can you get PTSD from being cheated on?

Woman in bed with her husband worried and very anxious.

Can being cheated on cause ptsd

It can be both emotionally and physically devastating to discover your other half has been unfaithful. Your partner will not only have shattered your trust, but you might be struggling with the trauma of a broken relationship.

The emotional damage caused could ultimately impact your mental health, as you might struggle with severe heartache, stress, and anxiety following a spouse’s infidelity. For this reason, you might be wondering if their adultery could be causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), so you can start effectively treating the associated symptoms.

Common Symptoms Following Infidelity

It is possible you could be experiencing post infidelity stress disorder (PISD), which is similar to the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. After all, both conditions will involve trauma and a threat to your emotional security and wellbeing.

It is common to experience classic PTSD symptoms, such as:

  • Unstable emotions
  • Angry outbursts
  • Intrusive, negative thoughts
  • A feeling of hopelessness
  • Emotional numbness

Also, similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, you might experience intrusive thoughts, vivid flashbacks or nightmares, as it might seem impossible to stop reliving their betrayal. You also could question whether you are to blame or if you could have stopped them from cheating.

While you might initially endure feelings of rage and despair following the discovery that a spouse has been unfaithful, you might soon experience feelings of numbness and once pleasurable hobbies might no longer be enjoyable. It is, therefore, common to struggle with some of the symptoms a person living with post-traumatic stress disorder might feel after witnessing or experiencing abuse, physical violence, military combat, or an injury.

Sleep Disturbances

Similar to PTSD, you might struggle with various sleep disturbances following a spouse’s infidelity. For example, it is common for people to struggle with insomnia or poor sleeping patterns. As a result, you might struggle with concentration issues that could affect your family life and performance at work.

Life After an Affair

While you might be filled with a variety of emotions after the discovery that your unfaithful partner has been cheating, it might be helpful to know there is a life for you after an affair. Many therapists now regularly turn to PTSD treatments to help people to move on from infidelity.

For example, exposure therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) could help people to face the traumatic experience and develop healthy coping mechanisms. While the therapy treatments will not be able to undo the pain and heartache your other half has caused, it could help you through the healing process from the negative experience to rebuild your self-esteem and trust in your current or a future partner.


While it is possible you might develop PISD, it is rare to develop PTSD after being cheated on. If you are experiencing obsessive thoughts or intrusive thoughts and are wondering if you have developed PTSD from being cheated on, you must seek professional help if it is interfering with your everyday responsibilities and routine. For example, it might be beneficial to talk to a therapist who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder, as they might have techniques and advice to help you overcome the devastating trauma.

If you feel this has happened to you and are looking for treatment, feel free to fill out the questionnaire or give us a call our team will be happy to help you.

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