Post-Infidelity Emotional Triggers

How to Respond to the Betrayed Spouse’s Triggers

Source: infidelityinfo (edited)

After infidelity, it’s very common for the betrayed spouse to have a number of triggers that cause them immense hurt and pain every time they occur – for example, certain locations, actions, words, events and places can remind the betrayed spouse of the affair, bringing back those feelings of betrayal, hurt and pain.

Triggers such as these can cause the betrayed spouse to steer clear of doing certain things or of going to certain places so that they don’t have to be reminded of the affair – and as such, the straying spouse has to respond to those triggers accordingly so that they don’t rule the marriage. Here are some strategies for responding to the betrayed spouse’s triggers.

Recognize Possible Triggers

A straying spouse that wants to successfully rebuild their marriage will recognize that any places, activities, locations or objects that were associated with the affair could potentially be a source of immense hurt for the betrayed spouse and they will try their hardest to either shield their spouse from these triggers, or to let their spouse work out how to deal with those triggers.

Let the Betrayed Spouse Decide how to Deal with those Triggers

Perhaps one of the most important strategies in dealing with a betrayed spouse’s triggers is to let them decide how to deal with those triggers – and to support them in how they deal with them. If the betrayed spouse wants to get rid of the marital bed, for example, if relations with the lover occurred on the bed, then the straying spouse should be happy and supportive of that decision.

This is a simple but incredibly effective way for the straying spouse to show the betrayed spouse that they are willing to do whatever needed – including getting rid of certain possessions or avoiding certain places – to rebuild the marriage.

Acknowledge and Support the Triggers

A straying spouse may not be able to see the correlation between an object, place or possession and the affair as clearly as the betrayed spouse can, and this can lead to them being confused or annoyed as to why such an object or place is a potential trigger. It’s important for the straying spouse to acknowledge and support the triggers that the betrayed spouse is struggling with, even if they don’t understand the triggers themselves.

If the betrayed spouse has to fight to be heard and to put across their own thoughts, feelings and emotions associated with those triggers, it will be much, much more difficult to rebuild the marriage. However, if the straying spouse absolutely supports and acknowledges every possible trigger, without trying to gloss over the facts or their partner’s feelings, they will be much more likely to succeed in moving on from the affair.

Acknowledge that Certain People May be “Off Limits”

With most affairs, there are a number of people that know about the affair, aside from the straying spouse and their lover – co-workers, friends and perhaps a few family members. After the discovery of infidelity, the betrayed spouse can feel wary of the people that knew about and condoned the affair – and they may even want to avoid them altogether.

The betrayed spouse might want to confront the people who knew about the affair, or they might want their spouse to have a conversation with those people about how sorry they were for the affair before they deem them as being “safe” again. A straying spouse should always support their partner in whatever it is they feel like they “need” to do after the discovery of an affair, even if it requires them to have some uncomfortable conversations.

The straying spouse also needs to be prepared to completely avoid certain individuals who endorsed the affair if the betrayed spouse wants them to do so – continued socialization with individuals who endorse an affair and a potential marital breakdown could worry the betrayed spouse and could spell danger for the marriage.

Avoid “Suspicion” Triggers

When the straying spouse was having the affair, chances are they were spending much more time out of the house, “working late” at the office, spending more time on the phone and being secretive around their texting, phone and email habits. If the spouse then starts to display these behaviors again, however innocent those behaviors are, it can make the betrayed spouse feel incredibly nervous and worried about their partner’s actions.

It’s important to remember that the betrayed spouse will constantly be worried that the straying spouse is out cheating again if they display similar behaviors, so the straying spouse should do everything they can to minimize the possibility of these behaviors.

For example, until the betrayed spouse has healed and is comfortable in the marriage once more, they shouldn’t be left at home alone while the straying spouse goes out for drinks with friends as this will only make them suspicious of their spouse’s actions.

Improve Relations with the Betrayed Spouse

One of the biggest triggers for any betrayed spouse is feeling a disconnect between themselves and their partner. This disconnect can make them believe that their spouse is moving away from them emotionally, even if the straying spouse is absolutely dedicated to making the marriage work. To minimize triggers, it’s important that the straying spouse does their best to improve relations with their partner.

This might mean making up for any money spent on their lover in the form of gifts or holidays by providing their spouse with similar gifts. Most importantly, the straying spouse should reconnect with their spouse by letting them know that they totally support them in everything they do – and that they are truly sorry for their actions.

If the straying spouse improves the relationship with the betrayed spouse by reconnecting with them on an emotional level, eventually, the betrayed spouse will start to trust them more and more – and as their trust becomes restored, any triggers will start to minimize and become less and less important.


“I'm not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

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