Cutting off contact
It should go without saying that cutting off all contact with the other party is a crucial part of repairing your relationship after an affair. But, it doesn't always happen like that. Whether the other person won't stop calling or emailing, or, worse, it is a co-worker or neighbor that comes into contact with your partner every day, cutting off all contact isn't easy. But it needs to happen. Even if the temptation is gone for you, your partner will always wonder about what is really going on when he or she is not there, and this paranoia will drive a wedge between the two of you and impede any reconciliation. If the person is a co-worker, you will most likely need to find a new job, or at least a new department. If he or she is a neighbor, you might have to move. If the person is a family friend, you need to avoid any places and parties where he or she might crop up. The many repercussions of your actions demand that you take serious steps such as these. If your infidelity occurred in cyberspace, you should log onto whatever website or dating service you were using to post an apology to the other members and reveal that you are recommitting to your marriage. This should prevent any wayward emails from coming in, but, if they do, you will need to change your email address. Your partner might even request that the two of you use a joint email for a while and, if your affair occurred through emails, it might be a good olive branch to offer.

Moving forward
Having confessed to the affair and cut off all contact with the other person, you can begin moving forward with your relationship. This is generally the step most couples stumble over, primarily because the betrayed partner isn't willing to let the past go. From constant ranting to sobbing sessions, your partner might unleash weeks and months of punishment upon you—and, by extension, your relationship—by constantly bringing up the affair. While in the short term this is a kind of release, over time it keeps you both stuck in the pain of the affair and impedes your ability to heal your relationship.

Make a rule that the injured party has 10 minutes a day to cry, yell, and discuss the affair with his or her partner. Once those 10 minutes are up, it is time to move on for the day and deal with the present. By doing so, your partner will be able to express his or her feelings, but the short time limit will keep the past in the past and prevent the affair from poisoning your entire relationship.

How to begin rebuilding intimacy

Excerpted from The Book of Love by Dr. Laura Berman. Copyright ©2010. Excerpted by permission of DK Publishing & Rough Guides. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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