Fallout from Ashley Madison: How to Handle Betrayal


The Ashley Madison scandal has destroyed thousands of marriages. The website targeted married individuals who wished to have an affair. Hackers recently breached Ashley Madison servers and released the names, credit card information, addresses, and sexual preferences of millions of users—all of which was easily searchable online. Clearly, many relationships were negatively affected by this revelation. Clearly, those whose names were associated with the website were in trouble with their spouses.

Although online dating websites, such as Ashley Madison, have seemingly made straying much easier, infidelity has plagued marriages since well before the Internet came into existence. If your partner has cheated on you, it does not mean the marriage is over. With hard work and dedication, you may rebuild your relationship and trust your partner again.  (We have an upcoming interview with NYC marital therapist, Elisabeth Mandel LMFT, who discusses Tips to Safeguard Your Marriage from Infidelity, that will air on our weekly program www.CoffeeBreakwithSabra.com on October 21.) 

First, have a candid conversation with your spouse, and keep it calm and civil. Ask your partner why he or she strayed. In many cases, a partner feels neglected at home, and seeks attention elsewhere. Had your partner expressed to you that he or she felt lonely? In many cases, working on open communication will prevent such betrayals from happening again.

Your partner should also cease all communication with his or her paramour while you work past this devastating event.

Next, although it will be hard, you will have to learn to trust your partner again. For this step, it is wise to seek the assistance of a counselor. You will likely create new terms for your relationship as you try to heal. As time goes by, remember to focus on the present: do not be quick to react to actions that you feel are signs of cheating, as you will likely be reacting to the initial betrayal for some time.  And your partner must now be willing to give you assurances of his/her faithfulness – even if that includes revealing communications and phone records.

With open communication and renewed loyalty to each other, and much effort by both partners, the two of you will be able to repair your relationship.

For more information, listen to our interview with our guest on our weekly program Coffee Break with Sabra on October 21.  Access the interview here.


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