How Does Couples Therapy Improve Communication?

Strong relationship communication is one of the most valuable and desirable traits that couples seek in their marriage. There’s a wealth of information regarding couples therapy communication questions and how to apply them to your marriage. However, does couples therapy actually work to fix communication issues? It can—if both parties are willing to put in the work. With that in mind, let’s talk about improving communication skills and what to do when you can’t communicate with your partner. We’ll also answer questions like, “How do you fill the communication gap between couples?” 

Can Couples Therapy Help with Communication?

Yes! The good news is couples therapy can help you and your partner work through any communication issues you may be facing in your relationship. In fact, learning how to communicate successfully with one another is one of the main goals of couples counseling. Poor communication is usually the crux of many relationship issues since it can cause misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and even anxiety. That’s why strong communication is fundamental to the success of a marriage! 

Of course, every couple faces different challenges, but what are some of the most common signs of bad communication in a relationship?

  • Listening to respond, rather than listening to understand
  • Responding reactively with your emotions rather than rationally
  • Raising your voice or yelling instead of talking in a calm voice
  • Showing negative non-verbal communication like facial expressions and body language
  • Blaming your partner for anything that goes wrong
  • Not taking a break when things get heated
  • Withdrawing from hard conversations

Understanding how you communicate with your spouse is essential to clearly voice any concerns you may have. It’s also important to remain open and vulnerable with your partner, which can be more difficult if one of you is following the patterns listed above. But you might be surprised to learn that communication is not typically the underlying cause of relationship problems. Often communication suffers when there is a loss of trust, a different set of priorities, and a lack of intimacy—among other things. 

So if you’re wondering how to fix communication in a relationship, couples therapy can help. Licensed couples therapists, like those at Well Marriage Center, will help you focus on the root causes of your relationship problems and introduce healthy communication styles. During couples therapy, your therapist will be there to support you and your partner. They do this by encouraging you to be confident in your feelings, actively listen to each other, and feel empathy for one another. Your therapist will provide you and your partner with other strategies to communicate while also pointing out ineffective communication habits that might stem from deeper issues. 

In general, couples therapy can help you focus on what is causing the communication problems. We know diving into your feelings can be difficult to talk about. You want to feel safe to be open and honest. But couples counseling can help you and your spouse to improve your communication skills while also providing you with a secure place to talk about sensitive or difficult topics. Your therapist will encourage discussions, assist you in using clearer language, and make sure that both parties feel heard and understood. Ultimately, they give you the tools to bridge any gap, including poor communication.

How Do You Fill the Communication Gap Between Couples?

You can “fill the communication gap” between you and your spouse by making time to communicate using skills like active listening, being honest and direct, and acknowledging difficulties when working through problems. Typically, it’s best to find the cause of these issues, rather than blame it all on communication. Keep in mind that improving communication in a relationship is a continuous process that needs the dedication and effort of both parties. You can create a stronger, deeper, and more fulfilling connection by cooperating and applying efficient communication techniques.

How Can You Improve Communication in a Relationship?

The best way to improve communication with your partner is to invest time in each other, whether through communication exercises or couples therapy. Every couple faces difficulty communicating at some point in their relationship. That’s okay! There are a few communication therapy techniques you can work through with your couples therapist to help make communication between you and your partner better, such as:

  • Practice active listening and understand your partner’s perspective
  • Express your feelings clearly and honestly using “I” statements
  • Be empathetic towards your partner and their feelings
  • Be mindful of nonverbal communication and how your body language expresses your emotions
  • Avoid being defensive and listen to your partner’s concerns
  • Acknowledge your part in any issues you’re facing
  • Find a solution or compromise together

Speaking with a licensed therapist will help you navigate these communication techniques while helping you discover the root of the problem. Has your partner cheated? Are you financially irresponsible? Do you have different parenting styles? What childhood traumas are you each bringing to the table? Each of these concerns can lead to poor communication between you and your spouse. 

If you and your partner need to find your way back to one another, the therapists at Well Marriage Center can help you take a strengths-based approach to your marriage counseling. With the most experienced marriage counselors who have helped thousands of couples, you can find success in your relationship too. If you’d like to learn more, visit our website or set up an appointment with our intake coordinator, Melinda. 



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.





Does Affair Pain Ever Go Away?

It’s estimated that a staggering 20-40% of marriages face infidelity, according to an interview published by NPR. Infidelity can have a severe impact on marriages and romantic relationships, not to mention a person’s self worth and mental health, but affair recovery is possible if both partners are committed.

At Well Marriage Center, we believe that marriages and relationships can heal, even after trust has been broken in such a painful way. In this blog, we explore how to heal from infidelity trauma and discuss what you and your partner may experience after an affair.

Why Do Marriages Fail After Infidelity?

Marriages often face challenges after infidelity because affairs break trust. However, not all marriages fail after an affair. There is hope for couples that want to heal their marriage. To understand how, we first have to look at how affairs reflect relationships. 

Relationships—especially marriages—are built on trust. Think of the things you might rely on your partner for, or that your partner relies on you for:

  • Providing emotional support
  • Earning income
  • Maintaining your home
  • Caring for children and/or pets
  • Managing finances
  • Planning dates and vacations
  • Continuing to build a meaningful life together

Some of these tasks carry more weight than others, but when your partner breaks a major point of trust, it can be difficult to rely on them in other aspects of your relationship. Suddenly, you’re not just worried about loyalty, you may also doubt their ability to handle financial matters, health concerns, and household chores while considering your needs. Partners doubt that they are building anything meaningful together anymore. In other words, after your partner has an affair, it might feel like you’re no longer in a partnership.

Affairs can drastically alter your relationship dynamics. In fact, long term infidelity effects can severely  affect both physical and mental health, and affairs can impact people outside of the relationship. When working to heal from an affair, you and your partner may encounter some of the following effects:


  • Mental Health: An affair does more than break trust, it can also change how your brain operates. Infidelity may reduce dopamine levels, worsen depression and anxiety, weaken self-esteem, and even cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. 
  • Physical Well-Being: When an affair affects your mental health and household routines, it can be difficult to maintain your physical health. In some cases, victims of infidelity can even be more likely to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse and disordered eating, according to Patient. The constant emotional strain from affaird PTSD damages us physically.
  • Altered Relationships: When dealing with an affair, you may experience turmoil in more relationships than with just your partner. If you have children together, it can be difficult to communicate why their parents’ relationship has a different dynamic. If you have overlapping social groups, then your mutual friends may feel the need to choose sides.


While dealing with an affair can be a daunting time in your relationship, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of it. It’s still possible to heal as a couple and build back trust, as long as both of you are willing to put in the time and effort to move forward.

Do You Ever Really Get Over an Affair?

While an affair is a significant moment in a relationship, couples can stay together after infidelity. Hope is very much alive. However, getting to the stage of your relationship where betrayal trauma is no longer the main focus takes time, intentional effort, and possibly professional help.

Before a relationship can get back on track after an affair, the victim must process the 5 stages of grief of infidelity, which are:

  1. Denial 
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Working through these stages can be painful, but it’s necessary to process the emotions of each stage of grief before moving forward. Otherwise, you can find yourself getting stuck in the past and the hurt you experienced. These negative patterns can become part of your deeper psyche, and spill over into future relationships and damage your self-esteem for years or decades to come. Scheduling sessions with a couples therapist can provide a safe space for both you and your partner to express and understand each other’s difficult feelings, which can help you find ways to heal your relationship. You can read more about these stages and this process here.

*Because of the traumatic nature of infidelity, we recommend working with a skilled couples counselor or marriage therapist even if you don’t decide to stay together after the affair. A specialized therapist can help each partner process the hurt and damage, and come out on the other side stronger, without having to carry the baggage forever. However you decide to handle the situation, we’re here to support you and your relationship goals.

How Do I Stop Hurting After an Affair?

One major step to healing after an affair is to understand what went wrong in the relationship. This can be a painful and often triggering process, but uncovering any underlying issues can help you both communicate what you want in your relationship moving forward.

Although forgiveness is the ultimate goal of affair recovery, it likely won’t happen quickly—and that’s okay. As we stated above, infidelity can trigger the grieving process, and it’s important to give each of those emotions the space they require to work through. Working with a neutral third party mediator, like a couples therapist, can help both of you voice your needs and feelings without fear of escalation or retaliation. 

Does Affair Guilt Go Away?

Oftentimes, emphasis is placed on the victims of infidelity to forgive their partners, but it’s just as important—if not more so—for the partner that had the affair to work through their emotions. Similar to the stages of emotional betrayal, the partner who had the affair also goes through stages of guilt after cheating: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The relationship can’t move forward until trust is rebuilt, and that’s difficult to do if the cheater is still resentful or insecure about their ability to stay in a faithful relationship. They often also carry feelings of humiliation, inadequacy and a host of other damaging emotions that can lead to or deepend pre-existing negative coping mechanisms. Working with a skilled therapist can be key in getting to the root of these issues and behaviors.

How To Stop Thinking About an Affair Partner

When infidelity impacts your relationship, it can be hard to stop thinking about the third, “other” person—but the best way to move forward is to give that external person less time in your thoughts. That may sound counterintuitive, but think about it this way: if you spend all of your time thinking about the other person, then they’ll always be at the front of your mind. This obsession can overpower your relationship, even if your intentions are to move past the “other” person.

A common way to help change your mindset is to change your routine with your partner. Starting fresh can remove connections that the other person had to your life. You and your partner can also meet with a marriage counselor to discuss solutions that are specific to your individual challenges. 

Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity

Affair recovery is a slow and steady process filled with forward progress, setbacks, and for many couples, the ability to trust each other once again. To give your relationship its best chance at healing, it helps to work with specialized professionals. At Well Marriage Center, we provide support and guidance to help free couples from the past and build a better tomorrow. The path forward starts with a small step together. Schedule an appointment today.




What Should You Not Do After Infidelity?

Learning how to start over in a marriage after infidelity—or in any romantic relationship—is a complex and emotionally intense process. With tensions running high and so much at stake, many couples fall into despair and assume the pain of infidelity never goes away. But this doesn’t have to be your fate. An affair doesn’t have to permanently define your relationship with others or yourself. You and your partner can successfully navigate through the stages of healing after infidelity, and forge a stronger bond—so long as you avoid common relationship reconciliation mistakes. 

Although every situation is unique, there are three critical things all couples should avoid during affair recovery

  • Holding yourselves to a timeline
  • Letting mistrust consume your relationship
  • Trying to heal by yourselves

Let’s take a look at each of these pitfalls in more detail. 

  • Don’t Hold Yourselves to a Timeline

How long does infidelity trauma last? In truth, every couple’s healing journey looks different. Although many sources try to project timelines—the most common industry answer is that it takes about 18 months to recover from an affair—this isn’t the most helpful approach. Naturally, all couples desire to heal as quickly as possible. But the reality is that affair recovery, when done right, takes time. Trying to move too fast can cause problems to linger and put pressure on individuals to rush their healing process. 

A healthier approach is to set realistic goals for you and your partner and frequently check each other’s progress in achieving your goals. These goals can be related to communication, trust, conflict resolution, and many other important relationship pillars. Really, diligently meeting your goals and ensuring positive outcomes are much more important than “quickly” moving past an affair. If you and your partner are unsure of how to do this, working with a skilled relationship counselor will set you on the right path.

  • Don’t Let Mistrust Consume Your Relationship

At the beginning of affair recovery, it may be tempting to set strict ground rules after cheating. Some negative ground rules include: 

  • Giving your partner a curfew
  • Monitoring their social media accounts 
  • Not letting your partner go on vacations or work trips without you

Because infidelity has long-term psychological effects, many people who have experienced infidelity develop severe trust issues, which causes them to become much more controlling in a relationship. Although this reaction is completely understandable, it’s not a healthy approach and can often do more harm than good. Rebuilding trust is one of the most difficult aspects of affair recovery, but controlling your partner won’t help you learn to trust again. Instead, it will push them away and make you feel even less in control. 

So, what boundaries should be set after infidelity? Appropriate boundaries look different for every couple, but can include things like cutting off contact with the affair partner and determining the level of intimacy you are comfortable having with your partner. To set healthy boundaries, working with a professional marriage or couples counselor can empower you and your partner to successfully navigate trust issues throughout your affair recovery journey. This brings us to our next bit of advice…

  • Don’t Try To Heal by Yourselves

Discovering how to heal after being cheated on and stay together is an overwhelming task for any couple. Mainly because they do not have the tools to succeed. Marriage counseling offers couples access to an unbiased professional with the experience needed to truly recover from an affair. For example, a marriage counselor can show couple how to make sense of what they are feeling. For the person who was cheated on, a therapist can enable them to explain how they are affected by the infidelity without making their partner feel attacked. For the person who strayed from the relationship, a therapist can help them listen to their partner without becoming defensive.

Additionally, a professional counselor will encourage you ask and answer difficult questions like: 

  • How do you build safety in a relationship after cheating?
  • How do you deal with triggers after cheating?
  • Is a marriage ever the same after infidelity?

At Well Marriage Center, our counselors will work with you and your partner to examine what led to the affair and explore methods for rebuilding your relationship that benefit you and your partner. We strive to help you forgive, rebuild trust, and move past infidelity.

Couples often report a stronger, more open, and more compassionate bond after working with us. The skills and tools we impart empower individuals and couples to work together on issues like communication breakdown, conflict management, intimacy, trust, and so much more. All of this is important, especially after an affair.

If you’re ready to start healing, take the first step and schedule your appointment today.





What Boundaries Should Be Set After Infidelity?

Infidelity, one of the most harmful lies in a relationship, occurs between 20 to 40% of married couples. This doesn’t even include partners that aren’t married. Many people are surprised by these numbers, but affairs are something that happen across cultures and generations, for any number of reasons. People generally don’t set out to hurt each other, yet it happens and each situation is unique.

The good news is that affair recovery is, in fact, possible. When both individuals want to continue, heal, and process after the trauma of infidelity, and with appropriate counseling, around 60 to 75% of couples are able to improve communication and rebuild trust as they work through the stages of healing after infidelity, primarily:

  • Discovery of (and reaction to) the affair
  • Beginning to forgive
  • Recommitment and reconciliation

Let’s take a look at the importance of setting—and respecting—effective boundaries in the aftermath of infidelity.

What Is the Importance of Setting Healthy Boundaries?

The importance of developing mutually-agreeable relationship and marital boundaries—whether infidelity has occurred or not—is difficult to overstate. Boundaries serve an essential purpose in establishing a healthy and balanced relationship. They create an environment where each person can feel heard and understood without one person needing to “win.” These, of course, aren’t physical boundaries; they’re better considered as behavioral and emotional boundaries.

When infidelity has occurred, it’s a sign that a relationship’s boundaries may have been compromised—if they were even set in the first place. Luckily, affair recovery counseling is designed to explore those boundaries, understand where their vulnerabilities lie, and reset them as needed. Our team of qualified professionals at Well Marriage Center provide strengths-focused affair recovery services that can help you set healthy boundaries, process through the trauma and strong emotions of the cheating, rediscover or rebuild your love, and get your relationship on a healthier track.

What Are Examples of Boundaries in a Marriage?

“Boundaries” can mean a lot of different things, but when applied to any relationship, they outline ground rules in areas like:

  • Communication and honesty
  • Domestic life
  • Finances
  • Individual autonomy
  • Privacy and personal space
  • Relationships with in-laws and other family members
  • Reliability and trust

As a couple works together to develop boundaries that respect each partner’s expectations, it creates space for healing and establishes a strong foundation for the relationship moving forward. 

What many people don’t realize is that setting boundaries isn’t just important in the aftermath of an affair. In reality, healthy boundaries can apply to various stages of affair recovery, from infidelity prevention through reconciliation. Next, we’ll take a closer look at how boundaries can apply at three different stages.

What Are the Boundaries After Infidelity?

Some broad examples of healthy boundaries in a marriage or relationship that relate to affair recovery could include things like: 

  • Creating plans for taking “timeouts” when emotions are running high.
  • Determining what kinds of boundaries, like allowing phone calls or visits, should be in place between the cheater and who the person they cheated with.
  • Setting ground rules after cheating for when—and how often—you will discuss the affair.
  • Considering a temporary physical separation.

How Do You Go About Setting Boundaries During Reconciliation?

Working with a licensed counselor to establish boundaries during the reconciliation process empowers each partner to explore and unpack their feelings in a safe environment. It’s important to know that you don’t have to “go it alone” during this emotionally-charged time. 

When we learn about and react to the discovery of the affair, we experience strong emotions like shame, unworthiness, confusion, anger, and PTSD. The cheating partner often experiences inadequacy, shame, guilt, and sadness. It’s important to work through these emotions with an experienced clinician to minimize long-term, damaging effects and misguided coping mechanisms.

While this might be your first experience with infidelity, our team knows what it takes to survive an affair and can help you at every stage along your path to healing.

While you could take a shot at boundary-setting without working with a couples or marriage counselor, that approach can get messy. Working with a therapist helps to ensure that you and your partner maintain mutual respect throughout the entire reconciliation process. A counselor can help you zero in on the types of boundaries you should be setting—and how to implement them.

How Do You Set Boundaries to Prevent Infidelity from Happening Again?

As you set healthy boundaries in your marriage, a marriage counselor can help you to identify the root causes of conflict in the relationship in a way that can work toward preventing infidelity in the future. The boundaries you develop through couples and marriage counseling should improve future communication, account for each partner’s needs and expectations, and, ultimately, rebuild trust. 

Of course, once these boundaries have been established, there will still be work to do. Here’s an analogy:

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to be a competitive marathon runner. You’ve spent months, if not years, training for your first race. At some point, you experience an injury. 

You really want to run this marathon, right? So you go see a sports medicine specialist, who helps you to rehabilitate your injury through physical therapy. In the short-term, it helps get you in the kind of shape it takes to just get back out on the road. 

Over time, though, the specialist helps you to determine the root cause of your injury, whether it’s wearing the wrong kind of shoes or the need for surgery. That way, you’re less likely to suffer the same injury as you’re ramping back up.

Once the injury heals, you don’t just resume your training from where you left off. Instead, you have to be vigilant to correct the causes of your injury so you don’t find yourself hurt, again, a few months down the line. 

And it’s like that with affair recovery, too. Yes, it’s important (in the short-term) to address the hurt feelings, but it’s also important to guard against future problems as well. A couples therapist helps individuals meet and honor each other’s expectations in a way that doesn’t compromise anyone’s boundaries.

Ready to Get On the Road to Recovery?

Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end. Whether an affair has just been discovered or you’re looking for reconciliation after infidelity separation, the team at Well Marriage Center is ready to help. Our patient, empathetic, and strengths-based approach is designed to help you rebuild trust, commitment, and ultimately make your relationship stronger for the future. Learn more about our affair recovery services, or schedule an appointment today!





What Are the Stages of Affair Recovery?

If you’ve cheated or been cheated on, you’re not alone. According to Psychology Today, “about 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women report that they’ve had sex with someone other than their spouse while married.” 

Why do people cheat? It can happen for a range of reasons, like feeling neglected, growing bored, or simply one partner falling out of love with the other. Often, it’s not easy to even figure out the root cause or causes, making affair recovery a tricky endeavor—and one that’s best left to a qualified marriage or couples counselor. 

While people’s reasons for cheating may be complex and difficult to untangle, there’s hope. The aftermath of an affair is a rollercoaster of painful emotions that can have devastating, long-term effects if not handled appropriately. Once you understand the stages of healing after infidelity and find the right counselor to help you navigate them through your unique situation, recovery should start to feel like a real possibility.

Note: we use “marriage” and “couples” counseling interchangeably, as we’re here to support any committed relationship that is in distress. We hope you can find this information useful, regardless of legal status or how you personally label your relationship.

How Do You Start the Healing Process After an Affair?

Even though it can cause deep feelings of betrayal and hurt, infidelity does not have to mean the end of the marriage or relationship. That being said, getting past the initial trauma can feel overwhelming in the early stages after an affair has been discovered.

The best advice in the immediate aftermath of affair discovery is to work past the urge to lash out, which typically only makes things worse. Instead, it’s important to take a breath, give each other some space, and avoid making any rash decisions in the moment.

When you’re ready to begin the process of mending the relationship, you’ll want to bring a couples therapist into the conversation. Especially if they specialize in affair recovery, a counselor will be able to help guide you down the path toward reconciliation and healing. The best part? “When both partners are committed to real healing, most couples survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy,” according to Mayo Clinic.

Even for couples who have decided to split after the discovery of infidelity, working with a specialized clinician can help people overcome the damaging, long-term emotional and mental distress that follows.


What Are the Stages of Healing After an Affair?

The five main infidelity recovery stages, which run parallel to the general stages of grief, are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

  • Denial: In this stage, both partners struggle to make sense of what’s occurred. For the cheater, this might mean being surprised by their own error and the hurt they’ve caused. For the partner who’s been cheated on, this stage involves processing the initial feelings of betrayal after an affair. A counselor will help you to better understand the reasons the affair occurred, a crucial first step in the healing process. 
  • Anger: Understandably, the partner who’s been cheated on is going to be in a great deal of pain, with feelings of anger, embarrassment, and a drop in self-worth. The cheater likely feels some guilt and shame, too. Anger, often considered a secondary emotion, is likely to have its roots in deeper feelings like hurt and confusion. Working with a counselor helps to ensure that discussions remain civil and that each partner can work through their thoughts and feelings in a safe, judgment-free environment. 
  • Bargaining: During this stage, partners are likely to question various circumstances and possible causes behind the affair. Left to their own devices, many people internalize the blame, thinking things like “If only I had (or hadn’t) done [X], maybe this wouldn’t have happened.” It can result in a series of negative thoughts that ruminate in your mind if you’re not careful. When you work with an affair recovery counselor, they’ll help to make sure each partner feels heard and understood—and that neither partner falls into any sort of unproductive blame spirals.
  • Depression: As betrayal’s full impact comes into focus, depression tends to follow. What does it feel like? It feels like hurt, sadness, and doubt. You can begin to doubt yourself and others.  It can even feel hopeless and like the past was a lie. An affair recovery counselor understands how to navigate these proverbial seas of pain and can help couples to keep lines of communication (and healing) open. This way, neither partner is left to dwell too long in this stage.
  • Acceptance: While no quality counselor will tell you to just “accept” what happened or to “get over it,” their job is to help determine what healing looks like for your unique situation. This stage is more about reflection and potential forgiveness than it is about finality or closure. Part of acceptance can also be accepting what was broken in the relationship before the affair, and creating a tailored plan with your therapist to make sure the next stage of your relationship journey is stronger and more vibrant.

For a deeper dive into each of these stages and how to work through them, this Gottman Institute article is a great resource.

What Kind of Trauma Does Cheating Cause?

The intense feelings of betrayal that follow infidelity define a particular type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) known as post traumatic infidelity syndrome. Symptoms of this disorder can include:

  • Rumination and recurring thoughts
  • Traumatic recall (flashbacks)
  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoidance, isolation, and withdrawal
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Erosion of trust

It’s important to note that the list above is not necessarily complete, but goes to illustrate the wide range of effects infidelity can bring about. Working with a qualified marriage counselor is the best way to explore and begin unpacking the effects of trauma. A counselor will also help you build a better, more sustainable future through the development of better communication, trust, and intimacy. Gaining insight and creating a plan with a specialist will help keep you and your relationships with others from being defined by a traumatic affair.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Infidelity Trauma?

While every couple and every marriage is different, experts generally agree that it takes “months, even years, to successfully rebuild trust” after infidelity. Trauma is a tricky, tricky thing, and everyone experiences it differently. Some people are predisposed to feeling deeply hurt in certain situations, while others might have more resilience or an ability to “move on” more quickly. 

Working with a marriage counselor who specializes in affair recovery helps with this process by:

  • Understanding and validating each partner’s feelings, needs, and priorities
  • Finding common ground between partners
  • Setting clear expectations for the recovery process
  • Helping to determine root causes and appropriate solutions
  • Creating a safe environment for vulnerability and sharing
  • Identifying what boundaries should be set after infidelity to rebuild trust

Affair Recovery Starts With a Single Call—to Well Marriage Center

At Well Marriage Center, our affair recovery counselors are ready and waiting to help couples start the healing and reconciliation process and work toward rediscovering their love. 

We take a strengths-based approach to affair recovery, one that’s designed to rebuild trust and help couples reconnect, get back on track, and develop strategies to help ensure that you can stay on track. It doesn’t have—and shouldn’t—feel hopeless! 

Even for couples who do not choose to stay and work on their relationship after an affair, a specialized counselor can help one or both partners unpack, heal, and plan for their futures, so the baggage of affair trauma doesn’t snowball into longer-term issues.

Every journey begins with a single step, so get in touch with our team today.



Can Marriage Be Saved After Infidelity?

Yes, you can save your marriage after infidelity if both partners are committed to repairing the relationship.

Affair recovery takes serious work and transparency, but it is possible. And if you’re wondering, “Can therapy help with cheating?” The answer is, absolutely.

Our experienced counselors at Well Marriage Center have successfully guided many couples through the stages of healing after infidelity. A big part of what we do is help partners get to, and make a plan to fix, the root causes and dynamics that led to cheating. So much healing can happen when both sides reach a true understanding of the other, from why the offender cheated to an exploration of the victim’s hurt.

We’ve gathered the top six mistakes we see from both parties in affair recovery so that you can avoid these pitfalls yourself. Remember, it won’t be an easy process, but with the right attitudes and a lot of work, you two can make your marriage stronger than it’s ever been.

6 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes to Avoid After Infidelity

People are more likely to make rash decisions when emotions are high after one partner discovers the other is being unfaithful. These high emotions can include anger and lashing out, humiliation, and decreased feelings of self-worth for both partners. When our feelings are going through such a roller coaster, it’s easy to fall into common, human mistakes that make the already traumatic situation worse long-term. Consider these six most common mistakes our counselors see from couples going through affair recovery: 

1. Pretending Everything Is Normal

Your relationship or marriage will never be the same after infidelity. This realization will probably hurt at first, but it’s also helpful to acknowledge. The betrayed partner is likely furious and devastated, and they may even feel some detachment after infidelity. They want to know how to stop overthinking after being cheated on and move forward with their life. The offender must consistently show they take responsibility for their actions in multiple ways. For example, they may need to increase communication about where they are and who they are with to show their partner that they will not be a repeat offender. 

2. Confronting the Affair Partner

Finding out your partner cheated on you usually results in an explosion of powerful emotions. Looking to direct those feelings somewhere, folks sometimes feel justified confronting the “other” person. In most cases, this confrontation will only make marriage reconciliation harder. You may learn things you’d prefer not to know or even encourage that person to pursue your spouse. There are some circumstances where a confrontation may be necessary, however. For example, a confrontation will likely be unavoidable if the victim regularly interacts with the affair partner.

3. Not Cutting off Contact With the Affair Partner

The offender must choose to cut off all contact with their affair partner. Note we said “choose.” The choice to officially leave their affair partner needs to be theirs alone. If they feel like they don’t want to stop contacting their affair partner, then they need to reconsider why they’re in a marriage to someone else in the first place. Offenders who are fully committed to cutting off the other person should discuss with their spouse how they plan to get this person out of their lives, like blocking them on their cell phone and social media.

4. Taking Revenge

We know you really want to dig your keys into the side of their pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive—but don’t do it, to your partner or the person they cheated with. Acts of revenge will only provide a short-lived feeling of satisfaction, and they do not contribute to healing after an affair (no matter what Ms. Carrie Underwood says). Revenge further deteriorates trust between partners and will likely add to feelings of shame and embarrassment.

5. Asking For Too Much or Too Little Information

The betrayed spouse needs to consider how much they want to know about the affair. Some information will only be painful to learn and hinder moving forward, like asking if the sex was “good.” However, you also don’t want a surprising, painful detail to come out about the affair years down the road. A good balance between these two is finding out how long the affair was going on. This question will reveal how serious your partner was about this person—was it a year-long affair with regular meetings, or was it a one-time mistake? The healing process will look different depending on your partner’s answer to this question. A counselor who specializes in affair recovery will be able to tailor your recovery journey based on this and other information.

6. Not Seeking Professional Therapy

Staying married after infidelity is not easy, but a marriage counselor with years of experience and education can make it much easier. They will guide you through the chaotic impact of infidelity on the betrayed spouse as well as the offender. 

Many couples suffering from an affair come to us at Well Marriage Center feeling hopeless. We get it, and if you feel this way, please know your feelings are entirely normal and valid. However, simply showing up to marriage counseling is a step in the right direction. 

Our counselors have helped couple after couple recover from infidelity by encouraging patience, honesty, care, and a willingness to make necessary changes. These results are the beauty of our strengths-based counseling approach, as we do everything we can to help you focus on the positives of your relationship and rebuild trust and love in a lasting way.

If you want to save your marriage through counseling after infidelity, schedule an appointment with us. Our intake coordinator, Melinda, can answer any questions you may have about our process. We look forward to meeting you and working together to restore the trust and love in your marriage.




Is Marriage Counseling Worth It After Infidelity?

Yes—it certainly is. If you’re wondering “Can therapy help with cheating, really?” we at Well Marriage Center are here to tell you that recovery is not only possible, but easier to start than you might think. We’re happy to share some things about how helpful marriage counseling can be for any partnership.

Overcoming infidelity can feel impossible—whether you’re the one who was cheated on or the one who was unfaithful. Marriage counseling gives couples a much better chance at affair recovery. If both partners are willing to approach the healing process together with transparency, vulnerability, and an open ear, there are very few things that cannot be worked through. While recovery will be a challenging endeavor, with the right therapist by your side, the process of healing infidelity wounds is more than possible. Let’s answer some common questions partners may have about infidelity, including:

  • What helps couples rebuild their relationship after infidelity?
  • How do therapists help couples heal their marriage?
  • Will my marriage ever be the same again?

How Can Couples Rebuild After Cheating?

Healing starts with each partner committing to repairing the relationship. A therapist can help with this commitment by providing a space where each person can explain what they need to feel heard, seen, and have their feelings validated throughout the process. While couples technically can work on their relationship without a therapist, having a relationship-friendly counselor provides a more objective, professional perspective from someone with a vast amount of experience.

Additionally, therapists provide exercises or frameworks to guide couples through their unique situations, all while creating a neutral space to discuss the marriage. The initial path to recovery is somewhat universal, but that will begin to diverge quickly as couples address the specifics of their partnership. A therapist uses their many techniques to approach infidelity recovery in a way that is just right for you and your partner.

*Even if a couple decides to separate after such a traumatic shock, therapy can help them overcome the long-term effects of infidelity as individuals.

How Do Therapists Handle Affairs?

Couples therapy after infidelity will generally start with two steps: allowing the partner who was cheated on to express their feelings, then examining what was going on before the cheating occurred.

During the first step, therapists provide space for the partner who was cheated on to openly express their emotions, often while their partner is listening. This step can be quite painful for both partners, which only underlines why having a counselor present is helpful. Feelings of betrayal, anger, sadness, and even embarrassment are all complex things to understand alone, or even with your partner. But with the outside perspective of a counselor, these feelings are easier to unpack and understand.

The second step involves looking at the relationship as a whole, prior to the cheating. Here, we begin to understand what patterns existed before and how each partner was perhaps not having their needs met in the marriage. Having a counselor present ensures that both sides have their feelings validated, and that even the person who cheated is able to express themselves. Then, a plan for recovery can form.

Each of those steps will have their own timeline, and each of them may require revisiting multiple times. The healing process is non-linear, but with commitment, there is a way to a better future. While the beginning process is essentially universal, the step-by-step stages of forgiving infidelity will look different for each partnership—and each partner.

Can a Relationship Go Back to Normal After Infidelity?

Yes and no. While moving forward is definitely possible, it’s important to know that your marriage will need to change, and in some ways, it already has. Cheating is a massive shock to a marriage, but this shock does not have to define the marriage forever. If anything, cheating can sometimes be the catalyst to a much deeper connection—one that is forged through undergoing an intentional healing process. 

Many couples who suffer from infidelity emerge with an even better relationship, but that requires leaving old ways behind. Remember, therapy is not about going back to the way things were—that’s what led the relationship to its current state. What you really want is to establish a new ‘normal’—a better ‘normal’ that encourages healthy communication, vulnerability, and addressing each partner’s needs. And with a therapist’s help, this new normal is entirely achievable.

Ready To Move Forward? Well Marriage Is Here

No matter how dark things seem, there is always hope for a brighter day. Well Marriage is here for you and your partner, and together we can build a road to that brighter day for your partnership. When you’re ready, reach out to Melinda and schedule an appointment. We’ll be here when you need us.




How to Heal from Infidelity Trauma

If you’ve recently discovered that your partner had an affair, then you may be experiencing infidelity trauma. You may be feeling debilitating, painful emotions you’ve never experienced  before and struggle to get on with your daily life. Infidelity hurts, for both you and your partner. As much as it is traumatic now, though, there is hope. Infidelity recovery is possible. You and your partner can both heal from the affair emotionally while also growing closer to one another in the process.

It’s important to note that even if you decide to call it quits after an affair, working together with a clinician who specializes in infidelity recovery is extremely helpful. The resulting PTSD, anger, feelings of shame and unworthiness, all of these can be processed in a healthy way so you’re not carrying such heavy baggage and developing negative coping mechanisms in the future.

Why Does Infidelity Hurt So Much?

Infidelity is painful for several reasons, the biggest one being that humans are social beings. According to social psychologists Naomi Eisenberger and Matthew Lieberman, humans rely on relationships to give us the emotional and physical connections we need to survive. When we experience social separation, such as that caused after an unfaithful act, we feel pain akin to physical pain. We weren’t meant to be alone, and the feelings of loneliness that may arise after an affair can leave people feeling wounded.

An affair also hurts because it is a broken commitment. When you are in a relationship with someone, you count on being able to trust and rely on that person. Acts of infidelity, however, disrupt the stability of that commitment. You may feel that your trust was misplaced and that everything you counted on was a lie.

Depending on whether you were the one betrayed or the one who betrayed, you may experience other feelings as well. The one betrayed will likely feel a huge drop in self-esteem because they think they weren’t good enough for their partner. The one who cheated may feel guilt or shame for breaking their promise to remain faithful and ultimately may feel inadequate. They may also feel a drop in self-esteem, fearing what others might think of them for cheating.

It’s natural to feel hurt after experiencing infidelity in your romantic relationship, and you should take the time to feel that pain. That is one step in recovering (something we’ll discuss in more detail later) and healing your relationship with your significant other.

How Do I Know if I Have Betrayal Trauma?

There are many signs of betrayal trauma, all of which stem from a violation of trust or well-being. What are the symptoms of betrayal trauma? They include:

  • Flashbacks: You may often think back to when your partner admitted to cheating, catching your partner cheating, or instances when you saw your partner and the other person involved together and didn’t know what was happening between them.
  • Severe anxiety: It can present itself in physical ways, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and nausea or dizziness.
  • Uncontrollable thoughts or nightmares: You may start to think or dream about your partner and the other person involved together, your relationship ending, or what life will look like for you and your partner now. You may be obsessively looking over your relationship’s past with a critical eye, wondering if everything was a lie.
  • Humiliation: This symptom stems from comparing yourself to the person your partner cheated with. You may feel inferior to them, and your insecurities may come to the forefront of your mind. You may start to think that everyone sees your flaws and feel embarrassed by it. You may also feel humiliated that the affair happened and worry about what friends or family may think or if they knew.
  • Emotional numbing: This is a coping mechanism that the body takes on after a traumatic experience. It may come in the form of losing interest in the activities you normally enjoy; being unable to connect to your feelings, especially positive ones; and being unable to participate in life as usual.
  • Erratic moods or behaviors: It’s normal to feel a whole host of emotions after learning about your partner’s affair. One minute you may feel fine, and the next you may feel angry, sad, confused, or hopeless. These drastic changes in mood may cause you to lash out at others seemingly out of the blue,  like getting stuck at a traffic light or having to wait in a long line at the grocery store.
  • Sleep difficulties: You may either sleep too much or too little after finding out about the cheating. People sleep too much when they feel they have no energy after the news or have nothing to get out of bed for. They sleep too little due to anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts keeping them awake.
  • Avoidance: These are behaviors related to making sure you don’t get involved in a certain situation or that you leave it immediately. After an affair, this may be directed at your partner and present itself as staying out of the same room as them, canceling plans made with them, or ignoring phone calls and text messages from them or others who know.
  • Isolation or withdrawal: This isolation may be from your parner or even from friends and family. Sometimes being alone feels safer than spending time with loved ones because your trust was broken, and it seems too difficult to be vulnerable with anyone else now.
  • Trust issues: An affair is a type of broken trust. When experiencing betrayal trauma, then, it’s common to have a difficult time trusting your partner or anyone else again.
  • Relationship difficulties: This symptom closely relates to trust issues because a lack of trust in others may cause you to distance yourself from friends and family. You may also lose interest in spending time with others or lash out, especially towards those who knew about the affair or were involved. These actions can lead to strains in any of your relationships, not just your romantic one.

If you experience any of these symptoms for months or years after you initially found out about the affair, and if these symptoms affect how you function from day to day, then you might have post-traumatic infidelity syndrome, also known as post-infidelity stress disorder (PISD). When you have PISD, triggers will set off the symptoms listed above and cause you to relive the experience.

What Are Triggers After Infidelity?

There are many triggers for betrayal trauma that can remind you of the betrayal or of what your relationship used to look like and set your emotions going again. Some might be the places where the affair took place, where you found out about the affair, or even where you and your partner had happy memories together. Your home can act as a trigger. People can also be triggers, especially those who knew about the affair or were involved.

Significant dates, such as anniversaries or birthdays, or music and movies tied to memories of your relationship or finding out about the affair can take you back to the day you discovered the betrayal as well. Physical and emotional distance and suspicious behavior act as triggers, too, because they may tempt you to think that your partner is still having an affair.

Despite the many triggers you may experience, you can learn how to get past infidelity triggers. They do not have to define you. First and foremost, let yourself feel the emotions that the triggers set off within you. Don’t try to avoid it. Instead, define the emotion and why you’re feeling it. Let yourself feel it until the moment passes. Journaling can help you with this process. From there, determine what you need to make yourself feel better. It could be anything from yoga to calling a friend to repeating self-affirmations. Deep breathing can also help with calming a racing heart and mind.

Seeking out a professional will also help hinder the effects of your triggers, and likely be the single best thing you can do for yourself. A specialized marriage counselor or couples therapist in particular can assist you and your partner on individual levels as well as your relationship overall because they have the most relevant training for efficient healing.

At Well Marriage Center, we understand that an affair takes a toll on relationships. We also know, though, that relationships can heal from infidelity as long as both parties are willing to work for it. It may take time, but you can move past your triggers and build a stronger relationship with your partner than you had before.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Infidelity Trauma?

How long it takes to recover from infidelity trauma will vary from person to person. For some, it can take as little as several months to completely heal. However, it’s normal for the healing process to take a couple years, too. A lot of it depends on how long you and your partner have been together, how long the affair lasted, how many affairs there were, who was involved, the issues in the relationship from before the affair, and more. Working side-by-side with your partner as well as with a trained professional can help you two work through the recovery process and get you to a healthy point in your relationship a bit quicker.

If you decide to part after the affair, this is fine and normal as well. A specialized therapist can help with moving forward, faster, and healthier, either way.

How Do I Let Go of the Pain Caused by Infidelity?

To let go of the pain caused by an affair, there are some infidelity recovery stages you’ll have to go through first:

  • Discovery: This stage is merely about finding out that the affair happened. You may experience shock and the inability to control your emotions during this stage.
  • Reaction: During this stage, the entire wave of emotions starts to set in. If you’re feeling trauma from the affair, this is probably the stage you are in right now. To get past this stage, you’ll probably have to go through the five stages of grief, which are:
  1. Denial: You go emotionally numb to make it through each day.
  2. Anger: You become upset with your partner for having the affair, the person with whom they had the affair, and anyone who knew about it and didn’t tell you or try to stop it.
  3. Bargaining: You try to get back to the life you used to have, no matter what it takes.
  4. Depression: You start to question your entire relationship with your partner and whether any of it was real. You may also start to lose interest in the activities you used to enjoy and feel lonely.
  5. Acceptance: You recognize that the past can’t be changed and decide to take active steps towards a brighter future.
  • Forgiveness: By this stage, you and your partner have probably done some healing on your own or with a therapist. Now you’ll start to discuss why the affair happened and what you can do to solve the issue. Hiring a marriage counselor like those at Well Marriage Center can be especially helpful in this stage because they can ensure that both people can explain how they’re feeling in a productive way rather than attacking the other person or causing more harm to the situation.
  • Recommitment and Reconciliation: In this final stage, you and your partner actively work to move past the affair. That’s not to say that you both forget about the affair. Instead, it means that the affair becomes a part of your story and a reason to work on making your relationship even stronger. You work as a team to make sure boundaries, communication, and expectations are honored in healthy ways that builds more intimacy and trust over time.

Does Reconciliation Work After Infidelity?

Yes, reconciliation can work after an affair as long as both you and your partner take active steps to move forward. That means the cheating partner has to give up the affair(s) completely and both of you make efforts to better communicate with one another and understand where the other person is coming from. Your marriage is never the same after infidelity, nor should it be. After all, there were existing issues in the marriage to lead to the affair in the first place. Instead, you and your partner should view the affair as a place to grow into a new, even better, relationship.

A good place to start in the reconciliation process is recognizing reasons not to divorce after infidelity, or not to separate if you’re not married The biggest reason not to do so is because both of you want to work through it. That’s a sign that you both still love each other and care enough about the relationship to save it. Also revisit how the marriage was before the affair occurred. Do you have several happy memories together? How strong was your bond? If you had a fairly good relationship before an affair, you have a strong base to start from to repair it.

Lastly, consider who will be affected if you and your partner divorce. It may be your kids or other family members. While this reason alone may not be enough to stop you and your partner from seeking out a divorce, it can play a factor when making your final decision.

Know that it is possible to reconcile a marriage after an affair. Talking to a marriage counselor can help you and your partner figure out how to start over in a marriage after infidelity.

Well Marriage Center: Your Place for Pro-Relationship  Counseling

We at Well Marriage Center want to see your relationship succeed as much as you do. That’s why we take a pro-relationship  approach in all couples and marriage counseling journeys, including working with couples after an affair. We help both you and your partner heal from infidelity trauma and build a better relationship. 

Even when couples decide to separate after an affair, working with a licensed professional, especially one who specializes in affair recovery, can help both partners process and move forward. Working through the damaging effects can keep the trauma from snowballing into other areas of your lives. 

We work with each partner individually and together, so they can express their emotions in a therapeutic way, understand where the other is coming from, and look at the relationship from an objective space so that any issues leading up to the affair can be addressed through being on the same page about boundaries, expectations, communication, intimacy, and more.

Seeking help when experiencing infidelity trauma is completely normal. In fact, it can give your relationship a leg up in the recovery process. If you’re ready to grow your relationship to its full potential, reach out to us to get started. You can also read more about infidelity on our blog or find a therapist near you.