Betrayal Pain: Emotional vs Physical Pain

I used to feel like a big baby because my husband’s betrayal hit me so hard.

I’d felt external (and internal) pressure to ‘just get over it,’ and I hated the fact that I couldn’t.

If I could have I would have, but I couldn’t.

This time was different.  It wasn’t just the porn.  This time he’d looked in my eyes and lied to me every night for four years straight.  This time he said he turned to porn because I looked a certain way and acted a certain way.

This one hurt!!!

And I didn’t want to feel it anymore!  I wanted to harden myself, to take my heart off my sleeve and put it back where it belonged… to deaden all feeling if I had to.

I wanted this because it was excruciating!  Sometimes his words were so agonizing I wanted to peel my own face off–not his; my own!

I felt so stuck, so uncared for, so silenced.  I hated myself for not being enough.  I hated myself for being “too much.”

And I hated myself for hurting this deeply.

Then God in His grace led me to a new understanding.

I began seeing reports of how scientists were discovering that emotional pain lit up the same regions in the brain as physical pain–and sometimes to the same degree.  (The regions affected as the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex, two areas that handle a few functions including our emotions.)

So many studies have been done on this finding, it is now widely accepted to be true.

This news helped me understand why my husband’s actions hurt me so much:  It was as if I’d been physically struck.

But there was more than one strike.  Because my husband had lied to me every night for four years, when the truth finally came out it was as if all the ‘physical strikes’ of his betrayals had been unleashed on me all at once—one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…  One sharp blow after another.

One for every time he’d betrayed me.  One for every lie.  One for every time he tried to make it my fault.

This is when it began to make sense to me.  I mean, if a stranger had beaten me up like that and left me bleeding in an alley, of course I’d be in pain.


But this was my husband–a man

who was given to me

to protect me from that kind of attack.


As the depth of the pain began making sense, I began to give myself more grace to feel the pain…

and once I did that, I knew I had to do something about it in order to take care of myself!



For Those Who Are Still “Feeling It”

If you’re still reeling from your husband’s betrayal, or you feel pressure about it from others, I’d like to say,

“You have every right to feel the pain of it.  It’s a real thing!
It’s hitting your brain, and it’s hitting your brain hard!

It’s okay to not be okay with it.

I’d also like to say I hope you’re more patient with yourself than I was.
I hope you’re taking care of yourself.
Because you really are going through a lot.”

I’d also like to say this website is intended to be a safe place for you, yet I’ve noticed there are so many ladies who haven’t shared their stories.  (Now, I don’t say this to make you feel bad if you haven’t shared your story yet… not at all.  It can be a scary thing, especially if you’ve felt external pressure from others to not hurt over this.)

I only said for this reason: If you need a place to put a voice to the pain you’re going through with NO fear of judgment, feel free to email me. I’m pretty good at meeting women where they are.


Comments 6

  1. Good day Lori

    Thank you so much for connecting myself with you
    Until you find yourself int he situation , you will never understand the pain that ontehr women is going through because of betrayal .I only discovered rcently that my husband is in love with his best friend `s wife .It came lioke a tornado to me and I was put on anti -depression medication .The affair is still going on even though my husband does not admit .The husband to the lady is shattered as he trusted my husband as a friend .How should I handle the situation and also coping machanisms will assist .We are blessed with two kids 20 and 23 .
    Hope to hear from you soon


    1. Post

      Hello Pearl,

      Thank you so much for reaching out. (I emailed you back, so be sure to check your spam/jun folders in your email.)

      You’re right, unless they go through it, others have a difficult time understanding the pain betrayal causes.

      I am so sorry your husband had an affair… and is still involved in it. I can only imagine how that is affecting the kids, and especially you!

      This is a horrible thing to go through, so I look forward to staying in touch with you.

      Take care,

  2. Oh Lori, So much to be said in an email. So much pain, so much hurt. If only I could say it In an email. I wouldn’t know where to start. But the conversation me and my husband had last night, if I sum it all up, it would say that he still blames me for what he did for over 10 years. And I found out three years ago. He doesn’t refuse to go to a men’s group that specializes in sexual addiction, he just says he has enough to do. 12 step group, men’s church group, therapy. He feels like that’s enough.

    1. Post


      I am so sorry he blamed you. Unfortunately many men do that. It’s just a way for them to take the focus off them. And to resist specific help can be common too.

      I hope (and will pray) things improve for you and your husband.

      Take care,

  3. So true. I feel physically harmed and the shame and guilt for that is so heavy. My kids have suffered as well. I just need to get well.

    1. Post

      Hello BD,

      Thank you for your comment. I hate that it’s so common to feel physically harmed–then to feel shame over that later, can really mess with a woman’s mind. And you also bring up a good point: It can really affect the children as well.

      If I haven’t responded to the email you sent, I will do so soon. (We’ve been pretty swamped since the last interviews we did, but in case I already did, check your junk/spam folders in your email.)

      Take care,

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