June Twenty-Sixth marks the 1 year anniversary of Beyond Betrayal, 28 Years; Lies-Deceit-Infidelity book launch. *(At the bottom of this post, there is a link that will give you 50% off eBooks, only available for 24 hours on 26/6/22, please share this post with anyone you think may be interested. Click here for reviews )
In the week leading up to the launch in 2021, I asked one question in a private Facebook group for women who have been impacted by their partners betrayal.
The sole purpose for asking this Q was so that I could share the reality of the moment of impact to our audience who may never have experienced or acknowledged such trauma themselves. What we see in media and movies doesn’t even come close to accurately portraying the enormity of betrayal. I hate that cheating is glamorised and there is sweet jack all which captures the ripple effect and fallout of an unfaithful partner’s self-centred destructive choices.
If you have been unfaithful, please know that it is not my intention to send anyone into a shame spiral here, shame will never be anyone’s friend in recovery. My prayer is that the eyes and ears of your heart may be opened further as you read and hear from other betrayed spouses’ experiences. My prayer is also for increased empathy to aid healing and intimacy.
These are my thoughts—familiarity can often cause us to become immune to hearing the words and voice of those closest to us. Perhaps we are so accustomed to each other’s nature and communication styles that it takes a third party expressing a message differently for the lights to come on, even if it is the same message! All of the answers below are from real people, and real situations, each feeling is valid and true for them—some of them are truly gut-wrenching and will make you weep. You might have friends or family and this is their story, perhaps reading this will help you better understand their pain.
The other thing I want to add is that although all of these messages came from betrayed women, I know that there are just as many men out there who are reeling and hurting from their partner’s betrayal. You are not overlooked or forgotten.
During the time we had at the launch I was unable to share every response but I believe they all deserve to be heard and that’s why this post is dedicated to the brave men and women who are doing this heartbreaking journey.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU MATTER and YOU ARE ENOUGH!
THE QUESTION—“Is anyone able to give me a 1 sentence description of their betrayal experience immediately following discovery? Summing up in a few words what it felt like for you?”
“Like an Elephant was sitting on my soul. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t breathe, move or talk.”
“The ground opened up beneath me and swallowed me whole—I fell over and grabbed the carpet to hold on—when I could finally stand, I ran and hid in my closet—frozen in terror.”
“My immediate experience was the feeling that the walls were closing in on me. That I was dying and he, the one person I loved and trusted the most, was the one killing me. It felt like my heart was beating so hard and so fast that I was going to die right there in my kitchen with my babies watching.”
“Like the ground beneath me that I thought was solid, shattered like glass, and I just kept free-falling.”
“I knelt in his office and had to brace myself. I couldn’t make sense of anything I was seeing. I was spinning down a dark hole of pain and disbelief. I walked around outside of my body for days, and everywhere I looked, I only saw liars.”
“Complete heartbreak and devastation. I cried constantly for days on days. He cried too seeing what he had done to me. After a few days, I knew I had to leave and find a safe place for myself. He was the love of my life and I had given him my everything. Following was months on months of crying and sleepless nights. Just sheer torment. Especially as more and more discoveries unfolded. I told him I wished he would have just killed me instead. It was the very depths of despair and pain I had ever experienced in my life. And so incredibly exhausting. My life and my dreams were completely crushed.”
“Felt like someone took a baseball bat to my knees, I couldn’t stand, they were shaking so bad, my heart was racing up through my throat. And each D-day after felt like reliving the same nightmare but a bit worse, the shock was horrendous and the frustration beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t sleep, could hardly eat, couldn’t see people, couldn’t get up off the floor some days. It was torture.”
“First journal entry after D-day: I was almost killed by my last husband, but this feels so much worse. My heart is under a boulder and no one will lift it off of me. My entire truth was shattered at that moment and the worst part about it is that it’s my fault. My husband: “it felt like I just ruined my entire life. I finally saw who I had become. A f****** monster.” My ex-husband basically beat the crap out of me weekly for about a year and a half. And cheated 7 times that I know of. Just to give you all some background.”
“Heartbroken and puking while trying to keep the kids alive…”
“I remember telling my sister I felt like I was drowning and that every time I managed to come up for air I was pushed under again.”
“PTSD. D-Day was 27 July 18 at 4:04 pm. I literally got back from my deployment. Same day and he confessed he was having an affair and thought he could have both of us and I would be fine with it. I punched him in the face though he wasn’t surprised by that reaction, he was upset that I told him it was either me or her. Like I was not being fair to him. To this day, he has never felt guilty about the affair, only guilty that he hurt me.”
“When he left out of the blue it was like having my Heart pulled out of my chest and pounding before me.”
“I used to say, it feels like my soul is on fire and burning up and it keeps burning and won’t stop. Like I was being tortured with the worst torture anyone could get and it never stops, it keeps going on and on and on…this picture pretty much paints the picture of what it feels like…”
“I felt the deepest darkest despair and pain arghhhhh my head and heart were frantic trying to make sense of what had been going on. He was the love of my life my saviour what was wrong with the human race in this world…. my world has been a darker place ever since. I look back at that time and I’m grateful every day that I’m surviving.”
“My hands shook as I held his cell phone, seeing his “I love you girl” & their conversation during our family time the previous day. Panic set in as I sent screenshots to my cell phone, terrified he would wake up & catch me as if I were the one doing something wrong. Careful not to step on my broken heart that lay shattered on the floor, I tiptoed back & put his cellphone back on his nightstand & whispered in his ear “I know about….” He sits up, pleading “I never stopped loving you”. I slap him several times & yell back “That’s not LOVE”. Then I drive to work, where I stand paralyzed in the parking lot & call my best friend.”
“I felt like God had forgotten me.”
“I shook, I was enraged but couldn’t speak. My heart beat through my chest wall and I was quiet. I kept telling myself over and over not to make any life-changing decisions in this moment of disbelief. All I wanted to do was rip his head off his shoulders. I felt relief because I knew something was missing in our relationship but didn’t know what. We were the perfect couple to everyone we knew, but it didn’t feel that way to me, so there was relief. I then walked to the beach (it was January in Canada) and I screamed as loud and as long as I could and then did it again. I came home and threw photos, frames, glass and all down the basement stairs where my husband had been sent. It took me days to cry the anger was so in my face, I remember asking God what else he was going to throw at me as I had been through so much. I typed out a separation agreement and made him sign it at 4 in the morning, after cleaning up the glass so he could get up the stairs. I woke up a few hours later went to town and bought all new bedding, a new bed, and started redesigning my bedroom – and yes, he paid for it.”
“I started losing my peripheral vision and it felt like my world started spinning on its axis a little bit differently. I went into shock for about a week where it felt like I couldn’t eat or sleep. I also had to be responsible for my 2 and 4-year-old daughters. They knew I was in pain. I couldn’t hide it and I knew they needed to know that I was hurting and that also no matter what I would never leave them or betray them. They didn’t know why of course. And now I am a different person and the person I was before is dead. There are some silver linings in that and also some tragedies.”
“I felt like I had been set on fire.”
“My vision narrowed as if I were in a tunnel, my heart stopped yet beat so hard at the same time, my stomach dropped yet I brought up lunch, my thoughts were racing yet I couldn’t think of anything to say.”
“I literally fell on my knees while screaming like someone very close died. I was shaking and didn’t feel my hands. I felt a deep pain in my heart.”
“Broken the first time…Shattered the next time I caught him texting her. That’s all it took.”
“I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck and as soon as I stood up, it would hit again and again.”
“I was gutted shocked and so hurt, nauseous and my chest ached so bad but then In another sense not really surprised because of past traumas and some red flags that I had ignored.”
“The panic of a free fall hits and then the weight of the devastation crushes you, heart and soul.”
“Absolutely reality fragmenting, painful, devastating. Worse than death.”
“I can honestly say it was the worst thing that I had ever experienced. I’ve lost loved ones but they get Ill and die but not on purpose. It’s the fact it happened and didn’t need to—with death, we lose a future with someone. With betrayal, we lose our history too. I’ve had 2 miscarriages and the pain from that was horrible but this infidelity was much worse as it was inflicted on me x”
“…agree totally. I’ve lost 4 babies which was devastating and I thought would be the worst thing I’d ever go through. However, they didn’t choose to hurt me and that was the difference. Knowing that someone did something on purpose that they knew would devastate you. I would also say it was like losing the ground from beneath your feet. If the person you trusted most in the world can betray you then nothing is safe.”
“Yes, when I grabbed his phone to take to him and there was an alert. I remember looking at it and swirling in slow motion then my whole body went numb. It was cloudy out and I can still remember the colour of the cars near me, I couldn’t breathe felt like the world was spinning and I am pretty sure I floated to the baseball game and stood there for 3 games with my mind racing. It all sucks for us!!!!!”
“I felt like an atom bomb had gone off in my life! Everything I thought I knew and had was destroyed in a moment.”
“Stunned shock and disbelief. My whole world crashing down around my ears; palpitations; anger; sadness and a strong desire to run away and hide.”
“My whole body started to violently shake, I heard someone far away screaming the word NO………it was me!”
“The ground opened up and I literally felt like I was falling into a dark, swirling abyss…I could not comprehend what I was hearing from his mouth as he told me about his cheating. It was the most devastating and surreal experience of my life. 27 years of a solid, loving marriage—sliced apart and severed along with my heart. The next few days were a blur … We are just 3 years past D-day this past weekend … and the day still hit me—harder than I thought it would. We are doing so much better… but the healing journey continues…”
“I felt like I was nothing I was hurt, angry, my heart hurt, actually was painful. Couldn’t sleep, or eat, I worked all the time to try to keep my mind busy. It still hurts. Has been 25 years.”
“To me…. it was like losing everything and everyone you knew and loved all at once…. nothing seemed real or right…. like being picked up and taken away from everything that kept you grounded all at once…. nothing left normal or right……. couldn’t focus on work, that use to ground me, sleep nope, kids nope, eating nope…… nothing felt right or safe.”
“It completely broke my soul. I’ll never be the same person I was ever again. I’ll never love as pure and hard again. I’ll always doubt myself, feelings and reality. Love as I thought I knew it, never existed.”
“I knew I didn’t really want to die, but I didn’t want to live, either. It was complete cognitive dissonance.”
“My Body started going cold. Top of my head on down to my feet. Traumatic Shock…”