Post-Discovery First Aid ~ Thriving Beyond Infidelity

“Every situation, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity to heal.” ~ A Course In Miracles

These post-discovery first aid techniques are based on the wisdom of hundreds of support group members who have been where you are. The sections are presented with the highest priority strategies for the newly discovered first. You can also jump to any section using the links above. Since your situation is unique, let your intuition guide you in discerning which strategies are best for you at this time. You didn’t choose to be betrayed, but you get to choose how you move through your healing journey. No matter where you are right now, it is not only possible to recover, but to feel absolute joy, peace and love again--indeed, to thrive beyond infidelity.

Initiate Self-Care (Self-Love)

In the aftermath of discovery, it’s not unusual for self-care to go out the window, perhaps for some time. But this devastating period is also an absolutely crucial time to initiate self-care. Just as there is no shame when things fall apart in a devastating time, you can forgive yourself at any stage of your journey for a dry spell of self-care, and begin to love yourself again. 

Trust Yourself

Once you get some self-care going, you have a robust base from which you can begin your healing journey. In that journey you will get to make many decisions, and take many actions big and small. Here are some considerations for how to approach those decisions and actions.

Talk, Open Up, Share

When I discovered my wife’s affairs, I thought it was my job to keep silent to protect her and our relationship. I was also so devastated that I couldn’t imagine sharing with somebody and adding that experience to my distress. It’s incredible how we can sometimes feel shame when somebody else has behaved badly. But inevitably, the pent up pressure of keeping things inside led me to sharing in a support group, then with therapists, friends, family and much more. Sharing was the doorway to healing for me, and an absolutely critical aspect of recovery. This topic is so important, and I hope these points can help you.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Though it may be difficult to accept, the affair has nothing to do with you. You may put some responsibility on yourself, and your wayward partner may even outright blame you for their affair (though this is deeply flawed/wounded thinking). Nevertheless, the affair was 100% your partner’s choice, and reflects their vulnerabilities and their opportunities and their choices

​Responsibility for​ the relationship ​is shared, but infidelity is a choice that ​has nothing to do with you, whatever issues there may be within the relationship. There are great relationships that have affairs and toxic relationships that do not.

Testing and Resting

See your doctor, or go to a walk-in clinic, and get screened for sexually-transmitted illnesses. Do this even if you are 99% certain the affair was not physical. Your partner is (most likely) unable to give you the complete truth about the affair early on, so get checked. 

Balance recovery and rest by sensing when you are feeling and slowing down or taking a break. This can also apply to therapy, reconciling with your partner, talking about the affair, reading books on infidelity, taking courses, and more. At first, the betrayal will seem to dominate your life, but eventually you will be able to have little moments, and (eventually) entire days when you won’t think about it. Your progress is not only gauged by your capacity to let little bits of healthy “normalcy” back into your life, it depends on your ability to do so.


Many members who recover and heal ultimately feel grateful for the affair in that it was the catalyst for a transformation in themselves and/or their relationships. We can also be grateful for any redeeming factors that we may have, for example ...

Healing without Reconciliation

While it takes a willing partner to reconcile, personal healing is everyone’s birthright. Even when the wayward partner has left (with or without an explanation), or is not willing and able to reconcile, there are many redeeming factors for the betrayed partner.

The phrase “healing alone” isn’t applicable to anyone: nobody has to be completely alone. There is always a group or therapist to support you, even if you have no friends or family members (or a nice person on the bus) to talk to and find support in. The person who betrayed you may not be in the picture, or fading from it, but there are 7.9 billion other people in the world.

Though your partner may not be willing to reconcile, and separation or divorce becomes another challenge, most people feel much lighter not having to be triggered by their partner. Reconciling requires a lot of energy, and can generate great upset, so not doing it may be considered a benefit. Healing without reconciling also offers a powerful potential for personal healing, transformation, change and renewal. You can become healthier, happier and more loving than ever before, especially if you try the following. 

Healing with Reconciliation

If the wayward partner is in the picture in any way, and has some willingness to reconcile, then they have a great potential to aid (or hinder) both healing and reconciliation. See Wayward Partner Factors for Healing and Reconciliation for a list of these and more on this important topic.