Why Is Infidelity So Painful?

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

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Bracing for contact tracing – Harvard Health Blog

What should you do if you get a call from a contact tracer letting you know you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Even our best efforts to stay well — by maintaining distance, washing hands often, restricting the size of our social circles, and wearing masks — may not keep the virus at bay as cities and towns lift restrictions.

That’s why many experts recommend three combined approaches to help prevent a dangerous resurgence of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19:

  • continued mitigation efforts, which includes preventive strategies like those described above
  • prompt access to testing, with quick turnaround on results
  • contact tracing.

What is contact tracing and who does it?

Generally, contact tracing means locating and testing people known to have been in close contact with a sick person, to prevent an illness like COVID-19 from spreading to an ever-widening circle of people. This strategy works best when case numbers are low — not high or rising fast, as they did in hot spots like New York and California in late March and early April. After the peak passes, contract tracing is feasible. It’s proven effective in countries such as Germany, China, and South Korea.

Just how can we make contact tracing work in the US? Public health authorities are trying to figure that out, even as cities and towns recruit people to train as contact tracers. In some places, contact tracers are volunteers; others are paid. And they have a variety of backgrounds, including public health workers, retired healthcare professionals, furloughed hospitality workers, and students. Being able to speak the language and understand the culture of those who will be called are major advantages. So is a healthy amount of empathy.

Three steps in contact tracing for COVID-19

While local processes vary in the

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