How to get past the affair
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How to get past the affair



For more free tips, insights and advice on how to survive infidelity, visit

For more free tips, insights and advice on how to survive infidelity, visit



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How to get past the affair How to get past the affair Document Transcript

  • How To Get Past the Affair: 7 Tips Everyone Should KnowWhen a partner is unfaithful, it may seem impossible to move beyond the betrayal.Thinking about the details of the infidelity or wondering what you may have done tocause it, are common thoughts. For the partner who is on the receiving end of thebetrayal, surviving infidelity is possible.It is also possible for the relationship to survive and in fact, couples can build a strongerand a more intimate connection. It takes a strong commitment from both partners alongwith couples and individual therapy to help open communication, rebuild trust, and healfrom the betrayal.Often, a common cause of infidelity is the deterioration of intimacy. One partner mayfeel a lack of importance or that passion has left the marriage/relationship. Infidelity isa symptom not the cause of relationship struggles, therefore being proactive inmaintaining a healthy relationship from the beginning decreases the chances of infidelityfrom happening. When infidelity happens, there are ways to move through the healingprocess.7 Tips to Help Work through the Healing Process1. Process the grief and angerGoing through the betrayal of infidelity can often feel similar to a break up or major loss.You may experience feelings of abandonment and/or rejection. It is not uncommon forinfidelities to trigger past hurts that interfere with the current pain. It is important toseparate what may be old/past partner struggles from the current infidelity to avoidprojection from the past.In the Kübler-Ross model, also known as The Five Stages of Grief, feelings includedenial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may experience any or allof these at any given time. It is helpful to be aware of these feelings and the stages asyou and your partner begin to repair your relationship.
  • 2. Listen and answer your partner’s questions regarding the affairDr. John Gottman, Ph.D, who has been conducting marital therapy research for almost30 years, states that “the only way that I think you can let go of past hurt and betrayal isby having those hurts listened to and honored. There has to be not only forgiveness, butalso restitution for past wrongs.” Often the betrayed partner will want to revisit,sometimes repeatedly, the details of the infidelity itself.It is important that his/her spouse answer those questions, truthfully, willingly, andpatiently. The betrayed may think that going over details will help them to understanddeeper questions about their own feelings of inadequacy. The betrayed partner may bewondering what they did to cause this and will need to forgive themselves for perceivedfaults.3. Allow spaceDuring the process of healing, each partner should be allowed privacy to feel andacknowledge all the emotions associated with the infidelity in a safe environment. Thereis a time for sharing and a time for internalizing. Learning how to create a balance willfoster a sense of safety in the relationship. Depending on how each partner processesemotion, externally or internally, some will need more space than others and it isimportant to honor that. When partners need space it does not always mean they don’tlove each other.4. Look forwardThere is often a desire for the betrayed to go repeatedly over the details thinking that itwill soothe them to know more, but at a certain point looking back becomes damaging.Each person often wants to feel loved and trusted again. Healing from infidelityrequires the couple to begin to repair and start to imagine rebuilding a life togetheragain. This can mean forgiving oneself and each other for the areas in which they maynot have been able to maintain the intimacy needed to sustain a healthy relationship.
  • 5. Avoid blame and shameAs time passes the betrayed may find themselves thinking that they trust their partneragain but get stuck in patterns of blame and shame. If this happens, it may be a signthat the relationship is not fully repaired. Continuing patterns of blame and shame cancreate more destructive behaviors that may lead eventually to separation. Dr. JohnGottman states, “The reason people stay in destructive relationships is that they havetrouble giving up the dream of what their partner could be like.Often it takes a critical event for people to give up a false dream.” Giving up falsedreams and desires to make one’s partner someone they are not can lead to strongeremotional bonds after the infidelity. It takes full acceptance of the actuality of yourpartner rather than who you might want them to be.6. Become aware of each other’s emotional needs and learn to meet themOften couples don’t want to think they have needs but the reality is that we all havethem and it is crucial that each partner understand and respectfully work towardsmeeting the desired needs. Identify your needs, express them to your partner, andhave a realistic and honest discussion about your partner’s capacity to meet thoseneeds. Realize your partner will not be able to meet all your needs. Willard F. Harley,Jr., clinical psychologist writes in his book His Needs, Her Needs (Flemming H. Revel,2001), “When you have finally learned to meet each other’s most important emotionalneeds, your love and your relationship will become stronger than ever.”7. Rebuild intimacyPartners can mistake rebuilding intimacy by working on sexual intimacy only. Trueintimacy is more complex and is the key to understanding the full potential for love. Inan article entitled Sex and the Search for Intimacy, Dick Purnell wrote, “Today, the wordintimacy has taken on sexual connotations. But it is much more than that; it includes allthe different dimensions of our lives – yes, the physical, but also the social, emotional,mental and spiritual aspects as well. Intimacy really means total life sharing.” View slide
  • Following these tips can help to begin the healing process. It is important to rememberthat couples need help to work through the repair process of infidelity with aprofessional couples and/ or individual therapist. Time heals if each partner commits tothe relationship in a loving, caring and respectful way.About the authorLearn more about Rebecca Downing, LMHC at or join herprofessional page on Facebook at Rebecca Downing, LMHC.For more free tips, insights and advice from hundreds of experts and authors oninfidelity, visit View slide