As a life coach that facilitates in person and online marriage counselling,
I have supported countless couples around the world, navigate their way through life after infidelity.
When a person cheats in a relationship, it can really rock both individuals to their core. It can create a lot of mistrust, bring up feelings of anger and resentment, and change how the couple feels about one another. It can be difficult when the person who has cheated is trying their best to repair the damage they have caused, rebuild the relationship and trust, but it is equally as difficult for the person who has been cheated on to trust their partner again and deal with the feelings of betrayal. This person might start lashing out verbally – calling their partner names and more as a means of coping with what has happened and letting their anger out.
When someone reacts this way to their partner cheating, it can be difficult for the person who has cheated to know what to do. They may feel so guilty that they caused pain to their loved one but struggle to make it right because of the anger and resentment or name-calling they have to deal with, so they wonder if they should leave.
In this article, I want to share with you a case study of a couple who contacted me for support because of a work affair and how it impacted their connection and relationship with one another. I strongly believe, with the right tools and support, and having a proper couple counselling couples can heal their relationship after an affair, so to end today, I will share my most successful tips on how to move forward together after someone has cheated in the relationship. They have to deal with verbal abuse.
Case Study 1 – Reza and Amina found me after searching for anger management in Dubai. We booked an initial call together where it was soon evident that there had been a case of cheating, which contributed to the anger and resentment that was present in their relationship.
Reza admitted to cheating on Amina a year ago with someone from his workplace. Initially, it started off platonic, and Amina was aware of their work relationship, but soon it she noticed he was spending more and more time at work – going in early and leaving later, having more work-related nights out. Amina trusted him and didn’t make a fuss when he was saying he was working so much, but then one night, Reza left his work laptop on, and she noticed a lot of emails from this particular woman. The emails were highly inappropriate for colleagues, and as Amina read each email between the two, her heart sank as she realized all those work-related nights out were actually Reza and this woman going out on dates together.
Amina was left feeling so angry for so many reasons; she believed him when he said he was working, she didn’t give him any grief for working so much because she thought he was doing this for his family, she took on the burden of all house related things like making sure bills were paid, the kids were fed and clothed etc whilst assuming he was working. When instead, he was living a double life.
Once Amina confronted Reza, she gave him a chance to choose what he wants – his family or this other woman. Reza chose his family and really regretted what he had done when he saw the impact it had on Amina. He was able to continue cheating because he didn’t see the aftermath of Amina knowing, but now that she knew, he was heartbroken that he had done this to the mother of his two children and college sweetheart. He knew he had to make changes, and he wanted to prove himself.
The months that followed were extremely difficult for both Amina and Reza. Reza felt so guilty about what had happened and was so thankful that Amina was giving him another chance, but it was becoming difficult for him to know how to help repair their marriage.
Amina was struggling to let her feelings go. She felt so angry at the betrayal and so scared to let her guard down because he had hurt her so much. He had broken her trust completely, not only in him but also in relationships. When she would go out to the mall or a restaurant, she would look at other couples and think, oh they are probably cheating on you. She saw love and romance as fake. She didn’t know how to deal with loving Reza; she liked it but also didn’t feel he deserved to get off so lightly. So she struggles to forgive. There were moments where Reza would innocently forget to do something like, taking the garbage out, and Amina’s anger would escalate from 0-100 within seconds because she had so much pent-up anger inside her, she would lash out at the smallest of things – calling him names such as “incompetent fool” or yelling “you’re not capable of doing anything right!” “You have ruined us, ruined the kid’s life, destroyed everything.”
There were also moments where the family were having a great weekend together, but Amina’s thoughts would send her in a spiral of negativity, and she bombarded him with aggressive questions. Sometimes the questioning would last all night until 3 am, and other times start in the night at 5 am. Reza was very patient at first, but after this happening weeks, months, and a year later, he also began to lose hope that the marriage could survive it.
Amina felt so insecure and alone. She felt like she was losing her mind; she felt she had lost the happy, calm, and caring Amina for good. She sometimes also blamed herself for being so stupid, so naïve and trusting. Reza was exhausted; he wondered if it was best to separate; he was so worried the children would be more affected by the angry outbursts than a broken home. He was deeply sorry and felt like his actions showed that he regretted what he did, but this wasn’t enough. Reza was being verbally attacked daily; he stayed because he genuinely wanted to make his relationship work and wanted to undo the damage his actions had caused but didn’t know how to navigate through it. Unfortunately, it was mentally bringing him down too, and he began to slip into depression himself.
Amina felt bad about the constant lashing out at Reza, and at the same time, she felt like she couldn’t help it. He made her so mad, and she had never experienced anything like the hurt, rage, and panic the whole thing had caused. When we worked together in a 3-day breakthrough session to restore calmness and peace in her mind. It became clear that the affair had awakened many horrible experiences in her childhood. She was ignored by her mum and bullied by her old brother. Where she felt helpless, unsafe, and disregarded. Releasing these strong emotions and feeling more confident in herself and appearance, we were able to discuss a plan for her to calmly assess if she wanted the relationship or not. She decided she did it together then we did some group coaching to set the actions to rebuild trust and connection. This included ways to make sex more enjoyable for them both, dedicated couple time, and a change in the in-laws involvement.
When a person cheats on their partner, it can be easy for both to slip into fear and hopelessness. Many people reach out to me on a regular basis saying things like, “Nicola, I know I did wrong and caused pain, but how long does the punishment last? Nicola, how long do I need to keep being verbally abused?” or “I hate myself for what I have done, but how do I handle the constant negative comments putting me down?” Or “I feel so drained and tired, I know what I did was bad, but this is a living hell – I am not sure how long I can take it – please help me to help them and us. I can’t take much more abuse.”
There is no timeline as everyone will experience the hurt and shattered trust in different ways. All the person who cheated can do is be reliable, consistent, giving, and kind. This may not ever be enough, though, because the change to stop the verbal abuse has to come from them.
For them to break free – they need to decide they are ready and want to stop the negative thoughts, images, and triggers. They have to decide that they have had enough and want to exit the loop of destruction; only then can I help someone. If someone enjoys or is attached to the unhappiness, they feel comfortable there, or it has some benefits they can stay stuck for much longer.
For example: some I have helped to release the past worry if they forgive, they might forget and be made a fool of again. Others believe that holding onto it and reminding their spouse, digging at them consistently will protect them from it not happening again. Of course, this could not be further from the truth; holding on to things only hurts the mind, body, and relationship, plus children if you have them. When we hold onto stress, anger, resentment, fear, we don’t sleep well; many people also experience stomach problems or aches and pains and feel off.
Same with holding on to it, so they feel the same pain you did. Sadly, lashing out is also a way of preventing true healing from the pain. Not to mention repairing the relationship if that is the goal.
That’s why when individuals and couples come to me for relationship coaching, I say to them, sorry, it won’t work until we first clear the past individually. So often, the person who has cheated goes first because they need to get to the root of WHY they cheated with an expert in this to make sure we understand and remove the root of it and often why they lied and continued to lie despite being begged for the truth. This helps them give the betrayed partner some understanding and peace when they can see where and what caused it.
Then often, the other books an individual breakthrough session to release the past and negative repetitive thoughts. To become more balanced, calm, and confident. Then they are ready to do some couple sessions, redesigning the future, improving connection, intimacy or communication.
If you can resonate with any of the points I’ve mentioned – whether you are the person who has cheated or the person who has been cheated on, here are some things to consider that I hope will help you both work towards a healthier and happier relationship –
Marriage Counseling Dubai It is important to understand if the verbal abuse is a new thing or something that has been happening for a while –
1, Has it been a constant in the relationship? If your partner has been verbally abusive for a while, you might find that this is a contributing factor to low self-esteem. Low self-esteem has been highly linked to cheating. It can be easy to fall into the trap of seeking comfort elsewhere if you are constantly being put down, being called horrible names, and feeling insecure in your relationship. Although, cheating is not the way to handle this kind of situation. Building your own self-worth is. I see it so often where partners are scared to confront their partners, so instead, they choose to turn to others and get that comfort or security outside of their relationship.
If this is something you can relate to, I would strongly advise seeking professional help to either work on feeling good in yourself and life or with your partner to bridge the communication gap between you. Finding out the root cause of any abuse can help you both learn the right techniques to move forward as individuals and as a couple.