I’ve written many articles about surviving an affair based on my own personal experience. I’m sometimes contacted by wives who are in a similar situation who want advice or support. One very common comment or request that I get goes something like “I just can not stop thinking about my husband’s affair. I can not get the images out of my head. go away. ” I can completely understand this. This is so common and completely normal. Most everyone who goes through the aftermath of an affair experiences this in some form. But, if you are going to truly move on, whether you save the marriage or not, this continuous pattern has to stop. Because it truly does no good. It does not change anything. And, it’s very painful and ensures that you stay stuck. In this article, I’ll offer some tips and advice to help you get this repetitive loop out of your head so that you can start healing.
Why Simply Resolving To Stop Thinking About Your Husband’s Affair Often Does not Work: I remember very vividly that I used to wake up in the morning assuring myself that today was a brand new day and I was going to stop all of the negative thoughts. Even with the best intentions though, the thoughts would come back. I could not help them and so many women share the same experience with me. The truth is, if you could simply turn off the thoughts like a light switch, you probably would not be reading this article.
It’s very common to feel like you’re doing something wrong. It can feel like your husband is saying and doing all the right things, but you are the one who keeps dredging up the past and reopening the wound with your obsessive thoughts. It may feel like this, but it’s not the reality. The truth is, you can not help or control your thought process. This is really a wake-up call which indicates that you need more time or that there is something you need that you are not getting.
Sometimes, what you need is more time to heal. Sometimes, it is more reassurance and accountability. Sometimes, you feel that your husband does not fully get, (or is not remorseful enough for), how much he’s hurt you. And sometimes, these thoughts are repeating their ugly head because you fear that your husband has not totally ended the affair or is going to cheat again. Finally, some women replay these worries because the affair has lessened their self-esteem.
How To Begin To Lessen Your Troubling Thoughts: I can not tell you a magic formula that is going to stop your fears, pain and anger cold in their tracks. I wish that I could. I can reassure you though, that if enough time goes by where your husband’s actions and gestures prove that he is trustworthy, remorseful, and committed to you, these thoughts are going to start to fade. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. When you find these troubling images coming up in your mind, see them for what they are – saboteurs that do no good whatsoever and then do whatever you need to do to turn your attention somewhere else.
It helped me a lot to work out. I dropped some weight (which helped my self-esteem) and it helped to turn my mind off and release a little stress. Some women find journaling, shopping, spending time with their children, or going out with friends helpful. Find whatever formula works for you and repeat it as needed. The idea is to get your mind on something else because this cycle is one that feeds upon itself and keeps you stuck.
If Time Does not Lessen The Problem, Examine Why You Are Stuck: Sometimes, I have women who contact me and tell me that enough time has passed, but there are still having the problem. When this is the case, you have to take a look at what you need that you are not getting. You need to be honest with yourself and your husband. Common problems are unresolved issues like the wife feels that husband does not take full responsibility, is not really sorry, or does not find her desirable.
One thing that I find over and over is that the wife wants affection and reassurance, but does not want to appear “needy” or “weak” by asking for it. It may reassure you to know that husbands constantly tell me that they want to reestablish affection and closeness, but they are afraid of being rejected and they perceive that their wives are not ready or do not want this yet. Define what you need from your husband and ask him for it.
Sometimes, what we need cannot come from our husbands. Sometimes, we have self-esteem issues where we just can not believe that our husband desires us. In this case, it’s best to focus on yourself and providing yourself with what you need to move forward. Again, honesty is vital. I always felt bad about my teeth, but never addressed this until a year or so after the affair – as silly as this sounds to me now.
The point is, as hard as it can be to come by this honesty, it is necessary because it will allow you to get what you need to move forward. And, many find that, once time has passed and pain has lessened, this hard but necessary honesty is what can not only save the marriage but make it stronger in the end.