7 Brutally Honest Ways To Save Your Marriage After An Affair

One thing stops your marriage from surviving after a betrayal.

Upset wife after finding out husband had affair fotomaniya | Canva

You want to know the chances of your marriage surviving infidelity, given that you do not fully trust your cheating spouse. Well, the chances of surviving an affair are low if your man still has contact with the other woman. So, what do you do?

If this sounds like you, then my guess is your heart aches and you feel utterly betrayed at the wild discovery of your spouse cheating with another person. What's worse is if they seem to feel more compassion and grief towards losing their affair and have no remorse or empathy towards you. In this case, knowing how to fix a broken marriage caused by cheating will not be easy.


RELATED: Relationships That Survive Cheating Have These 4 Things In Common

Here's the brutal truth about saving your marriage after an affair:

1. Ask them if they want to work on your marriage

Do they still want to work on saving your marriage and pick up where you left off? The first thing you should decide is whether your spouse genuinely wants to fix the marriage, feels remorse, and wants to address the issues.

2. Ask them to end the affair

Can they end the affair, and not just to please you? Can they maintain no contact with the other person? If they can happily end the affair, the prognosis for working on the marriage is much better. Then couples counseling for recovering from an affair can be useful here.


If your spouse seems to be still keeping their feelings inside, not being open to talking about the affair, seems to still have strong feelings for the affair, or wants to maintain that relationship with the affair, then you need to be very careful here. 

You can enable the affair to continue by colluding with this even if it’s an emotional affair. As long as they are still confiding in the other person, they will most likely continue the pattern of not talking to you and feel their behavior is acceptable.

3. Set boundaries in your relationship

You need to ask yourself what your boundaries are. What are you prepared to put up with so you can protect yourself here? It is far worse to accept something that ends up hurting you than drawing a line in the sand and protecting yourself.


If you express your boundaries of having no contact with the other person, then you can make it safer to address the issues in your marriage, providing that your spouse wants to be with you exclusively. Whereas, if you accept your partner back, knowing they maintain contact with the other person, then you need to accept the likely outcome that could come from this.

She holds finger to his mouth to conceal his affair Prostock-studio via Shutterstock

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4. Address the issues in your marriage

Sometimes it is easier to bury your head in the sand — forgive and forget — rather than work through the issues that underpin the affair. However, it is a big risk to take someone back who has betrayed your trust, without dealing with the issues and protecting yourself from this happening again.

5. See if they accept responsibility for their part of the problems

A big clue of marriage failure from infidelity is if your spouse doesn’t accept the part they played in the affair, minimizes it, justifies it, or continues to lie and deceive you.

6. Learn how to trust again

Trust is paramount. If they openly admit and tell the truth, you can rebuild trust and security in your marriage. If you sense you are not being told the whole truth, you have something to worry about. Sometimes, a cheater wants to have their cake and eat it too. They can protect their relationship with the other person if they hide their relationship.

You cannot establish trust if they secretly want to hold onto the other person — this will build insecurity and mistrust. They have to want to let that relationship go and own that decision for themselves, not just to get you back.


7. Forgive and do not let blame or resentment take over

If your spouse is addressing the issues, do not allow blame or resentment to get in the way of rebuilding the relationship. If your spouse places the relationship with the other person ahead of yours, then the chances of your marriage surviving an affair are low. This is the most common cause that prevents marriages from surviving infidelity.

The likelihood of your marriage recovering from an affair is very minimal unless you can protect yourself from this reoccurring again. They may have justified their relationship as 'just friends', even though you saw passionate messages between them, confessing their love for each other. So can your relationship heal from an affair if he still loves the other person?

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Well, the truth is, if they still secretly love the other person, then it is hard to heal from cheating in your relationship. You may even discover that while you had difficulties in your marriage, they confided in this other person about your marriage and never told you how they felt, turning to the other person for emotional support.


Fun Fact: On average, it takes a “healthy” person 6 months to 2 years to get over an act of infidelity. Could you imagine how long it’ll take someone with attachment wounds, distorted cognitions, personality types with dependent characteristics, or deep-rooted fears?www.kittierose.com New community, journals, books, and merch coming two weeks! 🔥

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You discover they felt alone and rejected in their marriage. But, they put their emotional needs aside to make you happy while feeling not good enough for you. They had an affair to escape the empty pit of loneliness, feeling not good enough, and longing for a safe connection, with no obligation but to have space to get their needs met.

they never planned to leave you, but they didn’t feel safe telling you how they felt because there were so many other problems to sort out. They felt their feelings didn’t matter, everyone else was more important. So, they withdrew further and escaped into fantasy by having an affair with another person, to take them away from how they were feeling.


While your spouse was having an affair, they retreated so they could still get their emotional needs met and be selfish. This is because they didn’t want to hurt you and tell you the things they needed to say.

They still wanted you so they found another outlet to get their needs met. This way, they didn’t have to leave you and wouldn’t be upset with you. This allowed them to put their needs aside because they were getting their needs met somewhere else.

Who is texting him so late, she checks his phone after surviving an affair Antonio Diaz via Shutterstock


Cheaters often use the affair as an escape from the difficulties of their marriage. If you discover yourself in this situation, then the chances are you are trying to decide if you should rebuild your relationship or let it go.

If you decide to stay in this relationship, there is something important you need to consider. If your spouse lies and hides their love for the other person, then it’s difficult to recover from an affair in your marriage. Your spouse may still have feelings for this other person and they may begrudgingly give the other person up for the sake of saving the marriage.

If this is the case, you may have problems moving forward if they don't want to let go of the affair. It will just recreate the same problems, where they suppress their feelings and hide how they feel to keep the peace.


How can you survive an affair in your marriage?

If this other person became your husband’s emotional lifeline, asking them to stop the affair could cause them to feel like they are chopping off their right arm, even though they might not tell you this. The more they hide how they feel, the more they could be hiding their love affair to protect that relationship because they don’t want to give it up. They may even tell you it means nothing, to keep the peace and get you off their back.

@untying.knots How would you define an emotional affair? #cheaters #cheating #divorce @theangelicarobles ♬ original sound - Untying Knots

But, are they simply repeating this pattern? If it was emotional cheating, then they may still have feelings for the other person, even if they cut off the relationship. So, how do you protect yourself from this happening again?

The best outcome for healing from an affair is no contact with the other person. Recovering from an affair requires the couple to genuinely want to work on the marriage. If the couple deals with the issues between them, they can prevent the underlying issues from reoccurring, so then the chances of the marriage rebuilding after infidelity are higher.


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Nancy Carbone is an author, relationship therapist, and psychodynamic therapist. She specializes in the treatment of personality disorders and relational trauma, and is accredited as a mental health social worker.