How to recover from an affair – from a new haircut to keeping a diary

CAN you ever recover from an affair? Rather than destroying a relationship, cheating can often lead to a stronger and happier marriage.

Top divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag reckons we need to adopt a more relaxed French attitude towards affairs.

Vardag, 53, who has been married to her second husband for seven years said: “If he had an affair, I’d like to think I’d be able to turn a blind eye, breeze past it and keep our marriage together, for all of the good things we have built together.”

So, with adultery the most common reason for divorce in England and Wales, is there a way of getting over a partner having an affair?

From a new haircut to a new regime on chores, relationship expert Kate Taylor gives her tips on how you and your other half can move on . . . 

1. Take care of yourself

YOU’RE not needy or uncool if you find it impossible to – as Ayesha suggests – just “breeze past” your partner’s affair.

Emotional pain hits our brain in the same way that physical pain does, and nobody would expect you to “breeze past” a broken leg.

The first step in emotional healing is to face, and feel, your pain. Follow Beyonce’s lead; her album Lemonade was all about hubby Jay Z’s cheating.

The faster you move through the first four stages of grief as described by Elizabeth Kubler Ross – Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression – the faster you’ll reach the final stage: Acceptance.

2. Renegotiate relationship

WHEN someone in a couple is unfaithful, the original relationship finishes.

But if you want to carry on, you have to build a whole new relationship together – and everything is up for renegotiation.

Avoid the temptation to demand you get your own way because your partner cheated. Instead, fix the niggling issues that caused either of you to feel resentful and unheard.

After Jada Pinkett Smith admitted an “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina, even husband Will Smith acknowledged the pair’s relationship was stronger.

He said: “We have really gotten to that new place of unconditional love.”

3. Cut off your old lover

FOR your relationship to succeed, your partner has to stop all contact with their fling. And so do you.

Just look at Sharon Osbourne after 2016 revelations Ozzy had an affair with his hairdresser.

She said: “If he had an emotional attachment to another woman that’s when there is no saving a marriage.

“But if it’s just whatever she did, whatever you did to her, next, don’t even know the name… see you, bye.”

Block them on social media, delete any messages, and tell any mutual friends you never want to hear about them again, even if you beg.

Which you probably will, after a bottle of wine at 4am.

4. Reinvent your look…a bit

GIVING yourself a makeover, however small, is proven to give you a morale-boosting lift.

Research by Northwestern University in Illinois found getting a haircut during times of emotional distress does give people a psychological lift. But don’t go mad.

Other research found that our self-regulation skills are impaired when we’re feeling intense emotions like sadness or anger.

So this might feel like the perfect time to update your mousey bob to a purple pixie cut, or to get ‘BULLETPROOF’ tattooed on your neck, but trust me – it’s not. Update your look gently.

5. Find people you can confide in

IF you do stay together, you probably won’t want to ruin your partner’s reputation among your social circle.

But you will still need people that know what you’re going through, so you can get support.

Cardi B stayed with rapper hubby Offset after he cheated. She said: “I decided to stay and work together with him, people were so mad at me.”

Talk to your calmest friends, who have been married a long time and will have weathered their own storms.

Find support groups online, such as, or look into individual counselling, even if you’re having marriage therapy.

6. Be prepared for 'trauma'

SUFFERING a severe emotional shock, like discovering infidelity, can trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

You might feel you’re in a constant state of high alert, hyper-aware to any approaching dangers. Or you’ll start suffering from panic attacks.

Or you’ll be plagued by flashbacks about discovering the affair, or picturing what your partner did.

Try mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing for one minute, or using a “grounding technique” such as describing your surroundings out loud. Talk to your GP if you suffer from panic attacks or insomnia.

7. Set some new shared goals

THE most bonding thing you can do as a post-affair couple is to set new shared goals together.

Throwing yourself into individual pursuits boosts your self-confidence, but avoid “you versus me” situations.

Start saving for a joint venture like a new house or a holiday, or try something new together every week, like a new cafe, TV show or walking route to rev up your brain’s dopamine levels and help you feel happier.

And talk. If you’re scared your conversations about the affair could go on for ever, set an agreed time to talk about it with definite start and stop times.

8. Keep a diary to vent feelings

RECOVERY takes time.

It is not a linear process, and some days you will feel the worst is behind you – the next day you might feel like you are right back at the beginning again.

Start keeping a diary where you can vent out how you’re feeling and describe your efforts to move forwards.

Writing things down will help your mood, plus re-reading it later will help you realise how much progress you’ve made. I wouldn’t expect anyone to “breeze past” an affair.

But you will recover, even if that’s in a slow, but steady way.

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