Some couples report their marriages are stronger after an affair.

How to Get the Spark Back in Your Marriage After You've Been Cheated On

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy conservatively estimates that approximately 25 percent of marriages experience adultery, with an additional 20 percent if one also includes emotional adultery that never becomes physical. Many couples enter therapy after infidelity, hoping to save the marriage. It is possible to return the spark to your marriage if both parties are willing to work toward that goal, possibly working with a marriage therapist who can get you through the grieving process.

Talk about what was missing in your relationship that encouraged your partner to cheat. Ask, “What did you get from her that you aren’t getting from me?” Find out if there was a specific way she did something that you don’t do. Regaining the art of shared communication can renew the spark you’re missing, according to Dr. Karen Gail Lewis, a marriage and family therapist.

Add that component back to your marriage as much as is practical. Consider options such as flirting, sexy clothing, sharing erotic fantasies and sneaking off during the day to have a lunch encounter. Meeting those needs will reduce the temptation to cheat and help rebuild the trust in the marriage.

Incorporate the three A’s daily -- affection, appreciation and attention -- suggests Sheri Meyers, Psy.D., a marriage and family therapist and author of “Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love, and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.” Compliment your mate daily, looking for things you appreciate and focusing on them rather than the infidelity. Share appropriate, significant touch such as hugging, kissing, cuddling and sexual intimacies. Pay attention to your spouse by actively listening to him and responding. Ask questions and create a real discussion together.

Take a class together or find a new hobby or activity to share. Consider ballroom dancing, exercise class, writing erotic stories for each other or pulling from "The Kama Sutra" or a positions manual and trying out new positions and sexual activities.

Watch the video from your wedding or page through your wedding album together to revisit the good times and places, even if only in your mind. Talk about qualities that brought you together, and reincorporate those activities into your marriage, such as date nights, weekend trips and sharing your dreams and feelings, suggests Mitch Temple, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of “The Marriage Turnaround.”

Find ways to spend quality time together without the kids so you can work on your marriage. Ask grandparents to babysit or put the kids to bed early so you have fewer interruptions. Turn off the television, cell phones and other distractions to have a romantic meal together, play games, incorporate prayer for each other or participate in any other activity that reminds you why you are working on your marriage and not a divorce.


  • Avoid places that have a negative connotation from the affair. Remove as many reminders of the affair from your environment as you can. For example, buy a new bed if he cheated in your bed at home.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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