Written by Malyka Cardwell, MFT

Originally posted on Philadelphia MFT.

You’ve cheated on your partner and now the truth is out. Whether it was one wild night or an ongoing affair, the damage has been done. Now that your secret has been revealed, you may be feeling surges of regret, sadness, guilt, remorse, or in some cases relief. Your partner is likely devastated and cycling through his or her own set of emotions. This is a chaotic time. The foundation of your relationship has been shattered and it is now up to you and your mate to decide whether to rebuild or leave it in shambles. If you both decide to work it out, here are some tips to help you get through this juncture:

1. Cut all possible ties. You cannot reconcile your relationship if you are still interacting with the person you had the affair with. If you cannot cut out all ties due to professional reasons or children, then at least limit communication.

2. Listen to your partner. Be prepared to withstand the pain and venting that inevitably will come. Learn when to give space and learn when to lean in. Figure out what your partner needs from you. Know that those needs will likely change often. Be patient.

3. Be accountable and honest with yourself. What made you susceptible to infidelity? Look at what factors led you to that point and also what you need to do to avoid being tempted again. Avoid playing the blame game. Your partner’s attitude may have made your relationship difficult but it cannot be used as an excuse for the infidelity. Own up to your wrongdoing in order to make any sort of progress. Pointing the finger only does more damage.

4. Recognize things won’t ever be exactly the same. It is very common to want your relationship to go back to normal after an affair happens. The only problem is the normal that you used to know is gone. Things have changed but this is not necessarily a bad thing. You and your partner have the ability to create a stronger relationship. Take this time to discuss what you both need from each other moving forward. Also discuss the issues in your relationship that may have pushed you both apart.

5. Be realistic about your relationship expectations. Accept the fact that healing may take longer than you anticipated. Healing after infidelity has been committed will not happen overnight. Do not rush the process. Progress will feel like a roller coaster ride with all the high and low points. You may think that things should be moving faster but you have no control over the timing it takes to forgive and truly move on.

Moving on after an affair is a difficult process that is best handled with the help of an objective third party. The therapists here at Philadelphia MFT are skilled in helping couples work through issues pertaining to infidelity.

  • Interesting post and topic, It must be so difficult to move on after this xo

  • Clarissa

    Good post and informative, I can imagine it’s hard to get that trust back, thank you for this

  • Angela Milnes

    Such a good post, I enjoy reading this and so glad that you share this with us

  • Kira L Curtis

    I think these are definitely some good points for if you do anything bad wrong!

  • Baby Isabella

    Great advice. Must be horrible to be on the receiving end of somebody cheating 🙁

  • Fabulous post filled with lots of advice. I don’t know how easy it would be to rebuild a relationship after this, and I hope I never find out! x

  • Charlotte

    It must be hard to find the strength to rebuild a relationship. Great advice post.

  • I haven’t been cheated on although I was in a relationship where we did break up because of other person, but at least he didn’t cheat and had the decency of breaking it off. It a really hard thing and like many of the comments given below I don’t think I would ever be able to trust that person again it would be so hard.

  • GlamourGlitterGloss

    I have trust issues from being cheated on. If you’re cheating I just think you don’t want to be with that person so why work it on for them to stray again

  • I can’t imagine it’s easy to move on after you’ve been cheated on. I’ve been cheated on before and there was no way I’d trust the person again so we split up x

  • I think I would have some major trust issues and would find it hard to move on,

  • Annie Bean

    I seriously have no idea how people cheat. Guilt would literally consume me. But agree with some of the points you’ve made.

  • I agree the trust would be gone and it would be hard to trust but in some rare cases it can make the relationship stronger. For me personally I have been cheated on many times and as soon as I know about it that is it they are out of the door.

  • Jodie Whitham

    Honestly would feel like the trust was gone and just don’t feel i would be able to moue on from it. Great tips! I do agree tat a professional may be best for the situation x

  • Healthy & Psyched

    Some good tips. I think how the situation is handled depends very much on what actually happened and the severity.

  • Catherine Hooper

    I imagine anything like this would take lots of time and honesty to repair the damage. WE have a few married friends in therapy at the moment (not for infidelity) and it seems to be helping

  • Hannah Latoya Bond

    This can be really difficult. There are some great tips and advice here x

  • I’ve never stayed with a partner that cheated, I just don’t think I could stay in a relationship when the trust has gone x

  • I believe that if couples decide to try to salvage their relationship after an episode of cheating, they will most likely need the help of a professional, and it won’t be an easy or fast fix. There is some good beginning advice in this article as well.

  • Nazy Nazy

    Woww this post says how mature you’re thinking is…loved the post.

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