Marriage counseling can help couples discuss strategies to save a marriage after an affair.

How to Save Your Relationship If You've Cheated on Your Spouse

by Shannon Philpott

When infidelity in a marriage occurs, intense emotions are bound to follow. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the good news is that the majority of marriages can survive infidelity and even become stronger when couples seek professional counseling. If you have cheated and want to save your relationship, it will likely take time, commitment to your spouse and open and honest communication.

1. End the Affair

In order to save your marriage, it’s crucial to not only end the affair but also cease contact with the other person involved. Make a promise to your spouse and outline how you plan to remove yourself from the situation. Avoid places where you would possibly run into the other man and be honest with your spouse if he initiates contact with you. By reassuring your husband that the feelings and actions are in the past, you can both begin to rebuild your marriage, according to the article "Rebuilding Trust in Your Marriage After an Affair," published on the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) website.

2. Be Open and Honest

Although it may be embarrassing or even painful to talk about the infidelity, you should answer any questions your husband may have. According to the NHMRC article, when you refuse to offer information willingly, your husband may imagine the worst, only causing more distance and resentment within your marriage. Be honest and truthful with him so that he can begin to trust you again. Covering up your indiscretions or minimizing the effects of the behavior can further damage the trust within your relationship.

3. Own Your Actions

It’s never easy to admit wrongdoing, but your husband needs to know that you are taking ownership of your actions. Avoid keeping any secrets and understand that your spouse may be inquisitive about and suspicious of your actions for some time. If you show remorse for the affair, you will help repair the trust in your relationship. Offering a sincere apology and empathizing with your spouse's grief can help as well. Reassure your husband that your intentions are positive and that you are committed to the bond you two share.

4. Show Affection

While coping with your affair, it’s likely your husband feels unappreciated, unattractive or lonely. Show him that he is appreciated and appealing to you by bringing back the spark to your marriage. Make your husband a priority and show him that you still desire and want him. Plan date nights once a week or make time to share a cup of coffee, suggests Mitch Temple, director of marriage programs at Focus on the Family in the article "Keeping Romance Alive." Displays of affection such as a caress on his shoulder or a quick kiss before work may help remind your husband that you want to be with him.

5. Seek Professional Counseling

Seek the assistance of professional marriage counselors and family therapists. At therapy sessions, you and your husband will have the opportunity to discuss conflicts, feelings and barriers within your relationship in a safe environment. According to Mark Dombeck, clinical psychologist and former director of MentalHelp.net in his article "Marital Therapy Concepts," marriage counselors can help couples get to the root of the problem and create strategies together to rebuild the partnership.

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