How to Recover From an Affair When Contact With the Affair Partner Is Unavoidable

In most cases after the discovery of the affair, it's usually preferable that the wayward spouse cuts off all contact with the affair partner in order to move on and recover from the affair. This is one of the steps usually recommended by relationship experts in order for the straying spouse to prove to the betrayed spouse that they are serious about moving on from the affair and that they are serious about rebuilding the marriage.

But sometimes, contact with the affair partner is completely unavoidable - perhaps if the straying spouse works with their affair partner. This unavoidable contact can really cause problems in the relationship if the straying spouse doesn't handle the situation properly. However, there are a number of things that the wayward spouse can do to help the betrayed spouse feel more comfortable with the situation, and some of these are mentioned below.

Change the parameters of the relationship

When a wayward spouse embarks on an affair, they view their affair partner as a number of things - lover, confidante, friend - sometimes even a "soul mate". But when the affair is discovered and the straying spouse makes a choice to end the affair and stay in their marriage, the parameters of their relationship with the affair partner must change. Firstly, contact with the affair partner should be limited to business only - no discussions about children, life outside of work, or gossip about friends.

There is no need to go out for coffee or for lunch - business discussions can take place in the office and there is no need for them to take place anywhere else. If conversations start to steer into more intimate waters, it is important that the wayward spouse clearly states that they are unhappy with the conversation and that the boundaries of their relationship with their affair partner have changed. It's important that the affair partner knows that the parameters of the relationship have changed and that certain topics are now off limit.

Secondly, the affair partner needs to make sure that their affair partner knows that conversations about the state of their marriage are strictly off limits. It's not for the affair partner to know how the marriage is working out, and refusal to talk about it reinforces the idea that the marriage is strong and that the straying spouse is trying their hardest to rebuild it. This step helps to enforce the idea of intimacy and helps to reinforce the "we" in the marriage - rather than the "I".

Discuss encounters with the affair partner

One way to rebuild trust in a relationship where the wayward spouse still has contact with their affair partner is for them to openly discuss these encounters with their spouse. Even in cases where the betrayed spouse would never have known that the straying spouse had contact with the affair partner, it is still important for them to disclose that information. It might be an unpleasant conversation to initiate, and it might even cause an argument - but in the long run, the betrayed spouse will be much more likely to trust a straying spouse that is willing to volunteer information.

It's also worth remembering that the discovery of the affair was more than likely down to the betrayed spouse finding out about it - rather than the straying spouse disclosing that they were having an affair. A betrayed spouse can end up feeling like they have to dig for any information about the affair - so if the straying spouse actually discloses any information about encounters with the affair partner without it having to be nagged out of them, it will go some way in building trust in the relationship. It will also reassure the betrayed spouse that the straying spouse has nothing to hide, because they are actively disclosing information without hiding it.

Be willing to prove trustworthiness

Often, a betrayed spouse can feel the need to "check up" on their spouse after the discovery of an affair - especially if their spouse is still in contact with the affair partner. While the straying spouse might view this as their spouse trying to control them, in actual fact, it is just the betrayed spouse trying to reassure themselves that their spouse is remaining faithful to them so that they can start to trust them again.

The straying spouse should turn this information over to their spouse - without them having to ask. The mentality should be "I will help you check up on me" rather than "I don't want you to snoop on me". The straying spouse should be willing to show their spouse any texts or emails sent from the affair partner, especially if they are still working with the affair partner. If the straying spouse insists on privacy, it will only cause the betrayed spouse to feel paranoid and even a little jealous - which is not good for anyone trying to rebuild their marriage.

Be accountable for their actions

A straying spouse will have to be accountable for their actions for a number of months or even years following the affair. They broke the boundaries, rules and trust of the marriage and as such, it can take a long time to rebuild the marriage - and one of the most important steps in rebuilding a marriage is for the straying spouse to be fully accountable for their actions. This means letting their spouse know where they are, who they are with, whether they are going to be late etc.

If the straying spouse looks at it from the betrayed spouse's point of view - such as "Last time they were this late home they were cheating on me", or "Last time they didn't answer their phone when I called they were with their lover" - it is much, much easier to see why it is so important for them to be accountable for their actions.

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