How to Help Your Partner Heal from Betrayal and Move Forward

How to Help Your Partner Heal from Betrayal and Move Forward

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I'm idit sharoni, lmft
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair Recovery, Betrayal Trauma, and Surviving Infidelity. The owner of Relationship experts private practice and host of Relationships Uncomplicated Podcast
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After infidelity, hurt partners have so many questions. One of the most pressing and worrisome amid betrayal trauma recovery is, “Who will help me heal?” 

A woman & a man smiling, looking at each other admirably. Representing the feeling partners in the United States can feel, after finding the right guidance to handle betrayal trauma recovery. Schedule a free consultation today.

Are you in that place? It’s okay to wonder how and when you will feel better and stronger. Are you contemplating therapy as a means of getting over the pain and through the confusion? You aren’t alone. Please give yourself some grace and keep reading. Soon, there are three key things you’ll know and understand:

  1. Who is actually positioned to help hurt partners heal infidelity pain?
  2. Who may not help aid betrayal trauma recovery?
  3. What must be done when partners are unable to move past the emotional pain.

Why are these points important? Because so many betrayed partners are wounded and longing for relief without proper care, validation, or support. 

In fact, some time ago, I was inspired to write about this because a suffering spouse reached out to me. He felt emotionally stuck and unable to heal after his partner’s unfaithfulness. During our individual therapy session, he shared something surprising and concerning. He told me he was having trouble “surrendering to the healing process”.

As a relationship expert, I had two immediate questions:

  1. Who gave him the idea that he needed to “surrender” to anything?
  2. Why did he think was doing it wrong?

I soon learned that the very person he and his betraying partner turned to for guidance, their couples therapist, had implicated him as the problem partner! Though the therapist promised to help them navigate recovery “in the most positive way,” he had been labeled too emotionally stuck and sent off to individual therapy with me! It was the therapist that indicated his inability to “surrender” and heal was holding back recovery.

Was this a special case? Sadly no, too often, many betrayed spouses receive this message. The additional emotional burden results in further confusion and harm. Both are unnecessary and further delay the betrayal trauma recovery the couple needs.

 So, what does a hurting partner really need in order to heal? First, they need some clarity about the process as a whole.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery For The Hurt Partner: Does It Help To Seek Help Separately?

A couple sitting on the floor, back to back. They look distanced and lost after an affair. If you want to know how to help your spouse heal from your affair in the USA & Canada, you can schedule a free consultation with Relationship Experts.

No! There are two key problems with approaching recovery this way:

A: Navigating The Process Productively Will Not Feel “Positive” (And That’s Okay)

Processing betrayal is messy. To survive that process (and understand it with your marriage improved) you must get in the trenches together. The couples we counsel are forewarned that recovery is not pretty. There is no expectation that they will “navigate it in the most positive way possible.” Pretending to be positive only makes matters untrustworthy and messier for longer.

B: Advice Regarding “Surrender” Or Getting Over Hurt On Your Own

Any therapist’s expectation that a hurt, betrayed partner would “get over it” and make recovery less messy is not helpful. Advising them to seek out another therapist alone is not helpful. Requiring them to return “fixed” and ready to surrender themselves to another healing process alongside their unfaithful partner is actually harmful and unfair.

Essentially, if your couples therapist says, “Go get more help on your own,” they are

  • effectively deeming you a lost cause.  After all, they are a relationship expert, literally sending you away from your relationship for not being good enough at forgiving and forgetting. This confirms your worst fears about your worth as a partner and kicks you when you’re down. No one would blame you if you were distracted from recovery and trapped in the belief that something is wrong with you.
  • widening the rift of insecurity and confusion between you and your partner. You are now blamed and directed away from the person you want to get closer to.  In the meantime, your partner is absolved of their part in the process. No trust is built in your marriage or your therapist. How do you make any progress as a couple, if you all believe that you’re the unforgiving, unloving problem partner too stuck to move on? 

When it comes to betrayal trauma recovery, sending partners off to seek individual therapy doesn’t do either partner much good.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery for the Unfaithful Partner: How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair

Recognize That  Your Partner’s Trust Will Not Come Easy After Infidelity

To trust right now is an act of bravery. After betrayal, many couples feel so unsafe that they disconnect from loved ones and disappear from the life they knew together. Trusting a different therapist with the details of your relationship is no small thing.

It takes a lot to offer trust and to earn it. Doing so after betrayal. Is a monumental feat. You don’t need a therapist to make further demands! Your partner’s struggles should not be depicted as unreasonable problems. To send either of you anywhere, wounded and alone, outside the couples session, won’t get you where you want to go.

Instead, your therapist would be wiser and more helpful to

  • Help you understand that your partner’s pain makes perfect sense!
  • ask your partner what they need to heal.
  • determine what is missing in the therapeutic process so they can help them feel better.
A man sitting with his head down while a woman puts her hand on his head to comfort him. This can represent a betraying partner trying to support her betrayed spouse. If you're the unfaithful partner and you want to know how to help your spouse heal from your affair, read more about our betrayal trauma recovery program in Florida, California, NY and the USA

Don’t Assume The Pain After Infidelity Is Your Partner’s Job To Resolve

Too many people, including therapists, view the pain after infidelity as individual pain. That is so far from the truth. Neither of you is capable of fixing your relationship pain separately.

This is a result of mixed-up thinking about forgiveness. That forgiveness is good for you, so “just do it.” Unfortunately, recovering from betrayal is not something your partner can “just do” without a joint effort. Your partner needs you to fully participate.

Understand That Forgiveness Is Not A Thing You Give To Each Other

“When the offender demonstrates that he understands and is sincerely disturbed by the harm he has caused you, and when he works to make repairs, you [the hurt partner] may be more motivated to release your resentment and invite him back into your life.”

Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring, How Can I Forgive You? 

As the unfaithful party, you need to know that forgiveness is a joint journey that you must earn. It is impossible to forgive if the other side has not earned forgiveness. Your partner may be stuck here.

A couples therapist that sends your partner to heal alone with me or another therapist sends them towards failure and more self-blame. In reality, they just need to seek healing with you. One day at a time.

The only person who can help a hurt partner heal is their unfaithful spouse. No one else. You are the one who has the power to help them regain trust and want to forgive. Your remorse and commitment to actively restore love and trust in your relationship will propel you both forward as a unit.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Process is for Healing, Not Fixing

If you are the hurt partner: 

Please understand that therapy is not about the business of fixing you. This is not the goal of therapy. There is nothing wrong with you. Your broken heart is not an indication that you are broken. You’re hurt, there’s a difference. Something broken can be fixed independently of who broke it. A hurt person heals amid the remorse, accountability, and responsiveness of the person who injured them. 

Permit yourself to stop feeling bad about not forgiving quickly enough for your partner, your therapist, or anyone else. Does being unable to “surrender to the process” mean you are cruel or hard-hearted? Of course not! It is not your job to surrender or accept blame after your trust was shattered by betrayal. In fact, it’s unreasonable for anyone to judge you for being unable to heal or forgive on demand. 

Your healing process is directly connected to your partner’s ability to help you heal not anyone else’s timing. Remember:

  • Your betraying partner should be there for you. “Surrendering” to them or a process is not a thing. This is not war.
  • Your betraying partner should make sure you are supported into trusting them. No demands and no isolation will do for trust-building. It’s okay to begin with 5% trust and let your partner earn more trust until you reach your comfort zone. It’s perfectly okay if your new comfort zone is a trust level of 70 or 80%.

If you are the betraying partner: 

Please lean into the recovery process understanding that no “fixes” exist, quick or otherwise. Knowing how to help your spouse heal from your affair means knowing how to remain committed, patient, and present. You are the main character in this healing process. Therapy should help you ease your partner’s pain, not insist that your partner go away and come back healed on their own.

If you’re a therapist: 

Supporting betrayal trauma recovery,  I hope this gives you another perspective on helping both partners, particularly when it is challenging. Be sure to guide the unfaithful partner on how to help the hurt partner heal and earn their trust and forgiveness. 


Reach out for support and re-establish a solid foundation of trust in your relationship. To start your healing, learn more about Betrayal Trauma and  Surviving Infidelity. There, you’ll find important, professional guidance and the space to develop a new sense of intimacy and mutual compassion. Move forward together, hearing, learning, and healing your connection as a couple, and build a stronger more resilient love, beyond the damage of betrayal. When you’re ready for infidelity therapy, please follow these steps:

  1. Reach out for your free consultation.
  2. Meet our program specialist to learn more about our Affair Recovery Programs and how we can help.
  3. Begin healing your relationship!


Our therapists at Relationship Experts are available to assist you with a wide range of offerings. Whatever you and your partner are facing, we are willing to help. Our Miami, FL-based counseling office also affords you many services online throughout Florida. You’ll find Affair Recovery Counseling and more useful relationship information on my podcast!


I’m Idit, your blog writer & podcast host.

practice owner relationship expert PODCASTER
blog writer

I am the owner of the highly respected Relationship Experts private practice based in Miami, Florida and focused on affair recovery. In over a decade and together with my team, we help couples with surviving infidelity and healing from betrayal trauma

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair-Recovery and Infidelity Counseling in The United States and worldwide.

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