Saving your Marriage After an Affair

Saving your marriage after the affair might seem an impossible task.  I’d love to tell you it’s a rarity, but it seems that these days, affairs of all kinds run rampant.


Affairs can begin anywhere – at work, at social gatherings and online, covering all social, cultural and spiritual orientations. Sometimes they begin as innocent, casual interactions and other times they are sought out with intention. Whatever the initiation, the end result is usually the same: hurt, pain, family destruction and sometimes even financial ruin.  Saving your marriage might be the last thing on your mind in the midst of that kind of hurt and destruction.


saving your marriage after an affiar

But I want to offer you some hope.  Affairs do not have to be a deal breaker.  Saving your marriage after an affair is possible.   In my counseling practice, I work with many couples facing this very issue. The work is difficult and timely.  Sometimes it has poor results, but at other times has good outcomes!


The couples who come out on the positive end are the ones willing to do the work and stay connected.


And I know this might be hard to believe if you’re experiencing the hurt of an affair right now, but some couples come to an even better and healthier place because of the effort put into the recovery process.


When a couple wants to mend and continue their relationship, of course there are concerns between them.  Can they navigate the road to trusting again and feel genuine forgiveness?  Will the journey be too difficult to make?  Many damaged marriages will end in divorce if the process is too difficult to endure.


Saving Your Marriage After An Affair:  8 Tips: 


  1. Both partners must have the same goal to preserve the marriage. One cannot be harboring thoughts of separation or divorce.
  2. Their reasons for saving the marriage should not be for the sake of their children, but because they truly love each other and see a solid future together.
  3. There must be shared responsibility to save the marriage, not just placing the blame on the one who had the affair.
  4. Both partners are willing to tell the truth from this point on. This must be a rule written in stone.
  5. The partner who stepped outside the marriage must feel a sense of remorse and recognize his or her behavior as wrong and a violation of the wedding vows taken on the couple’s wedding day. 
  6. Both must learn forgiveness toward each other and towards themselves.
  7. They must agree on boundaries for their behaviors and commit to making it a priority every day.
  8. They must love each other with a compassionate heart and recognize the behavior as bad but not the person.


Saving your marriage after an affair can be very difficult to achieve. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort. 


But isn’t a forever marriage worth it?



Licensed Relationship Counselor, Author of 3 books, Helping couples re-discover the love & fulfillment in their marriage/relationship.


  1. Hi, Barbara,

    I must say that I hope I never need your services!! :o)


  2. Jeanne,
    And I hope you never need me!
    Good luck.

  3. I love your last tips that you leave us with. I think they can apply to any relationship especially when there have been past hurts. :-)

  4. For couples who are committed to making their marriage work, no matter what, this strategy can work. Great tips!

  5. I love these tips and your book about making a relationship work! I don’t know what I would do but I hope I could find a way through it. If it does happen.. I’m calling you to help!

  6. You offer great advice and tips for couples no matter what their circumstances. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  7. Your list of what both partners must be willing to do and their reasons for engagement in trying to make it work after an affair are terrific. You must be an incredible therapist to work with — all of your relationship articles are so spot-on!

  8. These tips can easily apply to any damage done within a relationship. It is never easy.

  9. Awesome work that you do! Great advice for many many couple here in this post for sure :)

  10. I am 23+ years into my marriage and I can not phantom ever having to consider saving a marriage where one of us has cheated.

    The rules you lists are some though ones to stick to, but I trust you’ve seen real results with real people. I am so glad I am not a counselor! 😉

    Nice article for those going through a difficult time, though. Kudos for being there and giving advice!

  11. Yes Dorien, I have seen real results and it was wonderful. It is a long and windy road but several have made it through.

  12. Thanks Anita. I try hard.

  13. Thank you Lisa for the vote of confidence. Nothing feels as good as seeing a happy couple walk out of my door.

  14. Hi Elizabeth,
    I’ll be around but I have a feeling you won’t be needing my help.

  15. Angela, I suppose you are correct. I hope the tips work for anyone who needs them.

  16. I believe that a marriage can be saved no matter what. It is not easy like you say, but it can be done especially with a good counsellor who holds you accountable to making the proper changes. Thanks Barbara for being there for people who need your help!

  17. Yes Olga ,the counselor is important but not as important as the two people who need to make the changes and do the work. It is up to them to recover and turn the negative into positive. I love being their coach along the way.

  18. Thanks Barbara – unfortunately my marriage ended in divorce – it did happen to be the best thing that happened to me though – my life opened in ways it never would have and that I could have never imagined.

  19. Those are some really interesting tips that speak to the fundamentals of your relationship. People have different reasons for wanting to save a relationship after an affair, but they have to make sure they’re the right reason, and that both people are equally committed and willing to put in the work!

  20. Absolutely Nisha
    Two people need to do the work.
    Thanks for the comment tonight.

  21. I feel so fortunate that I never needed this advice, but your post will be oh so helpful to the people in my life who do. I know from watching friends that this is the most excruciating experience a couple can go through. Thank you for giving people hope.

  22. Some great advice here and as always in a marriage the decisions have to be made jointly.
    I think it’s so individual as to whether a marriage can survive an affair. For me it’s the biggest ‘deal breaker’ but I hope I never have to find out!

  23. It must be a really hard thing, restoring after an affair. Trust broken is so hard to restore. Blessed I did not have to go through this… x0x

  24. Your list makes so much sense, Barbara. What I’d like to throw into the mix is different cultural expectations … which I’ve lived with most of my life, having been raised in Latin America. Very, very different from the Anglo-Saxon mindset …

  25. Good thought Sharon. We need to be open to other backgrounds and values and never impose ours on them.

  26. Hi Estelle,
    Sometimes it is a blessing. I am glad for you it was.Hope all good things continue for you.

  27. I love to give hope Laurie. Thank you for seeing that.

  28. These are great tips for any relationship, but especially one that is full of past hurts and broken trust. It’s nice to know you are there to help them put the pieces back together.

  29. I try hard Helena. I believe it can be done with a lot of hard work and committment.

  30. I’m not married but have been in a relationship for 3 years. We planned on getting married next month though. He confessed to cheating on me for the past 3 months after the other woman sent me an email. He’s begged me to go to couples therapy because he still see’s a future as a married couple. I’ve agreed to go but told him we must be in therapy at least 3 months before I agree to get back together. I bought your ebook yesterday and we’ve both been reading it. Your chapter on communication is really hitting home for us.

  31. Thank you Nicole
    I hope you find the book helpful
    I agree that counseling is beneficial and the wedding might best be postponed until this is resolved
    In one way this is fortunate because you have not tied the knot yet
    I do know your disappointment, shock,
    anger and myriad of other emotions.
    If I can be of any additional help let me know
    Please check out my other book as well.
    There is a lot of useful information in it too
    Best of luck to you both

  32. I married someone who cheated on me for an entire year before we got married. We broke for a year after he cheated we got back and two years later married. We have been married for two and after five years, i can’t stay i completely trust him or ever will. Sometimes I regret marrying him because it’s horrible not to be able to completely trust the person you love. My advice to any women don’t get married to someone after they have cheated. A women will forgive but never ever ever forget. It’s a horrible way to live, thinking this can be done to you again. Why do the men cheat and we have to live with the pain. You never completely recover. For those of you that have, you are a much stronger woman i guess than i will ever be. If you have any advice on how to get past all this after so long, please please help. That moment still hunts me and I know I’m doing it to myself.

  33. Hi colleagues, good piece of writing and fastidious arguments commented here, I
    am genuinely enjoying by these.

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