Finding out that your partner was unfaithful is one the hardest things we can go through. It makes us feel stupid, broken, and all-around deflated. Many people who are betrayed by their partners feel the symptoms of PTSD. The most common ones include…

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nightmares
  • Jitteriness
  • Memory problems
  • Up-and-down emotions
  • Flashbacks

Understand that at first, these feelings are completely normal. However, if you choose to stay, the goal is to recover fully and build a stronger bond than before. (Not just stay together out of obligation.) Mentally, we want you to be here:

  • Authentically engaged with your partner
  • Feeling confident and resilient
  • In charge of your life

How do we get you here? Well, it requires the couple to be vulnerable, realistic about the risks, optimistic about the results, and willing to face discomfort. You have to accept that the old relationship is gone, and it’s time to build a new one based on different values and expectations.

Here’s how couples can stay together after infidelity.

The First Few Weeks: Lay It All On the Table

Assuming that both you and your partner are committed to understanding and forgiveness, start by going over everything that happened. As the betrayed, you can ask as many questions as you want: Who was it? How many people know? How many times did it happen? Where did it happen? Are you done seeing them?

Be careful about asking questions you don’t want to know the answer to. Talking about it will get easier over time, so save some questions for when you’re more emotionally prepared to deal with them.

Knowing more now while you’re still freshly hurt will only create more hard-hitting, detailed flashbacks in the future.

Take Care of Yourself as You Work

These conversations will be pretty emotionally exhausting, so prepare for them like you would prepare for a long week of travel. Sleep early and often, get exercise, plan healthy meals, and have hobbies ready for mental breaks.

Anytime someone uses an all-or-nothing phrase, (“You always,” “I never,” etc.) take a break. Because now, you’re no longer looking for common ground; you’re looking for someone to be right and someone to be wrong. That’s not helpful.

When you’re both in a calmer headspace and can refrain from yelling or finger-pointing, open up the conversation again.

Learn to View Cheating as a Symptom of Deeper Issues

Before you can move past the affair, you have to acknowledge the problems in the relationship that contributed to it.

Through counseling, books, and podcasts that focus on infidelity, you will discover (and eventually accept) that the affair actually has nothing to do with you. It is a decision that belongs to your partner, and frankly, it’s embarrassing for them, not you.

While they work through feelings of shame, your focus should be on the strength of the relationship and how you choose to still benefit from it. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Learn to Forgive While Accepting That It Could Happen Again

Forgiveness requires immense emotional strength and maturity, because it implies that you can take the same beating again and survive without feeling traumatized. This is a key part of overcoming infidelity.

Don’t hide this risk in the back of your mind—accept it with your whole being. Make space for it in the relationship. Trust that doing so is courageous and necessary to rehabilitate your love.

The best (and most common) outcomes I see in counseling involve the betrayed partners becoming more authentically themselves. They develop a sense of confidence that tells them they can recover from anything. Oftentimes, they’re able to see their new relationship with pride. They’ve finally reached the end of a long, beautiful-yet-painful journey.

That can be you. If you’re struggling to work past infidelity on your own, start couples counseling today and we can help guide you to the other side. Together.