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Recovering From the Trauma of a Partner’s Work Infidelity

It is estimated that between 25% and 50% of all marriages will experience some form of infidelity. If you're the partner of somebody unfaithful at work, you may be feeling a range of intense emotions, from confusion and betrayal to anger and hurt.

Work infidelity, whether it is an emotional affair or a physical affair, can damage trust and cause all sorts of problems in your romantic relationship. If you're struggling to recover from the trauma of work infidelity, don't despair. There are things you can do to mend your broken heart and rebuild your relationship.

It's also important to understand that you are not alone in these feelings, and there is support available to help you through this difficult time. Recovering from the trauma of work infidelity can be a long process, but with patience and perseverance, you can ultimately emerge stronger than before.

Defining Infidelity

When most people think of infidelity, they think of cheating on a spouse or partner. However, there is more to infidelity than just cheating. There is no single definition of infidelity. Infidelity can be defined as anything that violates an agreement or expectation in a relationship. This could include affairs, pornography addiction, sexting, and emotional affairs. So what constitutes cheating? That depends on the couple's definition of fidelity. Some couples may consider physical contact to be cheating, while others may only consider sexual intercourse to be adultery. It's important for couples to negotiate what behaviors are considered off-limits in their relationship and to stick to those boundaries.

Why Does Infidelity Happen?

There is no one answer to the question of why infidelity happens. Every situation is unique, and there are often multiple factors at play. However, some common themes often contribute to infidelity.

Lack of Attention

While many factors can contribute to infidelity, one of the most common is a lack of attention from a partner. When people feel neglected or unimportant in a relationship, they may start to look for attention elsewhere. Quite often this is an unknown to the partner that is seeking the attention, they may not even know that they feel lonely until they start to get attention from a work colleague. This can often lead to emotional or physical affairs. In some cases, people may even cheat simply out of boredom or a need for excitement. Whatever the reason, infidelity is often the result of a lack of attention from a primary partner. By making an effort to stay connected and engaged in the relationship, couples can help to prevent infidelity and keep their relationship strong.

Loss of Fondness and Caring for Each Other

Infidelity is often a result of a loss of fondness and caring for each other. When a couple no longer feels close to each other, they may seek out others who can make them feel special and important. Unfaithful partners are often trying to fill a void in their primary relationship without even knowing what they are seeking. Of course this can in turn rupture the bond between the couple even further. If both partners are not committed to rebuilding their relationship, the chances of infidelity happening again are greatly increased. Therefore, couples must work on rebuilding their fondness and caring for each other if they want to avoid infidelity in their relationship.

Imbalance of Giving and Take in the Relationship

Partners in a relationship often invest different amounts of energy into the relationship, which can create an imbalance. One partner may feel like they are giving more than they are receiving, leading to resentment. If this feeling persists, it can eventually lead to infidelity. Partners who feel like they are constantly giving without receiving anything in return may start to feel taken for granted. They may feel that their needs are not being met and that their partner does not appreciate them. Eventually, they may begin to look elsewhere for someone who will appreciate them more. To prevent this from happening, both partners need to make an effort to give and receive equally. If one partner feels like they are always the one giving, they should communicate this to their partner. It is also important to make sure that both partners feel like they are being listened to and understood. If a partner feels like their needs are not being met, it is important to try to find a compromise that will work for both of them. In some cases, one partner may need to take a step back to allow the other partner to catch up. This can be difficult, but it is important to remember that a relationship is a two-way street. If both partners are not putting in the same amount of effort, likely, the relationship will eventually crumble.

Breakdown of Communication Related to Emotional and Relationship Needs

According to research, a breakdown of communication is one of the primary causes of infidelity in relationships. When couples are not able to openly express their emotional needs and desires, it can create a sense of disconnection and dissatisfaction. This often leads one or both partners to seek out alternative sources of connection, which can take the form of an affair. In some cases, the affair may be an isolated event that occurs due to a momentary lapse in judgment. However, in other cases, the affair may be part of a larger pattern of emotional disconnection and dissatisfaction. Either way, communication breakdowns are a major contributing factor to infidelity.

Mental Health Issues, Including Depression, Anxiety, or Bipolar Disorder

While infidelity is often thought of as a physical act, it can also have its roots in mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can all lead to infidelity, as sufferers may seek out intimacy and connection outside of their relationship. In some cases, infidelity may be an attempt to self-medicate mental health issues. For example, someone who is struggling with depression may turn to an affair as a way to boost their mood or escape the negative thoughts that are consuming them.

Similarly, someone with anxiety may seek out the attention of another person as a way to ease their fears and worries. If left untreated, mental health issues can have a profound impact on a relationship, and may even lead to its downfall.

Unaddressed Marital Problems, Such as Fear of Intimacy or Avoiding Conflict

Infidelity is a common occurrence in marriages, and many underlying issues can contribute to it. One of the most common problems that lead to infidelity is a fear of intimacy. When couples are unable to share their innermost thoughts and feelings, they often seek out others who will listen and provide emotional support. This can be a major problem in marriages, as it can lead to a feeling of isolation and loneliness. Another common issue that can cause infidelity is avoiding conflict. When couples are unable to effectively communicate with each other, they may start to withdraw from one another. This can lead to resentment and frustration, which can eventually lead one or both partners to seek out comfort elsewhere. Infidelity can be a complex issue, and many other factors can contribute to it. However, these are some of the most common problems that can lead to cheating. If you're concerned about infidelity in your marriage, it's important to talk to your spouse about your concerns. You may also want to seek counseling from a qualified therapist or counselor. With help, you can overcome the issues that are contributing to the problem and improve your marriage.

Stressful Periods, Such as When Partners Are Separated for Long Periods

It is well-established that stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. However, it can also exact a heavy toll on our relationships. When we are under stress, we are more likely to exhibit negative behaviors such as anger, impatience, and sarcasm. We may also withdraw from our loved ones, both emotionally and physically. These effects can be particularly pronounced during periods of separation, such as when partners are deployed overseas or when they must travel for work. Studies have shown that stressful periods away from home are one of the leading causes of infidelity. The good news is that there are steps we can take to mitigate the effects of stress on our relationships. By staying connected through communication, making an effort to resolve conflict, and seeking support when needed, we can help keep our relationships strong, even during times of stress.

Treating the Trauma

There are several ways to recover from infidelity, but it is important to remember that everyone is different and will respond to different approaches in different ways, so there is no one right way. One thing that is certain is that the hurt partner can experience a trauma response. Some people find it helpful to read self-help books or see a therapist, while others prefer to talk to friends or family members about their experiences. Regardless of which approach you take, it is important to be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to heal. There are no hard and fast rules for how long it takes to recover from an affair, but by taking the time to process your emotions and work through the pain, you can eventually move on.

Acknowledge Instead of Avoid

Healing frequently entails first coming to terms with what has occurred. If you don't deal with the betrayal, your problems may spread to other aspects of your life. You can't forget what happened, so no matter how hard you try, you'll find yourself recreating those memories when you're around friends, caring for your children, or going to work.

Leaning into a traumatic experience like infidelity may seem too painful to contemplate. In truth, admitting it helps you to start looking into the causes for it, which can help you start the healing process.

Rather than getting stuck in a never-ending loop of self-doubt and self-criticism, you must start addressing underlying relationship issues like lack of communication or intimacy and figuring out how to resolve them if you plan to say in the committed relationship.

Turn to Others for Support

It's not always simple to talk about infidelity. It's understandable if you don't want to discuss childhood trauma or your partner's affairs. Plus, if someone has abused your confidence, you may find it difficult to trust anyone.

People, however, require emotional support, particularly during times of stress. Even though they don't need to know what happened, your loved ones can provide comfort when you don't want to be alone and distraction when you can't get away from your looping thoughts.

It's entirely fine to inform your companions when you'd like assistance and when you'd just like to discuss your sentiments without receiving any well-intentioned counsel.

When discussing a partner's cheating with mutual acquaintances, you may want to tread lightly. Gossip can exacerbate the anguish of a bad circumstance, so leave the juicy facts for your closest friends and family.

Focus on What You Need

Most people need some time after a partner cheats to decide whether to leave the relationship or try to mend the harm. You shouldn't feel compelled to make a decision right away. As you explore whether or not you believe it is feasible to regain trust, a relationship therapist can provide support and guidance. Many intimate relationships move from insecure to secure after therapy.

  • Instead of lying awake cycling through distressing thoughts, a warm bath, or soothing music to relax and can improve your sleep.

  • Take a snack on energy-boosting foods and keep yourself hydrated.

  • Try to mix in some other hobbies, like Yoga, walking, reading, or gardening all offer mood-boosting benefits.

How Therapy Can Help

The relationship trauma of an affair can be hard to confront on your own. Professional support can make a big difference in the healing process. In therapy, you can begin to acknowledge and work through a betrayal before it causes lingering distress.

A therapist can help you uncover the underlying causes of the reasons for the affair and explore ways for forming more secure connections.

It’s also important, however, to work with a therapist on your own to:

  • examine any feelings of self-blame

  • work to rebuild self-esteem

  • learn healthy strategies for coping with difficult emotions

The Bottom Line

If you have experienced a partner's infidelity at work, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time. You can seek out professional counseling or a family therapist to help you process these feelings and begin the healing process. Talking with others who understand what you are going through can be incredibly helpful in rebuilding your life after an affair. Finally, don't forget to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Make sure to get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. These simple steps will help you heal from the trauma of infidelity and move on with your life.

Ready to take the first steps? A therapist can offer guidance along the way! Reach out to Evolve Therapy.

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