In my practice, I work with couples and infidelity. A LOT. An unfortunate but very common theme is the betrayed partner blaming themselves in some way for their partner’s behavior. They beat themselves up because deep down they knew something was either very off or they suspected infidelity but didn’t speak up. Or maybe they spoke up but were being lied to about the affair. While it is often true that the betrayed partner played a role in how the relationship got to this point, they aren’t responsible for somebody else actions.
I want to specifically point out the common theme of feeling duped. Hindsight is 20/20. People often wonder how they could have been so stupid, that the signs were so clear looking back. But it’s simply not that simple. There are reasons why you trusted and believed or didn’t push the issue. This is your partner in life. The one you trust. The one you chose, who also chose you. This is somebody you picked because you knew they would never betray you. But the truth is a bit more complicated.
“It is human nature to cling to our sense of reality, to resist it's possible shattering even in the face of irrefutable evidence. Your "cluelessness" is not something to be ashamed of. This kind of avoidance is not an act of idiocy, but an act of self-preservation. It is actually a SOPHISTICATED self-protective mechanism known as trauma denial - a type of self-delusion that we employ when too much is at stake and we have too much to lose. The mind needs coherence, so it disposes of inconsistencies that threaten the structure of our lives. This becomes more pronounced when we are betrayed by those we feel closest to and are dependent on - a testament, to the lengths we will go to preserve our attachments, however fraught they may be.”
That is a quote from my favorite book on infidelity, The State of Affairs by Esther Perel. If you are someone who has repeatedly blamed or shamed yourself for your partner’s betrayal, I hope that quote brings a bit of relief. You tried to protect yourself, your identity and your relationship.
Please call me so I can help you and your partner work through this issue and hopefully bring you back together. Happy, in love and reconnected.