What Are The Psychological Consequences Of Infidelity?

Last updated by Lauren Hart

What’s a worse betrayal than being cheated on by your partner? Frankly, having experienced it, I don’t think there is one. It’s a real tsunami that overwhelms us and makes us question everything. Why does it hurt so much? How can you stop suffering after discovering the infidelity of the person you loved? The psychological consequences of infidelity can be disastrous, and it can take years to get over it, or it leaves a lifelong wound... All will be explained.

What Are The Psychological Consequences Of Infidelity?

Why does infidelity hurt so much?

It’s a good idea already to define the notion of infidelity a little because it’s not the same according to different people. As a result, it may not be experienced in the same way. As the psychologist, Véronique Kohn explains, for some people infidelity is when our partner shares an emotional relationship with someone else. For others, cheating is kissing or sleeping with another person 👄.

👉 In general, it’s the sexual relationship that’s put most in the spotlight because of the classical values generated by heterosexual couples.

Overall, infidelity is about being afraid to tell your partner something you’ve done or feel because you know you’ve betrayed their trust. This is going to be a real earthquake that shakes the foundations of the relationship and can have disastrous psychological consequences 💔.

Losing faith in yourself

The first consequence is the shattering of self-confidence. When we’re cheated on, we immediately have a false belief, “I’m not good enough, so he went looking elsewhere”. We feel helpless, so we question our individuality and not the other person’s behavior. This may sound stupid to say, but it’s not our fault if we were cheated on ☹️!

We’ll have devaluing thoughts about our beauty, personality, desirability, etc. Anyway, remaining with the basis of the cis-gender heterosexual couple and the values linked to it, women will automatically think that they are not desirable enough. On the other hand, men will tend to be afraid of their sexual capacity.

You should know:

A survey conducted by IFOP in 2019 and the Gleeden platform shows that male infidelity is higher than female infidelity (in heterosexual couples still). One in three women has committed infidelity, compared to one in two men...

You may be interested in this article>>> Why do women file for divorce more than men?

Losing your trust

However, it’s not just self-esteem that’s affected by infidelity. Overcoming a betrayal is very complex because we tend to find it difficult to trust again. Indeed, it’s difficult to stay relaxed after the other person has cheated on us... Personally, I feel that I still have trust issues. Even though I’m no longer with the person and years have gone by, doubts can surface, and I feel a huge need to be reassured 😫. Because yes, after being cheated on, we feel so violated that we don’t want it to happen again. This can even have an impact on our relationships with friends and family...

Reawakening an emotional wound

One of the most complicated other things to deal with is the fact that being cheated on can reawaken old wounds such as the fear of abandonment. For example, this takes place during childhood when a parent was absent and didn’t show enough love. The infidelity of a partner can therefore bring back one of the emotional wounds, which can be quite a violent experience.

Moreover, for some people, infidelity is experienced as a trauma, which will profoundly change them. They’ll adopt compensating behaviors and will more easily develop jealousy and mistrust 😒.

Behaviors after infidelity

The psychological consequences give rise to new behaviors that are fully related to romantic betrayal. The shock of the news can make us develop attitudes that we didn’t have before ⚠️: obsessive thoughts or images, sleep disorders, feelings of impulsiveness, etc. In reality, all this corresponds to post-traumatic stress that will change us profoundly. Not to mention the emotional upheaval that will make us go from angry to sad all the time...

As a result, you may end up withdrawing. You don't want to see your partner anymore, but not only that. All social relationships become a burden to bear, especially because of what others think and judge. This isolation is the beginning of depression, and it’s a destructive behavior 😔. However, and again, if we behave like this, it isn’t our fault, it’s because we’re overwhelmed by suffering. So how do we overcome it?

How to stop suffering after infidelity?

There are two things that we must absolutely avoid after infidelity: being resigned and remaining in pain. In the first case, we’ll feel fatalist, so we’ll no longer have the desire to improve our life. We’ll remain in a hostile indifference that is destructive for ourselves and for others. In the case of the second behavior, this will lead us to develop real psychological illnesses, so what’s the solution to this?

Unfortunately, there’s no ready-made solution. Either you decide to leave the other person, or you carry on and try to rebuild things together. For me, breaking up was the best solution, as I was with a narcissistic pervert who displayed his umpteenth toxic behavior 😭. But no matter the outcome, the most urgent thing is to have something in the pipeline to feel better.


Communication is also an essential cornerstone. Basically, it’s important that it’s at the heart of the couple. If all couples communicated, I think there would be much less infidelity. Firstly, some people lock themselves into the principles of a monogamous relationship, even though they’d actually like to have an open relationship. Obviously, this isn’t something that suits everyone, but you need to communicate to explain how you envision things 💭.

This also allows you to ask your partner the reasons for their infidelity. Are they bored with the routine? Do they have a need to seduce? Are they polyamorous? Or are they just toxic, like an “alpha male”? It’s easy to see that there are lots of questions that can be asked when having a discussion with your partner.

Take time for yourself

Recovering from infidelity can be very difficult, but one key thing to remember is to take time for yourself. Especially if you’ve had a deep conversation with your partner. You need to be able to think this through on your own so that you can take a step back.

Not staying in the same house is the healthiest thing to do, because you can find yourself again and gauge your desire to stay with the other person or not. From there, you can consider what solution to put in place that will ease your head and your heart. It also means taking something that’s essential for healing: time ⏳. It allows you to calm down the most negative emotions and to be able to be lucid about the situation.

Editor’s note: Learning to trust again

Infidelity is a scourge that can eat away at you, whether you decide to carry on or break up. You’ll feel like you can’t trust anyone else, and everything inside you will be shattered. So you’ll have to do some therapy work to overcome this trauma. If you feel that this is the case for you and that you’re not able to overcome it, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our therapists.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
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