Remainly - Online Couples Therapy

Can couples survive an affair?

Discovering an affair throws your world upside down, and most couples first response will bea desperate urge to find out whether their relationship can survive such a break of trust. The discovery will cause emotional pain and uncertainty; however, it does not have to mean the end as long as both sides are willing to solve the issue.

Finding out how to tackle the next few days and weeks is the first step towards overcoming the problem, followed by careful steps to help you both to mend your relationship. The good news that experts agree on is that many couples who survive infidelity come out the other side with a much stronger relationship and better communication skills. Here we take a look at the important first steps.

Two people standing together on sand

Defining an affair

There is no black and white when it comes to an affair, particularly in this day and age where technology is often present. For example, there may have been an emotional connection with no physical intimacy. On the other hand, there may have been a physical connection. Individual couples themselves can identify their own definition; however, dishonesty and the involvement of another person are the two leading indicators.

What do I do if I discover my partner is having an affair?

At Remainly, we can help couples in dealing with an affair if both sides are willing to.

Plan the following days

After discovering an affair, the next days that follow will be painful and full of emotion, and it’s these emotions that can cause further destruction of the relationship through repetitive arguments. By acting quickly and planning the initial days that follow the discovery, you can help to minimise further hurt.

Establish a routine

Particularly if you live together or have children, there will be parts of your day that you have to continue to work together to complete everyday activities, cooking dinner, for example. Establish these parts of your routine as safe zones and try to avoid talking about it during this time. You can then designate other parts of your day to a discussion, where you are both ready and focused. But doing this, you can introduce security and predictability in an otherwise unstable feeling time.

Emergency break

Once you have established times to talk, you need to make sure that your conversations are productive and don’t continuously end up in circles of argument. To do this, it is good to agree ona ‘time out’ signal with your partner, which can be used if one of you feels the conversation is becoming too heated or difficult. If one of you shows the signal, take a 30-minute break to cool off. How you do this is up to you, but we suggest:

  1. Slow, deep breaths
  2. Do something you find soothing
  3. Go to a separate room or take a walk

After the 30-minutes is up, restart the conversation and move slowly forwards. You may need some guidance not to end up in repetitive cycles of argument, but you need to show your partner that you are willing to continue even though it feels taxing. Escaping and not returning to the situation will leave your partner feeling even more abandoned than before.

Lilly flower in a pond

Consider who to involve

You may want to consider involving a trusted friend or family member during this time, try to agree on this person if possible. Again, if you have children, it will naturally depend on their age as to how much you choose to tell them, but in general it´s a good idea to keep the children’s future as predictable as possible. That is, don´t involve them in your own insecurities, do not involve them in your arguments, and above all: Do not force them to choose between you; do not use them as weapons against your partner. They are bound to notice that something bad is going on, so if you do decide to tell them, then say for instance that you are having an argument that might last for a little while, but that you both love your children and will take care of them no matter what happens.

Seek guidance and work on communication

It is much more likely that your relationship will survive if you seek couples therapy guidance. At Remainly, we provide a comprehensive service of online video advice that you can follow in the comfort of your own home, in your own timescale. We will teach you how to have productive conversations and how to deal with difficult emotions as well as give you exercises to help promote healing and a solution.


Finding a way to communicate peacefully is key and paying attention to your words and body language are an essential part of productive communication. You should schedule your conversations, and it may help to write down certain things that you would like to talk about.Something that it is important to remember is to take your time; there is no quick fix, and the more time you invest, the higher the likelihood of rescuing your relationship.

Remember that your conversations should have your full attention; therefore, it is important to keep distractions to a minimum. This means setting up a calm space and avoiding screens such as phones and televisions.

Make relationship vows

There are several stages you need to work your way through on you way back towards a new normality, but with guidance and perseverance, you are likely to succeed. Once you have reached the point in your journey where you are ready to move forward, we advise that you make vows that represent the start of your new relationship. In doing this, you are leaving the past behind and making a promise to each other to start again.

When writing such vows, you include the things you have learned about each other and about the factors that may have influenced the decision to step outside the relationship. This is important to allay future uncertainty. You also get the chance to redefine the values you want to live by so that you can create a common future in line with what you both dream of.

Couple holding both hands

At Remainly, we understand relationships.Our online advice service is led by leading relationship psychologist Andreas Løes Narum, who has many years’ experience in the field. Offering several different pathways, our advice can help couples who are dealing with extreme troubles such as infidelity as well as guide couples who are simply looking to improve their relationship or find ways to reignite their love for one another.

If you would like to find out more abou thow we can help, please visit our website to discover more about the pathways we offer.

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