Maybe the infidelity was a one-time event that occurred during a drunken evening, or it may have been quite intentional—months or years of texts, phone calls, romantic dinners, and of course, sex. Perhaps it was a deeply emotional connection with one other person, or it involved one-night stands with various partners.
Not only are you left with pain, you are left with distressing questions: “How could you?” and “When did this begin?” and the deeper question of, “Why?”
I cannot tell you why your partner did this — that question will take exploration beyond the scope of this article — but I can tell you why it hurts so much.
We’re attached that way.
Meaning, we’re hardwired for connection.
As children, we sought to bond with our caregivers, and it’s been said before that what we seek in romantic relationships is to recapture some of that unconditional love that we hopefully experienced as a child. If we had nurturing parents, they responded to our cries for comfort and we were told how sweet and cute and lovable we were. In seeking to relive that same nurturing, romantic partners often call one another, “baby,” and “darling” and other adoring names.
When I say that we’re attached to others, I mean that we have an internal attachment system (or bonds) that function so as to keep us close to those we love.
In his book, Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, Matthew Liberman writes, “When human beings experience threats or damage to their social bonds, the brain responds in much the same way it responds to physical pain.”
The pain we experience in betrayal often feels like an attack on our body. It hurts like hell. It’s almost surprising just how much it can hurt. And like a physical attack