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#82: Navigating Judgment In The Aftermath of Infidelity With Couples Therapy

Idit Sharoni

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I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in Miami, a relationship podcast host, and an educator. I help couples transform their patterns of communication and heal after infidelity. 


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Infidelity rocks the relationship world you know. 

It’s not just the betrayal, though that’s devastating. It’s the consequences of the affair that turn everything on end. We call this the aftermath of infidelity. It is the fallout of unfaithfulness, and how we interpret it, that shakes us. The way we navigate judgment in the aftermath of infidelity is what guides us toward survival and healing…or keeps us stuck in the pain. Thus, it is important to pay attention to and explore specific infidelity biases that might influence your views, choices, and behavior after an affair. 

Bias can stem from societal expectations and your own relationship history. They are the lens through which you think about and comprehend infidelity. These biases then affect how you view and address affair recovery, healing, and restoration. Furthermore, infidelity biases can sometimes extend to relationship experts, couples counselors, and other types of therapy professionals too. Just because therapists are charged with helping you recover from infidelity doesn’t mean that they are always successful at acknowledging infidelity and setting aside their own biases on the matter.

With all that said, you can see that this is an intriguing topic. To help us grasp it fully, I invited a colleague to work through it with us. As a knowledgeable therapist herself, Alana Tokayer works closely with couples in the aftermath of infidelity. She also lectures in therapy schools and universities, interacting with our industry’s rising therapy professionals. 

At Relationship Experts, Alana is a program specialist. She is charged with interviewing couples interested in the infidelity recovery program. She is also uniquely positioned to learn about couples’ stories and struggles before they even sign up for help. 

I was excited to join forces with Alana to examine why bias in the aftermath of infidelity matters.

Image of an upset couple sitting on a leather couch facing away from each other. If you and your partner are learning to navigate infidelity, learn how couples therapy in Miami, FL can help.

Navigating Judgment In The Aftermath of Infidelity: Awareness & Reflection

Obtaining clarity and a more nuanced view of relationship betrayal is important to any couple who wants to do more than just get through an affair. Why? Because your relationship is not something to just “get through”. Building something new together means solidifying your reasons for staying without other’s prejudices further weakening your connection. 

Couples therapist, Alana made an interesting point when I asked her why her perspective on infidelity bias is unique. She shared that her perspective on navigating judgment in this area is, again, linked to her work:

1) her daily work as a therapist puts her in close contact with recovering couples who are confused and need guidance.

2) her interviews as our It’s Okay to Stay infidelity recovery program specialist expose her to client stories about biases they’ve encountered. 

3) her speaking engagements on infidelity afford her the chance to hear the varying thoughts of future therapists in our field. 

So What Do People Say About Infidelity?

Considering her vantage points, I asked Alana what she noticed about bias among the groups she works with. Did their perspectives lend any insight into how people perceive infidelity? She confirmed that most people she talks with are full of bias when it comes to infidelity. It’s as if there’s a common internal dialogue that goes like this:

“If my partner cheats on me, there’s no question what I’ll do. I’m leaving. Period. After all, why stay with a cheater?” 

It sounds like a plan. It sounds tough and strong. And, voila! Bias takes root. A bias towards leaving, that is. Not towards reconciliation or restoration. In fact, this bias pushes away any thought of relationship healing at all.

In reality, no one actually knows what they’ll do when the unthinkable happens in their relationship. Not until infidelity actually threatens their long-time love, family, or future. So the problem for someone who is facing the aftermath of infidelity? There is an unproven, untested dialogue in everyone else’s head. And because everyone believes they know how THEY would react, they feel perfectly justified in telling YOU what to do.

The Bias Toward Leaving Is Pervasive

Alana maintains that couples need to accept and prepare themselves for bias. In the aftermath of infidelity, the bias toward ending their relationship is something family, friends, coworkers, and the world in general will likely default to repeatedly. She even shared an anecdote about a betrayed client who experienced this in a very public way. In extreme emotional pain and having promptly posted her husband’s affair with his secretary on social media, Alana’s client got a wave of one-sided feedback. What did social media say? 

You guessed it: almost all of her comment sections advocated separation and divorce. They told her to leave because she deserved better and her husband was a lost cause! Interestingly though, her private messages reflected a different reaction. Just as many comments from women advised her to stay because healing her marriage was indeed possible. The public bias and private reality are telling.

Bias and stigma concerning infidelity make healing a challenge. 

The truth? Publicly people advise you to leave and privately people encourage you to stay. Keeping this discrepancy in mind is crucial, especially when you consider its effect on your own assumptions. Alana noted that the couples she meets often have to work through the following concerns fed by infidelity bias:

Having an appropriately qualified therapist makes all the difference in your approach to these concerns. Unbiased therapy can determine how completely you heal as a couple.


The couples therapist you choose is a person. They live in the world, they have their own experiences. Yet, to be helpful and effective to you and your partner, they must be aware of their post-affair bias. 

Too often, there are therapists who approach the aftermath of infidelity among their clients in two ways:

  1. Terminate the relationship 


      2. Accept superficial forgiveness. 

These perspectives are based on the therapist’s personal judgments. I don’t believe they offer the best solutions for everyone. 

Alana agrees. She commented that you may not be aware that you could be sharing your pain with a therapist who has a strong bias against staying together or deep recovery. The guiding light you’re seeking may never materialize despite your good decision to reach out for professional support

Therapists are immensely influential. You are vulnerable, seeking help, not knowing how to survive the fallout of the affair. Your life has been shaken and you may not know up from down. When you want to restore your sense of coherence and confidence in your own judgment, you place a lot of faith in your therapist.

It can be a real obstacle if a therapist is unaware of his or her own infidelity bias or assumes it won’t affect their interaction with you and the help they offer. Worse still, you don’t want to be influenced by a therapist who intentionally tries to impose their infidelity bias on you.

Image of a couple holding hands on a stormy day holding their shoes and looking at the ocean. Work through past infidelity with the help of couples therapy in Miami, FL.


So, what do you do to navigate judgment in the aftermath of infidelity when your own therapist in couples therapy could be biased? First, you need to understand what kind of biases exist and how to recognize them. Alana suggested several to look out for:

Cheaters never change.

This is a standard bias. Basically, it assumes the unfaithful partner will cheat again. It leaves no room for the idea that a cheating partner is ready to explore their motivations and change their behavior. Helping people change is a therapist’s business. Your couples therapist should never write either of you off.

Moving on is the best you can do.

Often couples stay together but don’t actually take measures to heal together. Yet, when a solid pathway for healing exists, couples will reconnect. 

You can heal if the hurt partner is able to express their pain and the unfaithful partner validates that pain patiently. Then trust is earned, forgiveness occurs, and new relationship-protecting skills are learned. With proper guidance, you can do much more than just “move on”.

Deciding to stay is to okay the cheating.

No! Choosing to heal your relationship is not choosing to condone cheating. Cheating is also not, necessarily, the end of your relationship. That’s all. Deciding to stay is deciding to heal, work together, and understand why the infidelity happened. 

Choosing a relationship means losing your self-respect. 

This bias is damaging because it insinuates that the only way to retain your dignity is to leave your partner! We beg to differ. It takes courage to navigate infidelity and its aftermath. To heal your relationship is an incredible, courageous decision.

You must decide what you want. Now!

This isn’t so much a bias but a reflection of your therapist’s discomfort or lack of expertise. Often, inexperienced therapists will ignore the impact of infidelity to push forward too soon. They would rather focus on underlying relationship problems or another area more comfortable for them. As a result, they might pressure you for decisions to forgive or leave too early, without giving you and your partner tools to navigate them. 

Your therapist should show you what healing looks and sounds like. 

Are they making space for the betrayed pain to be heard? Are they guiding that expression? Can they help the betraying partner remain compassionate and validating? Do they help steer expressions of remorse so that the betrayed partner can believe it? 

These are the therapist’s responsibilities. They should guide you, not hang back until you decide what to do first.


So, what’s next? Despite the thoughts and biases of those around you, this is your relationship and your life to live. How can you advocate for yourselves and get the support you need? Alana shared five tips below:

1.  Speak Up: Make Your Needs Plain

Tell the trusted people in your circle what you need. If you need conversation, motivation, or a hand to hold, simply ask.

2.  Set Limits: Make Your Boundaries Clear

Be clear about what you don’t need to hear from loved ones and therapy professionals. You are well within your rights to share that you don’t need to be told what to do or who to run from. Your decision to stay and heal is your own.

3.  Explain Your Position

For those who seem confused or upset, you may want to clarify your relationship position. It’s fine to say that, as the hurt partner, you simply want to explore whether your relationship can be healed. If you want, explain that this is not a decision to tolerate mistreatment or to stay “no matter what”. Being open to healing is simply giving yourself the chance to see what is possible.

4. Exit Unhealthy Environments

Don’t expose yourself to unreliable, unhelpful, or unproductive spaces and interactions. Remember that public advice and private behavior are not the same. Google and social media will advise you to leave. That is not what people do when they face infidelity themselves. Protect your recovery. Choose your supporters and healing spaces carefully.  

5.  Select an Actual Infidelity Specialist

Do your homework and choose qualified therapy. What does your couples therapist’s website say about infidelity and their approach? Request a phone consultation to ask about their affair recovery experience. Diligently seek out the specialist you need. 

Finally, thank you for reading this post, Alana and I hope it offers some worthwhile tools for navigating bias after infidelity. You are capable of communicating your needs to the world, your loved ones, and your therapists. If they don’t hear you, please find people who will.

Image of a man kissing a woman's forehead while they embrace while standing outside by trees. With the help of a couples therapist in Miami, FL you and your partner can heal from infidelity.

Let Us Help You Navigate Judgement in The Aftermath of Infidelity With Couples Therapy in Miami, FL

Now is the time to find the couples therapists you deserve. Reach out to our professional affairs recovery team at Relationship Experts. We regularly serve couples in your circumstances. Allow us to guide you and support your restoration as a couple. Our practice affords you recovery programs, relationship tools, and compassionate conversation. We hope you will also examine our online alternatives when you are ready. For more support and information, please reach out. Learn more about my Infidelity Recovery Program or contact me for a consultation soon. My Miami FL-based counseling practice would appreciate the chance to help your relationship recover and grow no matter where you are in the country. To begin the process, follow these steps:

  1. Plan a free consultation
  2. Talk with our infidelity recovery expert couples therapist for a 45-minute initial consultation
  3. Start healing right away with our affair recovery coaching program

Additional Services Offered From Relationship Experts

We provide more than infidelity recovery at our Miami FL-based counseling practice. Other mental health and relationship care offered by counselors include couples therapy and marriage counseling, communication counseling, and online therapy. To get lots of added and beneficial relationship information, please visit my podcast!

Watch this Episode on YouTube


Image of a woman sitting on a couch speaking with a woman sitting in a chair. Discover how you can overcome infidelity with the help of couples therapy in Miami, FL.

I'm Idit Sharoni, your podcast host.

I'm an expert on relationships and infidelity recovery. I'm a licensed marriage & family therapist, a podcast host, and the founder of Relationship Experts  - a Couples Therapy & Coaching private practice.

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