How to heal from infidelity?

Picture of Sam Grimaldo, LMFT, LPC

Sam Grimaldo, LMFT, LPC

Sam is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselor in San Antonio. He specializes in working with couples to recover from disconnection caused by trauma or addiction.

Table of Contents

Infidelity can be a devastating blow to any relationship, causing feelings of betrayal, hurt, and confusion. However, it’s important to remember that recovery is possible. It takes time, effort, and patience to rebuild trust and heal wounds. Here are some vital steps to help you navigate this challenging journey.

What are the Statistics?

Infidelity is a common issue that affects many relationships. According to a report released by the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) in 2020, around 20% of men and 10% of women admitted to having an affair1.

A survey from the Truth About Deception (TAD) revealed that over 50% of cheating spouses confessed their affair to their partner2.

Interestingly, the rate of infidelity varies significantly across different demographic and social factors3. For instance, it’s found that 16% of white people and 13% of other POCs admitted to cheating4. The age group of 55 to 64-year-olds reported an infidelity rate of 18%4.

Emotional infidelity seems to be more upsetting to women than men, with 73% of women stating they would be very upset by emotional cheating, compared to 56% of men5. Infidelity is considered one of the leading reasons for the end of relationships6. With that said, many couples work through the pain of infidelity by putting in the effort to save the relationship and can often build a bond that can be stronger than before.

The Trust Revival Method

The Gottman Trust Revival Method is a three-phase process that can help couples rebuild trust after infidelity4. The phases include:

  1. Atonement: This phase involves the cheater accepting responsibility for the affair, expressing remorse, and showing empathy for their partner’s pain.
  2. Attunement: In this phase, both partners work on rebuilding their relationship by addressing issues that led to the affair and improving their communication skills.
  3. Attachment: This final phase focuses on reestablishing intimacy and commitment in the relationship.

The trust revival method in infidelity is a psychological approach that aims to rebuild trust between partners after an instance of betrayal. This process typically involves open communication, accountability, and a commitment to change from the party who has committed the infidelity. It’s essential for both parties to be willing to engage in honest dialogue about what led to the infidelity and how it has affected the relationship. The offending party must take responsibility for their actions and demonstrate through consistent behavior that they are committed to change.

The one who was betrayed must also be open to forgiveness and willing to move forward. This process is often facilitated by a therapist or counselor, who can provide tools and strategies to help navigate this challenging time. The trust revival method is not a quick fix, but rather, a gradual process that requires patience, understanding, and a lot of hard work from both parties.

The process of rebuilding trust after infidelity can be a long and difficult journey. It’s important for both partners to understand that this process will not happen overnight and that it requires consistent effort from both parties to make it work. The trust revival method also involves addressing any underlying issues in the relationship that may have contributed to the infidelity. This could include issues such as lack of communication, unresolved conflicts, or emotional distance. It’s crucial for both partners to be open and honest about these issues in order for the trust revival method to be effective.

The first step in the trust revival method is acknowledging and taking responsibility for the infidelity. The offending party must admit their wrongdoings and take accountability for their actions. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, but it’s necessary for true healing and rebuilding trust to take place.

The next step is for the offending party to demonstrate consistent and genuine effort towards change. This could include attending counseling or therapy sessions, being transparent and open about their actions, and actively working on any underlying issues in the relationship. It’s important for the betrayed partner to see tangible efforts from their partner in order to rebuild trust.

Communication is key in the trust revival method. Both partners must be willing to have open and honest discussions about their feelings, needs, and concerns. It’s important for the offending party to listen actively and validate their partner’s feelings without becoming defensive or dismissive. This can help repair any damage done by the infidelity and rebuild a stronger foundation for the relationship.

Another crucial aspect of the trust revival method is forgiveness. It’s important for the betrayed partner to find it in their heart to forgive their partner and move forward. This doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the infidelity, but rather choosing to let go of anger and resentment towards their partner. Forgiveness can be a difficult process, but with time, effort, and communication, it is possible.

The final step is where couples work towards restoring trust and connection in their relationship. This stage is essential for creating a strong foundation where intimacy and commitment can thrive. One of the key components of this attachment phase is building rituals of connection. These are small everyday actions that help couples stay connected through daily interactions such as sharing meals together or setting aside time to talk about their day.

In addition to these steps, it’s important for both partners to prioritize the relationship and make a conscious effort to rebuild trust. This may include setting boundaries, rebuilding intimacy, and finding ways to strengthen the bond between them. It’s also crucial for both partners to practice empathy towards each other and understand the impact that the infidelity has had on the relationship.

It’s important to note that rebuilding trust takes time and there is no set timeline for when it will be fully restored. It’s a process that requires patience, effort, and commitment from both partners. There may also be setbacks or challenges along the way, but as long as both parties are committed to working through them together, trust can be rebuilt.

In some cases, infidelity can lead to the end of a relationship. However, for those who are willing to put in the work and effort, it is possible to move past the betrayal and rebuild trust. It may not be easy, but with effective communication, forgiveness, and dedication to the relationship, couples can come out on the other side stronger and more connected than ever before.


Overall Steps to Consider When Working Through Infidelity

Ultimately, the decision to stay in the relationship after infidelity is a personal one and should be made with careful consideration and honesty. Seeking therapy or counseling may also be beneficial for couples who are struggling to move forward and rebuild trust.

Acknowledgment: The first step is for the person who had the affair to acknowledge their actions fully. They need to admit the infidelity and take full responsibility for the hurt and damage they’ve caused

Cut Off Contact: The person who had the affair must cut off all contact with the third party. This includes phone calls, texts, emails, and face-to-face meetings.

Transparency: The person who committed the infidelity should be completely transparent with their partner. This may include sharing passwords, open access to phone records, emails etc., as a way to rebuild trust.

Transparency is a crucial aspect of rebuilding trust after infidelity. It means that the person who committed the infidelity should be open and honest with their partner about what happened and any other relevant information.In addition to being open about the infidelity itself, transparency may also involve sharing passwords and giving their partner access to phone records, emails, and social media accounts. 

This is not about invading privacy, but rather a way to show their partner that they have nothing to hide and are committed to rebuilding trust.

It may also help the betrayed partner feel more secure and reassured in the relationship. Transparency can be difficult for both parties involved, as it requires vulnerability and honesty. However, it is an important step towards healing and restoring trust in the relationship.

Communication: Open and honest communication is key. The person who was cheated on should feel free to express their feelings, ask questions, and get the closure they need. Open and honest communication is key. The person who was cheated on should feel free to express their feelings, ask questions, and get the closure they need. It’s important for both parties to communicate their needs and expectations moving forward.

The cheating partner should be open and honest about their actions, answering any questions and providing reassurance to regain trust. It’s also important for them to understand the hurt and pain they caused, take responsibility, and apologize sincerely. At the same time, the person who was cheated on should also communicate their boundaries and needs moving forward.

They may need space or time to heal, or may want to work through the issues together. Both parties should be willing to listen and compromise.

Address Traumatic Feelings: The discovery of an affair can result in traumatic feelings for the betrayed partner. The Gottman Method emphasizes the need to address these feelings openly. Both partners should be willing to ask and answer questions about the affair to deal with the trauma it has caused3.Infidelity can have profound and traumatic effects on a relationship, often causing substantial emotional distress and trust issues. The person who has been betrayed may experience feelings of shock, anger, sadness, and confusion. They may also grapple with feelings of inadequacy, questioning their self-worth and attractiveness.

The betrayal can shatter the sense of security within the relationship, leading to constant worry, suspicion, and anxiety about future betrayals. Moreover, it can create a communication gap between partners, as the person betrayed might withdraw emotionally to protect themselves, while the one who committed infidelity may feel guilt and shame. This emotional turmoil can disrupt the couple’s ability to connect on an intimate level, causing a deep rift that, if left unaddressed, could lead to the dissolution of the relationship.

It’s important to note that professional help, like therapy or counseling, is often crucial in navigating the traumatic aftermath of infidelity.

Patience: Healing takes time. It’s important for both partners to understand that rebuilding trust won’t happen overnight. Recovery from infidelity is not a quick process. It’s a long journey that requires patience, commitment, and understanding. According to Marriage.com4, some couples establish a timeline of one year for post-affair recovery, while for others, it may take longer. There’s no shortcut to recover from infidelity, so it’s important to give yourself and your partner plenty of time to heal.

Forgiveness: This is one of the most difficult steps. The hurt partner needs to find a way to forgive their partner in order to move forward. Forgiveness is a crucial aspect of overcoming infidelity. As difficult as it may seem, forgiving your partner can be a significant step in healing from the pain and moving forward. However, forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or condoning the behavior. It’s about letting go of resentment and making a conscious decision to rebuild the relationship.

Rebuilding Trust: This involves consistent behavior over time. The person who had the affair must show through their actions that they can be trusted again. People do not get trust back, they earn it back by behaving in trustworthy ways.

Relationship Assessment: This involves understanding what led to the affair. Both partners should assess their relationship, acknowledge any issues, and work on them together.

Restoring Intimacy: Emotional and physical intimacy might take time to restore, but it’s a crucial part of the healing process.


Remember, everyone’s journey through this process is unique and it’s okay to seek professional help at any stage.

In conclusion, overcoming infidelity is a process that requires time, patience, and professional guidance. It involves acknowledging the pain, seeking help, understanding the healing process, fostering open communication, and working towards forgiveness. It’s a tough journey but remember, recovery is possible, and with the right steps, your relationship can emerge stronger than before.

Footnotes 2

Schedule a Consultation Today! 

error: Content is protected !!
Skip to content