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About 40% of the marriages are destroyed by infidelity. And like every other thing about a relationship, this is also a sensitive, emotional, and personal one.

Infidelity in a relationship is one of the most challenging topics a couple will ever go through, and it takes mutual commitment and willingness to rework the marriage. The relationships survive, and sometimes, the journey results in a deeper and stronger relationship.

This blog will explore the nuances of infidelity not just as a breach of trust but as a labyrinth of personal conflicts, societal expectations, and deep yearnings of heart. In this blog, I will also suggest strategies for overcoming infidelity and getting through an affair.

Together, we will forge paths towards understanding, healing, and perhaps, most importantly, self-forgiveness.

Understanding Infidelity 

Infidelity or unfaithfulness, if you like to call it, can manifest in many forms. Sexual and physical affairs, emotional connections, online relationships- human beings have long since found themselves connecting with someone else outside their committed relationship or marriage.

Examples Of Infidelity:

  • Sending nudes to someone;
  • Engaging in routine flirtation;
  • Developing a deep, intimate bond with another person;
  • Sending erotic or sexual texts to someone;
  • Hanging out with ex-partner(s);
  • Hiding important details from one’s significant other.

Common Triggers For Infidelity:

These include emotional disconnection, physical neglect, lack of attention and intimacy, and lack of appreciation and curiosity about one’s personality. Understanding these reasons becomes crucial because they may reflect deeper issues in one’s life and the relationship.

I once wrote a thought-provoking answer to a question on Quora. They asked- Can you fall in love with someone else while married? And here’s what I answered.

I often get asked questions like why wives cheat on their husbands, and I think that needs much more attention to the reasons. You will find them here!

Some more reasons include:

  • Seeking emotional validation because they don’t get it in their primary relationship;
  • Excitement and novelty- the thrill of a new relationship can be addictive and make the person seek it now and then.
  • Physical or emotional/verbal abuse.
  • Temptations and opportunities- your partner may go on business trips, interact with attractive people, frequent visits to clubs or events where they can meet other individuals.
  • Sexual incompatibility- if there is a significant mismatch in their sexual needs and desires, one feels tempted to fulfil those needs elsewhere.
  • Life transitions and stress- sometimes, significant changes in life like the birth of a child, financial stress, a new job, or a move can strain a relationship. And they may seek solace or escape in the arms of someone else.

Emotional Impact Of Infidelity On Relationships 

Immediate Reactions To Unfaithfulness- 

The discovery of infidelity can trigger a storm of emotions- anger, betrayal, insult, sadness, disbelief, or even numbness. Both partners may experience these emotions, albeit differently- guilt for the betrayer and heartbreak for the betrayed.

Long-Term Impact- 

Partners can either address it or leave it unaddressed for several reasons. Some may choose to work on overcoming infidelity, and some may end their relationship. All the scenarios are filled with pain, hurt, and an immense feeling of betrayal. Now, if the partners choose to never address it, it will come up again and deeply affect the betrayed’s well-being. The long-term effects also include chronic mistrust, emotional distancing, and lowered self-esteem.

Overcoming Infidelity

Navigating the aftermath and overcoming infidelity are crucial to building yourself and a healthier relationship up again. It takes time, and it is most definitely not easy. Getting through an affair takes immense courage, emotional strength, and a willingness to work on the relationship.

Of course, you have all the right to leave the relationship and break the societal shackles of a broken marriage. And you also have the right to choose whether to give your marriage another chance or not.

Also, read How to Fix a Broken Relationship.

Confronting The Affair: 

Communication plays a vital role here. It will be completely natural for the betrayed to resort to yelling, shouting, blaming, crying, or going completely silent. Talking about it will be extremely painful and difficult. But if you so choose to do it, discuss the infidelity to understand the origins and implications without delving into the painful details.

Assessing The Relationship: 

A critical assessment of the relationship will help you understand whether or not you want to rebuild the relationship. There can be several factors at play- children, family, finances, joint projects, work, etc. I invite you to critically evaluate how your life will now be after the discovery of infidelity. One thing I must opine is that one should never have to choose a relationship for others, and that includes the kids.

You must never be in a relationship you are unhappy in for the sake of a better future for the kids. Staying doesn’t guarantee kids’ happiness or a better life. If anything, it gives them a message that it is okay to stay in a miserable relationship.

Rebuilding Trust: 

Trusting your partner is all about feeling safe with them. Sexual affairs with other people, outright lies about your whereabouts and whom they speak with, and false promises can break your heart and trust. It can take a long time to get past that pain and betrayal.

Unless the betrayer is willing to be transparent, honest, consistent, and truthful about their intentions and working on the marriage, the marriage won’t survive. A commitment to mutual healing will be a long, hard journey.

Another question my clients ask me- is how long it takes for them to get over the infidelity, and each time, I find myself wondering how much courage they must have to think about moving past it. Understand that no one is required to get over unfaithfulness, and it is their personal choice whether or not to walk that path.

The Time Frame Of Getting Through An Affair:

Overcoming infidelity may take a couple of years, and that is with guided help. Moving on from the heartbreak and betrayal can take even longer. The emotional wounds of unfaithfulness are severe and can be disastrous for the partners and the relationship if they decide to do it alone.

We can never minimise the emotionally breaking experience of the betrayed by offering them empty positivity or words of reassurance. We cannot ask the person to forget, forgive, and move past it.

If we talk about the time frame, it should go like this-

  • First six weeks- revelation, reminders and triggers, emotional overwhelm, discovery and raw emotions, anxiety and anger in the betrayed partner.
  • Next 90 days- focus shifts to anger management, relapse prevention on the betrayer’s front, definition of forgiveness, and a shared vision of how marriage will look like.
  • 12 months- the first anniversary of getting through an affair may bring back all the triggers and the feelings of being at square one- but getting through the arguments and difficulties will not be as difficult.
  • Thirteen to twenty-four months- the period of reconstruction, working through personal recoveries, and healing journeys.

Of course, it is not a ‘fit all shoes’ timeline for every couple and individual. Everyone will navigate it differently. But one cannot do it alone. No couple can survive the calamitous effects of infidelity without guided support.


  • Calmly express your feelings. It is the hardest, but practising it for a significant amount of time can help.
  • Create space for the expressions, reactions, and emotional overwhelm.
  • Avoid the blame game; instead, practise structured dialogue- a specific time to have the conversation, repeating after the other person to understand the intention of what they said, and active listening.
  • Try to understand the reasons that led to infidelity; discuss the underlying issues- emotional disconnect, sexual dissatisfaction, lack of intimacy, respect, appreciation, etc.

Personal Reflection- 

The partners need to spend time reflecting on their personal recovery and healing journey. They must engage in individual therapy to explore their needs, behaviours, and emotions. This should help bring an understanding of personal contribution to relational dynamics.

But remember, if your partner has been a serial cheater, then it has no bearing on you. It has absolutely nothing to do with how you operate in your relationship.

Setting New Boundaries:

Setting and maintaining new boundaries is vital to recovery and growth after infidelity. Here are some boundaries you can set in the relationship:

  • Full disclosure- Regular sharing of personal schedules, accounts, and devices
  • Social Media Rule- Agreements on interactions online and transparency on social media platforms
  • Interaction with exes and potential romantic interests- Clear rules about maintaining or cutting contacts with former partners.
  • Physical and emotional intimacy- Specific expectations regarding closeness with others.
  • Therapy and personal development- commitments to attend couples/ individual therapy and work on oneself.

Please note that therapy is not here to make you relive all those experiences. It is here to help you become more aware of how painful experiences impacted you and how you can become better at managing yourself when triggers resurface.

  • Communication Rituals- Set time for daily check-in reflections. 

Celebrate Milestones Together:

While dealing with infidelity, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate milestones that will further strengthen your marriage. These milestones can be:

  • Voluntarily sharing information that builds trust;
  • Successfully navigating a difficult conversation with new communication skills;
  • Successfully having meaningful and connection-building outings;
  • Recognising and celebrating emotional openness and vulnerability in the relationship.
  • The most important milestone is the completion of counselling sessions with the relationship counsellor or therapist.

In conclusion, overcoming infidelity in a relationship will take time and is not an easy process. Minimising the experience of betrayal and heartbreak and trying to forgo any healing work will result in a disastrous end to the relationship. Couples can work through infidelity and, if done honestly, can even come out stronger than before! That’s true. And it takes all the above-mentioned steps to rebuild a relationship after infidelity.