How to Heal After Your Spouse Betrays You

What you are feeling is real. But you don't have to let it defeat you. (Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash)

Depression from Partner Betrayal Trauma. This is a real deal.

If this is the first time you're reading about Partner Betrayal Traum, your trauma from your spouse's choices of betrayal are 100% real.

What you're experiencing is real. Thousands of people have told me over the course of 30 years, "I feel depressed, Dr. Weiss. I have never felt this way in my life. I don't have energy. I can't figure things out. Just getting up in the morning is hard."

I've heard this thousands of time, and I can tell you, this is a real thing. It's not just a feeling. This is a result of trauma caused by the discovery of a spouse or significant other's betrayal.

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In 2001, we started the partners-recovery movement. We based the study on research. Depression was significant in the women who were self-reporting. Recently, we wrote a book on Partner Betrayal Trauma that emphasizes the depression aspect of the trauma piece of the partner's recovery after a betrayal.

In that emphasis, we again validated depression as a result of partner betrayal. Every symptom of depression significantly worsens after the knowledge of betrayal. Therefore, what you are experiencing as a result of partner betrayal is normal, predictive and treatable.

It's equivalent to if you had been hit by a car. If you've ever been in a car accident, you get this. If you've ever had to go to a physical therapist and work something out of your body, you get this. You are different. It doesn't have to be permanent, but you're different right now.

Allow me to give you some symptoms here. If you are having thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, that's absolutely normal. There's a whole segment in the book on self-esteem.

Another symptom is lower energy levels. If you are having lower energy than you've had before, this is normal to you because you have experienced a real trauma.

Another symptom is having difficulty concentrating or remembering simple things that previously were not a problem. For example, you forget where your keys are or you forgot a kid at school.

These things are normal symptoms of being betrayed by your spouse. This can be caused by a spouse's addiction, starving you with the Intimacy Anorexia, infidelity or any one of those betrayals. It's the who, not the what.

Who betrayed you is the determining factor on the impact of the betrayal. We expect our spouse to protect us, and we put our trust in them. When a spouse is betrayed by their partner, the effects are far more severe than a betrayal by a random acquaintance.

The symptoms continue. You are having difficulty making decisions, which includes big decisions. For example, should I stay with my spouse and work this out or not? It also includes small decisions like what's for dinner. You can't seem to get through it all and process it in your head. That's normal. I want you to know you're normal if this relates to you.

This is why I'm writing this to you. These are very normal responses to being betrayed. In fact, every symptom of depression, even suicidal thoughts, was elevated after partner betrayal.

However, suicidal thoughts usually disappear pretty rapidly, OK? If you seriously think about suicide as an option, I want you to call 911 immediately. I don't want you in any way to hurt yourself because of your spouse's choice to betray you. That choice was not about you—that's about them.

When you are betrayed, it affects all of your being. I just want to spend a minute or two with you and encourage you, validate you and give you hope.

If you're experiencing depression, it's valid you need to reach out for help. Don't fight this on your own. My team will be happy to help you. You can contact me here and ask the questions and get the help you need. Get the book, Partner Betrayal Trauma Workbook. This will help you understand the other symptoms that you're having so that you can get well really quickly.

Now that you know it's a real problem, take steps immediately to combat it. You need to take some steps on your own toward recovery from depression. Adopt a healthy diet. Also, you're going need to get your cortisol level checked, your thyroid checked and your hormones checked. All those are factors in depression. When you get those scores back, go see a medical doctor for antidepressants if needed. All in all, you need take care of you.

Depression is a very real part of Partner Betrayal Trauma, and it's something that needs to be treated. You don't want to stay in depression and get worse. If you remain in a state of depression from betrayal trauma for too long, it can set in and become its own problem. Also, the grief and losses you experience can exacerbate this depression. Take steps to avoid allowing this issue to get out of hand.

You deserve to take care of you! You are going to have to be your own hero in this situation. The spouse who made the bad choices and betrayed you is not going to be your hero. At least not immediately. They cannot be your hero because they need to go through their own healing.

You need to be the hero in your story. So please take care of your depression, and do that today. I want to see you heal and recover fully from your Partner Betrayal Trauma so you can go on living a life filled with joy as it should be.

Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Partner Betrayal Trauma ™. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website,, on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at

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