Tag: Affair Recovery

Top Conflict Points In Marriage

The typical argument a couple has greatly depends on the length of time married. For example a newly married couple will argue about different things than a couple who’s been married 20 years. I’ve listed the top five issues couples normally argue about below, based on a survey completed before they start marriage counseling. However as a counselor, I know that the information written on the survey form is the “politically correct” version of their relationship issues.  Most people are not skilled in expressing what they want, they fight about other “important” issues.

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Handling Your Partner’s Anger

How can you cope with an anger partner?

Important relationship advice during affair recovery.

  1. Stay calm – Don’t get into a screaming match. If your partner gets ‘overheated,’ explain that you will be willing to talk with him/her. But, right now, tempers are too high for things to settle. Promise to discuss the issue at a later time when you are both in a calmer state. Pick a specific time to ‘check in’ with each other. Say something like “How about talking tonight when we are both in a calmer space?” or “…when you feel you are ready to talk about it.” I call this withdrawing with reassurance.

Be sure to follow up on your promise. If the other person is still upset when you check in, set up another time to check in. If this keeps happening, then it is clear that you need a third party to help you communicate properly again.

  1. Don’t argue with your partner about his/her feelings.
  2. Listen to what the other person has to say.
  3. Establish what you can legitimately agree with.
  4. Don’t try to justify your action.
  5. Listen. People feel better if they get things off of their chest and feel that someone is listening and acknowledging their feelings.
  6. Really listen to what is making your partner angry and try to identify anger themes.
  7. Don’t patronize your partner.
  8. If the anger is repeated, try to be patient and stay calm. If this behavior constantly repeats itself, then it’s time for a counselor to step in. Family and friends are very important for support, but using them as a referee can have disastrous results. Because handling intense anger in these circumstances can be difficult, you may need to rely on the knowledge and objectivity of an experienced professional.

The way in which two people handle anger and conflict significantly impacts their relationship. Often, they do not know how to successfully argue, or even disagree, and the end result is disastrous.

I hope that the above information has increased your understanding of anger and has given you some tools to start examining your own and your partner’s anger themes.





Savannah EllisDBA, MBA, BBSc, MPsych (Clin)

Make an appointment | sav@savannahellis.net | 

Licensed Online Therapy and Counseling

The Difference between Acceptance and Forgiveness

Our culture places a great deal of value on the idea of forgiveness. In some part, this is done without thinking about what forgiveness might mean in extreme situations like the one you have been in.

There are all kinds of culturally defined connotations to the idea of forgiveness. Many of them are reflected in the way we colloquially talk about forgiveness. You might hear phrases like “to forgive is divine” or “just forgive and forget.” Ultimately, you could be confused about what it means to forgive. It could seem that you aren’t ready to forgive your partner if these ideas are tied to the act of forgiving.

The truth is that while we use the term forgiveness quite often in our everyday language, we do so loosely. The idea of forgiveness is actually fairly poorly defined.

What does it mean to forgive someone?

Does it mean that you forget what has happened?

Does it mean that you understand why they did what they did?

Does it mean that you are in a position to absolve them of their crimes?

Does it mean something else entirely?Affair recovery www.savannahellis.net

Many volumes have been written on forgiveness, and no two definitions seem to match very well. At best, we could say that a person’s understanding of what it means to forgive comes entirely from them. It is very difficult to generalize about what it means to forgive.

If you feel like you have a good understanding of what forgiveness means for you and you feel like you are ready to forgive your partner in order to move on, by all means do so. I do not discourage people from the idea of forgiving their partners. I am sure it is a very healing experience. But the truth is that most people don’t have a particularly clear idea of what it means to forgive.

It is also true that you don’t have to forgive your partner in order to move on with your life and create a beautiful relationship together. You can do that with acceptance. We have already defined what acceptance is at this point. Essentially, it is coming to terms with that which you cannot change. This is very different from the standard ideas of forgiveness in a number of ways.

Acceptance does not mean that you have to forget the affair. It does not mean that you divinely overcome the pain you are feeling. It does not mean that you let your partner off the hook or that you absolve them of guilt. Acceptance does not carry with it any of the more abstract and difficult components that forgiveness carries. Instead, acceptance simply means that you accept what has happened as an unchangeable event and, at the same time, move forward in a positive direction toward a better life together.

In order to make sure that there is no misunderstanding about what I mean by acceptance, let’s investigate the five myths that surround acceptance.

The Five Myths that Surround Acceptance

Unfortunately, most people in our culture have the wrong idea about what acceptance means. There are five primary myths that abound. I would like to describe each myth for you, and then tell you why it is a myth.

Acceptance Myth #1: Acceptance Can Happen All at Once

This is the #1 myth about acceptance because it is totally unfounded. Like so many other types of magical thinking (some of which have been addressed in this course), people tend to believe that acceptance is black and white, a switch of some kind that you either turn on or leave off.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if you wake up one day and say to yourself, “I am ready to accept the past and move on,” it is the result of an accumulation of small changes occurring over time. You might notice one day that the affair has less immediate impact on your life and that slowly you are beginning to accept it. Or perhaps you are thinking about your situation and realize in retrospect that you have been paying less and less attention to the affair and more and more attention to the future with your partner.

Acceptance is a process. It can fade in and out for you over a period of time. There might be days when you feel you are really moving forward, and there might be days when you feel you are drowning in your emotions about the affair. This process is natural. Acceptance typically takes time.

Fortunate or unfortunate as it might be, human beings are much more complicated than a simple light switch. We are not robots who can turn emotions on or off with a switch.

Even if this were possible, it wouldn’t be a final solution to all the difficulties inherent in an intimate relationship. People make mistakes in judgment. There will undoubtedly be other things your partner will do that will hurt your feelings, perhaps in ways that are difficult to come to terms with.

A long-term or life-long relationship means that you are in it together through thick and thin. Being in a relationship means that you offer to be emotionally present to own up to the wrong things you do and your errors in judgment that end up hurting the one you love. It could be either one of you on the hurting end of this equation, and your commitment needs to be to stay together and work it out within the relationship to create an even stronger bond in the long run. Surviving these hurtful times without bringing up the “D-word” (divorce) and without demeaning or disrespecting your partner builds trust in each other and in your commitment to grow old together.

The need to accept again and again is inherent in any relationship. It is particularly necessary in intimate relationships where the softer, more vulnerable parts of you are opened up and shared with another. Inevitably, your partner will step on your delicate feelings. You need to learn to accept their mistakes authentically to keep the relationship alive and thriving. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Acceptance Myth #2: Once You Accept the Affair, Positive Feelings Will Replace the Negative Feelings You Once Had

Many people have the mistaken notion that if they can accept the past it will be like taking some sort of magical potion that will replace all of their negative feelings with lighter, more positive ones. This isn’t the case.

Accepting the affair will not undo the hurt your partner caused you. It can’t, and it isn’t about that. Accepting the affair is a way of saying that you have opened your heart to your partner again, that you are ready to leave the past behind, and that you want to move forward with your relationship. Do not allow yourself to get fooled into believing this means the past has been obliterated. The idea of acceptance is predicated on the fact that the past has happened and, in fact, cannot be undone. After all, if you could change it, wouldn’t you?

At this point in the program you should have a sense that your relationship is growing into something new and fresh. It should be different and better than it was before. Ironically, it is your past that has allowed that to happen. An affair isn’t good in any sense. But it can be used as a stepping stone; you can rise above it to make your relationship better than it ever has been, if both of you are working hard at reestablishing your relationship the way I have been describing in this course.

Negative emotions are useful to us. They tell us that something is wrong and that we need to change something in our lives. In the case of an affair, the negative feelings that you both faced over the course of this course have allowed you to realize that you want to move forward together toward a better more fulfilling relationship.

Accepting isn’t about eliminating these negative feelings; it’s about using them to your benefit. It offers a method for you to use the terrible negative event that has happened in a positive way.

Don’t worry if you still have negative feelings about the affair. Let those negative feelings operate as a reminder that you are committed to accepting your partner everyday. Accept the past again when the negative feelings come up. In this way, you are putting those difficult emotions to good use. As difficult and painful as it might be to do in the short-run, when the cheater helps the injured work through the bad feelings by active listening and understanding it helps heal the relationship in the long-run. Through active listening, understanding, and taking the “hit” for guilty actions, the cheater begins to demonstrate that they are on the injured person’s side, sharing together an understanding of how awfully the cheater acted in the past (the “old” version of the person who cheated.)

Acceptance Myth #3: Accepting the Affair Means You Were Wrong to Have Had Such a Strong Reaction to It in the First Place

Acceptance is sometimes associated with an admission of guilt or the idea that you somehow weren’t justified in what you were thinking or feeling. This also is an absolute falsehood. You had and have every right to think and feel your thoughts and feelings about the affair. Accepting it does not mean that you now need to recant and say that these thoughts and feelings were wrong.

Don’t feel like you have to rationalize your thoughts about the affair or your need to accept it and move on. This is about the two of you as a couple. In your heart you know what’s right for you. Remember to protect yourself by waiting until you can authentically accept (not agree with or like) the affair as part of your history. Follow your heart’s voice.

Acceptance Myth #4: Accepting the Affair Means Your Partner Is off the Hook

At the beginning of this section, we read about Christine’s concern that Craig might think he was off the hook if Christine told him she was ready to accept the affair and move forward with their relationship. Many people have this concern. What’s worse is that some cheating partner’s seem to think this is true.

Neither you nor your partner should make any mistake about this point: acceptance does not mean that you are releasing your partner from the responsibility they carry for what they’ve done. They are not off the hook. In fact, it is only when your partner shows you that they understand what they have done and are ready to own their responsibility in it that you will be ready to accept the affair and move forward.

Acceptance means you are able to accept the fact that the affair took place and continue to do the work necessary to heal your relationship. Carrying on in this matter means that both of you need to take responsibility for your relationship and what you have done in and to your relationship.

This means that the cheater is not off the hook.

In fact, they are never going to be relieved of their responsibility for the affair. They will have to continue to bear that burden.

Nonetheless, acceptance might come with a sense of relief for both partners. Realizing that you are willing to let go of the past a little bit and move forward with your life can be a breath of fresh air. Let it be that.

Acceptance Myth #5: Accepting the Affair Does Not Mean Forgetting about It

Though it might be true that you are ready to move on, accepting the affair does not mean that you need to forget that it happened. On the contrary, I encourage you not to forget about it completely so you can keep some perspective on how far you have come, as well as the road that lies ahead.

This also doesn’t mean that you need to dwell on it night and day if you feel that you are ready to move beyond that. Accepting the affair without forgetting means that, eventually, it won’t play a role in your day-to-day existence. In some ways, if you have been following my plan, you will probably start getting closer to the life you were living before the affair, but with more openness and honesty.

But you don’t want to forget the progress you’ve made either. Try to strike your own balance between remembering how far you have come down this path and letting go of your daily memories of the affair.



Is forgiveness preventing you from moving forward?

Are you struggling with your decision on if you should forgive after the affair? Try asking yourself some of these questions, and answer them aloud to yourself.

Questions include:

  • Why can’t I move forward? What is holding me back?
  • What could my partner say, to help me process this feeling?
  • What could my partner do, to help me process this feeling?
  • What are the risks of forgiving or accepting?
  • What are the benefits of forgiving or accepting?
  • What has your partner done so far to help you process the affair?
  • What will you do to overcome these barriers?
  • What are the potential risks and benefits of letting go of your hurt or anger?
  • What strategy do you have if you cannot overcome the barrier? Eg you can’t stop dwelling on xyz…what will you do?

Perhaps you can think of a few other questions to ask yourself to help you process your feelings. Make sure you share your “self questions” with others by typing them in the comments section below.


Best wishes on your affair recovery journey,

Dr. Savannah Ellis

Founder of The Infidelity Recovery Institute



SOURCE: This article was part of the Infidelity Recovery Course, Part 6: Acceptance V Forgiveness. Available online. CLICK HERE


Can a couple survive an affair?

Affair recovery story

It was just before midnight one night in October when Hillary Rothrock, a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom, discovered a side of her husband she’d never known existed.

The Lancaster, Pa., couple had been to an exercise class at the YMCA, then took their two small daughters for ice cream. When they got home, Ms. Rothrock put the girls to bed, took a shower and decided to check Facebook.

“Hey, can I look at your computer for a sec?” she asked her husband, Paul Rothrock, a 30-year-old product-support representative for a social-media ad company. He was in the living room, on his laptop, and his reaction stunned her. “No!” he hissed, pulling the computer to his chest.

Confused, she asked him again, and he became even more agitated. “You are not looking at this!” he insisted, gripping the computer tightly.

That was when Ms. Rothrock realized what was wrong.

There are few moments more painful than the disclosure of an extramarital affair, an event that provokes stress and anger in both the betrayer and betrayed. What each spouse does and says in the aftermath will reverberate a long time.

It is critical to stay calm, counselors say. The realization “felt like being punched in the chest,” Ms. Rothrock recalls, of the moment her husband wouldn’t surrender his laptop. Her training as a mental-health crisis counselor served her well when, as calmly as she could, she told her husband to hand over his computer-and his phone-or they were “done.”

Counselors say it is possible to repair a relationship after infidelity, but only if both parties are willing to work hard and honestly acknowledge shortcomings in the relationship and in themselves.

Some 20% of men and 14% of women who have ever been married have had extramarital sex, according to federally sponsored research conducted since 1972 by the social-science research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. (Reliable statistics about infidelity are scarce, largely because many people won’t own up to an affair.) Mr. Rothrock’s affair took place by video chat and other electronic means, but it was no less sexual or emotional, he says.

How many marriages survive infidelity? Peggy Vaughan, a San Diego researcher who runs the website Dearpeggy.com, surveyed 1,083 people and found 76% of those whose spouses had affairs were still married and living with the spouse. That figure may skew high, though: Respondents were self-selecting visitors to Ms. Vaughan’s website, an “extramarital affairs resource center.” Estimates from a sampling of marriage therapists range from 30% to 80%.

Several studies indicate couples in marital therapy dealing with infidelity were just as successful as couples for whom no cheating was involved, says Jay Lebow, psychologist and clinical professor at the Family Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who published a review of couples-therapy research in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Whether a marriage survives an affair depends on how healthy the marriage was to begin with, how long the affair lasted and the manner in which it was discovered.

“The couples who have a real chance of making it are the ones who are committed because they really want to be with each other, not because of the kids or because they feel obligated,” says Joan Sherman, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Lancaster, Pa.

For years after their wedding in 2004, the Rothrocks had fun. They went camping and to concerts and enjoyed their children. But with Mr. Rothrock working days and his wife working nights, they were exhausted and rarely saw each other. Their sex life suffered.

“We were in a mommy-and-daddy rut,” Mr. Rothrock says.

Ms. Rothrock quit her job last year to spend more time with the kids and found it difficult to adjust. Mr. Rothrock began going to Washington, D.C., twice a week for business.

When he was home, he found the din of family life hard to take. He started to think of his wife as a mother. When she became irritated with him, he felt scolded like a child. He withdrew emotionally and began to snap at her. When Ms. Rothrock asked him what was wrong, he replied: “I don’t know what you mean.”

In his Washington hotel room, Mr. Rothrock went to a social-networking site and communicated with people online, including an attractive single woman in the Midwest. She was about his age, and she was a flirt.

Soon, he was spending several hours a day talking with her on Facebook, via text and in private video chats. He told her he felt disconnected from his marriage. He sent her a birthday present and made plans to meet her at a tech conference. They had virtual sex, via instant message and video, but it was more than physical.

“It was definitely an emotional affair,” Mr. Rothrock says.

While re-establishing trust and communication, each spouse has a difficult task, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and Rutgers University research professor. The betrayer has to be willing to answer questions honestly. The betrayed has to stop asking questions eventually and never mention the affair again.

Ms. Rothrock spent hours reading her husband’s correspondence with the other woman, at times crying, while he sat by her side, she says. “I was completely devastated.”

The two stayed up the entire first night talking. Ms. Rothrock asked her husband questions about the affair, which he answered honestly. They talked about what they had each done wrong and what they wanted in their marriage. Mr. Rothrock apologized. And, perhaps for the first time, they openly discussed their sexual desires. In the morning, they took off their wedding rings.

“We both said, ‘We burnt down the house,’ ” Ms. Rothrock says.

And yet they kept talking. They got a therapist—Ms. Rothrock found a man, so her husband wouldn’t feel outnumbered. Mr. Rothrock cut ties with the other woman. The couple decided to tell their family and friends about the affair—which they feel helped a lot. “They gave a lot of feedback, like ‘Paul is a great guy, he made a mistake,’ ” says Ms. Rothrock.

The Rothrocks decided to start over-together. They treated each other as if they were the people they would date if they had divorced. They wrote a “constitution” to express what they each wanted: “A partner who trusts me to take care of things,” Mr. Rothrock says. “A partner who tells me what he’s thinking,” says Ms. Rothrock, who is now wearing her wedding band again.

Back to Happily Ever After “What Couples Do in the Aftermath of an Affair Can Determine Whether They’ll Have a Future Together”
By Elizabeth Bernstein

Why do men cheat?

Men & women think very different to each other when it comes to commitment, monogamy, and attraction.

Quite simply, men are highly visual and highly sexual. It is biological and instinctive.

As a woman, you could debate this from your view point, “my man loves me for my mind”, “my man loves me because I am the mother of his children”…… and that could all be true.

But men can be attracted to another woman INSTANTLY.

As a woman, it takes more than a glance to be attracted to a man.

What does this have to do with cheating?

Well people are a polyamourous species, and monogamy requires work (consciously programming belief & value systems, having the right role models, few addictions). People can and do have multiple partners throughout there life. So SUBCONSCIOUSLY, unless we feel 100% safe, satisfied, and fulfilled…people hunt for another partner. They do this consciously or subconsciously depending on their personality type. This is human nature.

So what can YOU DO to ensure monogamy?

1. Sex must be good – Become interested in pleasing yourself as well as your partner. Sex is great if both people are enjoying themselves and responding to touch.
2. You must have sex – if you are not having sex, ask yourself why you don’t want it. Is there something medically wrong? If not, when did you check out?
3. Sex must not be stale – Try something new, get creative. Read, study, and research what others are doing in the bedroom.
4. Maintain your looks and appearance – Stay in shape & eat well. If you feel good about yourself, then you will feel positive in the bedroom, and in general!
5. Keep the passion alive! – adventure & excitement, come up with ideas for your date nights. Create an environment of intimacy, flirt with your partner! Try a couple course.
6. Talk about your values & beliefs – communicate about what your model of the world looks like, and understand what your partner thinks, rather than assume you know what they think.

I would love to know your point of view.

With Kindest Regards,

DBA, MBA, BBSc, MPsych (Clin)

Online 7 Step Affair Recovery Course

Online Version for couples

This program is intended for couples who are currently experiencing the trauma of an extra martial affair, or a relationship infidelity.

So much is at stake right now:

*Your Relationship

*Your children’s happiness & security

*The destruction of your family unit

*Long term depression for everyone involved



*Potential Loss Of Employment

*Loss of the time & energy you have put into the relationship

*Years of memory’sAffair Recovery

*Loss of future with the people you love & love you

                  …and I am sure you can think of many others.


Right now, you are both exhausted and overwhelmed. Even if you were the one who had the affair, you did not expect to feel like you are right now. If you are the person who was cheated on, my heart goes out to you.

This is the worst moment in your living memory.

Who am I?

Let me introduce myself. I’m Savannah Ellis. I was born and raised in Sydney Australia, and was a child from a family torn apart by my Fathers affair. It breaks my heart to talk about this with you right now, even though my fathers affair happened when I was 16 years old. I loved my Father dearly.

To cut along story short, the affair devastated my family. I went into survival mode, and “just got on with life.” My Mother has never recovered from the betrayal, and has not been able to move on, even 26 years later.

My father, married the “Other Women” and she was the most evil person you could ever imagine. The stress she brought to my fathers life, killed him. My Father died at the age of 56 years old. The extended network of family and friends were shocked. They could never imagine my father being anything other than a “family man.” At his funeral, the church was so full of people who had come to pay their respect, that they stood around the side walls of the church, and out the church doors, continuing down the church stairs.

Stress killed him. The guilt of what he had done to his life and the family. A true tragedy.

I started studying Psychology at Monash University a few years prior. Originally, I  wanted to work with Schizophrenic patients. My brother, had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia a few years after the destruction of the family. Schizophrenia can be brought on in several ways, and a traumatic life event is one of these ways. However, I quickly learned that a life time of working with Schizophrenics may just send me to the crazy farm too!

I was also preoccupied with having my own family. I was married young. On reflection, this is another fallout of the affair, my loss of my fathers guidance, day to day in my life at an age where I could easily make poor decisions. My husband and I had 3 wonderful children: Sara, Jacob, and Hannah.

I continued my post education while raising my young family, with degrees including: Masters in Clinical Psychology, Masters In Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Business Administration. I worked for large corporations, before starting a variety of businesses from Medical Clinics to Day Spas, and a medium sized Business Coaching & Accounting Firm.

In my clinic, what was clear from all this education, and practical application of theory, was that typical therapy does not help couples over come their relationship challenges. The training I had received could not help the couples I was treating.  There had to be a better way, and as an entrepreneur and business women, I was determined to find a systematic way to solve this problem.

By this time, I had moved to the USA. I started my first Infidelity Recovery Clinic in Las Vegas in 2011, and my second in Santa Monica in 2012. At the same time, I began teach my method to other coaches, therapists, and psychologists, through my newly founded company, The Infidelity Recovery Institute. Our motto at the Infidelity Recovery Institute is:

Saving the Fabric of Society, One Relationship at a Time

What I am about to teach you, is the system I set up to help couples overcome the exact problem you are facing right now.

It works.

It has been tested.IRI ICON LOGO

And it is much “cheaper” than a divorce or a divorce lawyer.

But more seriously, I want to help save your family.

You don’t have to have the same unnecessary ending.

Where to Start?

Each Step of the program needs to be completed. It is a tough program. Initially it is tough on the infidel, however as we move along, you will discover that both people will need re-education and training for their own self-improvement.

This program does work best when you have the support and encouragement from a Certified Infidelity Recovery Specialist. However, for reasons you feel comfortable with, you have chosen to take this course online. This is why your first Step is Commitment.

I will be guiding you through the program, every step of the way, with videos, audio recordings from clinical sessions with clients, JUST LIKE YOU (all couples have consented to the recordings, just so long as you never find out who they are), and exercises and activities that MUST be completed.

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EXCLUSIVE TO THIS PROGRAM: Included in This Program

Infidelity Recovery Guru
Infidelity Recovery Guru

I understand that you may get stuck, or may not understand why I am asking you to complete a specific task. Or maybe you  just need to chat to me.

I am here and available for you both. I am not here to judge you. The damage is done, and now we just need to move through this tough period as quickly as possible. This is the only way you can both come out of this black tunnel without significant baggage.

You will be given my personal contact details: Phone, email and Skype, for VIP Coaching.

After each Step, you are both to contact me. Once we all agree the step is complete, you will move onto the next step.

There is no extra charge for this personalized care. I am here for you! I know what you are going through.


Let’s get started,


The 7 Step Infidelity Recovery Program, is now available for couples to use at home in the Clinical Version.

To begin the Online 7 Step Infidelity Recovery Program please click the order link below

You will be taken to a payment screen. After payment, you can begin the program, and have direct contact with Dr Savannah Ellis, founder of The Infidelity Recovery Institute.

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Can I make payments?

  • Yes, if you’re in the USA, you may qualify for BillMeLater through PayPal and can take up to six months to pay, interest free. Click the banner below to know more.

Step On how to use Bill Me Later

1.Proceed to the Paypal checkout page
2.Under “Choose a way to pay” click/choose “Pay with a debit or credit card, or Bill Me Later”
3.On the selection choose “Bill Me Later”
4. Fillout the form and your good to go

How do you say “Boyfriend, I cheated on you?”

Admit Cheating

When You’ve Cheated On Your Boyfriend

Choosing to admit cheating to him is a huge step. Are you ready? Are you ready to “put it out there” and deal with the consequences? If you feel that the only way you can move forward as a couple is to admit cheating to your boyfriend that you cheated on him, please do it with care. Here are some guidelines on confessing your indiscretion.


Avoid The Wrong Time Or Place To “Have The Talk”

Consider carefully when and where you are going to break the news to your boyfriend that you have been unfaithful. For this, put his yourself in his shoes for a minute to discern when to DENY cheating:

Don’t Tell Him That You Cheated When He’s About To Leave

for work, school, an interview, a drive, or anything that requires his attention and concentration.

Don’t Tell Him As You Are On The Way To An Event

—dinner with friends, a movie, or worst of all, a family get-together. You may think that having an event to attend will give him something else on which to focus. Not so. Having just been hit with bad news, he won’t able to focus on anything but the fact that you had sex with someone else.

Don’t Tell Him At A Crowded Restaurant

You make think that being in a crowded place will keep things calm, but you may end up in the middle of a scene. Besides, would you want to be given the news in a crowded restaurant? This isn’t a date you’re setting up; it’s a confession.

Don’t Tell Him While You’re In Bed

This one should be obvious.

If you fear—even for a split second—that he may become violent, don’t tell and get out of the relationship, pronto. Nothing is worth putting yourself in danger—no matter how bad you may feel about what you did. Period.

Find The Right Time And Place To Tell Him That You Cheated

Choose A Time When Neither Of You Has To Be Anywhere Right Away

This may be a short conversation or a long one, but the last thing you want is for either one of you to be looking at your watch.

So, if the big game is about to start, wait.

If he has a tee-time set up that afternoon, wait.

If his mother always calls at 3 p.m. on Saturday, don’t have the conversation at 2:45.

Of course, it’s tempting to have an exit route, but this is a serious conversation and it merits enough time to have it without rushing.

Choose A Place That’s Comfortable For Both Of You

It can be at home (if you live together) or at his place or yours. It can be outside, at a park. You can get coffee along the way and then sit down to “have the talk.” It should be somewhere that, if he walks off or drives off, you have a way to get home. So no hiking trips or walks along the beach for this conversation—unless the beach is walking distance from your place.

You’ll probably each have your cell phones with you, because these days almost everyone has a cell phone handy all the time. Put yours on silent mode before you even get together for this conversation. The last thing you need is the phone to ring and your boyfriend to ask, “Is that him?”

What To Say

Get right to the point. Don’t torture him with a long, confusing introduction about how much you love him or how this hurts you more than it hurts him. Trust me, it doesn’t. You can say, “I made a horrible mistake. I cheated on you. And I think that going into details about it will just make things worse. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

Affair Recovery Advice For When You Have Been Unfaithful
Affair Recovery Advice For When You Have Been Unfaithful

Then stop talking.

If he walks away, let him walk. He needs space.

If he asks for details, say, “Going into details won’t un-do what I did.”

If he asks “With WHO?!” I suggest saying, “It was a mistake.”

Then stop talking.

Right about now you may be wishing you hadn’t told. But you cannot back out. The less you say, the better. Let him talk. Let him express his disappointment or shock or whatever he’s feeling. Just listen.

If he asks why you are telling him—and only if the reason is that you felt it was the only way to move forward—then tell him, “It was the only way we could move forward.” Remember, though: moving forward doesn’t always mean staying together. That part is still up in the air.

What Not to Say

Don’t offer excuses. If you were drunk or angry or in the middle of horrible PMS, it doesn’t change the fact that you did the deed.

Don’t bring up mistakes he’s made in the past. Even if he’s cheated before, this conversation is about what you did, and about trying to make it right.

Don’t say, “It meant nothing.” It meant something or you wouldn’t have done it.

Don’t trivialize something that is probably really hurting your boyfriend right about now.

What To Do Next

Now for the tough part: once you’ve told your boyfriend that you cheated on him, you’ll have to live with this. If you decide to split up, do it with dignity. If you decide to stay together, you might need counseling (for you, for him or as a couple).

Most likely, he’ll need some time. This will be the agonizing part, because the ball is in his court. He gets to decide how he’s going to process this news, and whether or not he even wants to stay with you, let alone figuring out how to make it work if he does.

He might need a day or a week or an hour… there’s no telling. Give him the time he needs. Don’t push. You can, later on, write him a letter (no texting for this one) explaining that you are sorry, and that it won’t happen again, and that you realize that you were wrong.

I wouldn’t recommend going overboard with gifts or cards or anything like that. Stay composed, don’t beg, just let him know that you made a mistake, one that you truly, truly regret.

Then wait to see what happens.

Oh, and while you’re waiting, erase the other guy’s number from your phone.

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