The hurt party loses his or her identity along with their sense of specialness. The spouse realizes that he/she can be replaced. This is especially true if the affair happened locally. Did the spouse take the paramour to the couple’s favorite restaurant?
The offended party loses their self respect when they forfeit their basic values. They believe they have forfeited their basic values when they tried to get the other person back. Their self respect when they realize they didn’t acknowledge that they were wronged and didn’t confront the truth. There is often depression. Their greatest fear is that they will never feel safe again.
They lose their sense of control over their thoughts and actions. Often they become “checkers” checking phone records, Face Book, email accounts, etc. Along with that comes guilt that they don’t trust their spouse. They lose their fundamental sense of order and justice in the world. Their world is now filled with chaos.
If they are people of faith, they sometimes lose their religious faith; they ask “if God were good, why did he allow this to happen?”
Along with their connection with God, they also lose their connection with others. They question who do they tell? Do they tell their friends, parents, siblings, etc? There is a great sense of isolation. This is especially true when the offended party is a woman who has been close with her mother and/or sisters. Women tend to heal by talking and when that happens, men tend to feel betrayed.
The can become suicidal because they lose their sense of purpose. They feel abandoned and unlovable.
What needs to happen is to help the injured party feel normal. They need to acknowledge that they have been changed. They have to come back to knowing themselves. To heal, the injured party needs to talk about their losses and to normalize the shame and the shattered dreams.
They need to have the courage to forgive and the freedom to not forgive
Look for another blog on the response from the unfaithful partner