Discovering an affair is an agonising business.

But there are many experts and real-life couples who would say that just because an affair has occurred does not mean that a marriage or relationship is doomed to end. It may take months, even years, but some marriages are even improved by the experience. Here's our advice on recovering from an affair:

1) Talk to your partner

What might have passed for conversation before this is nothing compared with the details and depths you will have to reach. And, importantly, so will they. If you are attempting reconciliation after an affair, you should forbid any communication between your partner and the former lover.

2) Be searingly honest with yourself

The worst thing would be – in a desperate desire to keep the marriage together – to immediately offer forgiveness, only to realise later on that your anger about the affair is constantly getting in the way of that goal.

3) Be prepared to listen to your partner's point of view

This may not be top of your wishlist, but many affairs are as much about boredom and insecurity as actual sexual attraction or love.

4) Seek outside support

You may feel that you want a neutral person to talk to, such as a therapist or counsellor. Or you may feel that you and your partner should talk to a couples counsellor about the affair. You can find people offering both these services on our directory.

5) You have to, eventually, feel that you can trust your partner again

If, after a lengthy period of assessment, that seems impossible, then it may be time to think about terminating the relationship.