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Updated: May 18

By: Dr. Carolina Pataky

Infidelity is often the most devastating fractures of a relationship. Often the spouse who was cheated on cannot help but blame themselves. Despite evidence that shows you are not the reason for the infidelity, you may find it difficult to believe. 

There are two options when infidelity is discovered, leave or stay. If you choose to stay in the relationship, then much work needs to be done to find Healing from the affair. 

Many couples find that through healing after infidelity, they can deepen their connection and intimacy. It can be a scary process, but it is possible to find freedom from the pain with dedication and guidance.

What is the Definition of Infidelity? 

According to experts at Mayo Clinic, infidelity does not fit a specific definition. Different couples and even individuals differ in what they consider cheating. Some consider emotional intimacy even more potent than physical. One person in a couple may not consider kissing as infidelity, while others feel it is as wrong as having sexual relations. 

Though uncomfortable, having a conversation about what infidelity means to you is helpful for every relationship. It is a conversation to have early in the relationship and may need to be revisited from time to time. Modern relationships put a great amount of pressure on marrying for love. However, it’s also the first time in history your partner can be cheating on you while laying right next to you. 

Why Do People Have Affairs?

People have affairs for different reasons. Many experts agree on three common reasons why people are unfaithful: 

  • They want to create a fantasy. The person cheating is usually not in love with the other person, at least at first. An affair partner is a made-up person who will meet their every need. 

  • At the core, infidelity is about needing validation. People have affairs because they seek attention, reassurance, needing, and longing both for themselves and toward another. 

  • They are addicted to the chemical reaction experienced by having an affair. A person becomes hooked not on the actual person they are having an affair with but on the emotions they are making the experience. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin all are chemicals involved with this process. 

What Do I Do If I Discover My Partner is Having an Affair? 

Understand that infidelity does not equal the end of your relationship. However, both of you will need to do some work to heal. 

Your partner needs to allow you to ask questions and provide answers. Your responsibility is to respect those answers and try to find the truth in what they are saying. 

Understand that both of you are experiencing pain. It is okay for your partner to experience grief, as well. It is essential not to make rash decisions, give one another space, seek support, and take time to heal.

How Do I Heal My Relationship? 

Understand that with time and the right healing work done with a trained therapist, resentments will fade as you both have the opportunity to deepen your bond. The point of discovery is usually the most painful. You can feel hurt, anger, resentment, and even forgiveness simultaneously. 

After a time, the hurt and resentment will fade. One or both of you may discover a silver lining. 

Beware of outside opinions, especially from family and friends, on how to heal the situation. They will likely take sides and also do not know the details or intimate parts of your relationship. They will often encourage you to leave when you have every right to fight for your relationship. Seeking the advice of a trusted therapist or marriage counselor is usually the best option. 

What Can We Do to Find Freedom From This Pain?: 

Many couples and individuals want to rush through the healing process. It is often an impossible task and will only result in more pain. It would be best if you gave yourself time to experience the emotions to find freedom. 

If you allow the time, you will find less resentment, heal from the painful memories, and recover from negative emotions. 

It is best to seek help from a therapist that specializes in couples work or marriage and family therapist. They can help you work through the past, find healing in the present, and guide the future. 


Mayo Clinic Staff (2019, January 17). Infidelity: Mending your marriage after an affair. Retrieved from

Co-founder of the Love Discovery Institute, Dr. Carolina Pataky is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Sexologist and Certified Sex Therapist. Recognized as one of South Florida’s leading authorities on intimacy, relationships and self-discovery. Her focus is to give individuals and couples of any sexual preference the tools to learn how to love themselves unconditionally, receive love, and create fulfilling and joyful relationships that will last a lifetime. Through private sessions, couples’ intensives and luxury retreats, she provides individual and couples coaching sessions, sex therapy, and psychotherapy practices that support clients through the journey of finding the right path to healthy love. Visit her website or follow @carolinapataky


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