7 Positive Ways to Get Over Cheating, Therapists Say
These tips can help you move forward with your relationship after infidelity.
Cheating can be the breaking point for many couples. In fact, infidelity is one of the most common factors behind breakups and divorces. But that's not always the case, and plenty of people do try to make things work after finding out their partner has been unfaithful. This is hardly an easy thing to do, as affairs can contribute to distrust and tension in a relationship. Talking to therapists, we gathered tips on how couples can move forward together in a positive way. Read on to discover seven things you can do to get over cheating.
Create a vision board together.
One of the most positive ways you can move forward in your relationship is by making plans for the future. Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, New York City-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind, suggests couples collaborate on creating a vision board that represents the "future you want to build together."
"This helps each person to understand their partner's desired future and reinforces commitment to a renewed and positive relationship," Hafeez says. "Display the vision board prominently in your living space as a daily reminder of your shared goals and aspirations."
Engage in recommitment rituals.
Before you begin thinking about the future, you may want to develop a fresh start for your relationship following an affair. David Tzall, PsyD, licensed psychologist based in New York City, tells Best Life that engaging in recommitment rituals can help symbolize this new beginning for couples.
"This could involve writing letters to each other, planning a special date, or creating new shared experiences," he says. "These rituals can help rekindle the emotional connection, reinforce commitment, and create positive memories to replace the pain of infidelity."
Go on a couples retreat.
If you want to work on rebuilding your relationship somewhere new, Jennifer Kelman, LCSW, family therapist and relationship expert working with JustAnswer, recommends going on a couples retreat.
"These retreats are wonderful because they are filled with workshops, and other moments for couples to deepen and strengthen their relationship," Kelman shares.
Hafeez suggests taking things a step further by taking an adventure retreat, like a wilderness expedition or a road trip.
"This can help couples rebuild trust and intimacy," she notes. "Facing challenges together in a new and unfamiliar environment allows partners to rely on each other for support, leading to shared growth and a sense of accomplishment."
Discover a new hobby together.
Not all couples have the time or money to take a retreat, however. If that's the case, you can still create a similar bonding experience by discovering a new hobby that you can do together, according to Natalie Jambazian, LMFT, a Los Angeles-based therapist for women's mental health and relationships.
"Maybe that's playing pickleball, working out, cooking, or making art," Jambazian says. "No matter what, this provides much-needed quality time with your partner, which helps build more intimacy and common interests."
Make a memory jar of positivity.
You can also take a direct approach to positivity by "creating a memory jar and filling it with notes highlighting positive experiences, qualities, and milestones of your relationship," Hafeez suggests.
"The memory jar will remind you of your relationship's strengths, helping couples focus on the positive aspects as they move forward," she explains. "Whenever doubt or negativity arises, take turns picking notes from the jar to remind yourselves of the love you share."
Give time for grief.
Positive healing isn't all about vision boards, memory jars, and new hobbies, however. You also have to tackle the hard stuff, because cheating can cause "micro-deaths" in a relationship, according to Lori Kret, LCSW, licensed therapist, board certified coach, and co-founder of Aspen Relationship Institute.
"Trust, intimacy and emotional safety are often lost, but often more impactful is the death of the stories partners had about each other and their relationship," she explains.
In order to heal from this, Kret says time has to be made for both partners to grieve and share their feelings about the losses caused by the infidelity.
"Once they have been named and brought to the surface, partners have an opportunity to consciously create and rebuild what specifically was lost," she says.
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Go to couples therapy.
There's no shame in seeking professional help in order to get over cheating in a relationship, especially because "infidelity can be a complex and emotional charged issue," Tesa Saulmon, psychotherapist and founder of Root to Bloom Therapy, says.
As a result, couples therapy can actually be "immensely beneficial" if you want to move forward together, according to Saulmon.
"A therapist can provide guidance, facilitate productive conversations, and help both partners navigate the complex emotions associated with the affair," she says. "Therapy can also help the couple explore the underlying issues that contributed to the infidelity and develop healthier patterns of communication and intimacy."