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4 different ways to respond when your spouse betrays you

Posted May 29

It’s never easy to face the fact that your spouse has betrayed you, especially when it comes in the form of some type of sexual betrayal. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself falling into a lot of different traps that actually prevent you from grieving properly.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

1. Denying and minimizing

You don’t want to believe your spouse is involved in any type of sexual addiction or that he or she has had an affair. In fact, it’s much easier for you to pretend it didn't happen or to try to explain it away. It seems easier to ignore your feelings or repress your intuition that something’s not right.

You may respond by quickly forgiving in order to move on. Or, you may make excuses for your spouse’s behavior despite the evidence. Deep down, however, you'll realize you’re not handling the situation properly, even though it feels safer for you to deny it or minimize it.

2. Abandoning the relationship

Or, you might react the opposite way. You move out. Or, you’re really eager to immediately file for divorce. Another way you may "leave" the relationship is to stay angry, keep late hours at work or sleep the day away.

People handle pain in different ways to escape the heartbreak of betrayal. You might be surprised to find out, however, that sometimes there are other ways you can find healing and restoration in your marriage.

3. Fixing the damage

Perhaps your spouse betrays you and your first response is to try to fix the damage that’s been done. Maybe you find yourself constantly obsessing over where your spouse is or suddenly becoming a detective to find out all of her secrets.

You might nag your spouse, buy books for him to read or even start dressing provocatively so you can get some type of positive response. These tactics never work, and they don’t allow you to grieve well so you can heal from the pain of the betrayal.

4. Focusing on healing

Grieving is such a vital part of the healing process when there has been a betrayal in marriage. It’s important for you to get the right kind of help when you’re facing these difficult situations.

Find safe people to talk to. Rather than deny your problems, share your soul with trusted friends or therapists and talk about the struggles you’re facing in your marriage. Also, apply the word of God into your life and marriage.

As far as how you should respond to your spouse, it’s important for you to refrain from trusting him or her too soon. You need to set limits in your marriage in order for you to take the time you need to work through your feelings.

You will go through several stages during your grieving and healing process. It’s important for you to not only face the situation and see it for what it is but to also take all the time you need without your spouse pressuring you to just forget about it and move on.

Carol Erb, Ph.D is a board certified Christian counselor and marriage coach. She specializes in helping Christian women who have been sexually betrayed in marriage. Visit Carol at www.drcarolerb.com

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