It’s kind of ridiculous isn’t it?

The lack of actionable information you can find online to save your marriage during an affair.

Since cheating/affairs are kind of a hot topic here at My Marriage Helper I figured I would dive in and do some intensive research and you’ll never guess what I found.


Ok, that’s not actually true. I did find something but nothing that really blew me away.

Instead I found the same old generic articles that you would expect to find. There were the Oprah or Dr. Phil articles swearing that if you follow their advice you have a chance of saving your marriage. And then there were the famous “list articles.”

“List articles” – is a term I coined that is meant to describe the plain jane articles out there that offer no real value.

You know, the articles that are entitled,

10 Ways A Cheating Spouse Can Ruin A Marriage


21 Ways That Cheating Can Actually Be a Good Thing


Ya right….

But enough of this nonsense. Lets get to the real reason you are here.

You are most likely here because either you or your spouse has been having an affair and you want to determine how you can save your marriage.

Hmm… perhaps I should be more specific.

You want to determine how you can save your marriage with in-depth details that actually work.  By the way, speaking of a detailed action plan.  If you have not gotten around to reading this lengthy article on how to save your marriage, then please make a note to check it out.

So let’s get back on track with the point is was making earlier. You don’t want to rely on those generic “list articles” that I talked about above.

Well, I have just the thing for you.

15 ways that you can save your marriage if you or your spouse cheated!

Ok, reason number one..

Ha ha ha ha ha…

I am just messing around with you.

I tend to do that a lot so if I get out of hand make sure you slap me and get me back on track.

This page is going to have one sole purpose.

To save your marriage if either you or your spouse cheated on one another. Now, I feel that I should warn you before I get started that trying to save a marriage in this instance is not easy.

In fact, let’s explore this a little bit deeper.

Saving A Marriage If An Affair Occurred Is No Easy Task

Cheating/ Saving Marriage

I am not in the business of lying to you.

That’s what all those other list articles out there are for.

Nope, I am in the business of telling you the truth and the truth is that if you are trying to save your marriage from divorce if cheating is involved you have your work cut out for you.

Oh, and by the way, while I have your attention let me direct you to this post I wrote on how to affair proof your marriage.  While the article you are reading now will help you if your marriage is currently under fire due to an affair, here is some useful information you should consider that can help you and your lover be more proactive.

Why Is It Hard To Save Your Marriage In This Instance?

marriage is hard

Cheating is the ultimate betrayal that someone can make in a relationship.

In fact, it’s so scary that it rules some peoples lives.

I don’t know if you know this about me or not but on top of being the founder of My Marriage Helper I also have founded two other very successful relationship websites called Ex Boyfriend Recovery and Ex Girlfriend Recovery.

These websites (yes you guessed it) help men and women with either,

A. Getting back with their exes


B. Getting over their exes

Due to the nature of these websites I have heard my fair share of crazy cheating stories.

But none of the stories I have ever heard have topped this one.

There was a girl who THOUGHT her boyfriend was cheating on her. Now, when I asked her what made her think that she said that her boyfriend came home later than usual one night.

That’s it…

He came home late one night and never did it again and she thought he was cheating.

As a result of this fear she went through his things whenever he wasn’t around.

She cracked his Facebook password and read his personal messages.

Oh, and this is the best part.

She started spying on him when he was at work.

Yup, she literally took off from her own job to spy on him.

After she didn’t find anything out of the ordinary she confronted him and demanded that he come clean.

“I didn’t cheat on you” he kept telling her

“YES YOU DID!!’ she kept yelling back

This woman, who had absolutely no proof that her boyfriend was cheating on her let the fear of cheating rule her life and as a result her boyfriend broke up with her.

I mean, we all want to think the best of the people in our lives. We want to think that they would be loyal and never stray but sometimes the fear of being cheated on takes over.

Now, when you work yourself up like that and find out that you were cheated on it can hurt.

Oh, and lets not discount the people out there who were completely blindsided when they found out they were being cheated on.

So, why is it so hard to save your marriage if you or your significant other had an affair?

Because of this very same fear.

I want you to look at the graphic I put together for you below.


There are three parts to this infographic.

Part One: Being Cheated On

This isn’t rocket science.

Part one is the actual act of cheating. Either you or your spouse cheated and that’s why both of you are here looking for answers.

Part Two: The Fear Of Having It Happen Again

Lets say that you cheated on your spouse (and I am not saying that you did) just bear with me here.

So, you cheated on your spouse.

Well, as a result of that action your spouse is going to be terrified that it is going to happen again.

Oh, and we all know what fear can do to a person.

Re-read that crazy story I told above about the girlfriend who thought her boyfriend cheated but didn’t if you need proof of that.

Part Three: As A Result Of That Fear The Person Isn’t Able To Reconcile

Let’s stick with this idea that you were the one who cheated on your spouse.

(Again, I am not saying that you did we are just using this as an example.)

So, you cheated on your spouse and as a result of that cheating your spouse has the fear that it is going to happen to them again.

They don’t want that to happen to them again.

The pain…

The betrayal..

All of that stuff is frightening to a person.

So, what do they do? They push the source of all of that pain away YOU.

This makes it very difficult for a reconciliation to occur and is an underlying reason for why a lot of people can’t forgive cheating.

There’s that word…


Forgiveness is defined as the ability to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

Forgiveness is kind of a big deal when we are talking about cheating because in order for you and your husband or wife to full reconcile the wronged party/ies is going to have to forgive the wronger.

So, how often does this even happen?

How often do wronged couples stay together?

Lets look at some of the statistics…

Statistics? Why Do We Need To Look At Statistics?

stats are coming

I know…

I know…

I hate citing statistics as much as you hate reading them but they are important because they can teach us a lot so bear with me here.

Oh, and just an FYI when I cite statistics I always like citing the ones that are shocking.

What can I say?

I am a “shock and awe” fan.

Except in this case I suppose it’s more shock than awe.

Alright, are you ready for the first SHOCKING statistic.



Maybe not.

According to an article from YourTango over 50% of marriages actually are able to survive an affair.

So, that’s actually pretty good news when it comes to your chances right?


However, that doesn’t mean you are out of the woods just yet.

Your marriage can still break up over other issues so make sure you stay on top of the five synergistic principles of a successful marriage.

Cheating Is Common… A Little Too Common

According to Dr. Dana Fillmore 50% of marriages are impacted by some sort of infidelity at some point during the marriage.

In other words, if you look at your marriage and your best friends marriage then statistically either you or him will cheat/be cheated on in their marriage.

Actually, we know the answer to that one already.

Your marriage was the one that was affected and not your friends.

Men Are More Likely To Cheat Than Women… Except In This Case

This isn’t so shocking to hear but I did find it interesting so I decided to include it.

It is statistically proven that men will cheat more than women.

Hmm… perhaps I should change that statement to say that men cheat slightly more than women.

HOWEVER, as women are becoming more and more financially independent they are starting to act more like men and the percentage of cheaters goes up.

You hear that ladies?

You can be just as guilty as us men.

Fantasies… Oh Fantasies…

This one is also pretty interesting.

When I was doing research on cheating I came across a website called “The Truth About Deception.”

It was actually a pretty great resource.

Well, one of the things that they do is survey their readers about cheating.

Through these surveys they learn truths about cheating. Well, in one of the surveys they were trying to determine how often couples thought about someone else sexually.

In other words, if you were a man who was married this survey would measure how often you would fantasize about a woman who wasn’t your wife in a sexual way.

Guess what the results were?

Well, the “Truth About Deception” claimed on their website that “almost everyone fantasizes about someone else” but when I had a closer look at the actual statistics it looks like 65% of people claimed that they had fantasies.

So, while I wouldn’t say that “almost everyone” fantasizes I would say that a really large amount does.

This begs an interesting question.

Is fantasizing about someone else other than who you are married to considered cheating?

My Marriage Helper’s Definition Of Cheating

If there is one thing I have learned about relationships in the past several years it’s the fact that everyone has a very…. unique way of looking at things.

For example, let’s say that you grew up being taught that the sky was purple.

purple sky

And then I came along and insisted that the sky actually wasn’t purpose but it was blue.

blue sky

So, whose right and whose wrong?

Me of course!

(Actually the sky can turn kind of purple during a sunset but lets forget that little tidbit for a second.)

It’s for these type of disagreements that I would like to officially define what an affair is.

Yes, believe it or not but some people’s definition of an affair is different than others.

So, lets take a look at some of the things that we are going to consider “an affair” here at My Marriage Helper.

What We Consider To Be An Affair At MMH

what is an affair

I figured I would be thorough with you so I am going to go down this list one by one of what we consider to be cheating here at My Marriage Helper.

Alright, lets just get this show on the road.

Kissing Another Person Passionately

The keyword here is passionately….

Look, if I caught my wife kissing anyone on the lips I would be absolutely ferocious in my anger.

However, I am not naive to the fact that we have visitors from all over the world coming to this site and believe it or not but in some cultures you say hello by a little kiss on the cheek or on the mouth.

There is definitely a difference between a peck on the mouth or on the cheek to say hello and a passionate kiss that means something.

Here let me give you an example,

Peck to say hello,

italian cheek kiss

Ok, in this case it was a peck to celebrate but you get the idea. Now lets look at a passionate kiss which clearly is cheating.


You can definitely see the difference right?

How the guy is into her…

How the girl has this little smile on her face…

Heck, I am sure after the camera was off there was tongue involved and the kiss went from passionate to sexual.

In other words, if you or your significant other have kissed someone like the kiss shown in the gif above then you are cheating.

But that’s just the first level.

If things progress beyond just a kiss….

Well, then you are really in trouble.

Having Sex With Another Person

This is what everyone thinks of when they think of affairs or cheating.

I am not going to lie to you.

Out of everything that is listed here this is by far the worst.

I don’t have to spell this out for you do I?

Ok, how can I do this in a family friendly manner?


There isn’t really a great way is there?

I guess I can get super technical with it.

Alright, so a man and a woman have these reproductive parts and when they “smush” these reproductive parts together they do something called “sex.” When you have this “sex” you make babies.


I totally explained that in a very family friendly manner 🙂 .

Ok, lets move on to our next offense.


This is a fun little fad that’s popped up in recent times with the invention of the cell phone and text messaging.

Alright, so what is sexting?




Do you see how that works?

Basically people combined sex and texting to form sexting.

The way it works is quite simple. Someone sends an explicit and very sexual picture (through text messages) to someone else and they are engaged in sexting.

Or as I like to call it….

Being engaged in CHEATING.

Emotional Cheating

There are a lot of people who say that emotional cheating isn’t really cheating.


I suppose technically it’s not but we are going to count it as real cheating and if you don’t agree with that decision allow me to defend my position.

I like using role playing to illustrate my points so we are going to pretend that there is a married couple named Julie and Bob.

(Side Note: I use Bob a lot throughout my little role plays and Bob usually does something stupid so I apologize if your name IS actually Bob. Ok, onto the role play lesson.)

So, Bob and Julie have been married for 7 years and things have been pretty solid between the two for most of their marriage except recently they have been growing apart.

As a result of this “growing apart” Bob has decided to turn elsewhere outside of his marriage for emotional support in the form of Jenny.

So, we have Bob, Julie and Jenny and they are in a bit of a love triangle,


So, right now Bob is getting emotional support support from Jenny which kind of looks like this,


Now, initially there is nothing wrong with this except the fact that the more that Bob gets emotional support from Jenny the more he begins to develop feelings for her,


And once those feelings have developed then you know a physical affair is right around the corner. In fact, I would make the case that the type of affairs that are “one night stands” are rare in marriages.

Take this statistic for instance,

60% of affairs start at the workplace.

In other words, that means that more than half of all affairs are committed with someone that you or your spouse knows.

Time has developed this connection and in many cases they spend more time with this person than with you.

(Assuming they were the one who cheated. If you were the one who cheated then you obviously know already who you cheated with.)

So, emotional affairs are dangerous and I would say that most of the time they lead to a physical affair sometime down the road.

But enough of this talk.

I think I did a pretty good job of explaining what we consider to be an affair here at My Marriage Helper.

Lets move on to the interesting part of this article, saving your marriage during an affair.

Something You Need To Understand About Saving Your Marriage After An Affair

you don't understand

People are lazy…

I guess what I am trying to say is that YOU are lazy…

Does that offend you?

NEWSFLASH I am not here to cater to your needs. I am here to save your marriage and sometimes that means telling you the cold hard truth.

Why am I saying that you are lazy. Well, I know that as you have been reading this article there has been a thought that has been gathering in your subconscious.

The Thought = I hope this doesn’t take too long to work.

And therein lies our problem.

If you attack this problem from a position where you are thinking “I hope this doesn’t take too long to fix things” you are going to fail because here’s the thing about affairs,

People don’t just get over them. They take time and work on you and your spouse’s part to get over.


Well, I am a married man,

married man

And I love my wife very much but even thinking about her having an affair gives me chills (and not the good kind.) It scares me a lot. So, you know that something that scares me that much is a serious deal.

Here’s the thing though.

She hasn’t had an affair on me but either you or your spouse has.

That’s not going to be an easy thing to forgive.

Now, at this point of the article I was going to attach a YouTube video of something I saw years ago from a man who specialized in helping couples who have had affairs.

Unfortunately I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find the video.

Here was the gist of it though.

Being cheated on is probably THE most painful thing that you can experience in a relationship and that horrible feeling of betrayal doesn’t go away in a matter of days, weeks or months.

Did you get that?

This problem isn’t going to go away quickly.

It is going to take time.

How much time?

Well, probably a minimum of a year or two before you and your spouse can fully move on.

Now, I know what your thinking.

“Holy Toledo, it’s going to take THAT long to save my marriage from an affair?”

Yup, I know that it sounds like a lot initially but if you really think about it, it’s not that hard to believe.

Lets go back to our example of Bob, Jenny and Julie above and pretend that Bob has cheated on Julie with Jenny.

Well, Julie isn’t just going to forget about Bob’s affair.

Nope, she will most likely obsess over it…

Worry about it…

Get depressed…

Get angry…

Get depressed again…

Worry about it one more time…

Be disgusted…

You get the idea.

It can take YEARS to pick up the pieces from an affair and even after all the pieces are picked up the person who was cheated on won’t EVER forget about it.

I suppose I can end this section with a quote from Helen Fisher, a Rutgers anthropologist, whose husband had an affair 15 years ago,

You can get over it. You can get over all of the feelings; but in my experience, you never forget it.

How To Save Your Marriage From An Affair

Ok, so rather than set this up I am just going to give you My Marriage Helper’s four part strategy for saving your marriage after an affair,

save a marriage from cheating

Now, I know what your thinking.

“Really… four steps? That’s all? You can’t be serious.”

Nope, I am dead serious.

While it may look like a pretty simple strategy to save your marriage at first glance it’s anything but.

In fact, these four steps will probably take one or two years to fully complete.

However, in order for you to even have a chance of saving your marriage you need to get past part one of this process.

Let’s examine that now.

STEP ONE: Overcome You or Your Partners “Want” To Leave

I want to leave

Have you ever asked yourself why I put together this website?

Why I am so dedicated to saving marriages?

Care to take a guess?

I am sure some of you will guess that I am all about the money and while I won’t deny that I do hope to gain more financial freedom from this site that’s not it.

This site is my attempt at preventing people from making the biggest mistake of their life… divorce.

So, I am from the United States and where I am from the system is completely broken.

Lawyers profiting off of people in pain…

Judges profiting from it…

Alimony payments lasting a life time even when marriages only lasted a year…

Children used as pawns by lawyers and judges to prolong disputes which ultimately end up making them more money.

What’s that old phrase?

You end up paying your lawyer your kids college savings to put HIS kids through college…

There is truth to that statement.

That’s really sad isn’t it?

To be honest, it’s rare to find someone who goes through a divorce unscathed.

In fact, many people end up completely broke and some people are never allowed to see their kids again when they did nothing to warrant that harsh of a punishment.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because either you or your spouse has been cheated on here and pretty soon one of you is going to start to feel this strong pull to leave the relationship. I like to call this the “want.”

So, let’s pretend that you are a man and your wife has cheated on you with Bob.

(That damn Bob…)

Well, after the reality of the betrayal sets in and you can’t get the thought of Bob being skin to skin with your wife out of your head you are going to feel this very strong pull or “want” to say the leave the relationship.

So, lets say that you were to do that.

Let’s say that you and your wife get into a screaming match over the cheating one night and you tell her you are done and you want to file for divorce.

So you do…

You want revenge and you start thinking of the worst way that you can hurt her…

A way that you can make her feel the pain that she made you feel…

“The kids… you think to yourself. I am going to seek full custody of the kids.”

Now, your wife has been an excellent mother and there is no reason that she should get her custody right reprimanded.

So, the two of you battle it out in court.

Now lets throw in a rotten lawyer and a crooked judge that delay the process and the two of you end up broke and in debt just paying fees to cover the expenses of your lawyers.

Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.

Despite all of that you are still in love with her.

Why would you do that?

Why not just work on your marriage instead?

Look, I don’t know who I am talking to here. I don’t know if you were the one who cheated or your spouse was the one that cheated.

Whatever the case I want to tell both of you something.


You will regret it because it ruins EVERYONE involved including your kids.

So, what’s the best way to overcome this “want” to leave the relationship?

It’s basically explaining the fact that divorce is often a mistake in the United States by making many of the points I made above.

Here’s the thing though, if you were the one who cheated you lost almost all credibility so they need to hear it from someone else other than you.

A parent…


Heck, even a stranger.

Now, if you were the one who was cheated on then you are hearing it from me right now.

Divorce is often NOT the answer.

STEP TWO: Kill The Contact With The Cheater

its over

This is a big step and it’s essential that it’s done if you want to have any chance of saving your marriage.

Now, I don’t know your situation exactly so I don’t know who cheated on who but lets just assume that you cheated on your husband or wife.

(Again, I apologize for making what could probably be a false accusation but bear with me here because I promise there is a point to this)

Assuming that in order for you to have any chance to salvage this thing YOU are going to have to take some drastic steps regarding the person you cheated on your significant other with.


I hate to use my own marriage as an example here since it is about as good as it gets but if my wife had cheated on me and I were to give her a second chance I wouldn’t do so without making sure that she is no longer in contact with the person she cheated with.

I mean, it’s beyond me why some people think they can still “be friends” with the person they cheated with while still working on their marriage with their spouse.

What are they thinking?

That their spouse is going to be cool with the idea of them still being around the cheater?


That’s why I recommend that if you cheated to make sure you kill ALL contact FOREVER with the person that you cheated with.

And if your spouse was the one that cheated on you then you need to make sure that they do the same. In fact, I would say that you really don’t have a great chance of saving your marriage unless they do and while I hate to advise anyone to demand something out of their relationship this would be the right time to do so.

Now, I would like to talk a little bit about what I mean when I say “kill all contact with the cheater.”

What Does “Killing Contact” Really Mean?

Perhaps a better word for this should be “killing existence.” In other words, what we are trying to achieve here is to never talk to them again and to never EVER acknowledge their existence.

Now, if that sounds drastic then you aren’t going to like this next part.

Sometimes that means a job change.

I should have really included this part in the section above about statistics but this is a better place for it.

In her book, Not ‘Just Friends,” Dr. Shirley Glass stated that 50% of women and 62% of men had affairs with people in the workplace.

In other words, it seems like work is one of the top places for an affair.

This could be a little troubling to those of you who need to “KILL the contact” with the person involved in the affair.

I mean, it’s a really tough position to be put in.

On one hand, you could have a flourishing career that helps you put food on the table and a roof on the head. However, your marriage could suffer due to the fact that you still work with the person you cheated with and your spouse is always going to have trust issues with you.

Oh the other hand, you can give up that flourishing career and risk financial hardship for a while (until you find a new job) but you can take a big step in salvaging your marriage by getting away from the person you cheated with.

What do you do?

Let’s look at this logically.

Now-a-days the average time a person spends in a company is 4.6 years but lets round that up to 5 years.

Marriage on the other hand is supposed to last a lifetime.

When you look at things like that it should be a simple decision, right?

Logically… yes.

Emotionally… no.

It’s hard to ask or expect anyone to give up a career that is bringing in good money for anything.

What’s that old phrase,

Money is the root of all evil?

So, I have an idea if you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between your job or saving your marriage.

Look, the one thing that you have to understand is that if you cheated on your spouse with someone you work with and you continue to work with this person then you are risking a divorce.

But I do understand the need to make money for a family (I have been there.)

So, what if instead of just quitting altogether you shopped around and found a job in the same niche that pays around the same.

This way we can satisfy both needs.

The need to get away from the person you committed an affair with and the need to have money.

STEP THREE: Rebuilding Trust


This section is going to be controversial…

I am sure of it.


Probably because of the unconventional advice that I am about to dish out.

BUT before you jump to any conclusions all I want to ask is that you hear me out.

We have already covered the first two steps of saving your marriage from an affair but now it’s time to get to the hard part, rebuilding trust.

Now, I have talked extensively in the past about rebuilding trust in a marriage but rebuilding trust after you or your spouse has had an affair is a little bit different.

It requires a bit more effort.


Well, in order to explain that I think I am going to have to do another of our favorite role plays.

Lets pretend that you cheated on your spouse and they just found out. For the next few months/years that betrayal from you is all that they are going to think about.

They will think about you kissing that person…

Holding that person in your arms….

Doing “the nasty” with that person…

These type of thoughts will consume them and I have yet to meet a well adjusted human being who is ok with these thoughts.

Do you remember above how I talked about the fear of cheating sometimes being worse than the actual act itself?

How it is extremely difficult for someone to be open to a reconciliation because they are so afraid of having it happen to them again?

Well, this very same fear is going to cause a person to be extra suspicious of everything that you do from this point on.

If they do decide to stay with you and you go out with your friends one night they are going to wonder,

“Is he/she really going out with friends or is he/she really just meeting up with a fu*k buddy?”

Lets say that you leave your phone out one day while you are in the show and you get a text message from a friend named Bob while your significant other is around.

Well, I would bet good money that they would pick up your phone and start looking through it to make sure nothing inappropriate is going on between you and Bob.

Fear is a very powerful motivator… remember that.

What you need to do is be aware of this fear and combat it with trust building strategies.

Now, I have come up with a few unconventional trust strategies that you can employ to make your spouses fear of being cheated on a little… less.

Lets look at those trust building strategies.

Trust Building Strategy One: Phones, Facebook, Emails And More…

Ah, so we have arrived at the first controversial strategy.

Every time your phone goes off your husband or wife is gong to be petrified that it’s some other fling that you are about to embark upon.

So, instead of letting your husband or wife wallow in despair let’s lift them up a bit by giving them full access to your phone.

While I do realize this is a bit elementary I think they will appreciate the idea.

How does this work?

Ok, lets say that you are a man named Gerry who is married to a woman named Ginny.

You have just cheated on Ginny.

(YOUR SO BAD :p .)

Well, after Ginny found out you decide to sit her down and employ this strategy.

“Ginny, I just want you to know I am so sorry for what I did to you. I truly don’t deserve you for sticking by me. BUT to prove that I am committed to you and only you I have something I want to propose. I want to give you full access to my phone, Facebook, email and anything else you can think of. Whenever you want to see it or go through it you can and I won’t have a problem with it. I want to prove to you that you can trust me.”

Now, I realize that this strategy may be a little unconventional and definitely controversial but that’s kind of the point.

You don’t see a repeat cheater offering this kind of solution up now do you?

Oh, and for those of you who are going to give me a speech on how spouses should trust each other.

I think the fact that someone cheated pretty much seals the deal on why one spouse can’t trust the other one right now.

Now, another controversial thing about this strategy will probably revolve around the fact that if you open the floodgates and let this happen when will it end?

Lets say you cheated and you offer this phone solution up to your spouse.

For the rest of your days will you always have to serve up your phone any time your husband or wife gets a feeling that you are being unfaithful again?


Because something interesting happens.

While you may have to use this solution for a few years I will say that eventually when trust does get restored you will find the frequency at which a spouse looks through your personal accounts will become less and less and then eventually it won’t happen anymore.

Trust Strategy Two: Revamp The Rules Of Your Relationship Regarding The Opposite Sex

And herein lies our second controversial strategy.

Most relationships have these unwritten/un-talked about rules regarding the opposite sex.

Take my wife and I for example.

While we have never actually discussed it, it is understood that I am not to spend any of my free time with other women not named Jennifer or Lilly.

(My Wife and Daughter.)

This is an unwritten rule that I understand just like she understand that she isn’t to go on dates with other men.

Again, we haven’t ever talked about this it’s just understood.

Now, I am sure that you and your significant other have similar un-talked about rules in place but after one of your cheats on the other it’s time to talk about those rules.

More specifically, it’s time to revamp the rules.

What I suggest is that you sit down and talk about the rules of your relationship regarding the opposite sex.

Here is the thing though, if you cheated on your spouse then you let him/her make the rules and if your spouse cheated on you then you should have a right to make the rules.

STEP FOUR: Meaningful Acts of Repair


Ok, this is the last trick up my sleeve and it is arguably the biggest one.

Have you ever heard that quote on risk?

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.

Let’s look at your situation for a minute.

Either you or your significant other cheated.
When you look at cheating in a marriage what is considered an ordinary response to cheating?
And no, I am not talking about the initial reaction to the cheating that involves anger, depression and all that other stuff. I am talking about the big picture stuff.
Do people normally stay after a betrayal like an affair?
No, they usually separate or ask for a divorce, right?
That’s the ordinary thing to do.
And it’s because of most peoples inability to try something unusual that they can’t seem to save their marriage.
Not us though, right?
We are all about the unusual here.
So, what extraordinary thing can you do to get an extraordinary result?
You will have to perform a meaningful act of repair.
What Is A Meaningful Act Of Repair
It’s something HUGE that goes for the shock factor.
More importantly, it’s something meant only for the person who was cheated on. In other words, if you cheated on your spouse then YOU would have to perform the meaningful act of repair.
What’s an example of a MAR (meaningful act of repair?)
Let’s pretend that you have an amazing job that you love.
It pays well…
Ok, saying it pay’s well is a bit of an understatement it pays phenomenally well and you get to feel powerful since everyone is always coming to you for help.
However, it is also at this job that you cheated on your spouse.
So, a meaningful act or repair would doing something drastic like quitting your job to not only satisfy your husband or wife’s need for you to be away from the person you cheated with but to also sacrifice for them.
To remove yourself from the environment so you can spend more time focusing on your relationship with them.
Here is a list of some meaningful acts of repair that you can use,
  • Quitting a job to spend more time with spouse
  • Being open to going to therapy
  • Offering a heartfelt apology (aka the apology of the century)
  • Having OPEN communication

How likely is your marriage to succeed?

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25 responses to “How To Save Your Marriage During An Affair

  1. Chris, I would like some advice. I have read through your website and think it has wonderful things in it. Here is my story. I have been with my husband 20 years (13 married). We were those high school sweetheart kind of people. We moved from our home state to another 7 hours away almost two years ago so he could further his career. Once we arrived I took a job at a place that was awful and my dad was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. My husband was very bust getting the new warehouse up and running with his company and I was busy trying to survive all these obstacles. Needless to say, he started an affair with a woman from work. On New Years Eve, I found out about the affair and confronted him. He asked me what I wanted and I told him that I wanted to work on this. That I loved him and he’s all I ever wanted. A couple of days later he told me he wanted a divorce. We stayed in the same house for another three weeks before I asked him to move out since he was never there anyway and it was hurting my daughter and I. In March my daughter and I moved out into our own place and my husband and his mistress moved into our condo. I also found out in March that they would be having a child at the end of July, early August. Which really was no surprise to me. He has called this woman “desperate for a man and a baby” when we moved here. And somehow I just knew when he said he wanted the divorce that she was pregnant. We have been going through the process of a dissolution but he keeps dragging his feet. I have been focusing on me and my daughter and trying to find happiness again on my own. So basically I have been doing the no contact thing for around 2 months unless it has something to do with our daughter. I really don’t know what to do to get my marriage back. I would love some advice or insight into a situation like mine. Our marriage has had many bumps in the road and communication has been hard. I loved your 5 synergies and would love to try them, but at this point I don’t know how to get started. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond to this.

    1. Hello lost….i am so very sorry you feel lost, but knowing what you are feeling and understanding the bigger picture…which I think you do…is going to result in you be found…if you are not already in that “place”. Being in a relationship and having a child with man for 20 years creates an undeniable connection and bond. I think it certainly can be argued that the bond is weaker now than it has ever has been due to some of the the events that have unfolded (i.e. husband’s affair and pregnant girlfriend). You have made your feelings known to your husband. And possibly, there may come a time in the future where he will revisit what he truly wants. He may be suffering somewhat from the “grass is greener” syndrome. Obviously, there are many things I don’t know, so some my observations are obviously somewhat generalized. Nevertheless, I commend you on keeping your focus on your needs and your daughter’s needs, however the future turns out. The 5 synergistic principles are magical in many ways, but they work best when the relationship is reasonably solid and on sure footing. Right now, both your relationship with your husband and your life is in a period of transition. How things will turn out is somewhat unknown and accepting that uncertainty will help you embrace the future to come. But in no way are you helpless and left to the whims of randomness or what your husband may decide to do or not do. I think if your proceed with the notion that you should continue to focus on becoming the best version of yourself and not count on your husband returning, that is a better frame of mind to live within. I think your husband will have two forces pulling on him. One is the love and all the time he has spent with you. Despite the bumps you guys have suffered along the way, that connection between man and wife over many years along with the lovely daughter the two of you have, is powerful. He is also being pulled in another direction by the woman who is “desperate for a man and a child”. The fact that you said he is dragging his feet suggests some uncertainty he is experiencing either consciously or subconsciously. I think if the two of you do eventually agree to resume and work on the marriage, there are some serious trust issues that you will need to overcome and his actions and behaviors will matter a lot in this department. And you will need to be upfront about that, even if you are not feeling that way right now in a large way. It is not uncommon for people to later become resentful and act out some anger and distrustful feelings when an affair came between them. We don’t know how things are going to shake out. No one knows. But I think you have a lot on the ball. You are clearly a well adjusted person who is loyal and caring. It sounds like you have many attractive attributes that many men would welcome. Though I don’t think it is time yet to test the dating scene, you certainly are on the right path by focusing on your fulfillment and happiness. I think it was a good move to get set up in your own place, because just living in a different environment helps with putting some the past pains behind you. I wish you the best of luck and remember, life is a journey and there are still many wonderful paths ahead of you to explore.

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me. I appreciate your thoughts and kind words. I would like to know if you have any advice on how to open the lines of communication between us or if I should just continue to sit back and wait to see what move he is going to make. I really haven’t told him how I felt about all of this besides to say when I confronted him about the cheating that I wanted to work things out. Also one time there was a heated argument not long after I asked him to move out. That was the time I let out all the anger. I guess I am at the point where I would like to rationally discuss the situation but I am not sure how to approach it or get him to actually speak with me. Part of me thinks that he is leaving me alone because he knows the hurt his actions caused and part of me thinks he has moved on. But again his actions are contradictory to having moved on completely. Any advice or information you can provide to help me I would greatly appreciate.

        1. Good to hear from you again, “Lost”. I still think you are in the process of being found and the finding will come from within. I agree that a rational discussion is the way forward. The question is timing. Memories and old, upset feeling may still be present. Perhaps more time needs to pass. While your husband may conjure up notions in his head that it’s time to “really” move on (even if he is thinking that), it is truly difficult to move on from a prior relationship (i.e. your marriage) that has so many roots extending in different directions. So I think a time will come where the two of you will be able to sit down and discuss things rationally And when you do, it might be best to do it in a neutral, relaxing, public setting. When the time is right, you can broach the subject by sending a “feeler” text like: “There is something meaningful we need to chat about. No drama. But we need to touch base on this matter”. This hopefully will create enough interest on his end that he will agree to meet. Don’t try to discuss things over the phone. Better to meet.

  2. Hello,
    in my opinion you are putting the things very wisely,
    Here is my story:
    1. Together from 16 years …married from 9
    2. Abusive relationship, from her demanding , controlling , no sex , from my side avoiding conflict, asking for sex, not showing intimacy to her
    3. We always support each other, in everything around us, but do not meet our need never in relationship.
    4. For me too much porn (she found out before 8 years). Now I do not have problem with porn as I do not watch and avoid thinking about it.
    5. We have Two kids 6 and 8 years of age.
    6. I cheated on her 4 years ago, with girl and have internet connection for 6 months. I met her again in the end of these 6 months, but then than I stopped contacting her.
    7. Again I slipped and had intimacy with coworker after a party (not sex) 3 years ago.
    8. My wife confront me to convince me to sop cheating and told me if I say everything, we will continue and save our marriage. But she was not ready to hear the troth. I was believing her that she know what she wan, and that it was a chance to kick all lies in me and believed as her husband I could make her happy.
    9. After confession I have started doing all thing that was suggested and to avoid mistakes and fulfill the positve side of me that wants to save marriage.
    10. My wife did not wanted to follow nothing, she refuse any consulting, suggestion or reading information about it.
    11. Now she refuses and does not count or see the things I have tried to do. Nothing that I am doing for her seems appreciated. She does not accept compliments and does not accept presents and tactics I try seem pointless.
    12. She does not show nothing if I kiss on her head or hug her and often responds negatively.
    13. She often refuse conversation, or if start such a conversation she says that there is no “we” and that our relationship is gone, except we are only parents. We do not have any intimacy at all. We sleep at the same bed, sometimes she asks me me to massage her legs, back or hands.
    14. She saying the she will not allow anyone to make to her what I make… saying that she do not want a man or me or other men. She saying that she thinks that love does not exist and she will never allow it to happen again.
    My question is, how to behave with her to win her over. No contact approach is not possible. Should I behave as a cheated person that wants to save the marriage?
    Please advise me

      1. It is a positive sign that the two of you behave like a good family. Practicing positive behaviors can sometimes cause you to repeat the behaviors when it counts. Just remember, little steps in a positive direction can pay off big over time.

    1. This is a tough situation and it sounds like your wife is very disillusioned. I am not convinced that your wife has given up on love, particularly given the fact that the two of you still sleep in the same bed and she occasionally asks for back massages. Clearly, her trust in you has been adversely effected due to the cheating episodes. It takes time for trust to rebuild. You should explain to your wife that you understand you have lost her trust and that you fully understand why she is so disillusioned and unhappy. Explain to your wife that your are committed to rebuilding trust, but that you realize it want be won over in a day, a week, or even in a few months. Be patient and don’t press your wife. Be positive and eventually she will come around. Keep insisting you are committed to make things right. Be prepared for good days where it seems she is happier and more trusting of you. But also be prepared for days in which she slides back to distrusting you and feeling depressed about the marriage. This is common. Eventually, she hopefully will agree to work with you to improve the relationship. Getting counseling could help, but most of all, you need to demonstrate to her over a long period of time that you will not slide back to behaviors that got you in trouble in the first place.

  3. I would like to thank you for your insights you have shared on your website. They have reflected my feelings as a wife whose husband was unfaithful. Our story began with the usual infatuation that most relationships start as and evolved into a marriage proposal shortly (within a week) after I experienced a sudden death in my family, even though we had only known each other for less than a year. Reflecting back now, it’s not one of the moments in my life I view as being satisfactory due to my emotional turbulence. Forward three years into the marriage, my husband began having multiple affairs with random couples unbeknownst to me, until I became pregnant this last fall. I had a miscarriage 8 weeks into the pregnancy and had fallen into a deep depression. Then four months later, a week before my birthday my husband informed me of his infidelity and asked for my forgiveness. When I was finally able to ask him why he betrayed me, he believed that I was having an affair. We continued to talk for a week (I know everything seems to happen in a week), then he rushed into my work, out of the blue and informed me he had been setting up to meet someone for sex two nights before this conversation. I haven’t been able to openly communicate with him since. I don’t pretend that my action or inaction, my depression throughout the marriage and at times my inability to effectively communicate in this marriage could have affected this outcome. I take responsibility for that. However, I can’t help feeling that his betrayal was crossing the line.

    1. Hi Helen. I am very sorry for these hard times you are experiencing. It would seem to me that your husband may have some sexual addiction issues as his behavior seems impulsive. I cannot know for sure, but that is what I suspect. You should be proud of yourself that you see areas within your own self that could improve. But you should pat yourself on the back for being strong during these difficult times. I think you and your husband would benefit if you could seek a marriage counselor so that the communication of these painful behaviors he is exhibiting can get out on the table. Hopefully you husband will be open to that allowing a professional marriage counselor to help the two of you work through these issues. But before you do this, take some more time to yourself to decide if this is the course of action you wish to take. Not communicating with your husband at this stage is perfectly understandable and he and you both will likely benefit from the time to yourselves. Perhaps he will think about how important you are to him and how he is jeopardizing the relationship. And you will have more time to get in touch with your feelings.

  4. Hi! I’ve been reading your website and helps me a lot as i struggle the the same situation… my husband of 10 years together and 7 years marriage, we 3 y/o daughter and im 5 mos. Pregnant. My husband been always an ideal, responsible, loving, caring husbanda and a father to our small family. Then 1 night of the blue from a small arguement and after didn’t go home for 1 night my husband told me that he doesn’t love me anymore as his wife that he loves me only as the mother of our kids that we should really think what to do. my world crushed i reacted really bad begging, pleading, even provoked him to look for a lawyer as i don’t see myself living in a broken home. After 3 days me trying to talk and convinced him to fix things up and yes i admit i said lot’s of bad things to him he then went to a lawyer and asked for separation-divorce. But in Switzerland divorce cannot be filed without 2 yrs separation. Everytime we tried to talk about us we will end up fighting and hating each other. One time i caught him on the phone with really a different feelings that there’s really something is happening then finally found out that he is having an affair with his co worker 10 yrs younger than him, my husband and i are both 32. In the very beginning i did asked him and he said no affair involved then after thr telephone incident he told me a friend that he is really get a long well but he knows situation is complicated then after i caught him and confronted him then he said it just recently and keep insisting that the affair is not the reason why he fall out of love on me and want space then separation then divorce… i asked if he loves her he said No. Everytime we fight he keep on saying that its me who try to manipulate in the sense im trying to use my pregnancy for him. That im trying to control him etc… my husband always hve this anxiety disorder every year and almost the same period especially when theres something big changement that will happen or an event that will come. It’s the 2nd time he told me he doesn’t love me but it’s the first time it went very far to the point he is having an affair. In the beginning of our fight he always tell me he doesnt care anymore of his life… before i found out the affair he will sleep sometimes in our house saying only for our daughter and most of the time at his mom’s place. But since i found the affair and confronted him and the other girl about it. I told him that it’s only time can heal everything that i wanna focus on my pregnancy and my daughter and myself. We havent talk about us for a week already and it changed in the sense both sides are calmer we only talk about our daughter and i tried to avoid to see him as much as possible…
    What do you think i should do? I certainly love him but im so scared that i even get bad dreams about him and the girl… i really feel UNSTABLE i want to forget him but i still want him and love him…

    1. Hi “Love”. Pretty cool handle your are using! I think it actually speaks volume of you. It is evident to me that you have a lot of love in you. Don’t be to hard on yourself for how you reacted to your husband assertions and behavior. It is normal to feel very angry and upset about being rejected and betrayed. We cannot always react in the mature, adult way we would like to.

      Anyway, that is in the past. What matters is the future. Right now, your emotional and physical health is important. You will be giving birth to a beautiful child into the world. I know the timing of all these things that are happening to and around you seems like it couldn’t be worse. But worse things do happen every day. So look at things pragmatically. Focus on your needs. Minimize contact with your estranged husband. Try to continue to keep things focused on things you both share in common. Avoid conflict.

      No one can be certain if your husband will eventually learn that he has made a huge mistake. Maybe he will come to that conclusion on his own sooner than later. Maybe he continues pursuing this other relationship with this other woman for the long haul. The odds are against it working.

      But you know something? Maybe as time goes by, your feelings about him will change. You may still feel “love” for him, but maybe you will conclude he is not the right man for you to spend the rest of your life with. The future is always the arbitrator of all this possible outcomes. Give time to unfold. Give yourself and your husband time to get in touch with the truest core of your feelings.

      Sometimes we think we know what we want, but then later decide (with the assistance of reflection and wisdom) that what we thought we wanted, is not what we wanted all along.

      I do think you give yourself a better chance of reconciling with your husband if you just pull back and work on becoming the best version of you. Let me underscore something important. You didn’t do anything wrong. It is your husband who violated your trust and commitment he made to you. He appears to have some control issues. Sometimes the best way to make him realize he was foolish is to be the best person you can be. So don’t ask for him back. Try to avoid depending on him. These scary feelings and dreams that you have at times will diminish. You are going to get through this. And you might just like a whole lot what it all will be like on the other side. Focus on those things that give you health and wealth of mind, body, and spirit. Get support from your family and friends. You are not in this alone. And believe me. If things don’t work out for the two of you or if you decide you simply don’t want him back….there are many wonderful people out there who would be happy to meet someone who goes by “Love”!

    1. Hi “Love”. I just replied below to your earlier message. Please don’t feel empty anymore. Fill your life with fulfilling things that bring your happiness. That is your choice and you can control the little and big things you do to usher in fulfillment. Feeling empty is just a relic from the shock of what you have been through. Its normal, but it need not define your everyday life and existence. I want YOU to be your own best friend. Be kind to yourself. Pick yourself up if you are feeling low. Do more things like music, walks, smelling a flower, listening to the birds, getting lost in a book, staring into the eyes of your 3 year old….and hundred of other little moments to introduce more peace and positivity into your life. These things will help you bridge the emotional bridge you are crossing. In time you will regain better control of your emotions and be in a better place to assess what you really want in the future for yourself and your family.

      1. Thank you very much because you took time to help me open my mind… You don’t know how your words uplifted me.
        You said focus on my needs. Surround myself with family and friends… I would really love to do all those and crossed my mind everyday but my family and friends are on the other side of the world (Philippines). I have workmates friends here (switzerland) do you think it’s the best way to do to leave Switzerland with my daughter and be with my family back home? Thanknyou have a nice day.

        1. Moving back to the Philippines would be a big change in a lot of ways and you certainly don’t want to rush that decision. See if you can carve out some new friends and experiences where you are at. The Philippines will always be there for you as an option if you really need to do that. Right now, there is already a lot of change occurring in your life. You may not want to compound it by relocating. In time, things will start to settle in place and your true path will be revealed.

          1. Hi Chris ,

            From the last advice you gave me is about the possibility of moving in the philippines. I decided like a week ago that i am going home and continue my pregnancy and give birth where my family and friends are, for the good environment of my daughter, coming baby and myself. Going home needs to be financially stable so i agreed with my husband a legal separation. He was shocked that i and my daughter are leaving in 2 weeks. He agreed that my daughter can go out the country with me. But at the same time i was shocked and in so much pain that my husband and the other woman got an appartment not only for themselves but including for my kids and looks to me that they are just waiting the final decision for the legal separation. But their plan didn’t work as i am going home with my daughter and give birth in the Philippines. There was a lot of conflicts and fights since then. My thoughts now are how he could just make a life with the other woman and my kids be part of it? It makes me sick just by thinking my kids will suddenly have anothe kind of family the they are trying to do…? And why i still do love him after all? I’m always worried for my kids that someday it’ll really happen 2 houses and 2 families? And why do i still love him and sometimes feel i’m ok / strong then after few days still hoping that someday this shall pass? I am in so much pain but why i feel i still love him after betraying me? All im looking foward now that june 3 is me and my daughter are leaving to the Philippines… thank you for your help

          2. You will get through all of this and not only bring in another beautiful life to this world, but you will discover the pain will ease. It is natural in the beginning to have conflicting emotions around the love you felt for your estranged husband. In the near future, you will be able to put these feelings into better perspective and focus on those things important to you.

  5. Hi Chris!
    I am leaving Switzerland with my daughter to have a peaceful and loving pregnancy, especially to focus on my self and my daughter. Everything are pretty much settled financial support, child support, medical obligation etc… Now i am skeptical wether to ask a closure or to talk to my estrange husband before we leave? If yes what should i say? Is it best to limit my contact with him while we are in the philippines? I still have this emptiness in my heart and hope that maybe one day he will see that our family is important… We are leaving in 5 days to Philippines.
    Thank you so much chris

    1. Everything went happen really fast in 2 months from i need space to i don’t love you anymore to separation to me decided to go back home and him moving with his new gf…

    2. It may be best not to press any discussions with your estranged husband. So long as he knows your plans, that should be good enough for now. The emptiness you feel will be lifted in the near future as other parts of your life will take on new meaning.

      1. Hi chris
        i am writing again to you to ask an advice. My husband whom told me around april i love yOu as the mother of my children but i don’t love you anymore as my wife while i was 6 months pregnant and weeks after found out he is having an affair with a coworker. Of course a lot of drama happened. I pulled away and get a separation, i decided to to continue my pregnancy and give birth this coming august in the philippines woth my daughter and family while him he moved in with the other woman. Now it’s been 7 weeks we are separated philippines-Switzerland I did No contact for 5 weeks and in the 6th weeks he started initiating contact with me telling me and crying like a little boy how he really missed our family and home saying “home is stille where the heart is” “i feel sorry not to be present for my family” “i wish i have chance to hug my family tight so that they can feel my heart beating for them”… I was clear with him that i will not be his wife neither a friend an will never share my children if him and the other woman are still emotionally and physically attached he answered I understand… since then the no contact thing changed from emailing i accepted the txting and facetiming and he constantly ask me and my daughter and my pregnancy if we are ok… he told my brother that he didn’t dump me for another woman, that his love had changed and forgot who he is and felt alone and misunderstood by his family that he really love me but also very scared at me. Now He doesnt know what to do anymore and confuse if it worth to talk about it…
        Chris i don’t know what to do now i don’t know how to talk with him. I don’t know if i should go back to no contact rule. He is not saying anything about the other woman neither us eventhough i told him my boundaries. He is coming here in th Philippines on September for 2 weeks but i don’t know what his plan. Please help me. Thank you in advance chris.

        1. It sounds like your husband is struggling with what he truly wants and is torn by what is the right thing to do.

          You have essentially laid out what he needs to do to win you back.

          While your husband is still acting like he is confused, his choice is simple. He needs to leave the other woman before you will accept him back into the family fold. He also will need to understand that the trust be broke with you will take time to mend, but you are willing to work with him to rebuild trust, but he has to prove to you that he will never return to this other woman.

          I think at this stage you can continue with limited contact. But the ball is in his court. He has to make a decision as to who end wants to spend the rest of his life with.

          Meanwhile, you can play on his emotional vulnerability. Be a happy person. Show him you are getting along quite well without him. Post happy and positive pics on Facebook. Show him that you are ready to embrace a new and exciting life with your new child even if that means your husband is out of your life. Show him you are an amazing woman, full of happiness and delight and fun.

          These images and thoughts will reinforce what a huge mistake he has made with leaving you and his family. At some point, hopefully in the near future, he will come to his senses.

          1. Chris please help me understand why my husband Is acting like this. I re-started limiting contact with him and these are what he said ” it looks like you are trying to get me back but you are actually pushing me away” “few weeks ago I was happy to talk to you but now you are pushing me away again i just realzed how we cannot be a happy couple”
            I asked him if he does love the other woman he said I love her and i love you in other way… I replied thank you for being honest… What the heck is happening to him? Please help me what to do? How to communicate with him? I will be giving birth in 1 week I am trying harder to forget him. Is it right to re started a no contact rule or what?

          2. Sorry for late response, I have been out of town and away from the computer for a few days. My thought is that you full attention should be on your upcoming birth. I don’t think the stress of dealing with your husband’s cryptic responses is healthy for you to try and figure out.

            Look to pull in support from your family and friends during this period of time when baby is due. Try to avoid thinking about him for now. Your own views of how you perceive him may change later in the future and should guide you on how to proceed.