When you’re in a relationship, it’s crucial that you and your partner have each other’s interests in mind. It takes a lot of trust and loyalty to make it work, which is why it can be so devastating when you experience betrayal. When this betrayal manifests itself sexually, whether it’s cheating or watching pornography, it can be particularly troubling.
For many people who’ve experienced betrayal, it’s only natural to blame yourself. However, this type of thinking can be destructive to both your self-esteem and your relationship. That’s why it’s so imperative that you take the time to understand why it happened and how to move forward from it.
Today we’re going to look at how sexual betrayal can impact your self-esteem and what you can do to recover from it. Whether you’re planning on staying with your partner or not, you can do a lot to make things better for yourself and your self-esteem.
The Effects of Sexual Betrayal on Self-Esteem
The first thing to do is to understand why you’re feeling this way. When you experience sexual betrayal, the first thoughts going through your head are to see if you’re to blame for the situation. After all, if your partner cheated on you, that must mean that he or she was unsatisfied with their feelings for you, right?
Unfortunately, the trauma created by this betrayal can manifest itself in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When looking at it that way, it’s apparent that it will take a lot of work to recover from this experience. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.
Here are some ways that you can help yourself work through these feelings and come out stronger on the other side.
First, Assess the Damage
Sexual betrayal can take several forms. Not all of them have to destroy your relationship. For example, if it’s porn addiction that is tearing your partner away from you, it’s something that you can work through together to help him get on the path to recovery.
When figuring out the first step towards rebuilding your relationship, it’s imperative that you talk with your partner to find out what both of you want and how you can achieve those goals. If you can mend this rift and set things right again, you owe it to yourselves to make that commitment to each other.
No matter what, it’s going to be a long and difficult road, but if you can accept that this betrayal is not the end of your relationship, then that can go a long way toward repairing the damage caused by your partner’s actions.
Figure Out a Common Goal
If you’re going to get on the path to recovery, then it’s crucial that you know where you’re headed. Otherwise, it will be much harder to determine if you’re successful or making progress. One of the first things you should do as a couple is establish what that goal looks like and how you will know that you’ve reached it.
If the betrayal was porn addiction, then a goal should be to have your partner stop looking at explicit material altogether. If the betrayal was more serious (i.e., cheating), then you have to decide how you will measure success. Once you’ve done that, then you can plot a roadmap to help you get there.
Being a couple doesn’t mean that you exist in a vacuum. You have friends and family that are there to support you during your times of need. For many people who have suffered betrayal, however, it can seem like an insurmountable task to admit that there are problems, particularly given the personal nature of the situation.
However, if you’re going to make it through stronger and better than ever, you have to be able to reach out to those closest to you. Whether it’s a best friend, a family member, or a religious confidant, you will have a much more positive experience when you have people to lean on during this trying time.
The other thing to remember is that both of you need support right now, especially if you’re going to mend your relationship. If you’re the only one reaching out to those closest to you, then it’s almost as if you’re abandoning your partner to fend for himself. If you’re going to get through this together, you have to stay together throughout the process.
There’s no timeframe for recovering from sexual betrayal, and there will be moments when it feels like you’re not making any progress. A small relapse can shatter your self-esteem and make it seem like you’re back at square one.
When taking this journey, it’s imperative that you understand that it’s going to take a while to make it through to the other side. It could take months or years before you’re fully healed, and even then it may not take much for those feelings to return.
Nonetheless, the best thing that you can do for your self-esteem and your relationship is to commit yourself to the process on a daily basis. Remember why you’re doing this and remember what’s at stake. As long as you can stay focused on a positive outcome, you will make it through.