Staying a couple after an affair is a possible reality nowdays as much as it was through history. Extra-marital affairs have always been part of human relating. Even though it has always been there, the way to deal with affairs had significantly changed due to the female's ability to be independent and ability to provide for themselves.
While the affair is happening
An affair does not just happen out of the blue. For a partner to engage in an extra-marital affair there must be something going on, whether that is in the primary relationship or in the partner's way of dealing with current life's issues and stresses.
Experience has shown that the affair has an effect on the primary relationship even though it might still be kept as a secret. Often women have shared that they could tell something is going on long before their partner opened up about it and confessed the affair. Be aware of that fact and that your continuous promise: 'I am telling you nothing is going on!' is not necessarily helping the situation.
The confession – when it is time to open up
You might think that you want to be honest no matter what, however if the reason is simply to get out of 'cheater's guilt' by being able to say 'At least I've been honest' you have to ask yourself: Have you been really honest to your partner while you had the affair?
The decision to be open and honest with your partner is in the hands of the 'cheater'. Be mindful that speaking the truth is a matter of combination of a) wherever your partner is ready to hear it, b) wherever it is beneficial for them and c) whenever it is the right time to share the news. This decision is a delicate one and no one will be able to make it for you.
Decision to stay together
After the affair has been revealed the couple's healing and dealing with strong emotions is just starting. It is to be expected that the 'cheated' is dealing with a lot of pain which may come out in feelings of anger, rage, sadness, disappointment, hurt, only to name a few. This is the time where the 'cheater' needs to be patient if he / she wants to make the relationship work. It is time to take responsibility for your actions, even though the reactions from your partner might not be pleasant.
Time for healing
Have patience and support each other in staying present to what is coming up and dealing with it constructively. Refrain from telling your partner to 'just get over it' – this will more likely alienate him or her as opposed to assist the healing.
Ask for help
Sometimes all your efforts will not be sufficient to mend the broken heart and trust. If you have decided to stay together, whether it is because of family, children or other reasons, this might be the moment to look for professional help now.
Refer to my other article 'After They Cheat – How a Relationship Can Survive an Affair' for more information.