bit about PISD, which isn’t actually a diagnosable disorder. But what about post-traumatic stress disorder?
Well, if you’ve been cheated on, be it physically or emotionally, you may meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis depending on the presenting symptoms.
Symptoms such as rage, humiliation, intrusive images, flashbacks, emotional numbing, erratic behavior, sleeping problems, mood swings, and heightened anxiety to triggers are all related to PTSD and all of which you can experience after being cheated on.
The main way to tell the difference though, between feeling similar symptoms and experiencing PTSD will be your relation to triggers.
This means, essentially, that certain situations or conversations will trigger these symptoms into effect.
And in most diagnosed cases of PTSD, there should also be evidence that you will often disrupt or restrict your lifestyle in order to avoid and limit these triggers.
Infidelity PTSD Can Differ In Men And Women
Another important thing to note is that this kind of PTSD may not always resonate in the same way between women and men.
There are many reasons for this.
The first being that typically, men are less likely to express their feelings whereas women are more likely to open up about the issues they are facing since the incident.
However, brain development can also alter how these symptoms are expressed by both genders.
These differences have been measured by physical arousal, anger, dissociation, somatization, and personality disorders.
The results ultimately found that women were more likely to report intrusive images after being cheated on and often experience more prevalent PTSD symptoms than men.
But again, these results may not be completely accurate as it is based on reported symptoms that men are typically less likely to share.
How To Deal With Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder
Experiencing these symptoms and feelings can often be completely debilitating.
The pain and betrayal of infidelity can be hard to ignore and many individuals suffering from PISD feel as if those symptoms are inescapable.
There’s no denying that it can leave you feeling isolated and distraught and because of this, it is so important to try and work through these difficult emotions.
So, how can you try and move on from the betrayal and get back to your former happy self? Let’s take a look.
- Don’t Blame Yourself – Always remember that this is not your fault. Victims often have a tendency to blame themselves and believe that these actions are a result of something you did or didn’t do. But this isn’t the case. You are not responsible for the actions, behavior, or decisions another individual makes.
- Learn To Trust Again – There’s no doubt that this is easier said than done. But it’s a really important thing to work on. Start small by trying to learn how to trust your own judgment and intuition to bring back some of your confidence. This will help you better prepare yourself for accepting and trusting another individual.
- Practice Self-Care – PISD can massively impact your mental health and well-being so it’s vital you take some time for yourself and focus on healing through positive methods such as spending time with friends, meditating, or working out, for example.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings – It’s essential that you allow yourself to feel your emotions. Once you acknowledge them you can then work towards finding more effective ways to cope with them. Always remember that your feelings are valid.
- Find Support – Experiencing PISD can be isolating and lonely, so it is so imperative that you ensure you have a trusted support system around you so that you can reach out on the days when you are struggling.
Having someone you have loved, accepted, nurtured, and encouraged, betray you in such a personal way is undoubtedly a traumatic experience.
So, please never let anyone make you feel as if you are exaggerating the situation or acting in an unreasonable manner.
Having your partner cheat on you can lead to you developing the symptoms of PTSD and you may even meet the criteria for an official diagnosis.
But ultimately, it is not the diagnosis that is important. It is your mental health and wellbeing and ensuring that you move forward in a positive direction.
Never blame yourself for feeling your emotions. They are valid. You are valid.
And we promise, you’ll make it through this!