Why Is Infidelity So Painful? Part II

This is Part II of a 2-part blog article.

In Part I, I presented the factors that determine the level of pain in infidelity and how the hurt partner reacts to the discovery of the affair. Here, I will address how the “unfaithful partner” reacts and how therapy for infidelity can be helpful.

 How Do “Unfaithful Partners” React?

Most unfaithful partners never want to get “caught”. They are secretive and don’t want their infidelity to be found out. Why? Because they may feel so alive and exhilarated by the affair that they don’t want to give it up. The affair may have ignited more excitement inside them than they have experienced in a long time. While the affair is active, they have a tendency to be deceptive with their partner.

Usually, they don’t want to hurt their partner and to suffer the consequences of their actions. A few have little feeling for their partner or spouse and they may be very critical of their partner. Most unfaithful partners feel that the affair was something they did that was out of control yet very alluring and gratifying. They may convince themselves that they couldn’t stop it or help themselves from acting out.

Once exposed, unfaithful partners may feel emotionally overwhelmed by their partner’s emotional and behavioral reaction and level of intensity. They may grieve losing their affair partner and feeling so alive. Some unfaithful partners may get angry and resent having to give up their affair partner while also taking the wrath, blame and accusations from their partner.

However, many may also feel a great deal of guilt for hurting their partner. Some unfaithful partners can become very compassionate, open, honest, supportive and loving to their partner. They take full responsibility for the crisis and damage.

The unfaithful partner’s pain may be experienced in several cyclic or contradictory ways. Emotionally, they may also suffer and feel: guilt, anger, shame, embarrassment, contempt, depression, despair, disappointment, desperation, disgust, fear, hate, helplessness, hopelessness, hostility, impatience, irritability, misery, regret, pity, respect, repentance, sorrow and distraught.

They may also fear losing their: job, income, children, home, financial assets, reputation, family members, friends, and their partner/spouse.

Mentally, unfaithful partners are silently and frantically processing a lot of ideas. They may start arguments, defend themselves, try to convince their partner that the affair was meaningless, minimize their actions, protect themselves and rationalize their infidelity behaviors. They may threaten separation or divorce.

So yes, the unfaithful also suffer. For either partner, there is no easy way out.

Can Therapy Help Reduce the Agony of Infidelity?

Yes! The more pain one or both partners are experiencing, the more imperative it is to engage in therapy for infidelity.

Often, counselling with an experienced couple therapist who specializes in affairs will be quite helpful to:

  1. Ease the emotional pain
  2. Calm the mind
  3. Alleviate the crisis and trauma
  4. Gain control of overwhelming emotions and impulsive behaviors
  5. Open-up communication on a sincere and intimate level
  6. Decrease the obsessive and painful thoughts, memories and images
  7. Reduce the compulsive seeking and asking for more and more details
  8. Develop understanding and perspective on their situation
  9. Help partners make tough decisions
  10. Increase hope and faith in a better future relationship together
  11. Improve a sense of inner security
  12. Re-establish trust again
  13. Prevent unnecessary separations and divorces
  14. Focus on what the couple wants for their future together

However, in the beginning of therapy, participation will heighten pain as emotions are expressed and new information is revealed. The first series of meetings can be very intense because the crisis is still burning. With time, the therapy sessions become more comfortable and less painful.

To return to Part I of this article, click this link:



For more information about infidelity, click on this link to read some of my other blog articles: 


To find out more about therapy for infidelity with me, click on this link to my website page:



You don’t need to suffer needlessly. Call me for a brief consultation to determine if you are ready to start therapy for infidelity. Call 805-448-5053.

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