Common sense says that when your partner cheats on you, you will want to be done with them once and for all.
You will be angry, anxious, frustrated, heartbroken, confused, and your mind will be racing like crazy.
But what if I told you that some people get even more attracted to and aroused by their partner when they get cheated on?
I know it’s hard to believe, but this happens to a lot of people. In fact, it even has a word for it: hysterical bonding.
This phenomenon hasn’t been studied extensively, but you would be surprised by how many people can relate to it.
When this happens, they feel a greater need to hold onto their partners, going as far as sleeping with them more often and improving their sex life.
Some say that hysterical bonding happens due to the “bargaining” stage of the grief cycle.
In this stage, you are willing to do anything to not lose your partner.
You may even wonder whether being a better person or doing something different could have prevented your partner from cheating.
Obviously, this is not a healthy thing to do.
It’s not good for your present, and it’s not good for your future.
What you need to do is take some time to process what has happened.
Then, decide the fate of your relationship.
Do you want to forgive them, or do you want to move on?
Don’t let the trap of hysterical bonding keep you stuck.
Below, I am going to talk about some common signs of hysterical bonding so that you can identify whether you are trapped in it.
Then, I’ll go over the causes of this type of bonding and how you can deal with it.
- 10 Signs of Hysterical Bonding
- 1) You Wonder About The Specifics of The Affair
- 2) You Start Questioning Your Self-Worth
- 3) You Can’t Decide What You Want To Do With Your Partner
- 4) You Want To Forgive Them Just To Keep Them Around
- 5) You Want To Win Them Back
- 6) You Feel The Need To Sleep With Them
- 7) You Use Sex To Get Them Back
- 8) The Sex Is Much Better
- 9) You Are Reminded of Their Infidelity
- 10) You Feel Desperate
- 5 Causes of Hysterical Bonding
- 10 Ways To Deal With Hysterical Bonding
- 1) Give Yourself Time To Process Your Emotions
- 2) Don’t Blame Yourself
- 3) Think About How Your Relationship Was Before
- 4) Think About Forgiving Your Partner
- 5) Think About Whether You Can Trust Them Again
- 6) Consider Your Options
- 7) Take Some Time Apart
- 8) Focus On Yourself
- 9) Reach Out To Your Loved Ones
- 10) Talk To A Therapist
10 Signs of Hysterical Bonding
Understand the signs so you can check whether or not you suffer from this.
1) You Wonder About The Specifics of The Affair
This is a telltale sign that you are starting to get trapped into hysterical bonding.
It is also one of the first things people do when their partner cheats on them.
After all, it is natural to want to know the details of the affair.
You might wonder who the other person was, when it all began, how long it has been going on, and the most tormenting question of all – why did your partner do it!
It is important to keep yourself from asking these questions.
That’s because the details really don’t matter.
What matters is that your partner cheated on you.
No matter how much you try to analyze the situation, that’s what it boils down to in the end.
So, there is no use wasting your mental resources thinking about things that will only hurt you.
2) You Start Questioning Your Self-Worth
This happens to a lot of people.
Even the most self-confident people can start questioning their self-worth when their partner cheats on them.
This happens because a part of your mind makes you wonder if you were not good enough for your partner.
It makes you want to find fault in your own self so that you can explain why your partner did what they did.
However, there is no reason to think that way.
If your partner cheated, that’s on them.
Sure, there might have been problems in the relationship, but that doesn’t give them the license to cheat on you.
So, don’t torture yourself with self-limiting thoughts.
Your partner’s actions do not say anything about you!
3) You Can’t Decide What You Want To Do With Your Partner
This is another telltale sign of hysterical bonding.
It makes you want to keep your partner no matter what.
In your mind, you might want to end your relationship with them and move on, but your heart might be pushing you to keep them around.
It might conjure up all sorts of feelings and excuses to maintain the status quo.
Here’s where you need to use your logic.
Think about what would be best for you in the long term.
If you act on your sexual urges towards your partner, it might make you feel better in the short term, but what will that fix?
Will you be able to live with them knowing that they broke your trust?
4) You Want To Forgive Them Just To Keep Them Around
This is an extension of the previous point.
If you are hysterically bonded with your partner, you might want to forgive them just to keep them around.
This is wrong on so many levels.
First of all, forgiving just for the sake of forgiving doesn’t work. It will still create resentment within you and eat you from the inside in the long run.
Second of all, your partner will think that they can get away with infidelity because you forgave them so easily.
In fact, if you are the only one putting in the effort to keep the relationship alive, your partner will take you for granted.
Needless to say, they might cheat on you again in the future.
5) You Want To Win Them Back
Hysterical bonding makes you want to win your partner back.
If you think about it for a second, this is a weird and tragic situation to be in.
That’s because their infidelity makes you think that you have lost them to someone else.
Then, subconsciously, you start comparing yourself with the other person.
Then, it becomes a competition of sorts, which makes you want to win your partner back to prove that you are the better person.
Do you see how wrong this is?
Your partner cheated on you, and now you are going insane trying to win them back at all costs.
How is this dignified?
It should be your partner who does everything to gain your trust back and save the relationship.
6) You Feel The Need To Sleep With Them
As mentioned above, one of the clearest signs of hysterical bonding is that you feel more attracted to and aroused by your partner.
Somehow, knowing that someone else wants them makes you want them more.
So, you feel an unexplainable need to sleep with them.
Not only because of the renewed sense of attraction but also to declare that they are only yours (sort of like marking your territory).
This might seem odd and unthinkable to most people.
However, there are many people who experience this phenomenon.
Maybe this is why it is called “hysterical” bonding.
Hysterical, as you may know, means “affected by or deriving from wildly uncontrolled emotions.”
This makes perfect sense in this context!
7) You Use Sex To Get Them Back
So, since your partner appears extra desirable to you, you start sleeping with them.
In fact, you start using sex to get them back and keep your relationship going.
Basically, you are trying to prove to them that you are better than the person they cheated on you with.
You do this in the hopes that they choose you over them and keep your “love” alive.
Obviously, this is unhealthy.
Sex should be a celebration of love between two people.
It shouldn’t be something that is used as a strategy.
Even if it makes you feel better right now, it will certainly disturb you in the long run.
You might even regret doing all of this. After all, they are the one who cheated on you, and the onus is on them to make things better.
8) The Sex Is Much Better
When you start using sex as a tool to keep your partner around, you are bound to try a lot of different things in the bedroom.
You might even do things that you had said no to earlier.
All in the hopes that your partner will find you as the more attractive, more desirable, and the better mate.
This might lead to much better sex, but it won’t help you solve the situation.
In fact, it might make your partner respect you less. They might think that they can treat you the way they want.
And they will be more likely than ever to cheat again.
So, in the end, instead of solving your situation, things might only get worse.
9) You Are Reminded of Their Infidelity
This is where you feel crushed.
Even though you keep having more and more sex with your partner, you can’t shake the fact that they cheated on you.
In the back of your mind, there will always be that nagging feeling that will tell you that you have been gamed.
Every time you have sex with your partner, you will be left with a terrible reminder that they cheated on you.
This will make you feel guilty and bad about not doing the right thing. Your own conscience might start to haunt you!
10) You Feel Desperate
As I talked about above, when someone cheats on you, you start questioning your self-worth.
Doing so fills your head with all sorts of negative thoughts, and you eventually become desperate.
This can have some really dark consequences.
First of all, it makes you feel like you are the one at fault (when it’s clearly your partner who is in the wrong).
Secondly, you start doubting your potential as a partner.
This makes you fearful of ending your relationship with your current partner and moving on with someone else. In your mind, you feel like no one will like you.
Subconsciously, you will think that your partner cheated on you because you are not worthy of someone’s loyalty.
So you desperately keep holding on to your partner.
5 Causes of Hysterical Bonding
Why do you feel the urge to hold onto your partner?
1) You Are Still Processing What Happened
Being cheated on is a huge thing.
It is a huge breach of trust, which throws you off balance.
Suffice it to say, it is one of the worst feelings a human being can experience (the trauma of which can last a lifetime).
So, when you are in the midst of so many chaotic thoughts and feelings, it is easy to get confused. It is easy to make the wrong choices.
This is perhaps one of the main causes of hysterical bonding.
Plain and simple, you are just not thinking straight.
And your uncontrolled emotions are making you do and believe all sorts of things.
Of course, this is not your fault.
This is what you would expect when a person’s life turns upside down!
2) You Blame Yourself For The Infidelity
This is a very common cause of hysterical bonding.
As I have explained above, some people can blame themselves for their partner’s actions.
They feel like they were not enough for their partner, and that’s why they cheated on them.
Any sane person can tell you that this is completely wrong.
Every person is responsible for their own actions and blaming yourself for their mistakes is just wrong.
So, if you are in the same boat, please wake up!
Realize that you deserve to be loved and cared for. Not cheated on.
Yes, I understand that nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t give them the right to break your heart.
3) You Think That Better Sex Can Keep Them Around
Again, this is one of those delusional things that not only initiates your hysterical bonding but also keeps you stuck in it.
And at the end of the day, it solves nothing.
When your partner cheats on you, it’s easy to think that they did it because of sex.
You might wonder whether you couldn’t fulfill their sexual needs.
So, you may feel like you need to spice up things in the bedroom to keep them around.
And so, you not only have more sex than before, but you also open up to experimentation.
But let me ask you this.
No amount of sex will change the fact that they cheated on you. Even if they weren’t happy with their sex life, it doesn’t give them the excuse to cheat on you. They could have talked to you about it and done things in a much more pleasant manner.
4) Your Partner Starts To Seem More Desirable
This is one of the most apparent causes of hysterical bonding.
As a human, you have your urges.
And when it comes to sexual urges, it can sometimes be difficult to control yourself.
Especially when the other person is your partner.
Now, the strange thing is that cheating can make your partner seem more desirable to you (obviously, not everybody feels this way, but many do).
If you give in to your urges, you will start a very difficult and pointless cycle of hysterical bonding.
The more you sleep with them, the more you will get stuck.
Eventually, you will end up feeling pathetic for not doing the right thing, and matters will only get worse.
5) You Want Them Back
Ask yourself, “Is it normal to want someone back when they just cheated on you?”
No matter how much you love them, would you be able to forgive them in a heartbeat?
The answer is a clear no.
So, if you feel like you want your partner even after having your trust broken, this is a clear indication of hysterical bonding.
No doubt, this is a messy situation to be in.
And that’s why you need to think with your head and take steps to resolve the issue, once and for all.
Only then can you both move ahead with your lives. Otherwise, things will just keep degenerating.
10 Ways To Deal With Hysterical Bonding
What can you do to break the cycle of hysterial bonding and free yourself from unhealthy choices?
1) Give Yourself Time To Process Your Emotions
This is the first thing you need to do.
When something so unexpected and devastating hits you, you will obviously not be able to think straight.
So, instead of making impulsive decisions, it is better to take your own time to process your emotions.
Do not feel rushed to decide anything.
Proceed with the expectation that it might take you some time to figure it all out.
Also, don’t bury your emotions.
You might experience a whole roller-coaster of emotions, and you might become volatile. That is okay. That is just your mind making sense of what you just experienced.
Do not suppress anything. Otherwise, they will resurface later on. Instead, acknowledge how you feel and let them pass through you.
2) Don’t Blame Yourself
We have talked about this plenty in the above sections.
So, I will only tell you to not do it.
Doing so will only let your partner off the hook.
And you certainly don’t want to do that. Love and trust have to mean something, even in today’s world.
These are sacred things, and people can’t be forgiven so easily for violating them.
If your mind keeps pointing at your flaws, tell it that nobody is perfect.
If your mind wonders whether you weren’t enough, remind it of all the things you did for your partner to make them happy. You didn’t deserve to get cheated on. It’s not your fault. No matter how your mind twists the situation!
3) Think About How Your Relationship Was Before
To make sense of the situation, you can think about how your relationship was before your partner cheated on you.
Were you or your partner unhappy?
Did you have problems in your sex life?
Was your partner complaining a lot?
Did they lie to you even before the affair started?
The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about the state of your relationship before your partner cheated on you.
They will help you understand why your partner did what they did.
They might even help you realize that you are not to blame for their actions. In a way, you would be summarizing the entire relationship in your mind, which can help you close this chapter and move on with your life.
4) Think About Forgiving Your Partner
Obviously, this will be very hard to do.
It might just be the hardest thing you ever do.
But it is necessary. And you won’t be doing it for them… you would be doing it for yourself.
You would be doing it to free yourself from the horrible experience and the terrible emotions you had to endure.
Forgiveness makes the heart lighter and allows a person to look forward.
Now, forgiving your partner doesn’t mean that you give them a second chance.
You can end the relationship and still forgive them.
In the end, it’s about you.
It’s about not letting their actions haunt you for the rest of your life.
5) Think About Whether You Can Trust Them Again
This is another difficult question to answer.
A part of you might want to forgive them and give the relationship a second chance.
Not in an impulsive and hysterical manner, but after thinking about it deeply. But another part of you might wonder whether they will cheat on you again.
You might wonder whether you will have to endure all of the pain again.
In most cases, I would say that ending the relationship and moving on with your life is the best option.
However, not all relationships are the same, and situations can vary a lot from person to person.
So, you need to think long and hard about whether you can trust them and give them a second chance.
6) Consider Your Options
This is the sanest thing you can do.
Not only in this case but in any situation in your life.
Whenever you feel like you are lost or are having difficulty figuring out what to do next, you need to sit down and consider all your options.
Take a piece of paper and a pen. Then, write down all your realistic options.
Once you’ve done this, spend the next few days about which option seems the most perfect one.
Obviously, more than one option may be correct, and you will just have to let your intuition guide you.
In this case, you could either end your relationship or choose to give them a second chance.
- If you choose the first option, you could either stay single for a while or look for someone who deserves to be with you.
- If you choose the second option, you could end things amicably and forgive them.
7) Take Some Time Apart
This is another great way to help you decide what you want to do next.
Sometimes, distance can bring clarity.
Also, not only will this give you space and time to process your emotions, but it will also prevent you from falling into the trap of hysterical bonding.
You can use this time apart to rest and consider your options.
You could go to a friend’s house or even check into a hotel. The idea here is to distance yourself from your partner as well as the common spaces that you used to share.
8) Focus On Yourself
While you’re taking some time away from your partner, you should start focusing on yourself.
First of all, don’t feel rushed to make a decision (even if your partner pushes you to do so).
Take your time.
And in the meanwhile, do things that make you happy.
You certainly deserve it after the hell that you’ve been through.
You can go out and try new restaurants, meet new people, focus on your hobbies, watch movies, take care of your health, learn a new skill, and so on. Do things that will help you move forward in life.
This is important because most of the time, people fall into a vicious cycle of bad habits that keep them stuck and lost. This is not what you want to do with your life.
9) Reach Out To Your Loved Ones
No matter what hardship life throws at you, your loved ones will always be there by your side. You can always turn to them for support and guidance.
This situation is no different.
When your partner cheats on you, you should definitely reach out to your loved ones. It could be your siblings, parents, friends, or all of them.
Better yet, you could also go visit them for a while.
This will allow you to spend some time apart from your partner and feel better for once.
It will provide you with a safe space where you can start your healing process.
Also, your loved ones will be able to guide you on what you should do next.
10) Talk To A Therapist
Sometimes, things can become so complicated and dark that you need to turn to a professional.
Maybe you have gotten so deep into hysterical bonding that you need a trained expert to get you out of it.
Or maybe your trauma is taking too much of a toll on you. Regardless of what the situation is, a therapist can help you deal with it.
Another reason to see a therapist is that they will help you look at the situation objectively.
While seeking the advice of loved ones is great, they might not be able to look at the situation objectively.
On the other hand, a therapist can use their experience and tell you what your best option is. They can also guide you every step of the way so that you can come out of the situation much stronger than before.