Infidelity can be devastating to the betrayed partner. It can put a betrayed partner in a total state of disorientation after infidelity has occured

The person you trust and have opened your heart to has been with another person in an intimate way. At first, it may feel almost too much for the betrayed partner to bear after infidelity has happened.

For some couples, as time goes on the betrayed person may decide to stay in the marriage and work through the issues that preceded the infidelity as well as the ones that resulted after infidelity.

I have spent a lot of time in my practice working with couples who made the decision to stay and work on the marriage and found it to be rewarding for the couples who were willing to do the work (as well as for myself professionally).

However, even when the person who cheated has changed his ways or her ways and positive things are beginning to happen between the couple, the challenges are usually far from over.

The betrayed partner may have images of texts or pictures between their partner and the person he or cheated with in her mind. (for the purposes of this article,I have decided it to make the Betrayed person a female so that I don’t have to keep saying ‘his or her’ but note that either gender is capable of cheating).

She may also have the image of the moment when she discovered the secret etched in her mind as well.

Images of the two of them together could be images that she actually saw via pictures or words describing text or it could be just something she imagines in her own mind. In any event, all of these images and memories can be quite traumatic and can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder for the betrayed partner

There can be many situations that can trigger stress reactions after infidelity and most often associated with those memories are images.

I have had couples where when the person who betrayed begins treating their partner well; even that could sometimes be a trigger, especially if the partner was treating her well while having a secret affair.

There may be many reminders such as a certain restaurant, street or hotel that may trigger images and memories of the spouse with the other woman after infidelity has occurred.

I have observed he betrayed partner get very triggered at the year anniversary after infidelity was discovered. Or even the year anniversary of when she figured out when they began the affair.

This is actually a small sample of triggers that can evoke stressful reactions in the betrayed person.

These reactions can come in the form of anxiety or panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares and irritability. It can also come in the form of avoiding and detaching from the partner to protect herself from the pain she is reexperiencing.

This is PTSD and can be expected due to the overwhelming pain the betrayed person cannot easily metabolize.

The question then becomes- what can be done to help the betrayed person deal with these triggers so that the relationship can move forward and that she can begin to feel a sense of wellness again after infidelity has occurred.

Here are 7 essential steps that can help the betrayed partner return to a state of balance and help the healing from infidelity.

After Infidelity: 7 Steps to Reducing Stress and Reactions
Step one: The person who betrayed has to understand and accept.

It is normal for the betrayed partner to go through this after infidelilty has occurred and the process cannot be rushed.. The person who was cheating may now have reformed his behavior; has made the decision to be a mature, open and transparent person.

He may wonder why his partner just doesn’t see that and get better. However this PTSD is a real and legitimate (though painful) response and he needs to make room for her slow process of recovery.

Step two: What follows from number one above, is he needs to practice listening and being attuned to her and not insist that she get over it.

He needs to understand that his patience and endurance to bear her pain after infidelity is the most powerful thing he can do to help her get over it quicker which is of course a benefit to him as well.

The more he resists this truth, the longer this process will drag out. The positive opposite of that is the more he practices being present to her experience no matter how much he does not want it, the quicker she will be able to get over it because he is in there with her helping her process and metabolize the trauma.

Step three: Work with a therapist who specializes in healing from infidelity.

This process will help the betrayed be heard and help reinforce the behaviors that are necessary as depicted in point number 2 by the person who did the betrayal.

Step four: The betrayer must not cheat again and work on themselves.

Even though this may seem obvious, it is important to include on this list- that the person who did the cheating has to not cheat.

They also have to demonstrate new mature communication tools and skills to evoke her sense that something really is changing here and there is something worth taking a chance on after infidelity has occurred in the relationship.

This is where a licensed therapist can really help both parties involved see that progress is being made.

Step five: If regular therapy isn’t working then consider EMDR.

A very helpful process that I have used with people that are betrayed and are getting triggered is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing also known as EMDR.

Once the current couple situation is stabilized and the person who cheated seems to be evolving, it is helpful to do EMDR to help her process the past pain. EMDR has been extremely effective in helping people overcome PTSD and I have discovered how successful it is with people to get over betrayal.

This does not mean that the person forgets what happened.

It means that the person is now able to manage what happened without having the symptoms that I have discussed above.

Step six: The person who did the betrayal needs to be sensitive to situations that may trigger his partner.

For example, if he is going on a work trip to a city where he had an affair, he may want to bring his wife along. If that doesn’t seem possible, he would communicate with her frequently.. If at all possible, he may want to avoid going to that city.

Sometimes these situations require some sacrifice. If that is not possible then going out of the way to reassure the partner is crucial, especially after infidelity has occurred.

Step seven: The person who is betrayed should practice extreme self care.

Doing yoga or taking a meditation class will help remind her that she has the capacity to evoke a relaxation response in her body.

Traumatic experiences can oftentimes make someone forget that they have that ability.

She may want to do things that help her practice being present in the moment rather than let her mind overthink and catastrophize. This would be a time also to get support from friends and family.

Having people to process this trauma with in addition to a professional can be extremely helpful and must take precedence over saving face of the person who strayed.

I have seen couples go through infidelity and have what we call post traumatic growth, which is a good thing.

This is where both individuals develop parts of themselves that increase their sense of wholeness and aliveness. The relationship thrives more than it did even before the affair. However, along the way, the couple needs to understand the challenging process of recovery.

Following these 7 essential steps can go a long way towards helping the betrayed person overcome triggers and allow her to become vulnerable once again after infidelity has occured in a relationship.

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Creager is educated and trained as a Marriage and Sex Therapist and spends much of his time helping partners in long-term relationships learn how to create passionate, alive and nourishing interactions. He provides unique and powerful insights that lead to powerful breakthroughs which result in his clients getting closer to realizing their full potential.

He founded his practice in 1982 in Tustin CA, and has since helped thousands of individuals and couples learn how to bring the best out of others to achieve their goals. The biggest joy in his career is witnessing clients increase their capacity to receive more from life as well as others.

He has developed the gift of helping couples and individuals move past their resistance to have the relationships and love they crave. His specialties include helping couples heal from infidelity, helping couples rekindle passion and helping individuals break free from their earlier toxic relationships and dysfunctional families. He does this in a variety ways including specialized programs that are powerful and effective as well as seminars, workshops, speaking and informational products.

Todd’s practice in Huntington Beach, CA has been helping couples and individuals all around Orange County including Long Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Corona del Mar and Seal Beach – for over 30 years!

He has been a keynote speaker and spoken in hundreds of venues to thousands of people. His main talks are:
The Art of Love and Money
How to Heal From Infidelity
The Secrets to Rekindling Passion
His book, The Long Hot Marriage has been highly acclaimed and has helped thousands of people who gave themselves the gift of reading it. His new book, Love, Sex and Karaoke; 52 Ways to Ignite Your Love Life, is about to be released in February of 2015. He has as well cd’s dvd’s and downloadable products that can be bought from this website.
Relationship Mastery connection
Are We Built For Monogamy
Todd Creager is an Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work where he teaches three classes to MSW graduate students:
The Art of Practice with Individuals,
The Art of Practice with Families and Groups
Mental Health and Human Development. He enjoys teaching as much as he enjoys his private practice and each enhance his skills of the other.
He attended the USC School of Social Work and received his Masters in Social Work in May, 1982. He obtained his licenses in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Social Work in 1984 and 1985 respectively.

From 1991-1992, he did an intensive internship through the UCLA School of Medicine and Extension Program in Human Sexuality. From 2001 to 2003, he did some additional training in Business and Personal Coaching through MentorCoach, LLC.

His interests include meditation and Yoga, working out, hiking, pickleball and basketball. He is an extrovert and loves being with good friends and at the same time definitely loves his solitude. One of his biggest joys is watching his clients transform their lives to achieve what they may have previously thought of as impossible.