6 Approaches to Rebuilding Intimacy After Infidelity


A woman lounges in bed in sexy sleepwear while her partner scrolls through his phone in a couple that needs to rebuild intimacy after infidelity

Trust is understandably damaged after cheating, but there are ways for couples to rebuild intimacy after infidelity

Key takeaways:

  • Betrayal in a relationship can spark all sorts of feelings, including grief, anger, sadness, and anxiety.

  • Following an affair, a couple will be faced with the difficult decision of moving forward together or now.

  • Discernment counseling can help you make healthy relationship decisions, including whether or not to stay together.

  • Intimacy can be recovered after infidelity, but it takes time and commitment from both partners.

  • It’s okay to ask questions about the affair, and your partner should respond with honesty and transparency.

  • Erotic recovery, a three-step process outlined by Dr. Tammy Nelson, is a practice that can help couples recover from an affair.

  • Commit to spending time doing enjoyable activities together to start rebuilding trust and safety.

  • Don’t rush forgiveness, so that once it’s extended, you aren’t tempted to take it back later.

An affair is devastating for many reasons. The betrayal it causes can spark all sorts of feelings, including grief, anger, sadness, and anxiety. The trust that you and your partner worked so hard to build is now destroyed. It may feel like it’s impossible to get it back. Well-meaning friends and family may urge you to leave the relationship, and spout platitudes like “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”


Following an affair, it’s important to decide if you want to continue to work on the relationship. Discernment counseling can help you (and your partner) make healthy decisions about whether or not to stay together. Ambiguity only hinders the healing process, so it’s important to be an active participant in deciding to stay or go.


If you decide to stay in the relationship, it’s important to know that intimacy can be recovered after infidelity. Healing the relationship will take commitment and dedication from both partners, though. Here are six ways to recover intimacy after infidelity.


Don’t blame yourself


The news of an affair can lead to you experiencing painful thoughts about yourself and your role in your partner’s life. You may even begin to blame yourself for their infidelity and question your attractiveness or worth. Recognize that