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Do You Think Infidelity Can Cause PTSD?

I personally believe that an individual who is having emotional and/or sexual affairs can cause their partner to suffer PTSD to some degree. My p-doc said something in passing a couple of weeks ago that made me really start to think about how PTSD can come from many sources, not just violence.

After a dream I had last night, I think she is right.

Wait, of course she’s right! She is the one with a PhD in psychiatry, and since graduating in 1972, has had a lot of experience. I should have listened closer. I guess that is something we will have to talk about more during my next visit.

There is this one woman from my husband’s past who has haunted me since two years after we married. For seven long years this woman haunted my thoughts, until eventually, three years ago, she destroyed everything I knew and loved about my home, life and marriage.

How can one person have so much power over my life?

My husband has had many, many emotional affairs. I’ve always insisted he’s had physical ones too, but I can only confirm two incidents. Still, two is two too many! Anyway, this one woman is someone he had a physical relationship with prior to me. Two years after we married when we were moving, I came across a card he received from her, sent to my home, three months after we had married. In this card she says “I don’t care if you’re married, when you come home I am gonna get some of  you, Love Always…”

My heart stopped beating in my chest at that very moment.

We had already been through this whole big year-long event of him having emotional affairs with e- girlfriends, chatting with them, visiting with them; he had spent the night with another woman six weeks after we were married. It was a very horrible time in my life. I had found out I was pregnant with our first son only a few months after we were married, so I felt sort of stuck. I talked to my grandfather who I admired and looked up to, and he says to me, “baby, don’t stay married because you’re pregnant. You have to fix everything because you are pregnant. Let the pregnancy be a reason to fix it and move forward.” And I listened.

Oh, if I had only known how many times I would be “fixing” my husband’s screw-ups, I would never have stayed. My grandfather’s words have always haunted me; he passed away less than a year later. Every time something got screwed up, I could hear him in my heart telling me to fix it for my children. So I decided to never to stay married for my kids, but to work hard to fix everything that ended up broken because of my husband’s infidelities.

This crap went on for seven years. Every time I would “fix” what he screwed up, and things would be okay, he’d do it again. I mean, it wasn’t just him talking to women, although that was damaging too. We are talking about the emotional affairs where I would find him saying awful (untrue) things about me that would leave me in tears. He was the guy that lied about his life, his wife and his situation to make women go “awww, you poor thang!” and he felt good about it.

He loved that attention other women gave him for being stuck in a horrible marriage, with horrible kids, a horrible wife and a horrible life.

This back and forth nonsense that I endured for all these years has left me dealing with some PTSD. I had never really related it to his behavior but I would wake up from nightmares sweating and crying. I would hurt for days sometimes over one dream. It would usually consist of me walking in on him having sex with another woman, or finding proof he was cheating again.

See, my husband had met with this woman who wanted him (and voiced it, in writing) again when I was eight months pregnant with our fourth child. He lied to me about it, disappeared for nine hours, and then ridiculed me for being paranoid thinking he had been cheating. When I found out he was with “that” woman, I was broken. I felt the ultimate betrayal. I had forbid him years ago from ever seeing/speaking to her again, and was well within my rights. He did not respect those wishes. Not only did he maintain contact with her, he actually met with her again, more than just this once.

I still have not recovered from that moment. The moment I found out feels like yesterday.

The dreams still continue, and I had one last night that really hurt me. In the dream, I had walked in on him with that whore (mentioned above) that he had met with behind my back, and it hurt so much. It hurt just as much as it did three years ago. I know it is only a dream, but my heart still aches now over this dream. It just brought back so many feelings of hurt, betrayal and complete devastation.

Now I know for a fact that I do suffer some from PTSD relating to all the things my husband has done, but not in the same way as the rape, or other things that have happened in my life. The emotional trauma is so deep and feels as though it will never go away. It is a much different kind of suffering.

Thinking about it now, I wonder how many other women out there have been through something similar, and still suffer years later with the pain. Do you think it could be a form of PTSD?

It’s amazing how something my doctor says can suddenly make sense weeks later.

Do You Think Infidelity Can Cause PTSD?


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APA Reference
, B. (2012). Do You Think Infidelity Can Cause PTSD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2018, from


Last updated: 6 Jul 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jul 2012
Published on All rights reserved.