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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Infidelity:  Advice You Can Ignore

Jan 01, 2018 09:01PM

By Rhoda Ondov, MS, MFT, CPC

What follows are ten widely held beliefs about what you should do after the discovery or confession of an affair. You may receive this advice, or think they are true, but not only are they myths, they are often counterproductive.

1 Recovery is only possible if both partners want to save the relationship.

False. It is quite possible and often happens that if one wants to save the relationship, the relationship can be salvaged. When one partner changes their behavior, the other responds in new ways and the relationship changes.

2 The affair must be immediately ended, with no further contact.

False. It is actually quite difficult to immediately stop a romantic relationship, and this can result in not only resentment, but a strong longing for the other. It is much better to let the person end the relationship in their own way.

3 If your partner has an affair, there is no true love for you.

False. There are many reasons that affairs can occur, and they usually do not involve whether or not there is love in the marriage. Although one or both partners may conclude that the love must be gone, this may only represent assumptions about current situation.

4 An affair is an indication that the marriage has major problems.

False. An affair often starts with innocent friendship, which then spills over into emotional sharing and intimacy when circumstances allow close or frequent contact.

5  You should get support from family and friends.

False. Those who have been confided in are aware of the betrayal and hurt that has been suffered, and may have advised leaving the relationship. If the relationship is restored, they no longer see the partner in the same light, and this often causes awkward family relationships.

6 Things will never be as good as they were.

False. Once the relationship is restored, it is very often even stronger than it was before, as this is a major incident they have gotten through together. In addition, they learned so much about each other during the process of recovery that will bring them closer and improve their communication.

7 If you stay, you must have low self-esteem or you are weak.

False. Recovering from infidelity represents strength and the courage to face difficulties. It is not rolling over and accepting whatever happens to you, it is taking difficult circumstances and creating something positive out of it.

8 Being “in love” with the affair partner is the love that is real.

False. The first phase of love is a special time in any relationship; this is often the “in love” period that people enjoy. This period in a new relationship lasts anywhere from about six months to about two years. During this period, chemicals get released in the brain that maintain the euphoria. It is a different but deeper love that develops after this period. 

9 If you are divorcing, there is no point in rehashing the affair.

False. Whether or not you stay together, what happened contains valuable information about how a relationship works, and it is important for future relationships of each partner to analyze why this happened.

10 Explicit sexual details should not be shared.

False. This is a very controversial topic, and many people feel that this will only exacerbate the pain, and place images in the mind. However, for most people, it helps to restore trust if absolutely nothing is kept hidden, and helps to know that there is no longer anything private between the affair partners.

  While recovery from an affair is truly a difficult process, it can be done. However, it is strongly advised to get help during this time, as it is usually a period of anxiety, depression and hopelessness.

Rhoda Ondov is a Certified Professional Coach, with a background in Marriage and Family Therapy and advanced training in couples counseling. She has been helping couples and families to repair and strengthen their relationships for over 10 years. She is an authorized leader of the Weiner-Davis’ divorce-busting program Keeping Love Alive.

For more information, call 908-642-6256 or visit

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