By Teresa Maples
You just found out your partner has a secret life and has been Sex Chatting with men and women on several web “personals” sites. You feel devastated and alone, and wonder “how in the world am I going to deal with this?” You thought your partnership was great, you were proud of the family you created together. Now, you find out you’ve been betrayed and your partner has a secret double life. The information penetrates your heart to a much deeper place than you’ve ever felt before. As you search for more evidence, you find more and wonder, “how could I of missed this”. All of a sudden, you realize that things from the past that didn’t make sense now do. There was the time you were on vacation, and your partner disappeared for an hour and did not have a satisfactory answer about where he was. His answer did not quite fit, but you did not query further, to avoid his anger. You realize all the situations that didn’t make sense at the time and you did not ask for more information. You trusted your partner and could not comprehend a betrayal of this magnitude. You are in Shock.
What to Expect?
The beginning of this Journey is torturous. It is filled with ups and downs and feels like being on an emotional rollercoaster. It is akin to losing a loved one to death. In a way there is a death, a death of the relationship as you perceived it. You will go through a grieving process. This process happens with several stages. Let’s look at the Kubler-Ross Model of grief stages.
1.Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
Denial is usually only a temporary defense. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of the betrayal and facts surrounding it. Denial can be conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or the reality of the situation.
2.Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
Once in the second stage, you will recognize that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, you may be feeling out of control and not yourself. Many betrayed partners can feel “murderous rage” towards the betrayer.
3.Bargaining — “the betrayal didn’t happen, I’m just making things up in my head, my partner would never do that.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
The third stage involves the hope that you can somehow postpone or delay the death of your perception of the relationship, such as, “I had a perfect marriage and perfect family.”
4.Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “What’s the point or staying together?”; “I miss my idealized partner, why go on?”
During the fourth stage, you begin to understand the certainty of death to the “old relationship”. Because of this, you spend much of the time crying and grieving. Feeling sad and depressed is part of the healing and shows that you have begun to accept the betrayal as reality.
5.Acceptance — “I’m going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, you will come to terms with the betrayal. This stage varies according to the person’s situation. You realize that your life will go on and you can make the best of it for your wellbeing.
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