I want to address something that occurs for all women who’ve been sexually betrayed. It’s called triggers. Also known as a meltdown. A trigger is something that sets off a memory, which takes you back to the event of your original trauma. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. Triggers might be one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. Unfortunately, they are quite common, and the betrayed spouse will often experience them when encountering certain locations, words or events that remind them of the betrayal they experienced in their marriage. If you’re not careful, triggers can take over your life; even causing you to avoid going to events or to places that bring up thoughts that you don’t want to think about.
It’s possible that you’ve noticed some triggers in your own life, and in your marriage that are starting to affect the way you live your life. Let’s talk about what some common triggers are and how you can cope with them.
Trigger #1: Your Home
Unfortunately, in many marriages, the infidelity that occurred often took place in the couple’s home. When this is discovered, it can be so heartbreaking, and it isn’t surprising that many betrayed spouses begin to view their home as something they despise. If your spouse has disclosed that sexual relations between him and his lover took place in your home, this is a powerful trigger for you. It’s normal for you to want to move, and if you choose to do so, and your spouse should support you in that if he is willing to work on rebuilding your marriage.
Trigger #2: People Who Knew of the Affair
There are usually more people who know of an affair, other than just the two people involved. These individuals may be co-workers, friends or family members. Sometimes, an affair is minimized or even accepted by those who know about it. The knowledge of an affair can make these individuals triggers for you, and you may not want to spend time with them. However, there are some cases when confronting them is warranted; especially if they are family members or mutual friends. Whether you choose to confront them and attempt to repair your relationship with them eventually, or you opt to remove them from your life for the time being, that is a decision that you spouse should support.
Trigger #3: Suspicious Behaviors
When you think back to the time before you realized your spouse was having an affair, you may notice that there were many behaviors that should have cued you in to what was going on. For example, you might remember long nights at the office, overnight business trips, flirtatious behavior with other women, you could recall picking up your spouse’s phone and finding that all of his text messages had been erased. These behaviors can be triggers too, and even though they might be innocent now, they can alert you to the possibility of another affair. Talk with your spouse about how these behaviors affect you, and ask him to make changes.
Trigger #4: Distant Behavior
Quite often, there is a distance that is felt between a husband and a wife before an affair is revealed, and while it’s impossible to immediately get back the closeness you once shared, your spouse should be making an effort to close in the distance between you as much as possible. Distant behavior can be a major trigger, and it’s up to your spouse to help remove it.
If your marriage has recently suffered through a betrayal, I can assist you with understanding what triggers are affecting you, and work with you to help you get on a path to healing. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you’d like to speak with me you can schedule a time for us to talk.