How to Repair a Relationship After Cheating

8 Ways to Repair Your Relationship After Cheating

How to Repair a Relationship After Cheating

So she dug your key into the side of your pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive — oh wait, did you not cheat on Carrie Underwood?

Regardless of whom you hurt by being unfaithful and how he or she reacted, there’s no question that infidelity can really shake up any romantic relationship. Research has found that about one in five Americans in monogamous relationships say they’ve cheated at least once.

But infidelity doesn’t always mean the end of a relationship. For the unfaithful as well as the betrayed partner, here are 8 ways to cope and rebuild a healthy partnership after cheating:

1. Don’t automatically assume the relationship is doomed

Once your partner finds out that you’ve been involved with someone else (or once you fess up), it might seem the easiest thing to do is run. But relationship experts say leaving a damaged partnership can sometimes be a cop out — a way to avoid taking responsibility or recognizing your own faults.

Instead, assume that staying together is equally possible, if you’re willing to put in the hard work required. In fact, sex and relationship researcher Dr. Kristen Mark told Bustle, «If a couple can get through an infidelity and restore the trust in the relationship …

they can come out the other side a stronger couple.»

2. Acknowledge that you’ve created a problem

It might seem simple, but if you don’t come to terms with the fact that you messed up, and therefore messed up the relationship, the healing process won’t go anywhere.

Instead, whenever you're apologizing for something hurtful, recognize that you made a mistake that caused your partner pain.

Even if the affair was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems in your relationship — problems for which you blame your partner — you’ve got to take responsibility for your personal transgressions.

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3. Figure out what drove you to cheat

Maybe it happened after the office holiday party, where you suddenly noticed that the guy who shares a cubicle with you looks a lot better when he isn’t hunched over a spreadsheet. Even so, infidelity is rarely the result of a momentary lapse in judgment or attraction to someone else. Instead, writes psychologist Dr.

Peggy Drexler, it’s important to get to the real root of the issue.

Did you feel lonely in your current relationship? Did you feel a consistent lack of sexual gratification from your partner (an especially common reason women cheat)? Whatever the problem, try to figure it out so you can understand why you made your mistakes and don’t end up repeating them.

4. Cut off communication with the other man or woman

It goes without saying that the first step to repairing a relationship after infidelity is ending the affair, but that means more than no longer having sex with the other person.

As the Mayo Clinic points out, truly recommitting to your relationship means ceasing all interaction with the person you cheated on your partner with. It’s not going to be easy, especially if you’ve developed feelings for that other person or were used to seeing him/her on a regular basis.

Still, you need to be able to promise your partner that the affair is over for good and that you’re totally committed to moving forward in the current relationship.

5. Limit the times when you talk about the infidelity

Once the unfaithfulness comes to light, it’s easy for both partners to end up talking about it constantly — why it occurred, exact details of where and when it happened, etc. But psychologist Dr.

Coleman suggests that you two should instead give yourselves about 15 minutes every day to discuss the betrayal, and then move on. (The betrayed partner can decide when he/she is ready to talk less, or stop talking, about the infidelity.

) That’s because positive distraction — whether that’s seeing a movie or going out to dinner together — can be really important for the future of the relationship and for the happiness of both partners.

6. Give your partner time to heal

In an ideal world, the unfaithful partner could just say, “I’m sorry” and win back the other partner’s affection. But in the real world, writes Dr. Coleman, it can take at least a year for the betrayed partner to feel that he/she is able to trust you again.

If the betrayed partner wants to talk about the infidelity (within the limits that you’ve already established — see above), give him/her the opportunity. Shutting him/her down or implying that he/she should be “over it” already will only make the situation worse.

7. Be honest with yourself and with your partner

After weeks, months, or even years of dishonesty, relationship experts say that one of the most important steps to repairing the relationship is being completely open and honest. If your partner has a question about the affair, answer it to the best of your ability.

After all, it would be pretty awful if you kept certain details hidden, only to have them surface later on. The most important thing to remember is to «always [be] looking through your partner's eyes» says Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring, author of After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful.

That might mean letting your partner know if you receive an email from the person you were involved with, and if you decide to respond.

8. Seek professional help

Not every duo will decide to engage in couples therapy, and that’s okay. But keep in mind that a licensed therapist can help the two of you figure out how to move past the affair by thinking about the factors that motivated one person to be unfaithful. The therapist can also help you come up with specific ways to restore trust and maintain a stable partnership.

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You Cheated, Now What? Healing Your Relationship After Your Affair — Therapy Blog

How to Repair a Relationship After Cheating

The discovery or revelation of infidelity is one of the most difficult events a relationship can experience. In many couples, there is a sudden upheaval of emotion that threatens to swallow both partners whole.

If you have ever searched the internet for answers, you may have found a great deal of support for the partner who experienced the betrayal; for the “wayward” partner, not so much. Being a partner who was unfaithful, yet wishes to reconcile, can be very lonely.

This article aims to offer some help with navigating the choppy waters of trying to heal your relationship after your affair.

Your Decision

Before beginning the process of healing your relationship, seriously consider if you want to salvage it. Many wayward partners struggle with the idea of returning to the relationship the way it was before. Some partners are unfaithful because their primary partnership is failing.

The idea of returning to that experience may seem almost too painful to bear. Infidelity recovery is a difficult process, so the decision to attempt reconciliation cannot be taken lightly. Before offering reconciliation to your partner, you must decide if that is what you truly want.

Find a Therapist

In most cases, reconciliation requires that you end any contact with your affair partner(s). This may challenge you to formally end the affair, endure the potential embarrassment, and grieve the loss.

This is typically necessary to demonstrate your good-faith effort to rebuild. If you are not ready to end your auxiliary relationship(s) (no matter how trivial this may seem), recovery may not be a viable path for your current relationship.

To recover from infidelity requires that you decide to do what it takes to rebuild.

Your “Why”

Many wayward partners are relieved when affairs are discovered because they are no longer in bondage to their secrets. After discovery, the wayward partner may be eager to discuss what was wrong in the relationship that caused them to stray.

This conversation is necessary for healing, but immediately after discovery/revelation may not be the best time for it. The betrayed partner is ly reeling from the knowledge and trying to make sense of a new reality. They may be so consumed with wanting to know all the facts about the infidelity that they may not be able to truly hear “why.

” Even if they ask, they may not be able to comprehend the answer in a way that brings them healing.

Allowing the injured partner to set the pace of the recovery process is crucial to its success. Know that your honesty in answering the seemingly never-ending questions will allow your partner to eventually come to the “why” of the affair story. In the meantime, self-reflection may help a wayward partner to heal.

Exploring how you found yourself in this situation and what needs you were attempting to meet will be key in the process … later.

Journaling, talking with a trusted friend, or individual therapy can allow you the safe space you need to find answers to the deeper questions without causing more damage to your hurting partner right now.

Weathering the Storms

As a wayward partner, the agony of discovery/revelation may seem too expansive to contain.

Some partners who have been unfaithful experience depressive symptoms as they find themselves thrust from the safety of their secret.

Wayward partners may find themselves consumed with extremely low thoughts of self, only to have their injured partner echo those thoughts. The combination of guilt, shame, hurt, and betrayal seems to be a perfect storm.

Recovering from infidelity is not a linear process. Some days a couple may see glimpses of where they want their relationship to be, only to find they feel they have gone back to step one the next day. Effective recovery is an upward trend.

It may not seem it, but the storm cannot rage on forever. Some days you may find the sting of betrayal is not as powerful as it was in the beginning.

Wayward partners who learn the skill of finding the hurt under the rage may be better positioned to calm the storms in themselves and their partners.

In my practice, couples learn that even the most injured partners are looking for the wayward partner to understand the hurt the infidelity has caused. We learn that if pain is acknowledged and empathy is given, the anger can usually subside over time.

Recovering from infidelity is not a linear process. Some days a couple may see glimpses of where they want their relationship to be, only to find they feel they have gone back to step one the next day. Effective recovery is an upward trend.

Through the good days and bad days, the couple may find the lows are not as low as when they began and the highs are more frequent.

Understanding the process and being focused on the goal of reconciliation can help a couple cope when emotions are running high.

Lower Your Defenses

One of the most important lessons for a wayward partner is to learn to avoid being defensive. Defensiveness can take many forms. Avoiding or dismissing the severity of the infidelity are only a few ways you can be seen as defensive.

Blaming your partner for your infidelity is also defensive and may be detrimental to your partner’s healing. Being defensive also destroys the injured partner’s safety. A wayward partner who consistently takes responsibility for their actions may help their partner to heal faster.

When they attack hurt, an injured partner wants to believe there is remorse. To show remorse and empathy allows the hurt partner to get what they need in order to heal.

Defending against attack is a natural human response. You may find it useful to think of a partner’s anger as an attack on the distress they are experiencing. Hurt partners may scream, cry, or seem cold in an attempt to rid themselves of pain.

Be careful to notice if your relationship is becoming abusive; if so, get help immediately. If your partner is not abusive, to defend against the attack may mean the injured partner is left with this pain. Taking the burden of this suffering may be the act of love that the hurt partner needs in the wake of discovery/revelation.

This can help to reestablish trust when you are determined to make amends for the hurt.


Relationships can heal from infidelity. The process is not without its challenges, but it is possible. A couple typically does best when they are determined to work through the pain to get to the healing on the other side.

If you are considering reconciliation, you must first decide that rebuilding is your true goal if you want to be successful. Both partners will need to find healing in the pain of an affair, perhaps at different times. Allowing an injured partner to guide the recovery process is important for their healing.

If you are able to weather the storms that come without being defensive, you may be more ly to succeed in the recovery process.

Infidelity does not have to mean the demise of your partnership. If you are willing to work through this challenge, perhaps with a nonjudgmental therapist guiding the process, your love for one another can emerge stronger than before.

© Copyright 2017 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Deidre A. Prewitt, MSMFC, LPC, Topic Expert

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.


Can You Repair Your Relationship After Infidelity?

How to Repair a Relationship After Cheating

On the 11th track of Lemonade, All Night, Beyoncé sings:

“Boy nothing real can be threatened

True love breathes salvation back into me

With every tear came redemption

And my torturer became my remedy”

That is what I was aiming for. Now I know I should’ve stopped our personal journey after track 4, Sorry.

“Middle fingers up, put them hands high

Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye

Tell him, boy, bye, boy, bye

Middle fingers up, I ain’t thinking ‘bout you”

How to avoid this mistake

The act of cheating is very polarising. Some people will tell you that cheaters are the worst kind of people out there, and if you take them back you condone their behavior. But none of these people actually know what the right thing is for you to do. Other people will tell you to look away. They had been cheated on too, and they are doing great now.

Knowing that other people went through the same, is comforting. But comparing their situation to yours doesn’t help. You never know what is going on behind closed doors. And just because so-and-so is now very happy, that doesn’t mean copying them will make you happy.

Of course, there are some best practices when it comes to rebuilding trust. And there is no harm in looking for those. But please remember that what you are going through isn’t rare, but it is unique. And only you know what works for you. Comparison always leads to frustration.

Mistake #4: demanding details

I have seen pictures I cannot unsee.

I have read emails I cannot unread.

I have heard words I cannot unhear.

I thought I wanted to know it all. As if more secrets would hurt more.

I was wrong. Demanding details doesn’t help.

There were details he refused to give, so I hacked his secret email. And then I knew it all.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

And it didn’t set anyone free, it only added insult to injury. Knowing who was on top, didn’t add any value to my life.

Mistake #5: being the only one to do the work

After Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé, he did the work. He owned up to his mistakes and worked on himself to become his best self. Not only for Beyoncé but also for their daughter and for himself.

They rebuilt the trust together. They hurt together, learned together, and grew together.

My ex hated going to therapy together, because “it made him realize how bad he treated me.” He didn’t want to own up to his mistake, he just wanted me to come back home and never mention it again.

So I made the mistake to do all the work by myself. I forced him to go to therapy. I reminded him to do his homework. I was dealing with the consequences of his actions, while he hid from them and went on with life as usual.

I learned the hard way that you can’t rebuild trust by yourself. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink.

Mistake #6: hanging on too long

Six months after canceling our wedding and moving our house, I moved back in. Another 18 months later, he kicked me out.

He told me I had changed. I wasn’t sweet and nice and accommodating anymore. He used to look at me and feel love, but now when he looked at me he only felt guilt. So he didn’t want to look at me anymore and I had to go. As soon as possible, because he really didn’t living together anymore.

I was in shock. He’d begged me to come back and now I was told to leave?

Part of me was very aware of the fact that I’d been flogging a dead horse for years, and that I had lost the race before it had even started. But another part of me still clung to this stubborn idea that if he’d just change his entire personality and invent a time machine, we could be happy.

By staying too long, my mental health took a serious hit.

I try to not see the years we had together as a waste of time. I learned a great deal and there were some fun times. But the sad truth is that we’ve never been right for each other and there is nothing I could have done to turn what we had into a healthy and stable relationship.

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