Can You Ever Fully Recover from an Affair?

When you first discover an affair, your feelings of rage and sadness can be overwhelming. You are not alone; that is a very natural and normal reaction to the massive betrayal of trust that you’ve experienced. It’s ok to feel hurt and angry, among other things.

Although it may not seem like it right away, many couples are able to go on to have happy and fulfilling relationships after infidelity—if they are willing to put in the work required for affair recovery. It is important to know that the affair will always be a part of the story of your relationship going forward, although it doesn’t always have to be the defining feature. (And likewise, if you decide to split up after discovering infidelity, know you don’t have to carry the baggage forward into future relationships with yourself and others.) 

At Well Marriage Center, we’ve helped thousands of individuals and couples dealing with affairs, many of whom successfully rebuilt their relationship after an affair was discovered. The intense feelings of hurt, betrayal, and guilt that occur in the early stages of healing are likely to fade eventually, but there will be a lasting change to the relationship.

Working through these damaging feelings and making changes to your relationship are a big part of how to heal from infidelity trauma. Some couples even report that their relationship improves over what it was like before the affair, after all the work and healing has been done.

Can You Be Traumatized by Infidelity?

Yes, it is not uncommon for cheated-on partners to experience symptoms of trauma when they discover their spouse’s infidelity. These trauma responses, which may go on for months or years, might include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Severe anxiety, including shortness of breath and heart palpitations
  • Uncontrollable thoughts
  • Emotional numbness
  • Erratic behaviors or moods
  • Sleeping problems, like insomnia or extreme fatigue
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • A massive drop in self-worth and self-esteem

For some partners, these trauma responses may be relatively short-lived, but for others, they can last longer and even be debilitating. In these circumstances, a partner may be diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some mental health providers use the term post-traumatic infidelity syndrome (PTIS) as a helpful way of referring to these sets of symptoms, although this is not an official diagnosis within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). 

Working with an experienced relationship counselor can be a big asset when navigating these trauma responses. A neutral third party can be an important guide for not only healing the relationship, but for helping the individual partners get additional help if needed. Working with a relationship specialist can help keep the trauma and pain of infidelity from spilling over into each individual’s relationship with themselves, others, or their future relationships.

Does the Hurt of an Affair Ever Go Away?

Like most traumatic experiences, the incredibly strong feelings of hurt and betrayal will decrease over time. When someone first finds out about a partner’s cheating, the shock and pain are often very intense. It’s normal to feel like these are a permanent part of the relationship, and that they will never go away. But as the shock wears off and both partners work through the changes in their relationship, the pain becomes more manageable. In fact, when couples put in the work for marriage counseling, they may find that their relationship is stronger than ever, as the therapist will help them uncover which unmet needs, issues, and other challenges were present before the affair. The therapist will also help each individual tackle problems like communication, trust, intimacy, conflict management, and more through skill building and deep therapeutic work.

How Long Does It Take for a Marriage to Recover from Infidelity?

There is no exact time frame for affair recovery, as every relationship and situation will be different. Marriage or relationship recovery is also not a linear process, where every day is slightly better than the day before. There will be ups and downs as partners navigate and grow together to get beyond the infidelity—some days things could feel great, sometimes months later a difficult time could reemerge. These are all perfectly normal reactions, and they don’t mean that recovery isn’t happening as it should.

In general, especially with the help of a qualified and experienced marriage counselor, many couples find their relationship has recovered anywhere from six months to two years after an affair. Remember, there may be good days before this time, and rough days even afterwards, but this can be a helpful benchmark for time.

Affair Recovery for the Betrayer

It’s common for affair recovery resources to focus on the partner who was cheated on. While obviously this person will be experiencing a huge amount of pain and anger, the partner who did the cheating is just as involved in affair recovery. One of the biggest signs your marriage or relationship will survive infidelity is that BOTH partners are invested in repairing and bettering their relationship.

The partner who had the affair needs to be willing to:

  • End the affair
  • Talk about what was happening in their life and the relationship that contributed to the affair happening in the first place
  • Identify their desire to stay in the relationship, including their reasons not to divorce after infidelity
  • Being willing to do the work to win back trust, as well as hear and acknowledge their partner’s pain

Additionally, the cheating partner will likely have their own feelings of shame, anxiety, and guilt after cheating. These emotions need to be dealt with to enable a healthy and happy relationship going forward. Experienced couples therapists can help both partners successfully navigate their feelings. 

Well Marriage Center: Your Partner in Affair Recovery

Our experienced couples counselors at Well Marriage Center have helped over 15,000 couples build better relationships. We believe relationships can and do recover after affairs with the right support, and we want to be a reliable partner through the challenges of rebuilding relationship trust. Our counselors focus on your relationship’s strengths and emotional healing to help partners rekindle their loving relationships. We offer in-person or remote appointments for couples or individuals—reach out today to start your healing journey.

*Note, we recommend seeing a couples therapist even if the partner’s decide to dissolve their relationship after the affair discovery. Working through the roller coaster of traumatic emotions for both parties is important to keep the emotional baggage from becoming bigger, negative coping patterns in the future. Our specialists are here to help you through this time, no matter what your situation is. 





How Long Does the Shock of Infidelity Last?

As much as we wish the shock of infidelity didn’t linger—for weeks, months, or even years—it does. How quickly or slowly affair recovery takes will depend on factors like:

  • Your support system as you work through the pain of betrayal
  • How you and your partner choose to discuss and process the affair
  • The state of your relationship before you discovered the infidelity
  • How severe the affair was (i.e., how long it lasted, what happened, who it was with, etc.)
  • Whether or not you seek professional help from a couples therapist or marriage counselor

If you’ve just recently found out about your partner’s infidelity, please know you are not alone. A relationship or marriage is never the same after infidelity, and recovery can be a distressing process. Permit yourself space to be upset and angry, as this kind of pain cuts deep and leaves unseen emotional scars. No one should pressure you to “get over it” or expect you to heal at a rate faster than you’re capable of. 

Eventually—no rush, though—you’ll find yourself wondering how to heal from infidelity trauma. Can you ever fully recover from infidelity, or is the pain permanent? Let’s explore what to expect in the aftermath of this kind of betrayal. 

Does the Pain of Being Cheated On Ever Go Away?

Although infidelity is emotionally devastating, it is possible to recover and ease your pain over time. However, expect a bumpy ride to peace after such a betrayal. If you’re hoping to forget about the infidelity and never think about it again—that’s a little less likely. 

While that may be upsetting to hear, it’s healthy to acknowledge this before you begin processing your rollercoaster of emotions and find a way forward. Infidelity has a lasting impact, even if you choose to forgive your partner and continue your relationship. 

Sometimes, even after you’ve decided to stay together, you’ll still experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), also called post-infidelity stress disorder (PISD). Various infidelity PTSD triggers can bring up painful reminders of what happened, even as you try to forget. You may experience symptoms like:

  • Extreme fluctuation between feeling numb and feeling angry/vengeful
  • Withdrawal from social interactions
  • Severe self-blame and reduced self-esteem
  • A sense of powerlessness
  • Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
  • Being overly vigilant and on the lookout for another betrayal
  • Complete inability to trust your partner and others in your life
  • Flashbacks to the infidelity discovery, or visualizations of the infidelity if you never witnessed it

How Long Does Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder Last?

Similar to the initial shock of betrayal, infidelity PTSD may be present for only a few weeks or months, while for others, it may take much longer to fully recover. This stress can severely affect your mental and physical health, which is why it’s crucial to seek help if you are experiencing symptoms.

This stage is where a therapist or counselor can be highly beneficial. These professionals will work with you to develop strategies for managing your symptoms and navigating your infidelity-related emotions. As the chaotic storm of feelings rages within you, a counselor can act as your lighthouse, showing you the least destructive path to regain some sense of normalcy.

How Does a Betrayed Spouse Heal?

Regularly attending individual and couples therapy sessions is the best way to heal from infidelity.  Trying to recover without a professional third party is possible, but neutral, experienced guidance from a therapist will encourage healing.

For example, at Well Marriage Center, here are some of the techniques we use to help folks move past the open-wound stage of infidelity:

  • Encourage Open Communication – Our counselors provide a safe and non-judgmental space for affected couples or individuals to untangle their feelings and experiences after infidelity.
  • Promote Self-Care – We help our clients identify ways to care for themselves during this difficult time, like exercising, journaling, and spending time with friends and family.
  • Foster Healing and Forgiveness – At Well Marriage Center, we take a strengths-based approach to counseling. This means we start with conversations about a couple’s strengths, the things they admire about each other, and any good memories that stand out. We find that this method opens up discussions about how each person perceives their relationship and why the infidelity happened in the first place.
  • Tackle Underlying Issues –  Affairs usually indicate some underlying problems in a relationship. Has one partner felt ignored and sought attention elsewhere? Has sex been challenging lately? Is there some sort of addiction in the picture? Identifying these root causes is vital to the recovery process.
  • Develop a Plan for Rebuilding Trust – If both partners are willing to move forward in the relationship after infidelity, there needs to be a plan to rebuild trust. Increasing communication, practicing empathy, and focusing on the future should all be part of such a plan. Our therapists can help you set up and achieve these goals.

Remember, as you’re exploring the internet looking for tips on affair recovery, everyone’s process is unique. Reading about the experiences of others can be helpful, but at the end of the day, this is your story. You decide the final outcome. And if that decision feels overwhelming—Well Marriage Center is here for you. 

Whenever you’re ready, you can visit our appointment-scheduling page to get started on your healing journey. Our intake coordinator, Melinda, is available to answer any questions and to connect you with one of our licensed therapists. We’ll start with an extended 90-minute session to understand the scope of your circumstances and make a plan for moving forward. 

Please know that there is hope after such a traumatic experience, and we want to help you find it.





Can Therapy Help with Cheating?

There are plenty of compelling reasons not to divorce after infidelity and reasons not to separate in a broader sense. These can range from practical considerations (like quality of life and how divorcing or breaking up might impact any children) to equally legitimate, emotional-driven reasons (like each partner’s happiness). 

Ultimately, couples want to know: can a relationship work after cheating occurs? In short, yes. Affair recovery therapy provides a strengths-based framework to help both partners better understand and heal their emotional wounds, rebuild trust and intimacy, and develop strategies for getting the relationship back on track, all of which can be incredibly difficult due to the emotional rollercoaster that is the aftermath of an affair.

If you’re reading this, you probably have a lot of questions. Asking the right questions is the first step toward healing, so keep reading for answers to some of the questions we hear most often.

Will Infidelity Pain Ever Go Away?

When we talk about the pain of affairs, it’s important to remember that both parties are likely to be confused and hurt. An effective therapist will provide a safe environment for both to emote and express their truest feelings. That’s why affair recovery typically requires marriage counseling or couples therapy—not that there isn’t value in some components of individual therapy for infidelity recovery. Individuals who see a couples therapist once they’ve decided to break up can effectively manage the fallout of cheating in a much healthier way than those who don’t. 

For many, this will cause more than a little anxiety: for example, wondering what the other person is saying in any one-on-one time they might have with the therapist can be very unnerving. However, it’s crucial for those seeking affair recovery therapy to understand that they’re going to have to trust their therapist, who’s there to support both parties and work on the relationship. After all, they’ve almost certainly dealt with more cases of infidelity than you have, and have a whole arsenal of tools, techniques, and resources specially tailored to this type of recovery. At Well Marriage Center, our team leverages a strengths-based approach to help you navigate the rough waters of affair recovery.

How Do You Heal from Infidelity Trauma?

Once an affair has been revealed, it’s time for the understanding to begin so that healing can take place. An effective therapy plan for infidelity recovery tends to consist of two key stages:

  • Stage 1 is all about airing out and validating each partner’s emotions. This stage can be difficult, but it provides an absolutely vital foundation for infidelity recovery. Each party needs to feel their emotions and express their truths, fully and un-rushed, and both need to demonstrate commitment to processing what’s happened. This stage typically leads to a pair of outcomes—the person who cheated needs to atone, unconditionally, and both partners need to express a willingness to begin the healing process and work toward forgiveness. 
  • In Stage 2, a marriage therapist will help the couple to really explore what’s beneath the surface, like the different factors that may have contributed to the dynamic or led to the affair, many of which hide beneath the surface. For example, has one partner fallen out of love? Was one partner feeling neglected or unappreciated? Has the relationship lost the luster of its honeymoon phase, causing one or both partners to question it? (Occasionally one partner doesn’t outgrow the honeymoon phase when the other does.) This stage isn’t about assigning blame. Rather, it’s about getting all the puzzle pieces out on the table. A therapist will then help the couple to understand how they might be able to reassemble their puzzle and start rebuilding trust.

If you’re considering marriage counseling as a means to working through infidelity and rekindling the relationship, it is fully natural to feel a little hopeless. A therapist qualified to deal with infidelity recovery will anticipate a wide range of emotions, many of which may be new to you, or at least more intense than you’re used to. 

There is, however, a general pattern that applies. In many ways, we tend to “grieve” when the relationship reaches a certain state, so the stages of grief also apply to affair recovery:

  • Shock/Denial: We know that most people don’t set out to have an affair, which only serves to make it that much more difficult to understand—and process—without the help of a trained therapist. As humans, when we don’t understand something, it often leaves us feeling lost and directionless, which can turn to hopelessness. As a therapist helps to illuminate the reasons or events that led to infidelity, the shock and denial subside. Then, a shift toward finding solutions can begin in earnest. They’ll help you to fully experience your shock, work through your denial, and start down the path toward healing and recovery.
  • Anger: Any time someone we consider a best friend and/or trusted confidant lets us down, anger is a fully natural response. Without working through this anger and any associated feelings, it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to move past it. What a lot of people don’t realize is that anger is often considered a secondary emotion, with its true roots in feelings like fear (of losing control, perhaps) or sadness (about the potential demise of a relationship). Your therapist will help you understand this, identify strategies that align with your primary emotions, and provide a foundation to constructively explore these dynamics.
  • Bargaining: After the shock and anger subside, the reality of the situation starts to really set in. No one wants to feel like their time, energy, and love have been all for naught, so it’s natural to begin rationalizing the situation in an attempt to recapture a better dynamic. At a certain point, the human brain can’t resist trying to provide answers. “Maybe if I would have [done Thing X], this never would have happened.” Responses like these are often reactive, and are not the epiphanies they may seem. Bargaining is just our natural way, perhaps, of seeking explanations for things that feel unexplainable. A therapist will anticipate this, and work to keep things on a productive course.
  • Depression: In the context of infidelity recovery, depression can take on a number of forms. For some people, the loss of trust is simply going to hurt, and hurt pretty severely, leading to hopelessness that leads them to disengage or shut down. A trained therapist will help to dissipate the fog of depression. Like shock/denial and anger, depression is a completely natural response—and your therapist will be prepared to help you process it in a healthy way.
  • Acceptance: Acceptance does not mean giving up, or absolving the other party of responsibility full stop. It simply means acknowledging the reality of the situation, by moving beyond the shock, anger, bargaining, and depression. Finally, acceptance can take many forms, but once you’re able to accept that the affair happened—and caused hurt—and you’re ready and willing to work toward recovering the relationship, then you’re on the right path.

How Can I Help My Partner Heal After Infidelity?

If a partner who cheated is asking this question, that’s a really good sign. It indicates that they’re not just committed to atoning in order to resolve their own feelings of guilt and get things back to normal. And it shows something really vital: that the person who cheated knows they hurt their partner and they want, more than anything, to help them to recover. If you’re looking for signs your marriage will survive infidelity, this certainly counts.

This won’t always be easy, though. Some individuals experience traumatic infidelity syndrome, a form of PTSD that can be tough to shake without the help of a trained professional. Specific trauma-related symptoms a therapist will look for include: 

  • Unresolved anger or mood swings
  • Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Difficulty trusting intimate partners (and others)
  • Emotional detachment or numbness
  • Aversion to future commitment
  • Persistent worrying or defensiveness
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or concentrating, foggy thinking

Not only will a qualified marriage counselor be able to identify these symptoms, but they’ll also know the best strategies for helping their patients to understand them, process them, and start building better patterns and habits.

Does therapy help with cheating?

Therapy can absolutely help, especially if you turn to a therapist who specializes in infidelity or affair recovery. However, if you don’t know what to expect in couples therapy after infidelity, it can cause a great deal of discomfort and anxiety. Here are a few of the key ways a therapist can help couples after an affair, which also serve as the primary goals for couples therapy after infidelity:

  • They can help you understand how the affair happened, and help you rekindle the spark of intimacy. A therapist will help both parties understand and process their own—and their partner’s—feelings. Then, they’ll help the couple to explore how their dynamic may have shifted over time, and what factors they can identify that may have contributed to the affair. This will often involve exploring a range of issues in the relationship, from diminished intimacy or interest to ongoing resentment or difficulties with healthy communication. 
  • They can uncover—and help you process—previous wounds. No relationship forms in a vacuum: both partners have histories, including past relationships and traumas. Within the context of a relationship, especially marriage, partners’ past traumas can inadvertently creep into the relationship and alter its dynamic. A therapist will provide the right environment for these root issues to be uncovered and processed.
  • They will offer impartial insights and guidance. When emotions are high, it can be tremendously difficult to be impartial. A therapist who specializes in infidelity recovery will bring a structured approach, based on research and established best practices, to keep conversations productive and prevent either partner from feeling unheard or even attacked. 
  • They’ll help each partner learn more about themselves. As much as we might try to be self-aware and emotionally intelligent, we don’t always realize our own unhealthy patterns. This is true whether they involve relationship-building, communication, trust, commitment, or any other number of factors. A therapist’s approach to infidelity recovery can help one or both partners to better understand how they might be unconsciously sabotaging themselves or the marriage.
  • They’ll help you establish better communication, openness, and trust. These are lifelong skills that provide the foundation for personal growth and a healthier overall relationship. You can expect to be introduced to some new techniques that won’t just help you recover from infidelity, but have an even greater understanding of each other moving forward. 
  • They’ll help you understand and manage infidelity symptoms. Especially while the emotional wounds are still fresh, it requires a decent amount of work—and professional support—to take inventory of the various symptoms of infidelity. Some will be evident, since you’re already exploring the option of infidelity recovery counseling. Others may not be so easy to identify and diagnose. Think of therapy as a roadmap for making these discoveries, processing them, and developing strategies for moving forward.
  • They’ll offer specific perspectives and tactics for each partner. While a large portion of infidelity recovery therapy will be a joint conversation between the therapist and both parties, a therapist also knows the value of 1:1 discussions with each partner. This helps each partner to feel a little more comfortable exploring thoughts and feelings they might not be sure how to discuss with their partner in the room. For the person who committed the affair, for example, this includes helping them understand the impact of their infidelity on their betrayed spouse, as well as how to atone after cheating

Trying to solve such monumental marriage problems on your own isn’t just difficult, it’s really not recommended. Working with a marriage counselor helps you avoid falling into unproductive traps, like arguing over who’s most to blame—or, at the other end of the spectrum, falsely thinking that everything will be OK without putting in the work. 

If you’re at either end of that spectrum or somewhere in the middle, you’re certainly not alone. 

You would probably be surprised how many couples decide to seek out a qualified counselor only once they’ve realized that the blame cycles and rose-colored glasses aren’t helping them to process and move beyond marital issues. In many cases, they discover how the right therapy environment can empower both partners to express themselves truly, feel their feelings fully, and develop mutual empathy.

We know that surviving infidelity isn’t always easy, but we also understand that the emotional rollercoaster you’re on can be scary and exhausting. 

How Successful Is Marriage Counseling After Infidelity?

Despite how scary it can feel, marriage counseling is effective more often than not. According to one study, around 70% of couples are able to stay together after infidelity—with many coming out the other side feeling like their relationship has, in fact, been strengthened through infidelity recovery therapy. 

Now, these results aren’t instant, and will likely take weeks if not months. Therapists know this and will help couples understand what to expect, including various milestones they’ll try to achieve along the way. At Well Marriage Center, our affair recovery program has helped over 1,000 couples get their marriages back on track. If you’re willing to put in the time, we’ll be right there with you.

What Are Signs Your Marriage Will Survive Infidelity?

Because infidelity recovery doesn’t occur overnight, it can be tough to believe in the process when it’s first getting underway. There are some signs you can look for as indicators that your marriage has a good chance of surviving infidelity. Here are a few examples:

  • Genuine apologies have been made, and both partners are committed to saving the marriage.
  • Both partners are willing to admit their own faults, and acknowledge their partners’.
  • Both partners express a willingness to attend therapy, even though they know it will involve uncomfortable conversations and tricky emotions.
  • Both partners express a belief/hope that the marriage will be saved.
  • Both partners are willing to learn better ways to communicate and navigate conflicts.

If you’re looking for help, that in itself is a really encouraging sign and an important first step. At Well Marriage Center, we have physical locations as well as telehealth options, in order to make marriage counseling accessible to you when you need it. After all, finding an effective marriage counselor shouldn’t have to add any additional stress to the situation.

What Type of Therapy Is Best for Infidelity?

For couples that are committed to rebuilding the trust necessary to keep their marriage alive, infidelity or affair recovery therapy is an ideal place to start. At Well Marriage Center, our affair recovery therapists use a strengths-based approach to marriage counseling. 

In other words, we take a glass half-full approach. Infidelity occurred (and it hurt), but focusing on what made you fall in love in the first place provides a better foundation for understanding and recovery than dwelling on either partner’s fallibility or rushing to assign blame. Instead, we take a patient, honest, and hopeful approach. 

What Type of Therapist Should I See for Infidelity?

We recommend looking for a therapist or counselor who is experienced in infidelity or affair recovery. From there, it’s important to find a therapist whose core values about the sanctity of marriage and definition of “success” are in alignment with your own. 

Any therapist you meet with should start off by discussing these very topics, not just to ensure a suitable fit but also to help you understand exactly what to expect over the course of your counseling program. This can include developing objectives together, thinking about what kind of timeline to expect, and more.

Ready to Take the First Step?

Whether you’re looking for marriage counseling, affair recovery, or even individual counseling, the team at Well Marriage Center is here to help. We know infidelity recovery can be an emotionally-charged, life-altering endeavor, but we believe there’s hope. That’s why our team is so motivated to empower individuals and couples with the tools and skills they need to rebuild trust and rekindle the love that originally brought them together.

We’re ready when you are. Reach out to schedule an appointment today.




What Are Triggers After Infidelity?

When the horribly unexpected occurs in a relationship, such as an affair, both people often feel isolated, ashamed, humiliated, angry, and hurt. These emotions may last months or even years down the road as triggers rekindle them, especially when not worked through in a healthy way. It is completely normal to experience these triggers! However, it is also possible to work through them as you take steps towards affair recovery.

Triggers After Being Cheated On

Triggers after cheating in a relationship are unfortunately common. They remind you of how your relationship used to be, what happened, and the whirlwind of negative emotions you felt surrounding the affair itself. Infidelity may even cause you to  relive the affair, over and over, if bad enough. If not handled properly, some of these triggers can color your reactions in future relationships, as well. Some common triggers that affect people who have experienced an affair include:

  • Places: Your home can trigger thoughts and memories of the affair the most. It’s where you and your partner made a life together and was supposed to be your safe space. Photos around the house may cause you to question whether the relationship you and your partner had before even mattered or was real.

Other places that might trigger you include places where you and your significant other went on dates, where the affair happened, or where you were when you found out about the affair.

  • People: Anyone who knew about the affair before you can act as a trigger. These may be the other person/people involved with the cheating, family, friends, or coworkers.
  • Dates: On specific days, you might think about the affair more than other days. Such dates might be anniversaries, your partner’s birthday, or the date you found out about the affair.
  • Music/Movies: If your relationship had any music or movies associated with it, such as a wedding song or a movie you and your partner saw together, hearing or seeing them can send you on a rollercoaster of emotions. The same is true for anything that might have been playing when you found out about the affair.
  • Distance: Any physical or emotional distance between you and your significant other after you find out about the affair may make you question whether your partner is still in the affair or whether they may start another one.
  • Suspicious Behavior: If your partner hides their phone, doesn’t use a name when talking about someone, or takes their phone calls in a different room, you might start wondering whether your partner is still unfaithful. 

How Long Do Infidelity Triggers Last?

How long infidelity triggers last will vary from person to person. For some, it may only take months. For others, it may take 2 or even 10 years after the infidelity to recover. How long the affair occurred, how long you and your partner have been together, and who else was involved in the affair can all affect how long you experience those triggers.

Another factor is how the trauma of infidelity is handled after discovery. Having neutral ground for each partner to express their perspective and emotions, getting to a place of understanding, managing negative reactions in a way that promotes healthy recovery–these practices and more can help you move forward. Working with a specialized relationship counselor can help you navigate these painful waters in the most effective way, tailored to your unique experience.

Infidelity really hurts, and it probably will for a while. However, when you properly work through your emotions, you can overcome those triggers.

How to Get Past Infidelity Triggers

The first step you should take when attempting to move past your infidelity triggers is to let yourself experience those emotions coursing through you. Bottling them up will render it much more difficult to unpack them down the road and can even cause you to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms when dealing with infidelity years later. If you have a hard time processing your emotions and understanding exactly why you feel them, writing them down or talking to a trusted family member, friend, or counselor can help.

Once you let yourself feel those emotions, do something that might cheer you up. Meditation practices, positive self-talk, and physical activity can release endorphins, which are hormones that help your brain reduce stress and anxiety.

Working through long-term infidelity effects with your partner, while especially difficult in the beginning, can help you overcome your triggers and be a rewarding experience. Your relationship or marriage is never the same after infidelity, but that’s not always a bad thing. When you and your partner are both willing to rebuild your relationship, you may discover that you’re starting on stabler ground than you did before. From there, you can build something bigger and more beautiful than you had and leave those triggers in the past. Hiring a couples therapist or marriage counselor can help with that process in the most efficient way.

Rebuild Your Relationship With Well Marriage Center

Recovering from infidelity trauma is difficult. Even when you and your partner both want to start fresh, you may find days that even being in the same room as your partner prompts waves of emotions. The marriage counselors and couples therapists at Well Marriage Center understand that affair recovery takes time but that working through it with your partner is well worth the effort.

Our services are pro-relationship, meaning we don’t recommend separation unless that’s the only way both people can move forward. We also work with individuals who have decided to separate and want help navigating the healing process. Whether you are concerned about repairing your relationship or working through your emotions and triggers with your partner by your side, or are wanting to heal as an individual, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment to take your first step toward recovery.





Forgiveness in Relationships

It’s been said that in forgiving others we give ourselves permission to move forward with our own lives, and there’s some truth to that. Hitting the same road block, going back emotionally to the same thing over and over, puts a huge strain on us physically and stunts our relationships with ourselves and others. It damages our hearts and our bodies to carry such stress around each day. Forgiving your partner, when you choose to, has many benefits.

On Forgiveness

Whether the harm was intentional or not, it takes both people in the relationship or marriage working together to move to a place of forgiveness. If you were the one who “messed up,” for example, you will need to hear your partner’s deepest feelings, work with them on what they need to forgive, and accept boundaries that make them feel safe enough to trust again. You will also need to explain your position and the “why” of it all. If you are the partner who wants to forgive, you will have to be very vulnerable and put into words the reasons why you are stuck at this point and can’t move forward. You’ll have to really hear and understand your partner’s position. You’ll both need to be prepared to work with your therapist and try the skills and tools they present.

We mention therapists here because the art of forgiveness between couples is further complicated by other baggage we carry—childhood traumas and the subsequent protective walls we put up, our inability to communicate, our fear and confusion, our mistrust of the situation and our partners. Typically, if someone is really struggling to forgive, even though they want to forgive, there are deeper elements at play in the relationship and a specialist can help you both navigate the situation in a healthy and productive manner.

The Silver Lining

Whatever caused your unique need for forgiveness  (we all know it’s not always infidelity that creates rifts between couples)  it is possible to forgive and move forward again.

A truly inspiring element of the human condition is that as we work through these issues in healthy ways, we come out on the other side closer, more loving, and with a real understanding and compassion that we often lacked before. This can be so beneficial for a couple.

To get started, reach out to our intake coordinator Melinda. She’ll make sure you get placed with a skilled therapist that deeply cares about saving your situation.


Surviving an Affair

Can my marriage really survive an affair?

This is the most common question we get at Well Marriage Center.

The answer is Yes.

More and more, we see couples making the choice to try and save their marriages instead of hitting the auto-pilot for divorce. All of our counselors are very skilled at helping couples navigate the emotional roller coaster ride that an affair throws them onto.

We asked one of our marriage counselors to write her thoughts about how she helps couples work through an affair.

“Getting off the Roller Coaster”

In our first session with couples we ask them to describe their strengths, admirations of the relationship, and memories that stand out as good.

I love this part of our assessment as it gives me an idea of how the couple perceives their relationship. Brian and Joan came to me after Joan discovered Brian was in the midst of a year-long affair. The impact was devastating…for both Joan and Brian.

Joan had an intense reaction during the assessment portion of their strengths.  She was confused, sad, and angry. A common impact of discovering an affair is that memories of the relationship become contaminated by this new information.

Joan had begun to question their history in a way that hindered her from seeing any strengths or good in their relationship. She said “How can we have any strengths if an affair was going on? I don’t admire anything about this marriage!”

Joan is not alone.  The aftermath of an affair is very painful and confusing.

Most couples will describe this experience as an “emotional rollercoaster,” where the victim has intense emotional ups and downs, a preoccupation with the violation, blaming, self-doubt, fear, and loss of rationality.

Problems that existed in the relationship prior to the discovery may become more intensified. You may start to look at your life from a very different set of eyes, eyes that are more suspicious and less likely to trust without evidence.

No one likes to feel out of control or as if they can’t trust their own mind and instincts. I empathize with the level of discomfort that comes with mistrust and encourage couples to process that emotion rather than creating methods that foster false trust (checking emails, texts, phone records, etc.).

A false trust method is anything that finishes the message “I trust you if…”

At that point trust is only intact if there is a way to measure it. Joan felt these attempts gave her more safety in the marriage but instead it created an element of control in the marriage that Brian eventually resented.

Most couples may entertain the idea of separation at this stage in order to cope with the roller coaster. However, it is important to avoid turning a disruption into a tragedy by making permanent decisions about your marriage during the roller coaster stage.

When emotions are this high it is difficult to make a decision you’ll find peace with for the rest of your life.

When I see a couple experiencing this type of disruption I take great care in validating the victim and educating the offender about the roller coaster phase. Rather than diving into the easier but more destructive ways of establishing trust, I teach couples how to adopt appropriate levels of transparency.

What a couple really wants at this stage is to feel understood. The victim in particular is looking for accountability and validation. Convincing the victim they are loved can often make things worse because words have lost their power.

In Joan and Brian’s case, when Joan was feeling triggered or having a rough day with the preoccupation of her thoughts, Brian attempted to sooth her by trying to convince her not worry because he loved her so much. Joan became angry and felt that he did not understand her pain.

Through supportive marriage counseling, Joan learned to verbalize what she was feeling and why she was feeling it. She learned to communicate to Brian what she needed.

It is the victim’s goal to help the offender understand their pain.

Joan and Brian were instructed to make this a regular practice in order for Joan to heal. Several times a week they carved out time for Joan to verbalize what she felt, while Brian listened, validated, took responsibility, and apologized.

Joan’s emotional reactivity was less intense when she felt Brian was authentic in his understanding of her pain. She believed that if he really understood her pain, he would be less likely to violate trust again. And she’s right.

Joan and Brian worked extremely hard over the course of about 9 months and learned to listen, support, and communicate with each other in a rich and authentic way. They have both been able to step off the emotional roller coaster and have both, separately, decided that they want to stay together and strengthen their marriage.

If you and your spouse are recovering from an affair there is reason for hope. Rebuilding trust is a process but it’s possible with tenderness of the heart and forgiveness.  Yes, your marriage can survive an affair.

(Read more about our approach with Affairs here)