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Affair Recovery: What Is It and Is It Possible to Recover?
Relationship Advice

Affair Recovery: What Is It and Is It Possible to Recover?

Affair recovery is about rebuilding trust, whether it was an emotional affair, physical affair, or both. Here's a closer look at how affair recovery works.

Together Team
April 27, 2022

As infidelity strikes a relationship, it can lead to emotional trauma and outbursts that can be overwhelming to both partners. 

There are different kinds of emotions that people feel—all at once— after an affair. Many of these emotions can be hard to even handle, at times. The feeling of betrayal, the lies involved, the self-doubt, the doubt about the feelings towards the partner can be crushing for the "betrayed" partner. On the other hand, the feeling of guilt and embarrassment can lead to emotional turmoil for the partner involved in an affair.

In this post, we'll go through what affair recovery means, the steps involved in recovery, and the role of therapy in recovering from an affair.

What is affair recovery?

Affair recovery is the process of rebuilding the trust that was blossoming before in the relationship, providing couples with a space where they can have conversations and clear up any doubts they have.

Talking about the affair is often part of the recovery process for any kind of affair, whether it’s an emotional affair, physical affair, or both.

Is affair recovery possible?

Before we talk about how to recover, you might be wondering if it's even possible to recover. Is the saying, "once a cheater, always a cheater" actually true?

Yes, affair recovery is definitely possible, and there are many couples who are able to secure their relationship and are able to give their relationship a second chance. Affair recovery means that both partners are going to feel vulnerable, and that they are willing to go through difficult emotions during their recovery.

For those who feel like they are having troubles moving on from the affair, seeing a couples therapist can provide the groundwork for the healing, especially since the partner who was cheated on is likely going through a lot of emotions, which means having conversations can be even more difficult than before.

Speaking to a therapist can help with understanding the needs of both partners, which can eventually help both of them understand why the affair occurred and take steps to move forward.

Can marriages recover from an affair?

Relationships can recover from an affair, regardless of if you are married or not. Not all cheating spouses end up getting a divorce. In fact, the rate of affairs in a marriage may actually be far more than we think. According to a study in 2015, 1 in every 5 partners admitted to having an affair in the past.

With so many marriages struck by an affair, affair recovery is important if you want to continue with a relationship and give it another chance. Remember that marriage after an affair can only work out if both partners are willing to continuously work on their relationship and are open to rebuilding the trust. 

How to recover after an affair

Recovering from an affair is hard and sometimes, it can feel like there is no improvement in the relationship. It's also possible that having conversations about the affair can negatively affect your mental health. You might feel like giving up on the relationship and that moving on is the only way things can turn out to be better, even if you don't actually want the relationship to end. 

But on the flip side, recovery does happen as mentioned earlier, and there are many couples who rebuilt trust and improved their relationship.

One step towards recovery is to first ask questions to understand your partner’s motives. These help you understand whether or not it's possible to salvage your relationship.

During this process, it's normal to feel guilt, embarrassment, and betrayal again. Rebuilding trust is challenging, especially when you begin to recall the lies that you were told and and bring up memories that you never want to experience again. Keep in mind that recovery takes time and doesn't happen overnight.

As you probably can expect, communication is the key to recovery from an affair. If you find this difficult, then keep in mind that getting therapy helps create a structure for you and your partner to communicate in. Couples dealing with an affair may want to go through individual therapy, but in the case of affairs, couples therapy works well to help guide couples to communicate about the affair. It can be heartbreaking at times but also rewarding in the long run. 

What are the stages in recovering from an affair?

Affair recovery often occurs in a few stages. The first stage in recovering is the acceptance of having an affair, and the fact you want to mend your relationship and also have a fresh start. If you were the one having the affair, make a commitment to end contact with the person you were having an affair with, as it can help to rebuild trust. 

The next step would be communicating and accepting that your relationship with your partner had been compromised in many ways. Accepting and letting your partner know that you feel responsible for the downfall of your relationship can help in building up trust.

If communicating with your partner is not getting you anywhere, it may be time to start talking to a therapist and getting involved in a couples therapy. Couples therapy can be very reliable in cases where couples want to have a conversation and give their relationship another chance, but are unable to do so because of all the emotional breakdowns they have been through.

How do you prevent an affair from happening again?

After you and your partner have recovered from the affair and the two of you are able to secure your relationship, the next thing you want to do is to prevent another affair. It's important for the partner involved in the affair to start with an attitude that they will not stray. Setting up clear boundaries can also help in developing healthy relationships.

Giving your relationship a second chance can seem like starting a new one. Remember to talk openly about what you and your partner are expecting from the relationship.

Sometimes, the partner who has been cheating is not ready to end the relationship with the other person. If this is the case, then it may be more important to seek individual therapy. The doubt, ambiguity, and confusion can sometimes make it difficult to decide what would be best for you, so talking with a therapist can help with this. Or, if you're unsure about what you're hoping for in terms of a relationship, you can also get more clarity on that.

After recovering from an affair

After you've had multiple conversations with your partner and have gone through the difficulties of recovering from the affair, the work doesn't stop here. Continue to work on understanding your partner's needs and communicating your wants. Focus on all of the positive aspects of your relationship and develop each other's strengths to have a thriving and healthy relationship.

Together Team

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