Coping With Infidelity: It Is The Fear That Paralyzes


You’ve found out that your spouse is cheating and suddenly your world is upside down. Nothing seems to be the same or work like it should. You suffer from insomnia. Your stomach is tied in knots. You are losing weight due to the infamous “infidelity diet.” Your moods change erratically. Horrible images flash through your mind at will…


It is the fear.

The fear paralyzes you, sends blood rushing through your veins, sours your stomach, and interrupts your sleep. It is the fear that gives away your power, your hope, and your forgiveness. It is fear that robs you of the active self and traps you in the role of patronizing enabler who will take your wayward spouse back at ANY cost…even if the price is too high. It is fear that keeps you from confronting and exposing. And fear that prevents you from enforcing your boundaries and having compassion for yourself.

What Do We Fear?

  • Fear of abandonment.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of reaction….yours, theirs.
  • Frightened ManFear of future…the unknown.
  • Fear of destitution and want.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of losing.
  • Fear of loss.
  • Fear of solitude.
  • Fear of settling.
  • Fear of inadequacy.
  • Fear of change.
  • Fear of lack of change.
  • Fear
  • Fear…

Infidelity Creates Fear

Infidelity creates FEAR….and fear is crippling. Research shows us what we already know in our hearts….when we are fearful….we are unable to fire up the parts of our brains that “process” information on a logical, rational, spiritual level and create solutions that increase the odds for success in crises. When we are fearful….we don’t use our neocortex….but instead, it is our limbic system that lights up our MRIs….our animal brains wired for “fight or flight.”

There is no HOPE in our animal brains…because our identity, our souls, our compassion…don’t reside there. You are only capable of conflict or escape when you are there…so you must find a quiet place to deal with your fears so that you can confront, expose, do all the things that overcoming infidelity entails…all the things that happiness entails. You must value yourself as well as protect yourself, without fear of losing your wayward spouse or enforcing boundaries…because if you don’t…all your fears will be realized anyway.

These processes are not designed to trap you in a marriage where your feelings are crushed and disrespected or the vows of marriage are meaningless. It’s designed to help you overcome fear and give you hope that marriages CAN recover from infidelity…but you must be brave and be willing to risk losing your WS in order to regain trust, fidelity, and security.

Beyond The Fear

You must be willing to see beyond your pain and take logical and systematic steps to undermine the affair and increase the stability and security of your marriage. That takes courage above pain. It takes the peacefulness of knowing you are strong enough to lose a self-indulgent and unrepentant spouse or recover with a flawed, but motivated one.

  • Don’t let your fear take back a spouse who isn’t ready to do the hard work recovery after infidelity entails. It is an invitation for misery.
  • If you don’t believe you CAN survive without your wayward spouse…you cannot do what you must do to ensure success.
  • Stop being fearful of their threats…they are just excuses to leave or be selfish.
  • Stop being fearful of their reactions…their reactions arise from their guilt…not your boundaries.
  • Stop being fearful of taking a stand…it’s the only way to gain respect or trust.
  • Stop being fearful of being alone…until you can stand on your own and risk losing them, you will NEVER know if they remain with you by choice. And you will never know if you want them or you NEED them.

…And if you need them…even if they return…you are in trouble, chere.

Discuss this article on our marriage support forum.

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3 Responses to Coping With Infidelity: It Is The Fear That Paralyzes

  1. Erin says:

    I highly think my fiancé has a fear of marriage. We are due to get married in two months and he has called off wedding for excuses that are nothing new to him since we started dating. His actions still show he wants to be with me but his threads to end our relationship worry me. I know he still loves and cares for me. He was engaged once before and that girl cheated and stole money from him while they were engaged so now I feel is past is affecting his fear. A lot has already been planned and set up for our wedding but now he has a fear and wants to call it off and I am not letting this happen. How can I get him to understand he has a fear and we can still get married. Time is running out as I need to send invites out very soon. Help.

  2. Anne says:

    I’m an MFT & I caught my spouse and bff sexting. We live in different cities and until they got caught we all vacationed and visited. She was my bff since HS, and I’be been married 9 yrs, she 15. I have fibromyalgia and can no long work. I feel they both may have carried out their plans on our next vacation although they deny any intention of it. Being disabled, I have no income and feel fear in many situations, but mostly financially. We are separated now and I know my fear is crippling me further. Comments or suggestions to help me cope? I have successfully avoided drinking and drug abuse. I have applied for disability and receive food stamps. How can I provide marriage counseling when mine is in the dump?

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