Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au's weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred. This week, resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie tackles a woman who cheated with a sexy stranger on a girls' trip.

Question:

Please help me I don't know what to do. I've been married for 15 years and have four beautiful children, my husband is an amazing person and father – he is the best husband a wife could ask for.

I have a group of girlfriends that I have known for a very long time and, we go away at least twice a year together for a few days at a time. The last time we went away I met a guy while at a pub and we hit it off straight away. I ended up sleeping with him a couple of times while I was away.

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My girlfriends know all about it and are all very disappointed with me for what I did because they all know how amazing my husband is. My husband is good friends with one of my girlfriend's husbands and I'm really scared that he will tell my husband if he finds out what I did.

I know my husband will be devastated and I'm scared he will leave me. I don't know if I should come clean and tell him or take a chance that my friend will never tell her husband. I have not been able to eat or sleep properly for a couple of weeks now and my husband keeps asking me what's wrong.

Please I beg you, help me!

Answer:

I can't tell you what to do in this situation. This is something that only you can decide. It will largely depend on your values and the kind of relationship you want.

It's understandable that you're scared your husband will leave you. There certainly is a chance that if he finds out, he will.

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What I can tell you is this:

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Infidelity doesn't necessarily mean the end of a relationship.

Although we often hear 'cheating' described as unforgivable, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of a relationship. The truth is many relationships recover from infidelity and emerge stronger than before.

Relationships where infidelity is confessed (as opposed to being found out) have a higher chance of succeeding.

On a recent weekend away, the worst betrayal happened. Photo / 123RF
On a recent weekend away, the worst betrayal happened. Photo / 123RF

A recent study of couples in therapy found that marriages in which someone keeps infidelity a secret are twice as likely to divorce as when infidelity is disclosed.

Your husband knows something is "off"

Often partners of people who have had or are having an affair say that they knew something was 'off' or their partner was being distant, they just weren't sure what it was about.

The longer it takes to find out, the more difficult it can be to recover from. Finding out that you lied when asked about it can feel like a double betrayal.

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Infidelity takes time and patience to work through

All of this being said, if your husband finds out or you choose to tell him, it's likely to be a long road to recovery. It will require that you take responsibility, are genuinely remorseful about what happened and you both choose to work through it.

It's likely your husband will want to understand what exactly you did and your reasons why. You'll need to be prepared for a lot of discussion around this, that may continue over a number of months.

Do you know what led you to pursue another man? Understanding the factors that led to this may help your partner be more understanding and will help avoid anything like this happening again.

If your husband is willing to work through this with you, I strongly recommend you seek therapy together. Rebuilding your relationship and regaining trust takes time but it is possible.

Many people choose not to disclose their infidelity and sometimes there are valid reasons not to.

I also want to acknowledge that some people would prefer not to know if their partner has been unfaithful. This is a challenging decision either way. Unfortunately, it's only yours to make.

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