How To Cope With Trauma From Past Infidelity

Are you in a new, exciting relationship but now realize that you might need to learn how to cope with trust issues due to infidelity in a past relationship? Did learning that your ex cheated on you devastate you and leave you with residual PTSD?

Trauma is common for people who get into new relationships after their old one is torn apart by an affair. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to cope with that trauma and move on.

Here are five ways to cope with trauma from past infidelity to have a healthy, new relationship.

1. Talk to someone.

If you have an ex or two who cheated on you and struggle to cope in your new relationship, you most likely have trust issues. You likely believe that someone new will do the same thing.

The best way to get rid of those trust issues is by talking to someone — either a therapist or a life coach. These professionals can help you process why those trust issues exist and help you with tools to manage them so that they don’t control your life or destroy your new relationship.

But if you’re not comfortable talking to someone, do some research online. There are many articles out there that discuss trust issues and how to manage them.

What you shouldn’t do is talk to your friends about these issues. Your friends have probably been there for you when you were struggling. They might encourage you to doubt a new person, especially if they, too, have been cheated on in the past.

Friends are great, but they often bring their stuff into a conversation. And that won’t help you get past those trust issues.

2. Examine your role in your old relationship.

Infidelity doesn’t happen in a void. There are two partners in every relationship and their issues are usually the result of both parties.

I’m not saying that it’s your fault that your ex cheated. But your relationship was fragile enough that your partner strayed, trying to find something that was missing.

When my ex cheated on me, I was devastated. While I don’t blame myself for his cheating, in retrospect, I realized that I helped create the petri dish in which my partner’s infidelity developed.

I was contemptuous of him, always questioning why he did or didn’t do things. We lived apart often because of work or the kids. We never had sex. I was always in charge and had all the power. None of these things made him feel loved or respected. So he eventually met someone who made him feel both. And, he left.

In my relationships since then, I work hard not to create an atmosphere where my partner would look elsewhere for love or affection. I communicate instead of being passive-aggressive and treating my guy with contempt. I make sure we have sex and that the power in the relationship is even.

It’s not always easy because old habits are hard to break, but doing so has kept our relationship strong and infidelity-proof.

So, look at your behaviors in your new relationship and ensure that you aren’t repeating ancient history yourself.

3. Remember that your new partner is not your old partner.

You have a new partner, and they are wonderful. You fell in love with them for a reason. They aren’t your old partner.

One of the biggest challenges in new relationships is when we bring baggage into it. Feelings from the past that come with us into that relationship can wreak havoc.

If you have done some trust work outside of this relationship, it will make it easier to recognize that this new person is someone you can trust until they have shown you otherwise. They are not your old partner, this is not your old relationship, and you’re not the same person you were before.

Even if you haven’t done any official trust work, you can work to recognize this. Your partner is not your ex, and you can love and trust them until they do something that would make you question them.

4. Work on communication.

A key part of trusting someone is communication. If you have insecurities about infidelity, you must address them upfront by talking to your partner about them.

Your new person must know that you have these trust issues and suffering some trauma from past infidelity. It’s also important that they know that you’re working on trusting them until they prove themselves untrustworthy.

If you suspect that they’re doing something that makes them untrustworthy, it’s important to consider whether or not it’s all in your head or if there’s tangible proof.

I have a client whose new partner is sure that he’s cheating on her with his old girlfriend. And how does he know that she thinks this? Because she’s talking to their friends about it, not to him.

He isn’t cheating but, because she won’t talk to him about it, she has this image in her head that he’s cheating — one that might be snuffed out if she discussed it with him.

So, if you’re struggling with past trauma about infidelity and it’s affecting your new relationship, talk to your person.

It will help you manage your fears and hopefully move you forward towards a healthier relationship.

5. Believe that you can have a healthy relationship.

After everything you’ve been through, it might be hard to believe. You’ve been cheated on, maybe repeatedly, which probably made your self-esteem plummet so much that you question who you are in the world.

Why, you think, would anyone ever love you again?

Don’t let yourself believe that! Infidelity happens for a variety of reasons, but none of them are because you are a bad person or are unloveable.

Relationships are hard and they can end badly, but that doesn’t make you less than others. That makes you human.

It’s essential to work on believing that you’re worthy, loveable, and amazing and that your new partner would be a fool to cheat on you.

Talk to your friends and family and to people who love you, so that you can have a clearer picture of how wonderful you are and how lucky your new partner is to have you.

Because it’s true — you do deserve to be happy!

Learning how to cope with trauma from past infidelity is a key part of building a healthy new relationship.

Get some help managing your trust issues, take stock of your role in your failed relationships, push back on your comparing your new person to your ex, communicate with them before issues occur, and believe that you deserve to be happy.

If you can do all these, your new relationship will flourish, and you can live happily ever after. It might not be easy, but you can do it. You can be happy as you deserve

Originally written by Mitzi Bockmann on YourTango

Featured image via Darina Belonogova on Pexels


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