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Can a Relationship Survive Cheating? How to Recover from Infidelity

learn how to get over infidelity with this blog article.

You’ve heard that about half of divorces are caused by infidelity, but what about the marriages that survive an affair? When that ultimate trust is broken but the choice is made to continue pursuing a committed partnership, what then? 

Getting over infidelity is hard work. It’s not easy, and it’s not necessarily the best option. For some people, parting ways after an affair is the right choice. For others, deciding to work together to move past cheating is the first step in healing and strengthening a loving relationship. 

Knowing when to stay and fix what’s been broken and when to walk away, as well as how to recover from an affair are all hard, personal questions. We’re here to help make it a little easier

Can a marriage survive infidelity?

Yes. Although it is difficult, a marriage can survive infidelity. In fact, many relationships do and become stronger because of it. 

First, ask yourself if you want your marriage to survive. For many people, being cheated on is a full-stop red flag. It’s a betrayal they will not forgive. Once that boundary has been crossed, there’s no going back. 

There is nothing wrong with this stance. If an affair has sent you reeling, and you decide not to pursue mending the relationship, take some time for your own mental health. Even if you’re not working on a marriage after infidelity, the emotional blow of being cheated on stings. Take some space and focus on meeting your needs. 

If you decide that this relationship is worth healing, ask your partner if they feel the same way. Healing from an affair requires 100% commitment from both sides. If they express remorse, regret, and a willingness to change, then you are already on your way towards healing your marriage after infidelity.

Why do affairs happen?

If you’re reeling from an affair but are determined to make it work with your spouse, there is hope. Many marriage counselors have found client’s relationships bloom after infidelity. As awful and hard as it is, cheating is often the noticeable crack that pushes couples to address the problems that have been festering in their relationship for a while. Although the crack is painful, it gives both partners the chance to address long-term issues and build a stronger foundation. 

Here are some reasons why affairs happen: 

  1. Unconsciously or consciously wanting to end the relationship
  2. Seeking validation or intimacy that they are not getting in the relationship
  3. Problems with impulse control and instant gratification
  4. Desire for a self-esteem boost and validation

In general, cheating doesn’t happen in healthy relationships. Usually, an affair is a sign that emotional and physical needs are not being met or there has been a breakdown in communication. 

Note that even if a relationship is not fully healthy, that is not an excuse for cheating. An affair is still harmful, whatever the reason. However, it can help when recovering from an affair to understand the why behind it.

The aftermath of infidelity

So you’ve decided to learn how to move past cheating and embrace marriage after infidelity. Before we get into how to recover from an affair, let’s get some things clear. No matter how the affair happened or what you and your partner are deciding to do about it, some truths are always clear:

  • It hurts. 
  • Forgiveness will be hard. 
  • Healing will be a process, possibly a long one. 
  • Trust will come and go, so the commitment to trust must remain strong. 

After an affair, it’s also perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions. You might be feeling: 

  • Outraged
  • Ashamed
  • Heartbroken
  • Depressed
  • Betrayed
  • Guilty 

It’s possible you’ll experience grief for the relationship you thought you had. All of these and more are reasonable reactions to finding out about an affair. You are not being unreasonable or emotional. You are allowed to have your reactions. 

Before you begin the process of healing from an affair, you have to make sure you and your partner are on the same page as to what recovering from infidelity will entail. To move past cheating, you’ll need:

  • Both partners’ full commitment. 
  • The cheater taking responsibility. 
  • The victim offering full forgiveness. 
  • An understanding that affairs often stem from underlying problems that arose from both partners and will need to be addressed to set the foundation for a strong, healthy marriage. 

Most affairs don’t spring from nothing: there was a crack in the foundation of the marriage that gave space for this affair to grow. It doesn’t make it right, but it can help to understand. That’s why healing from an affair requires recognition on both sides for their faults and downfalls in marriage. Infidelity is first and foremost a breakdown of communication, and communication is a two-way road. 

At this stage, there’s no point in trying to “rank” mistakes. Whether you are the cheater or the one who was cheated on, it is important to own up to all your mistakes and misunderstandings—big and small.

How to recover from an affair

This is just one way you could go about recovering from an affair. It is not the only way, but no matter how you move past cheating, two things must happen: one party has to take accountability and the other party has to forgive. 

  1. Take space: Don’t make any long-term decisions right away. Take physical space if needed for as long as you need. 
  2. Be honest: When it’s time for your initial conversation, be sure to be fully honest. Honesty after an affair is one of the key factors in if you can fix the marriage after infidelity. 
  3. Listen: Emotions will still be high, and it might be difficult to simply listen to your partner as they tell you what happened. Take breaks if needed, but refrain from telling them your side until after they are fully done. 
  4. Take Accountability: Accountability is different than blame. If you are serious about continuing this relationship and healing from it, accountability must occur. 
  5. Offer forgiveness when able: This does not have to occur right away. It doesn’t have to occur within the first week, month, or year. Forgiveness is yours to give, but make sure that you mean it when it’s given. If you’re serious about continuing the relationship, you need to forgive.
  6. Come up with a plan: What will your new boundaries look like? Do you want nightly check-ins, their location turned on, or weekly therapy sessions? What does a healthy relationship look like, and what are the steps to get there? This is a conversation you can (and should) come back to as your relationship grows and changes. 
  7. Keep your Promises: Probably one of the most important steps of recovering from an affair—keep your promises! If you’ve agreed to the recovery plan you and your spouse have laid out, then stick to it. If you find it difficult to meet all the stipulations or don’t agree with something, talk it out. Trust has to be won back, and it is unlikely to happen if it is lost again. 
  8. Check-In: Communication is key. As you’re recovering from infidelity, check in often with your spouse’s emotions. How do they feel about what happened and where the relationship is going? Do they have any new thoughts about the matter? Have they felt loved, and if not, how can you meet their needs? Ask questions and then respond in turn. 

Reach out for help: Marriage counseling is a great resource for couples struggling to move forward from infidelity. They are trained to handle these sorts of situations and have experience in walking other couples down a similar path. Couples counseling and marriage therapy are great tools to reignite your connection, build better communication, and have a healthier relationship.

Enough is Enough: When to Walk Away

Many times, the issue surrounding infidelity can be healed. If communication breaks down, partners can learn to communicate better. They can learn to meet each other’s needs and trust again. 

However, an abusive or toxic relationship will not get better after trust is reinstated. In fact, it could get worse. 

If you recognize the below signs of an abusive relationship, we encourage you to talk to a mental health professional. These signs of abuse are not okay in any relationship. 

  • Physical abuse: hitting, slapping, choking, pushing
  • Threat of physical abuse
  • Gaslighting: placing all blame on you, making your problems feel insignificant. 
  • Emotional abuse: name calling, constant criticizing, humiliating you, yelling, blaming
  • Controlling where you go, the money you spend, and who you talk to

Couples Counseling

Discovering that your partner has had an affair can be a devastating blow to any relationship. At Lifebulb, we understand the pain and betrayal that couples go through during this difficult time. However, we firmly believe that with the right support and guidance, it is possible for couples to recover and rebuild trust. Marriage counseling can be a lifeline during this journey. Our experienced therapists offer a safe and non-judgmental space where both partners can explore their emotions, communicate effectively, and work toward healing. Through specialized techniques and evidence-based approaches, we help couples address underlying issues, rebuild intimacy, and create a stronger, more resilient relationship. While healing from an affair can be challenging, our compassionate therapists are here to empower you and guide you toward a brighter future together. Remember, it is possible to overcome this hurdle and create a relationship that is even stronger than before. Take the first step towards healing by booking a marriage counseling session with Lifebulb Therapy today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, a marriage can survive infidelity, but it takes commitment and hard work from both partners. At Lifebulb Therapy, we believe that every relationship has the potential for healing and growth, even after an affair. Our experienced therapists offer specialized couples counseling to support you and your partner throughout the healing process. We provide a safe and non-judgmental space where both partners can communicate effectively, build trust, and create a stronger, more resilient relationship. With the right support and guidance, it is possible to overcome the pain and betrayal that comes with infidelity and create a brighter future together.

 Recovering from an affair takes time, effort, and commitment from both partners. At Lifebulb Therapy, we offer evidence-based approaches and techniques to guide couples through the process of healing and rebuilding trust. Our therapists support both partners in exploring their emotions, communicating effectively, and addressing underlying issues that contributed to the affair. We also help couples create a roadmap for moving forward, including developing healthy coping skills and rebuilding intimacy. Recovering from an affair can be a challenging journey, but with the right support and guidance, it is possible to create a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.

 The reasons for infidelity can be complex and varied. At Lifebulb Therapy, we believe that infidelity is a symptom of underlying issues in the relationship. Our therapists work with both partners to explore the root causes of the affair and address any underlying issues that may have contributed to it. We also help couples develop healthy communication patterns, strengthen their emotional connection, and build trust. By addressing the underlying issues and developing healthy coping skills, couples can overcome the pain of infidelity and create a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.

 Yes, marriage therapy can be an effective tool in recovering from infidelity. At Lifebulb Therapy, we specialize in couples counseling and have helped many couples overcome the pain and betrayal of infidelity. Our therapists offer a safe and supportive environment where couples can communicate effectively, build trust, and develop healthy coping skills. We provide evidence-based approaches and techniques to guide couples through the healing process and help them create a stronger, more resilient relationship. Whether you're looking to rebuild trust, address underlying issues, or develop healthy communication skills, our therapists are here to support you on your journey towards healing and growth.

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