How to Repair a Marriage After Infidelity

by Michelle Labbe

Infidelity is one of the most painful and difficult issues a marriage can face. For many, infidelity on one or both sides of a marriage is the end, and both parties separate and move on. But it is possible to repair a marriage after a spouse is unfaithful. Healing the cracks in a marriage and recovering from this betrayal of trust takes time and patience, but if both spouses are dedicated and committed to salvaging their relationship, recovery is possible.

Take responsibility for your actions. Be open and honest with each other. Whether you cheated or were cheated on, you must be upfront about how you are feeling in the aftermath of the infidelity. If you conceal emotions, you risk further widening the distance between you. Honesty may be painful, but dishonesty is worse. Openness at this stage is the first step to rebuilding trust.

Talk about your marriage. Ask yourselves why the marriage is worth saving, and what goals and desires you still share as a couple. Focusing on what you share and have in common will help you stay on track as you begin to rebuild your marriage.

See a marriage counselor. Licensed counselors with expertise in repairing marriages will help you to rebuild trust and intimacy, and walk you through your difficulties. A marriage counselor will provide perspective on what happened and what you need to do to move forward, and help you to learn strategies for rebuilding and strengthening your relationship.

You may also need to renegotiate your relationship. The way you relate to each other has changed, and you will have to show each other that you are committed to this marriage. Marriage counselors can also help you with this renegotiation.

Restore your trust in each other. This is the biggest hurdle in repairing your marriage. Going to counseling sessions together will help. Continue to be honest, and don't keep secrets from each other. Move forward, but do so at your own pace. Forgiveness may take time, and the amount of time you need to recover depends on you, your spouse, and the kind of relationship you have. If you were unfaithful you may be eager to try to forget the affair, but the process may not be so easy for your spouse.

Forgive each other. There may be fault on one or both sides, but try not to blame each other for what happened. As you rebuild trust, learn to forgive and put the past behind you, if you can. Don't use the infidelity as leverage or to cause guilt. Forgiveness may not be quick or easy. It will take time, but it will also take effort on your part.

About the Author

Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.

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