Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

Can a relationship survive an affair?

Emotional or physical – An affair is devastating. In my practice, I see many couples in turmoil over “emotional cheating”.

Some say it’s not as ‘bad’ as physical cheating, but the effect on relationships is very similar. I define an affair as ‘any betrayal of trust in a relationship, whether physical or emotional.’

Relationships can be restored after an affair/cheating but absolute openness and honesty are vital. Trust can never be re-gained if both partners don’t agree to complete transparency in the relationship.

It is also extremely important for the couple to be aware of each other’s feelings. From frustration to rejection to love and excitement, every emotion should be discussed. Open communication is key to any relationship, but is absolutely vital when restoring a relationship after an affair.

These are the most common questions I get asked about affairs:

  • Can a relationship survive an affair?
  • Is there hope after an affair?
  • Should a couple talk about the details of the affair?

In the TED talk below, relationship therapist Esther Perel answers these questions. She

examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic: because they threaten our emotional security. In infidelity, she sees something unexpected — an expression of longing and loss. A must-watch for anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on, or who simply wants a new framework for understanding relationships.