It is very tempting to reduce infidelity to sex and lies, however infidelity can be used as a portal into the landscape of relationships and the boundaries we draw to bind them. Infidelity brings us face-to-face with the volatile and opposing forces of passion: the lure, the lust, the urgency, the love and its impossibility, the relief, the entrapment, the guilt, the heartbreak, the sinfulness, the surveillance, the madness of suspicion, the murderous urge to get even, the tragic denouement. Be forewarned: Addressing these issues requires a willingness to descend into a labyrinth of irrational forces. Love is messy; infidelity more so. But it is also a window, like none other, into the crevices of the human heart. An Excerpt from The State of Affairs by Esther Perel

Working through an affair is tough. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, and vulnerability on both sides. It doesn’t happen overnight.

The loss of the relationship you thought you once had can cause anger, jealousy, and extreme sadness. The pit in your stomach is normal and real. There will be tons of questions flooding your head. It can be overwhelming.

How did this happen? What did I do ? Should I stay? Is it even possible to rebuild trust? Will they be unfaithful again? Do I want to stay? Has my relationship been a lie the entire time?


Regaining trust offers extreme challenges for both partners, and there is still reason to be hopeful. It takes two.

One thing is certain: learning to rebuild is a process, and will take time.

Most couples we work with who are recovering from infidelity both agree that the love is not lost. The trust is fractured and both parties need time. Sometimes couples who have experienced infidelity need time to make decisions about what they want. Most can agree that the affair has sparked a lot of questions and forces communication and connection to be evaluated.

Transparency and building trust is key in the beginning. First, the unfaithful partner must be willing to put the relationship first and show their partner trustworthiness through their words and actions. Trust is an action rather than a belief – it’s more about what your partner does rather than what they say. You have heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”. It’s true.

The person who is unfaithful must put an end to the affair and end all contact with the other person. If you want a second chance you must be fully committed to your partner. Cutting off the other person will also help you deal with the urges you may have to reconnect.

It’s crucial that the unfaithful partner understands their partner’s feelings and accepts responsibility without getting defensive. Own it and keep owning it for as long as it takes.

There can be no more secrets and the person who was unfaithful must confess. While full disclosure is painful, it allows for transparency, which is needed to start the process to rebuild trust.

Couples healing from the pain of infidelity need to gain insight into what went wrong without blaming one another. Honesty and confronting the issues head on, in a safe space is the best way to regain the trust and intimacy back between you and your partner’s relationship.

Ways to rebuild trust in your relationship will be by starting small and being consistent.

Always be on time.

Do what you said you will do.

Be honest. There will probably be many setbacks along the way, but keep being honest. It will pay off eventually.

Check in with each other

Write letters to each other

Bring back Date night

Couples counselling

It’s going to take time to rebuild the trust that the two of you had. Don’t lie to your spouse, even about small things. If you see yourself starting to exaggerate or tell an outright lie, ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you generally an untrustworthy person? Are you afraid of how your spouse will react to the truth? Is it a bad habit? Answer honestly, and work on it.


Seeking outside Help

Recovering from an affair is complex and usually requires an experienced therapist. Being able to express hurt feelings in a safe environment can facilitate healing.

Making the decision to go to therapy and actually going is a big step to repairing your marriage. When you go to couples therapy with your spouse, you are doing something together to work on your relationship.

A therapist is a neutral third party who will help you understand what went wrong in your relationship. Instead of allowing your discussions to dissolve into yelling and screaming sessions, a therapist will constructively focus you toward solving the problems in your relationship. Also allows a safe space for both of you to speak freely. Gain tools and knowledge for future bumps.

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