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He’s Cheating. Now What?

Everything changed with a ding, with a click on a tab; that’s all it took to discover the man you love has been cheating on you.

Now what?

That’s just one of the questions we’ll walk through on this episode of “Sacred by Design.”

Anne joins Andrea to discuss the ways infidelity leaves you with more than just a broken heart. Together, let’s Learn to name the symptoms your body is experiencing, to give words to the screaming questions in your head, to validate your response to a devastating discovery.

This is a heavy episode. Grab a cup of cold water and take a deep breath.

Let’s begin.

Highlights

D-Day is also known as Discovery Day: You’re caught off guard. You didn’t know there was something going on with somebody. And then you start connecting the dots and panic sets in. 

Name what your body is feeling. Symptoms may include: confusion, irritability, headaches, lack of appetite, intrusive thoughts. This can be expected. You think your life looks one way and all of a sudden it looks completely different.

Be aware of getting the right support. The wrong support can almost be re-traumatizing.

Healing is possible. It can look like symptoms being reduced. The offending spouse is able to say, “What do you need today? What is this like? I’m here. I’m trying to walk in recovery.” And then, that builds trust because trust has been broken. Safety’s been broken in the relationship. Long term observable actions make the biggest impact. And that is what helps the wife begin to heal.

Resources

Dr Barbara Steffens

The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists

Help the show

This Episode’s Transcription

Andrea  0:02  
infidelity, cheating, betrayal. All of these words carry a lot of hurt and shame. Whether you’re finding out that your husband has been unfaithful, or your boyfriend has been looking at porn, you might find yourself with a lot more than just a broken heart. And Anna is here with me today on this episode of sacred by design to walk us through legitimate symptoms of PTSD after finding out about sexual betrayal, while you may be feeling powerless, there is a lot of power today, we hope that you’ll find in being able to name the hurts and walk through to healing. And and if there’s anyone on the spiritual coaching team to talk about when it comes to sexual betrayal, you have done so much research and work. And you’re just the pearl. So I’m really grateful to have you here today. And to have this podcast to be able to offer to our listeners. So where, how, when, where do we begin?

Anne  1:24  
Well, Andre, thank you so much. I’m really glad to be here because I care so much about this topic. And I care so much for women and men that are struggling. And this is such a massive, heartbreaking topic. Let’s start with a deep breath. Great idea. And if you’re watching or listening, please join us with a deep breath. Okay, so I think we’ll do this step by step. Okay. And a lot of times the the first step is realizing there was a D Day or discovery day discovered, okay, you were together with your partner, and you were looking at Fun Instagram pictures, and there was a thing and you glanced down at your husband’s phone. And there was a text from Laura, and you are like, who’s Laura? Who is Laura. And all of a sudden your stomach drops, you start shaking, you can tell that there’s something going on because your husband’s looking away or, and it’s just devastating. So D Day devastating. And it’s very trauma producing because you are caught off guard, you didn’t know that there was something going on with somebody. And then you start connecting the dots and panic sets sets in. And it can happen by finding porn as well. And it’s, it is. It’s so shocking, because you think your life looks one way. And then all of a sudden, in a matter of seconds. It looks completely different.

Andrea  3:13  
Completely different. And this isn’t limited to marriage. Right.

Anne  3:18  
Boyfriends fiance’s. And, obviously, long term 3040 year marriages experience this.

Andrea  3:27  
So then after discovery day, or D Day. I mean, this is, as you’re saying, life altering and traumatic. I haven’t often heard trauma, or that word connected to sexual betrayal, but it feels really appropriate, especially when you’re saying, you know, you thought your life was one way. And then a day later, all of a sudden, all this. These details and the stories come up. So then what happens with the questions that might start coming up for these women, and if any of our listeners right now have experienced sexual betrayal, I speak for both Anna and I when I say how sorry, how sorry, we are. But the questions of like, is this normal? Do all men do this? Is something wrong with me? What’s wrong with our relationship? Or where do

Anne  4:21  
we go? Or is this a big deal? Should I make this a big deal? When actually your body’s already telling you it’s a big deal? Because it is going into panic and shock and having a traumatic experience a traumatic response to the news or the evidence. And thankfully, with the research that’s out there, so many women now have a better understanding of what is going on in their body. And that it’s actual research base, that it’s produces a traumatic response that your body will experience shaking ruminating thoughts, digestive problems, lack, not being able to sleep, the list and rethinking the whole scenario what how long? What is this? Like? I didn’t know. What don’t I know? Is it worse than I thought? Maybe it’s not as worse than I thought. And without help and good understanding, many women are just left isolated and afraid.

Andrea  5:27  
You have mentioned Dr. Barbara Stephens. I know that you’ve done a lot of research or training through her under her. And I’m just going to go ahead and read this. She is a specialist and author of your sexually addicted spouse. And Dr. Stephen says, and I quote, 70% of women who learn of sexual betrayal in their marriage can experience mild to moderate PTSD. I had never heard of PTSD being linked to finding out about a husband’s infidelity. But when I hear you describe D Day, when I hear you describe ruminating thoughts, lack of sleep, digestive issues, it sounds like your body is really raising a red flag.

Anne  6:09  
Oh, definitely. And, first of all, Dr. Barbara Stephens is so amazing. Thank you so much for bringing her up because she has a book your sexually addicted spouse, and she did her dissertation on trauma, partner trauma. And she researched this and substantiated what she saw in her clients coming in to her practice, crying all the time shaking, having trouble concentrating, shut down, hives, chronic fatigue, these were women coming to her practice, and then she did her dissertation on trauma and partner betrayal. And it is so important. And if you are listening, you might be saying, that’s me. This is me, I’m feeling all these things. And I’ve been trying to just get over it and not make it a big deal. But I can’t. And we just want to validate that you’re experiencing what Barbara Stephens found mild to moderate PTSD.

Andrea  7:20  
If you have something we should be talking about, let us know, send us an email to podcast at regeneration ministries.org. In the meantime, please be sure to review Rate, Subscribe and share back to the show. What I love that we’re doing here and I hope listeners are connecting with is that what our heart might want to deny, or our brains might want to deny and just push through our body is not denying. And that’s part of the wholeness, right. It’s the integration of just this Mind, Body heart. And that’s what God wants for us. And so God doesn’t want you to deny it, but pay attention. Yeah. And so what a great opportunity to have the symptoms kind of just laid out. And if it is connecting for you, and you are feeling like this is me, the numbness makes a lot of sense. It all makes a lot of sense. So what is a good next step? Even right now?

Anne  8:24  
Yes, because if you’re watching and you’re realizing that this is you, I would love for you to again, take a deep breath, pause the podcast, or the viewing format that you have, grab a cup of cold water. Call a friend and honor your body and what your body is trying to tell you and call a safe friend that you can talk to about this. It’s so important to not feel isolated or alone.

Andrea  8:56  
And you have talked about the right support. Because unfortunately, getting the wrong support is further damaging or further traumatizing. So what is the right support look like?

Anne  9:09  
Again, I mean, that is so important because the wrong support can make it worse can be almost re traumatizing. If if you open up to somebody and they say, Well, men do look at porn, you know that right? Or? It’s, you know, try not to make this such a big deal. Are you are you having sex? How is your communication will instantly that is very minimizing and more devastating because she’s having these bodily responses. She didn’t know that this was happening, and then her safe place, then minimized it. So please come to see somebody that’s app sets trained. There’s many resources now with regeneration and other ministries that will validate that amount of response that you’re having and how important this is

Andrea  10:02  
what? Why don’t you explain what AP Stats means?

Anne  10:06  
AP SATs is a an amazing organization associate a hop to get it right associated partners, sex addicts, trauma specialists. So we are an organization that will help you find a coach or a clinician to help walk through this. And it’s very affirming, wanting to really find help for the beat, the person has betrayed you. It’s really defined help for the husband and the wife really to to bring understanding about what addiction is, what is trauma, so that the couple can repair.

Andrea  10:49  
After the rupture, yes, repair. Yes, that’s such important work across the board. So okay, we have talked about the wife and the girlfriend in the scenario, but what can she expect from her husband or boyfriend now that the secret is out? Well, I’m sure for

Anne  11:05  
him, it’s very disturbing and traumatizing as well. Right? If it’s been a secret, and actually has been struggling with it, and feels shame, and does regret, he’s struggling to and need support. And we hope that that he will find a coach, hopefully, or our groups awaken at regeneration, a safe place to share what’s going on. And also, he’s going to need to understand that his wife, or the other way around, if it’s, if it’s a husband, that’s betrayed, but we do want them to a husband and a wife to begin to heal and understand each other and offer each other understanding, empathy, compassion, validation, support, I mean, it’s just so loaded. It’s it’s so devastating. Of course, you’re, if you’re needing, you know, a surgery or, you know, physical therapy, you got to go to the right people.

Andrea  12:18  
That’s right. That’s right. Oh, okay. So we’ve walked through D Day, and PTSD. But you said the word healing? is healing actually possible?

Anne  12:29  
It is, yes, it is. And I have seen it, and I’m seeing it with clients. And their symptoms are being reduced, they’re able to regulate themselves. The offending spouse is able to say, what do you need today? What is this, like, I’m here, I’m trying to walk in recovery. And that then builds trust, because trust has been broken, and safety has been broken in the relationship. And unfortunately, it’s not just words like I’m not doing it anymore, it’s got to be what we say long term, observable actions. And that is what helps the wife begin to heal, a recovery group, a sponsor, a, you know, beginning to journal beginning to talk about emotions and, and feelings together to really begin to get at the root of this and heal. But it is possible and I’m seeing it happen.

Andrea  13:34  
So encouraging when you just said about a husband or offending spouse being able to say to their spouse, what do you need today? Immediately, I just thought of Jesus and His ever attentive and always whispering or showing up way of saying, what do you need today? And I think that that is what is one of the gifts of spiritual coaching is when you’re experiencing something so traumatic and devastating a sexual betrayal to be able to sit with someone with a coach, and makes quiet space to let Jesus ask you, what do you need today, when the person that you’ve been hoping would ask you that question can’t to allow him to ask you that question.

Anne  14:22  
I mean, that’s just how you describe that is so beautiful and so helpful. Because in the Psalms, it says, pour out your heart. Tell me your troubles. You know, God is inviting us to bring this to him and Jesus wants to sit in the pain and the regret and the disappointment on for both husband and wife. And it’s such a beautiful picture, what Jesus can offer in this really Heartland inching time. He’s closer than a friend.

Andrea  15:03  
He is. Is there a spiritual practice that that you would suggest? Or that maybe you would even walk a client through? After learning something like this? If when she’s ready?

Anne  15:17  
Sure we could. Why don’t we do one now? Because if you’re, if you tuned into this episode, and you had a friend pointed out or, or you’re, you’re just in discovery, having something to minister to you, which is going to make a big difference. So why don’t we do it right now. And if you’re at home, you know, do it with us. So Andre, I’ll walk you through this. It’s a breath prayer. It’s a, it’s a kind of a breathing, prayer, and invites Jesus and quiet to kind of settle in and reach those kind of hidden painful places. So if you’re with us, follow along. This is a breath prayer. So Andrea, become aware of your body and sit in a way that is comfortable for you a position that will allow you to take a deep breath, in and out. And if you’re comfortable, close your eyes. Then imagine a room or a place where you feel safe. It can be a real place, or one that exists in your imagination. Place that you’ve been a beach, a lake, a hike, imagine yourself in that place. Imagine what you see, and hear and feel. breathe slowly and deeply. Imagining a sense of well being. This is where you are now. You and God in this safe and welcoming place together. Begin to breathe in and out as I share the symbol verses and they will correspond with an inhale and an exhale. Matthew 11 humble and gentle one. You are rest are my soul. John 15. Inhale, true vine and gardener. And exhale, I abide in you. Romans eight. Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Psalm 4610 Be still and know you are God. Your grace is enough for me. Amen.

Andrea  17:52  
Thank you, Anne. Thank you for your wisdom and your care and all the work that you do to walk us through to healing with Jesus. 

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