Infidelity: Can you repair your relationship after an affair?

(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

Singapore — There are many speculative cheating rumours in the entertainment industry, but when a celebrity confirms and acknowledges guilt via official means, it is always a huge deal. Hong Kong actor Andy Hui recently staged a press conference to apologise over his infidelity – he was caught on video, being intimate with actress and former Miss Hong Kong runner-up Jacqueline Wong. Andy is married to singer Sammi Cheng, while Jacqueline is dating actor Kenneth Ma (who’s since been reported that he might break off his relationship).

When an affair is made known, the damage to the relationship can cause immense hurt and distrust. Only a handful of celebrity relationships made it through the hurdle, but often many immediately break it off.


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In her Ted Talk, relationship therapist Esther Perel said: “The definition of infidelity keeps on expanding: sexting, watching porn, staying secretly active on dating apps. So because there is no universally agreed-upon definition of what even constitutes an infidelity, estimates vary widely, from 26 percent to 75 percent. But on top of it, we are walking contradictions. So 95 percent of us will say that it is terribly wrong for our partner to lie about having an affair, but just about the same amount of us will say that that’s exactly what we would do if we were having one.

Now, I like this definition of an affair – it brings together the three key elements: a secretive relationship, which is the core structure of an affair; an emotional connection to one degree or another; and a sexual alchemy. And alchemy is the key word here, because the erotic frisson is such that the kiss that you only imagine giving, can be as powerful and as enchanting as hours of actual lovemaking.”

According to The Enneagram Singapore, people cheat because “for example, pain of a failed marriage, boredom with a routine and passionless marriage, a desire for adventure, feeling unloved and constantly criticised at home. Knowing what caused the affair is helpful because it sheds light on the needs and wants of the partner who had the affair and the shortcomings of the relationship. It also enables the couple to confront the issues honestly and overcome the inadequacies of the relationship eventually.

Sometimes, people have affairs to force a change in the relationship. For example, people who want to improve the relationship because they are deeply unhappy but do not know how to communicate their distress; or people who want to leave the relationship but feel guilty to initiate.”

Now, when it comes to making the decision to stay or leave, keep in mind these three points:

  1. Opt to leave: you see this breach of trust and fidelity has injured the relationship fatally and there is no way you can continue with your partner

  2. Tolerate the affair: you choose to tolerate the affair and stay in the relationship for whatever reasons

  3. Work on the relationship: you insist that your partner must end the affair and seeking professional help together to rebuild trust in the relationship

But most importantly, it will be good and healthy for the couple to seek professional help from a therapist or a counsellor, who can provide a neutral ground for an open discussion. Communication is key, and when the couple can bridge their differences by being open, there is hope for reconciliation.