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Common Feelings After Discovering Infidelity

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Finding out that your partner has cheated can feel traumatizing and devastating. A roller coaster of emotions begins and you can feel like you aren't sure what to expect from yourself anymore. One minute you are angry, the next minute you feel numb and in shock, and then suddenly you just feel completely exhausted. In this article, we are going to explore some of the most common emotions people tend to feel in these circumstances. Common feelings after infidelity has been discovered often include shock, sadness/grief, anger, self-doubt, feeling betrayed, hopelessness, feeling hopeful/relieved, embarassment, and anxiety.

Common feelings after discovering infidelity Rain Into Rainbows

  • Shock: Sometimes you find out very unexpectedly and it had never occurred to you that your partner had been cheating. Other times, even if you were suspicious, there are likely to be some details of the situation that you still find shocking. Shock can sometimes be accompanied by numbness or feeling like you are shutting down.

  • Sadness & Grief: Your relationship as you know it has now changed and it is normal to feel sad about that. Whether or not you decide to stay with your partner, you can't ever go back to the way things were before the cheating happened. You are grieving the past state of what you thought your life and your relationship were. If the relationship is ending, you may also be experiencing sadness about the possible loss of things like your home or certain friends.

  • Anger: Finding out that someone you deeply cared for has betrayed you is likely to produce feelings of anger. While you don't want to get stuck in anger or bitterness, in the early stages, anger can be protective. It can motivate you to put your guard up and advocate for yourself.

  • Self-Doubt: Cheating is not your fault; there is always a choice involved. However, it is normal to go down the road of questioning yourself. You may wonder if you did something wrong, you may wonder if there were signs you think you should have noticed, you may also wonder whether or not to believe certain parts of what your partner is telling you. When it comes to feelings of self-doubt, it can be helpful to talk these out with someone in your life who you trust to help you make sense of everything.

  • Betrayed: Someone you trusted hurt you and likely lied to you. You have been betrayed and it is valid to feel this way.

  • Hopeless: Infidelity can feel devastating at first. You might find yourself feeling hopeless about the future or your ability to ever trust anyone again.

  • Hopeful & Relieved: The flip side of feeling hopeless can also occur for people too. Sometimes you have been living with so much anxiety, unanswered questions, or things happening that don't make sense, that when you find out the truth, you might feel relieved to finally know what has been going on. You may even find yourself feeling hopeful about building a new future.

  • Embarrassed: You might find yourself wondering how you didn't know sooner or feeling embarrassed to have to tell people what happened. We all want to choose loyal partners and it can be difficult to realize that your partner was no faithful. Try to remind yourself that you are not the one who should feel embarrassed.

  • Anxious: This is a big one. Often, finding out about infidelity comes with a lot of major decisions. It can feel scary and anxiety provoking to try to sort everything out and to wonder if you are making the right decisions. You also may find yourself feeling anxious about what else you might discover.

The above emotions are some of the most common that people report, and for most people, your emotions will shift all over the place. Just when you think you are done feeling one thing and have moved on, some previous emotion will come back up again. This is normal and totally understandable. You are trying to wrap your head around a lot. Try to allow the feelings to wash over you and accept that they will ebb and flow. Eventually, the roller coaster will slow down and things will start to feel more stable. Experiencing so many strong emotions is exhausting, so be patient with yourself and find healthy ways to try to rest and recharge. It can be helpful to start a daily tracking chart of the following things:

  1. One thing I will do today to take care of myself.

  2. One positive, small moment I noticed today.

  3. One thing I like about myself today.

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