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Recovering From an Affair: The Ultimate Guide to Healing

6 Powerful Ways to Stop the Pain, Keep Your Dignity and Restore Hope

When you discover your partner’s infidelity, a horrible sinking feeling washes over you–followed quickly by a wave of denial.

“It can’t be true!” you try to reassure yourself, even as another wave of realization pummels you with the truth: This is actually happening to you even though you never thought it would.

Being the victim of a cheating spouse is a heartbreaking sucker punch to the gut.

It’s also terrifying because if the person you trusted to be faithful to you isn’t, that calls everything into question. What’s the point of anything if the love and commitment you thought you had are a sham?

Your happiness and hope are sucked out as though you’ve crossed paths with a dementor from a Harry Potter book.

Is there really hope that you’ll ever stop feeling like a complete fool and feel desired, taken care of and special again?

Of course there is. I’ve seen it too many times to doubt it.

But I get that it does NOT feel that way today.

As hard as it is when you discover your partner’s infidelity, there’s plenty you can do to speed the healing process and come out with an even better marriage than before.


These six how-tos will help you come through this challenge with your dignity, your self-respect and a marriage that’s stronger than ever.

1. How to Get Relief from the Pain of Infidelity while Keeping Your Dignity

As a mere mortal woman yourself, you probably want him to hurt.

Of course you do! That’s exactly what happens to humans when we’re so mournfully wounded ourselves.

Your hurt and anger are valid, and they deserve their day in the sun.

Start with the moping. Commit to moping all damn day and don’t let anyone out-mope you.

Next, give your anger its due. Throw things and scream…but not at him.

I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it. It’s actually you I’m thinking about here. It’s your dignity I’m wanting to protect.

It has likely already taken some hits in this ordeal, and that’s understandable.

But the sooner you can stop saying things to him you might regret later–justified though they may be–the sooner you’ll stop feeling the throbbing pain in your heart.

I’m not saying you have to forgive or forget–not by a long shot.

It’s just that when anger tinged with hurt and fear is in the driver’s seat, you’re likely to end up somewhere you never wanted to go.

You could get there with an emotional hangover too. And for what?

Catharsis! That’s what.

You’re craving relief, which that dangerous conversation with him holds the promise to give you.

Of course you deserve to be heard and seen! That’s important.

And you can get that elsewhere.

You can talk to your mom or sister, bartender or AA sponsor, priest or rabbi, friend or relationship coach.

The distinction between tending to your own emotional needs at this time and punishing him with harsh words is choosing your audience wisely.

In my experience, my emotional well-being suffers when I indulge my desire for revenge by saying nasty things to someone I’m furious with.

It’s a hidden cost that took me years to recognize, but finally I’m able to see how my toxic words just boomerang back to me immediately and painfully, spoiling any fleeting satisfaction from “letting him have it.”

What’s been more satisfying and self-loving is getting what I really need–which is someone to witness my hurt, anger, shock and fear.

If I bare my soul to someone who wasn’t involved, I avoid temptation and get relief without all the unpleasant side effects of inflicting that punishment.

Well, with the exception of one important caveat that I’ll explain momentarily.

These days I’d rather take care of me and my emotional needs with a neutral party than indulge my (human but expensive) desire for revenge, which I now think of as the emotional equivalent of touching a hot stove.

2. How to Speed Up the Healing from Infidelity

Even if only 51% of you is leaning toward trying to save your marriage, you deserve a medal. Truly!

It takes so much courage to do what you’re doing. Many women will never find that courage.

You’re likely questioning whether it’s worth it, whether your marriage can ever be shiny and happy again.

You might be vacillating.

One minute you fantasize that he’ll come back begging for your forgiveness and telling you it was all his fault, and that he’ll never, ever, ever do it again and that you were always the only one for him, so you can be reunited for good.

The next minute, you envision dramatically telling him he’s lost you forever and walking away for the last time. Imagine the look on his face!

It’s a good thing it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, right?

But here’s something powerful you can do RIGHT NOW to affect the outcome of the crisis you’re in: Decide what your intention is.

Since you’re reading this blog, it seems like your intention is to heal from this betrayal and fix your marriage.

I’m checking because another piece of the healing is to land on a decision, even if you completely change your mind again by 2:30.

Just for this millisecond, what is your intention with your relationship? Do you want to fix your marriage?

It may feel safer to stay in the murky indecision, but it’s actually prolonging your suffering. Indecision is painful. Mixed energy will keep you miserable. So one thing you can do today is…


Then you can decide again later, or tomorrow.

Just decide for right this minute.

Why? Because when you decide, you stop being a victim.

You don’t have to stay in this marriage.

You don’t have to end this marriage.

It’s your decision. Doesn’t that sound good right about now?

Maybe you don’t feel like it’s your decision because he’s forcing your hand saying he’s going to file for divorce or refusing to end the affair.

But that’s on his side of the street.

What’s on yours?

How will you use your formidable influence?

Only you can know what your decision is, and once you acknowledge that decision you become much more powerful.

3. How to Get Rid of the Other Woman

Another thing you can do for faster healing of yourself and your marriage is to starve the other woman of oxygen. This is just a metaphor–I’m not saying you should literally suffocate her (though I can see why you’d want to).

I know it’s tempting to confront the other woman, to let her know what a homewrecker she is and what an idiot to date a married man, and that you’re not blind to what’s going on.

The illusion is that by checking on her on social media or his phone you’ll know more about your safety and future prospects. That illusion is strong!

But all of that works the opposite of how you want it to because what you focus on increases. You’d be giving her oxygen in the form of your attention, your thoughts and your energy, which results in her growing more prominent in your life and your husband’s life.

But how can you ignore her when she seems to be the source of all the suffering you’re enduring now?

It takes some commitment for sure.

But what if acting as if she didn’t exist were the key to ending your own suffering?

That’s what we see on our campus, where women commune to get the encouragement to choose their focus carefully so that they’re having the experience they want to have–not the one they don’t want.

One of my coaches describes how her husband’s mistress was her focus for years before she learned this truth and got the support to follow through with it. She was amazed that the woman completely disappeared from their lives shortly after that.

If you want the other woman completely out of your lives, one powerful thing you can do is stop bringing her up yourself, even to yourself.

She’s just a distraction from your highest priority of making yourself happy, even if you don’t feel like you’ve got much to be happy about right now.

4. How to Avoid the Worst Myths about Surviving Infidelity

You’ll hear advice that you have to stop talking to him.

You might read that step one of recovering from an affair is that he has to end things with his affair partner. Until that happens, you’re stuck waiting around…and it could be a while.

You’ll see “expert” advice that you should separate, kick him out, or even that you have to divorce! Or else you’re not respecting yourself.

But I’ve watched thousands of students buck all that bad advice and make real, lasting change in their relationships that exceeded their own expectations.

One woman waited six months following a therapist’s advice that there could be no progress until her husband ended his affair, though she felt more powerless and hopeless with each passing month.

When she decided to do what she could on her side of the street, using The Six Intimacy Skills™ and The Connection Framework, she saw incredible progress. Her husband turned toward her and away from his affair partner in just two months, and she regretted that she had wasted those six months.

Wanting to keep your family intact doesn’t make you a fool.

Research shows that being married improves your health, your general well-being, your standard of living, your overall income, your resistance to disease and a reduction in alcohol and substance abuse.

Married people have more and better sex than singles and are at lower risk of suicide.

Even if it’s just because you don’t want to lose status or money or because of the kids, staying married after an affair is a big accomplishment.

I’ve seen enough courageous, committed women fix their marriages after a betrayal to know that it takes more strength and wisdom to stay than it does to end your marriage.

5. How to Get a Mentor to Help You

Did you know there are women who have lived through an affair and made it to the other side with a happy, healthy marriage who are willing to show you exactly what they did to heal from the infidelity?

Their whole job is to guide you, support you and stand for your greatness as you embark on the journey to your own happy, healthy marriage.

These women are called Certified Relationship Coaches, and they are a rare and powerful breed.

No one can identify with your situation quite like she can. And that empathy is something you definitely deserve right now.

Remember I said there’s a caveat about getting things off your chest with a third party like your friends, mom or sister?

Telling the story again and again will help with your healing, but if you tell a friend or relative the terrible things he did to you, it will color their view of the man for a long time to come.

People who love you want to protect you, and down the road they might think reminding you how awful he once was is a good way to do that.

They might even tell you to leave him, even if that’s not what you think is best for your family or for yourself.

That’s why it’s so valuable to have an audience who can empathize and also keep her eye on the ball of healing your marriage–if that’s an option you want to keep open.

Your relationship coach will do all of that.

You don’t want to be alone with this, and you might not want to be relying on well-meaning friends, who may love you to bits but not have the wisdom and experience to advise you.

Having a coach is the fastest way to heal an infidelity, which comes with so much urgency and pressure on you. You shouldn’t have to be alone with that.

A relationship coach stands for your greatness and for your husband’s (even if he doesn’t deserve it right now!). She can help you find your inner wisdom, illustrate the trusty skills she’s learned along the way, and point out blind spots that would otherwise impede your progress.

6. How to Have Hope for Your Future

An overview of infidelity research from the Zur Institute found that most couples survive an affair rather than getting divorced and that most affairs don’t last beyond the falling-in-love phase and are short-term.

So if it’s your intention to stay married, the odds are in your favor, even if that’s not what he’s saying right now.

You’re the one he married in front of God and everybody. You’re the one he has made a life with and likely has joint property or kids or cats with.

She’s just someone he has on the side.

He can’t marry her because he’s already married to you. And that will start to bother her pretty soon. Especially if he’s not leaving you. Especially if he’s not divorcing you.

She may get shrill about that, for one thing. And that tends to burst the infatuation bubble quickly. The grass doesn’t seem so much greener anymore.

We have a saying about it around here: “A wife with The Connection Framework trumps a mistress every day of the week and twice on Sundays.”

I’ve come to think of affairs as the breakdown before the breakthrough.

It’s an intense pain that’s bringing your attention to this part of your life, the part that’s on fire.

When you bring your focus to your relationship and more importantly, to your own self-discovery as a result of this crisis, magical things can result.

One of my coaches was describing such a miracle recently when she shared about a student who did get divorced and then wrote months later to let her coach know that they had remarried and were happier than ever. This client talked about how she had learned so much about herself and was a happier person overall.

That’s the kind of thing we witness around here a lot, and it never gets old. It always gives us chills and cause for celebration.

If that can happen for her and for thousands of other students on our campus, why not you too?

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

15 replies on “Recovering From an Affair: The Ultimate Guide to Healing”

I’m having a hard time letting my fiancé go out with his friends. He cheated on my almost a year ago we been together for 9 years and I always fight with him when he wants to go out.

I thank God for stumbling into the framework connection and receiving the guidance and truth behind relationships. Its helped me to no demand control, love and respect myself, and how to better handle situations. This truly has and still is saving my relationship!

My husband and I have been married for 11 happy years, unfortunately during lockdown we got stuck in different countries since March. He was all alone during lockdown and after 3 months had to hire someone to take my place in our job as captain and chef on a boat. I even chose the one he should hire. During our 5 months apart we spoke every day, he said he loved me, but when borders started opening up, I sensed him cooling towards me and I was suspicious but just thought he would never cheat on me, and I was just feeling insecure. I finally flew in 2 weeks ago, and it was just very obvious that something was wrong. He said our marriage is over, he doesnt love me anymore, i asked him what has happened and he lied, saying he doesnt know. Anyway, he started being his usual self with me for about a week, very loving and kind, even though I was still very suspicious and then 4 days ago came to me sobbing and said he can’t live with the guilt anymore, that he slept with the chef and he is so sorry and then he left. I have not seen him since then but he has texted a few times and apologised but has made no move to see me. He says it was only 1 weekend and they are no longer together, that it meant nothing and he was just lonely and that he just said he doesnt love me out of guilt. Part of me wants to believe him, and I can empathise with what he went through in lockdown and how hard it was, but the other part of me is so angry that he has lied to me and didn’t tell me straight away, now I am stuck in a country I cannot go back home. She is working with him until the end of September and I am due to start work on 1 October, he could get rid of her now, but he won’t, says she needs the money, this is a huge problem for me, I feel he should honour me, but he is putting her first. I don’t know if I should insist on this happening before I allow any notion of reconciliation or am I just shooting myself in the foot?

Oh Janet, I can relate to your situation in so many ways. H was working with her, it took months for her transfer to go through, he felt like he had to protect her and was guilty for the hurt he had caused her! I returned home but he kept in contact and wouldnt let me see his phone. We kept working on our relationship. It got worse I’ll spare you any more. We are now better than we used to be and still working. Without knowing them I pretty much followed the 6 steps Laura recommends. I had a small group of strong praying women around me. I dealt with my own stuff before God. I prayed, worshipped and gave thanks often thru sobs. Fingernail steps of progress, sometimes going backwards, and step by step by step. It has been18 months since I returned. May I suggest your H was feeling so guilty he couldn’t face you so he lied. Vent your anger in appropriate places but not at him if you want to save your marriage. I communicated but had to learn to not to explode. It pushed him away. ?

Thank you for your reply Suzi. My husband is totally racked with guilt and cannot move ahead, he is absolutely broken that he has done this, and just doesn’t think we can ever get back to where we were before. I am happy for you that things are back on track with your husband

Hi Veronica! I’ve been there. If you have decided to stay with him, then you have to try your best to not continually throw it in his face, by not wanting him to go out. I get it, trust issues. But again, if you’ve decided to stay, then you have to find a way to let him see it’s no big deal when he wants to go out. He will see that you’re putting forth the effort to put the betrayal behind you and move forward, hopefully with a relationship that’s a bit stronger.

hello, what if there is a adult child that is being kept a secret, supposively, as a result of a affair, i don’t want a unwelcome child coming into our family>

Hi There this is Dee ,
You know when I was little and my Mom and Dad spit the family thought it was us kids fuilt. So with that be I g said the child is not the problem it is the grow ups. Can the child help that
they were made out of this and alive
You need to realy look at it and see if you can with the child if not with the grow ups. Der

Things haven’t been great recently and I have just found out there’s another woman… Shall I admit I know and confront him about it or keep quiet and follow through with the intimacy skills?

How do you just turn off the thoughts about the other women? I’m finding it harder and harder to not give her oxygen when he is always texting or talking to her

Hi Gretchen,

Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing so vulnerably. I want to acknowledge your commitment to your relationship and hear your desire for transformation.

Many of my students have fixed their marriages in similar situations (and worse!) and become happy wives. If it’s a fit for you, I invite you to join the waitlist for my Ridiculously Happy Wife program.

I know it seems hopeless right now, but when you get the right structure and support, there’s every reason to be hopeful.

My husband and I separated 4 months ago. We agreed that we could date other people. I did not expect that he would do this right out of the gate. He has not been honest with me about this, but I have found out being able to track our car with my iphone, and seeing texts on his iphone. These things seem to suggest that he very much is spending a ton of energy on this new relationship. His texts suggest that he wants to get serious with this woman. We are temporarily living 300 miles apart but share a 10 year old son. I want to reconcile and not divorce. My heart wants to tell him how much this current relationship is hurting me. It feels disrespectful that he hasn’t been honest with me. It also feels that if we are honest and open about the other woman, it gives her more power. I know confronting him has not worked in recent conversations, but sharing with him how vulnerable it makes me feel. Is that ok?

Amy, I know that you just want to be a happy wife, but first you have to fix your relationship and it must feel like it’s falling apart. I’m sorry you’re going through this separation and now dealing with another woman, which is painful and scary. I admire your commitment to your marriage and to both vulnerability and respect as you choose your focus. I’d love to see you get some support for such critical questions and invite you to join me for my free 5-Day Adored Wife Challenge:

How do you address point 3. When the “other woman” was/is your sister (1/2 sister) and former closest friend?
We haven’t spoken since my husband revealed about the affair (4years ago). Mind that he told me 7 years after it had ended. And I remember questioning them both years ago only to have been dismissed like I was reading into things… Anyway, I’m staying with husband although it’s hard. I was abandoned by our mother too, bc she didn’t believe me and was living with my 1/2 sister at the time.
I thought I had a good relationship with her and loved her so much. She doesn’t show any sign of remorse. Although it was after the affair ended that she and I were close. She helped motivate me to get healthier and work out etc.
And I still have issues thinking of them being together. Did my sister ever value are relationship? Or was she being kind to try to “make up” for the affair?
Should I try to pretend she doesn’t exist? Our mom, who babysits for her now, keeps mentioning her or her family and doesn’t seem to understand how much it hurts.

Amanda, that must hurt so much. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through such heartbreak. That’s not right. As the wife, you have enormous power to save your relationship, in my experience. Get a coach so you can stop feeling hurt and abandoned and start feeling desired, taken care of and confident in your marriage! You can join the waitlist for free at

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