We Hate the Emotion of the Betrayed

We, the unfaithful, don’t like the emotion of the betrayed. We’d prefer the betrayed to stuff it down and not show much emotion at all. It provides a much more stable environment and doesn’t force us to have to face the fact that we’ve damaged our spouse and made some horrible choices.

I was talking to a friend the other day and she shared about how she had forced herself to be numb for so long, that her latent emotions (from being betrayed) and compressed trauma was finally beginning to come out. For the betrayed, it’s often times like this waterfall of emotion that you wonder how you can control it. It just keeps coming and coming. The triggers happen faster than you can predict and before you know it, you’re a wreck.

I hated when Samantha was emotional. It turned my world upside down. It caused me to have to face the fact of what I had done, and wouldn’t let me get back to what many refer to as ‘pretend normal.’ We simply pretend things are normal and life is OK and none of this has happened. Many times, we the unfaithful, don’t want to have to face what we feel. Or we just don’t feel at all. We don’t want to have to get off of auto pilot. We don’t want to have to face the music. We don’t want to have to stop what we’re doing which is really to preoccupy ourselves, and don’t want to have to confront our shame and confront the facts that we’ve traumatized you, the betrayed.

You see, when you’re emotional, you’re actually alive. You’re actually affected by our choices. You’re actually a victim due to what we’ve done and we don’t want to have to admit that. We don’t want to stop auto-pilot, as auto-pilot is our friend to keep us from ‘feeling’ or what many would refer to as being ‘present.’ We hate being present as the present quite honestly sucks and we don’t want to have to FEEL. If we can stay busy or pretend that everything is Ok, or keep lying to ourselves that it’s all not that bad, we’re good and can go to work and just act like it’s all OK, when it’s not.

Here’s where it gets ugly. You show emotion, trigger or flood and then we think to ourselves, “greattttt, here we go again.” We want to say horrible things like “get over it” or “really…again…we have to talk about this again today….?” We then bully the betrayed with statements like “you need to get over this. We can’t keep talking about this. We can’t keep having days like this.” The first year is typically just like this and filled with many of these same statements, if not worse and if not with more expletives. After about a year or so, these episodes should dissipate significantly, but there will be ‘moments’ like this for up to about two years, depending on the severity of the affair.

We want you to stuff it down. If you’ll stuff it down, we too, can stuff it down and then we don’t have to talk about it. Or, we also want to schedule your emotion, which although humorous, is a bullying tactic. It’s like were saying, “no no no, don’t be emotional at all right now….but later, say from 9pm till 9:17pm or so, you can then be emotional.“ Yep, it’s ridiculous. We, the unfaithful, are typically bullies and control freaks. We want to control how you feel and when you feel, so we aren’t forced to have to feel as well, because if we have to feel, we’ll have to confront our own pain, and then we’re actually present.

Feel my betrayed friends.  Feel, and get help to help you both finally be present. It’s the only way out. 

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Thanks, Samuel. Another thought provoking article. My DH tends to spiral into self pity, and feel worthless when I'm having a rough day. Even if it's not about his affairs surrounding his sexual addiction.
I get tired of triggering, flooding, and grieving. I don't want the old me or old life back. I was a codependent mess. I'm still learning it takes time. I just want to feel good again.


Thank you for this. Truly. I spend three to four hours on the internet everyday looking for comfort and this has really helped. It explains my husband's apparent lack of remorse and his outbursts of pure, white-hot rage when I confront him about the fact that he has not severed ties with the OW. I never nag. I've only ever dared speak about my feelings twice before. But maybe now if I approach him from the angle of his own pain, I can get through. So grateful for your candor!


I think the content of this blog is very accurate in my personal experience. And after a little more than 2 years I am still struggling to find my husband's empathy and caring concern regarding my own devastation and trauma. But I continue trying, I am in counseling and have done Harboring Hope. But it concerns me when these timelines of recovery are interjected into these articles/blogs for those of us who may be experiencing a longer recovery due to circumstances beyond our control. I want to send this blog ( and others like it) to my husband to hopefully spur his understanding, yet I know he will focus on the fact that we are past the 2 year mark, and I should be "over it" by now. He is very good at identifying my issues, which admittedly I have, and not his own. I wish these time periods were not so set in stone in this arena because I know it has to be vastly individualized, like any other traumatic event and based on circumstances.

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