How to Make Things Right After an Internet Affair 8

Here are a few tips on how to get your relationship back on track after an internet affair. I wrote this for a reader who said he was cheating online, and asked how to make things right with his wife. If you’re recovering from an online relationship (which is cheating), these tips might help.

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cheating onlineA different reader recommends reading Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley Glass. My reader is recovering from an internet affair in her own marriage, and said this book has helped a great deal.

Here’s what one husband wrote about his internet affair: “I love my wife and kids so much,” says Sammy on How to Save Your Marriage From an Emotional “Affair of the Heart”. “I would normally say I’m a great husband and father. I just made the biggest mistake of my life. I want to be with my wife and kids. Do I have a chance of saving my marriage and life? After reading about emotional affairs and doing some soul searching I realize I have emotionally cheated and betrayed my wife. I broke her trust. How do I save our marriage?”

Here are a few thoughts on saving your marriage after an online affair…

How to Recover From an Internet Affair

Having an affair – even “just” an emotional one – is probably the worst betrayal in love and marriage. It’s a direct hit, and people don’t just get over it. Nor do they simply “forgive and forget” – especially when they blame themselves.

“She is blaming herself and feeling bad about herself,” says Steve. “She is wondering who this other woman is, if she is prettier, smarter, or more loving. She’s kicking herself.”

I wish she’d direct her kicks toward him, not herself! He’s the one who should feel the brunt of her anger, frustration, and pain. Taking it out on herself will only make things worse.

Reassure your partner that internet affairs aren’t a reflection of her

In Why Do People Cheat in Relationships?, marriage counselor Gary Neuman says that men don’t cheat because their wives are overweight, unattractive, or dumb. Men cheat because their wives aren’t emotionally and/or physically available.

If you want to make things right with your partner, you need to take the blame for the internet affair. It is your fault: your lack of morality, your bad choice, your weakness. It is not her fault.

Figure out what your partner needs, and give it to her

Does she want couples counseling? Does she want full access to work email? Does she want you to go into individual counseling? Does she need a weekend alone to think about it? Does she want a divorce or separation? Whatever she needs, do your best to meet her needs.

And remember — it takes time to rebuild trust after an affair, especially if it lasted for years. After some time passes, she probably won’t need to keep checking up or need continual reassurance that you’re genuinely sorry and love her above everyone else.

Initiate couples counseling or marriage therapy

Women are often happy and heartened when their husbands are willing to delve into their emotions and feelings without being forced into it. Another reason to initiate counseling is that you’ll benefit emotionally and mentally from figuring out why you had the affair. You won’t just make things right with your partner – you’ll gain insight.

Find resources about surviving online relationships to show your wife that you’re serious about saving your marriage. Read books about surviving internet affairs, or find out if there are any weekend retreats or support groups for couples. I’m not suggesting you do this just for show — do it for real!

Here’s a tip from a reader whose husband had an online relationship that lasted for years, with a younger woman:

“I discovered the affair by accident, and it pulled the rug out from underneath me. I was in shock for about two weeks, angry and depressed. I found it hard to concentrate on anything. If you are lucky enough to have therapy through your insurance at work, I highly advise talking to a marriage counselor.”

Be honest about why you cheated online

online cheating

There was a payoff for your behavior and you need to know exactly what it was. Find ways to get your needs met from your wife. Unless your marriage is over, she needs to decide that your relationship is worth saving and to learn to trust you again.

After an internet affair, the best thing you can do is to come clean, apologize, tell her that you are there for her, get counseling, hold her when she cries, hold her when she throws things at you, and be patient. It can take a LONG time for her to feel better about herself and marriage, and to trust you. And maybe even learn to love you again. Healing is not going to happen overnight.

There are no easy tips for making things right with your partner — healing takes time and patience. There will be lots of setbacks, especially at the beginning.

Are you worried about your relationship – and a possible breakup? Read 6 Things You Need to Know About Uncoupling.

For advice and insight from a marriage counselor, read The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It by M. Gary Neuman. He’s currently working on a book about why women are unfaithful.

If you have any thoughts or questions about making things right after an internet affair, please comment below. I can’t offer advice or relationship counseling, but you may find it helpful to share your experience…

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8 thoughts on “How to Make Things Right After an Internet Affair

  • Julie

    My husband of 18 ears is having an online affair I found out and confronted him to be told it was all innocent she’s 28 he’s 52!from Russia! Scam alert???? I have since seen emails and photos from her not innocent at all yet I’m still with him he gets defensive if it’s mentioned and when I saw photos and asked about them I got asked for a divorce! We decided to wait and see what happened and all ws great till we had a big fight it’s all so confusing he left then come back now I feel as if were in limbo going through the motions with this underlying thing that is just there he doesn’t talk to me it’s awful. If this happened to any of my friends I’d tell them to get out asap but it’s not that simple is it!

  • Laurie Post author

    It’s important to find a way to talk through your feelings, to get them out in the open and express them. Otherwise you’ll never heal from an internet affair — nothing heals if it’s left in the dark!

    To make things right with yourself and others, you need to find strength and courage to be vulnerable and honest.

    Who can you talk to, to help you work through your feelings of guilt and shame?

    Here’s an article that may help:

    7 Practical Ways to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

    Working through the pain and grief of cheating on the internet is not easy, but it will be worth it. It will get darker and more difficult…but the light is coming! Deal with your guilt and shame. If you need tips or resources on how to cope with those toxic feelings, let me know. I’d be happy to share what has helped me.

  • freda Huff

    How can you heal from an internet affair. I can’t stop thinking what did I done so wrong. I can’t talk about my feelings I just feel trapped.

  • Laurie Post author

    The best way to make things right with your ex-girlfriend after an internet affair – or any type of misunderstanding – is to talk to her.

    Does she want to get back with you? What does she need from you? Are you willing to work on your relationship with her?

    Your girlfriend wants to feel safe and secure with you. She wants to feel loved and valued. How can you help her feel this way? Once you figure that out – by talking to her – you will be closer to making things right with her.

  • zachary ball

    i started talking to my ex girlfriends friend and said some things i shouldnt have. it wasn’t an internet affair but it was inappropriate me and my ex broke up about 2 months ago then i pray and ask if were meant to be and if we are guide are steps together and we drew each others name for a secret santa then she messages me and ask what kinda stuff i like which let me know she drew my name she told me she knew what i said to her friend and she was mad about it i still like her and want a future with her but i dont know what to do can anyone help me make it right

  • Mercy

    You are gracious. Chirst Jesus is full of Grace and Mercy. Pray, then read and study 1 Corinthians chapter 7. Then take a look at 1 Peter chapter 3. God loves you, and is able to restore the years that the locusts have eaten. He alone is able to redeem what the enemy meant for evil, and turn it in to something beautiful. Just. Believe. Reading His Word will help! Pray for understanding. God bless you. Believing for you!!!

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Peppercorn,

    I’m sorry I missed your comment! Are you still with your husband – have things gotten better?


  • Peppercorn

    My husband has emotionally betrayed me several times, I was hurt, bitter, and felt unwanted although he stayed with me, and have learned to live with it, I can’t forget however and the resentment lives on in my mind, even though I am financially stable and had been on a sexless marriage for at least ten years, I still stay with him. Why?