It’s only natural for you to be filled with anger, sadness and resentment if your husband had an affair. Processing what went wrong in your relationship and healing in its aftermath will take work. But if you find yourself ruminating and obsessing about your husband’s affair in ways that are intrusive and unhealthy, it’s time to pause and recenter yourself. If you’re in a constant state of agitation and distraction, you’re not making space for actually recovering from the affair. So what can you do to stop obsessing about the affair? Let’s take a look at what’s behind your intrusive thoughts, regain control of your emotions and move forward.
Resentment Serves A Purpose
Resentment is perhaps the most common emotion if your partner has cheated on you. Anger is a close second. Both feelings are normal and healthy to some extent. Resentment protects you from stress. It gives you an outlet for your anger. In this way, you’re releasing the stress you’re feeling instead of holding it all in, which can be overwhelming.
Anger is another self-defense mechanism. It can be a healthier alternative to depression. You can direct your anger toward your husband instead of directing anger inward. However, with time and insight, your anger will subside. You can also take steps to stop being mad at your husband all the time in order to begin the healing process sooner. Ideally it will give way to a deeper understanding of what factors led to your husband’s infidelity and where you both go from here.
Obsessive thoughts are generally unwanted, intrusive, and result in distress and a heightened state of anxiety. They may include conversations, visualizations, and self-criticism which loop through your mind on repeat. These are thoughts you just can’t seem to shake. Here are some examples of the most common obsessive thoughts related to a partner’s affair:
My life is ruined
What will other people think?
What do I tell my family/friends/coworkers?
I’m stupid to have missed it
I’m dumb to have believed his denial
What’s wrong with me
What does she have that I don’t?
I’ll never trust him again
What did they do sexually?
You may notice most of these thoughts and questions don’t have a clear cut answer. They are difficult to get rid of because they’re not particularly actionable. It’s like being stuck in a maze without an exit.
How To Stop Obsessing About Your Husband’s Affair
The best way to stop obsessing about your husband’s affair is to have both partners reflect on what led to the affair and what you both want in your relationship. By posing and talking through specific and actionable questions, you’ll be able to stop obsessing and start repairing. Here are some useful questions for you and your partner to discuss:
How did your marriage get to this point?
What is missing from your relationship?
What do you both desire?
Why did your husband choose to go outside the marriage instead of going to you?
What are the barriers in your relationship that led your husband to look elsewhere?
How did you contribute to the issues in your relationship?
Are you prioritizing kids/career/other relationships above your marriage?
Do you have resentments or trauma from childhood or adulthood that are holding you back?
An open and frank discussion about the state of your marriage is a vital step toward regaining control of your thoughts. While some couples are able to tackle these sensitive subjects on their own, many find it extremely helpful to work with a marriage therapist. Having an objective third party to guide you through difficult conversations can lead you to a resolution faster.
Relationship Recovery After Infidelity
An affair doesn’t signal the end of your marriage. Many couples assume divorce is the only option after infidelity. In fact, 75% of couples who get professional counseling after an affair report increased relationship satisfaction than the years leading up to the affair. This is because an affair is usually a symptom of other issues within a marriage that have built up over time. Once you identify and deal with the root causes which led your husband to cheat, you’ll be able to start rebuilding your relationship.
Infidelity does send a shock wave through your relationship. But know that this crisis will pass. A big part of affair recovery is a realignment of your wants, needs, and goals as a couple. When dealt with properly, the affair recovery process can catapult your marriage to a healthier place. Many couples we have helped work through an affair now view their crisis as an opportunity to begin a new chapter in their lives together.