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Anxiety to eczema and fibromyalgia… how being cheated on affects your health

Being cheated on has far reaching repercussions besides the hurt, heartache, and anger.

Earlier this month Strictly's Seann Walsh and married dance partner Katya Jones were caught snogging in the street after weeks of flirting on and off the floor.

Comedian Seann's actress partner Rebecca Humphries dumped the love cheat… and kept their cat, while Katya and her husband Neil continue to put on a united front after the scandal.

Whatever the final outcome, being cheat on can affect your wellbeing in countless ways… if you know the pain of being betrayed – or you have a friend going through this – here are things to be aware of.

The human body can only cope with powerful emotions like hurt and anger for a limited amount of time before it has negative impacts on you.

Where we usually bounce back from many of the challenges of life, something like the pain of betrayal isn't done and dusted quite as quickly.

That means the heightened emotions roll on and on.

There's the breakup to get through, with potentially a house move and dividing up your things, and if you have children it adds a whole other level to an agonising situation, trying to be strong for them and protect them.

Even if you decide to stay together, after a fling or a full-blown affair, it still drags on while you two negotiate the broken trust and the “whys” of what went wrong.

This prolonged, heightened state of emotions keeps the stress hormone cortisol coursing through your body.

Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone and is normally used to regulate blood sugar, inflammation, and metabolism and help form memories.

But when your cortisol levels get too high, like when you’re stressed out, it can cause some unpleasant side effects.

You may notice:

  • Weight gain, especially around the face and upper abdomen
  • Acne
  • Thin skin
  • You bruise easily
  • Your face is often flushed
  • Muscle weakness
  • Severe fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches

High cortisol levels also chops away at your immune system leaving you prone to anything that's going around, like colds and flu.

You may also find any underlying conditions, like eczema, insomnia, anxiety or fibromyalgia, may explode back into your life due to the stress.

We simply cannot separate the body from the mind in these highly emotional situations.

So when you're in emotional pain it knocks your physical self too.

That’s why self-care is crucial when you're licking your wounds after infidelity.

You need to eat well, even if you've lost your appetite.

Try to ensure you get good rest, using sleep tips like watching your caffeine and booze intakes.

Plus say no to extra responsibilities – you must put yourself first while you heal.

But all of this happens before you even think about the repercussions for your emotional and mental health.

Far too often people who've been cheated on end up blaming themselves.

They start feeling they aren't worthy of love, that they weren't good enough to stop their partner straying.

This eats away at self-esteem and can leave you feeling a sense of helplessness, and that you have no control over your life, which puts you at higher risk of anxiety and depression.

One study found that those in this situation have lower confidence scores generally – in all aspects of their life, not just their relationship – than those who've never been betrayed.

Even if you don't blame yourself and you're furious with your cheating partner, it still knocks your confidence and belief in what you thought you two shared.

This means you approach future relationships with unhealthy scepticism until you recover belief in yourself to make better choices.

Or, if you stay together, you feel unsure of how to move forward.

This sense of cognitive dissonance – that everything's turned on its head yet you're still staying with the cheat – can create anxious feelings.

How a cheater is affected…

But let's not forget the love-cheat in all of these negative consequences for their behaviour.

Unless they're a cold and calculated repeat cheat who simply doesn't care about others, cheats usually feel significant remorse and regret.

Depending on their personality, they might find it impossible to forgive themselves.

This means they'll be prone to physical consequences, like those mentioned above, as well as issues of anxiety and depression over what they did.

Whichever way you look at it, infidelity takes a significant mental and physical toll on all concerned.

It's the rare person who can dismiss it fairly lightly and move on pretty much intact. You're more likely to be affected in one way or another for months or even years to come.

Follow Dr Pam on twitter ​@drpamspurr

For more advice visit  www.drpam.co.uk


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