Book Review: How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair

I've decided to start adding brief reviews of resources I often find helpful in my counseling practice. Many of these resources will deal with the specialty area of my clinical practice that deals with chronic sexual betrayal, addictive or compulsive sexuality and other types of problem sexual behaviors. For instance, here's a book I often recommend in cases of sexual infidelity.

"How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful", by Linda MacDonald is an excellent resource for a difficult subject.  Unlike many books which are written for partners or couples looking to heal from sexual infidelity, this small book is designed exclusively for the person who has committed the betrayal.  Having said that, I've heard from many partners that they have also read this book with approval and relief.

This is a very short, easy-to-read book that contains a wealth of practical information that someone who has committed sexual betrayal can immediately put into practice to help bring about true healing after infidelity has been discovered or disclosed.  People who are trying to heal their relationship after cheating generally don't know what to do other than apologize, promise not to do it again, and try to be attentive to their hurt spouse.  While there's nothing wrong with these responses, they are woefully inadequate to the task of bringing full healing to a relationship now marked by distrust, fear, confusion and grief.  As the author states early on, "choosing to repair a marriage after an affair is not for the faint of heart (and) takes far longer than most people want to admit."

This book contains a lot of helpful advice that will help an unfaithful partner accept full responsibility, develop the necessary patience and empathy for healing, rebuild damaged trust and respond to the inevitable difficulties that will arise as the wounded partner works to heal from the damage to the relationship.

"How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" is both direct and compassionate.  It is written at an easy reading level but the concepts are pertinent to almost any situation in which a person who has betrayed the sacred trust of a monogamous relationship wishes to heal the damage such cheating causes.

So if you have caused intense pain to your partner and damage to your relstionship because of your sexual infidelity, this is a book you want to read. It doesn't matter why the cheating has taken place: whether it was a one-night stand, paying prostitutes or other sex workers, an affair at the office, an addiction to sex, cheating through a site like Ashley Madison or any other form of unfaithful sexual behavior, there are steps to take and others to avoid if you want to rebuild a healthy relationship and take responsibility for helping your betrayed partner heal from the damage the infidelity has caused.  This book will be a great help.  


Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT is an Atlanta psychotherapist who works with individuals and couples struggling with a wide range of problems.  In addition to his general practice he provides therapy for sex and porn addiction, chronic infidelity, and other forms of sexual difficulties that damage trust and get in the way of a happy, healthy life.

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