In order to help yourself when you can’t stop thinking about the affair, it is important to understand the different functions obsessing can serve in your healing process.

My first and most important piece of advice is to try to stop beating yourself up for those times when you can’t stop going over the details, questions, lies, or things that just don’t add up, over and over again. (For more about lying click here.) It is important to understand that  this is a completely natural and normal response to trauma, something that almost everyone in your situation experiences and that it is also normal for it to go on for some time. (For more information about the different kinds of questions that occur in the healing process click here.)

However, there are some things you can do to facilitate the healing process and lessen your distress.

First of all, think about the questions that are stuck in your mind, that you can’t get past.  Ask yourself if you already know the answer because you’ve discussed the particular issue with your partner, or if it you really need more information.

If you are genuinely struggling to put the pieces together and rebuild  your relationship history, write out your confusion and questions.  Keep a list.  When you and your partner have time to devote to talking about what has happened, bring out your list.  Decide what is most important and take one question  at a time together.

If you already know the answer, and realize that your partner has no more information than they have already given you, then there may be something that you are trying to work out inside yourself.

Your thoughts may be an attempt to protect you from strong feelings.  Ask yourself what you are feeling underneath the question. Then ask yourself what you need to help you with this feeling.  Decide if you would like to share what you have discovered with your partner.

Another technique is freestyle writing.  When you have some quiet time to yourself, write out your question on the top of the page and then just let yourself write without any preconceived ideas about what should go down on the page.  Don’t worry about grammar, or complete sentences. You might even find that you want to include drawings.  You may experience very strong and unexpected feelings while writing.  Again, you can decide what you would like to share with your partner.

(If you find yourself unable to allow yourself to experience and process these feelings, it is important to consider psychotherapy.  Unprocessed trauma can have a long lasting and far reaching impact on you and those you are close to.  It can effect your emotional and physical health as well as your ability to function in the world and establish and maintain close relationships with others)

If you cannot discover anything underneath, it could be that you are retraumatizing yourself in an attempt to gain emotional mastery over what has happened.  If this is the case here are several options:

Designate a certain period of time, say, thirty minutes for your obsessing.  Begin to train yourself to only go over everything during this time.  It works best to make it the same time every day, if possible.

Keep an appreciation journal.  Practice recording what has gone well, what you are grateful for, each day. You may want to make this journal about your life in general, or about your relationship.  In this way you can create a sense of emotional balance, a context in which to experience the more traumatic times.

Bring your attention to the present moment.  Breathe deeply.  See, hear and smell where you are and what is around you.  If possible, make contact, if even just eye contact, with someone.  Remind yourself that in this very moment you can be okay.

You may also like to read, “Why Can’t I Get Over My Partner’s Affair” for further assistance.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Preston Culver

    My wife recently had sex with another man, she claims to have been so numb she was willing to try anything to get her feelings back for ME!!! I have never in my life felt so manipulated before being with this girl for 4yrs. She has never EVER let go of the past, I am always giving praise, serving, parenting, driving…for her because I thought that was showing love….

  2. Karyn

    My husband revealed to me three days ago that two years ago while I was pregnant with our first son he slept with someone else and then a year later messaged her telling her he would do it all over again (this time I was pregnant with our second son). I’m obsessing over it. I want to see all the messages (of course they are deleted) and I want every detail so I can build up the scenario. I was given so little detail from him. Everything has been coming out slowly the past couple days and now he won’t talk to me about it at all, saying that I don’t need to hear it and that he’s trying to move on and fix it now. I don’t want it to be swept under the rug. I don’t know what’s going on with me and I don’t know how to move on or if I even want to yet. So many things have gone unanswered and he isn’t willing to talk it out with me without getting agitated.

  3. AH

    I am writing as a partner who has cheated and really wants to help and make up for my appalling selfish behaviour. I stopped communicating with my wife. I would urge others not to fall into these same behaviours of not communicating. My sense of wanting to now support my wife is strong and I don’t shy away from questions. BUT I am really struggling to know how to support her when she has obsessive moments (which I understand). Should I stand back and let her find ways of dealing or actively engage and simply revisit the same wounds? I truly love her and want to make amends/help her and us through this.

  4. Anonymous

    My husband’s was an emotional affair, as real and as tangible to me as a physical affair would have been. He says he was confused about us, unhappy and stressed. We fought a lot. I did put a lot of pressure on him. He says he was lonely. Well I WAS TOO. And I’ve ignored every person I’ve ever met since we started dating six years ago because he was all I saw. Six years of his subtle little jabs at my self confidence, making me feel over these years that i wasn’t any good anyways. I know why I am struggling with this. Because I’ve ALWAYS been HERE. I’ve always had his back, So WTF did this 10 years younger girl have on me?! I hate it because both of them don’t have to deal with the consequences like i do now. I want them both to pay for this. Maybe its petty, sure. But guys, (and maybe girls too).. ALL WE WANT…is for a girl to try to worm her way into your life, and for you to stand up and say “Hell no. You don’t even hold a candle to my wife (husband) etc. Back off.” Because when you don’t do that, it leaves us feeling like the other girl won. Like the other girl walks away knowing she’s hot enough, cool enough, interesting enough to have got one up on your gf or wife. Grow a f**king pair. To my husband I say: thank you for reminding me of my self worth. Because in the end…. all you did was make me see that I AM too good for this sh*t. That i AM worth more than you made me think i was. And that’s dangerous…for you.

  5. Anonymous

    What to do if my husband does not want to discuss with me anything to do with affairs he has had? each time I bring it up he gets angry because he “wants to forget and move on”.

  6. Anonymous

    I think it’s true. In couple’s therapy I discovered that the thoughts that wouldn’t go away were related to feelings that were hard to admit. Deep down I never really believed that someone as attractive as my husband would want to stay with me. And that this had more to do with how I was raised than him.

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