finding the positivesWe came up with this week’s discussion topic with a little help from the folks at Marriage Sherpa.  They ran a blog post recently on how finding the positives can help make a post-affair marriage successful. 

In that post it was suggested that after the initial pain of the affair has been managed, it may be helpful to take a break from all the bad things that have been going on in your relationship and focusing your attention on something else.  Something positive.

However, as an affair victim, it is difficult to “just be positive” after you find out your spouse has cheated. The news is devastating, and your whole world is turned upside down.

But many affair victims do harbor some degree of hope that they can save their marriage. At some point, they hope they can heal enough from the post-affair pain and put the pieces of their relationship – and  life – back together.

Accentuate the Positive

“When we focus on negative, everything feels and looks negative. It’s easy to do. But positive? For some reason, it seems we really have to work at being positive. In a post-affair environment, it can be especially challenging. Your self-esteem has been shattered—along with your marriage vows—and you don’t know what tomorrow holds.”

The author then goes on to offer three steps to guide you in finding and cementing the positive back in your life again:

Step 1: Focus on YOUR Positives. With a blow to your self-esteem like an affair you will have your work cut out for you to feel good about yourself, let alone about your spouse or your marriage.

See also  Why It’s Important to Know if Your Spouse is Cheating

As you work through the negative thoughts and painful emotions, make a list of the positive things you know about yourself. When you are feeling low, pull out that list and read those positives out loud. This can reinforce the positive in your life: simply remind yourself that you have many positive qualities and attributes.

Step 2: Get Rid of the Poison. A spouse’s affair is like a snakebite, and the only anti-venom is using positivity to get the poison out of your system. You can use a journal and spew all of that venom you are feeling out onto a page. You can sit down and discuss what you’re feeling with a trusted friend. At some point, you will need to have a very frank discussion with your spouse about the negativity that you are feeling, and the damage that his or her affair has done.

Trying to tamp down this poison doesn’t make it go away: you need to find a release for it, whatever form that takes that is safe for you.

Step 3: Focus on Your Marriage’s Positives. You will be doing a lot of soul-searching and picking at every flaw that is in your marriage. This is natural post-affair. At some point, you will feel ready to take a look at what is worth saving in your marriage. Make a list of the positives—and build from there.


Based on this information, the questions for discussion are…

Are you drowning in negative thoughts?

Do you feel you’ll ever be capable of finding the positive again?

Do you have any successes you could share with your spouse that would give you a reason for a celebration—if you’ve done some healing from the affair pain?

Please leave your replies in the comment section below and be sure to reply to one another.


Linda & Doug


    17 replies to "Discussion – Finding the Positives Again"

    • Doug

      Looks like our host servers went down for a period of time there. Gosh, I love when that happens!

    • Strengthrequired

      Funny enough, at first I was quite positive about myself and that my marriage could be saved and that the ow wouldn’t be in our lives for long.
      That was even after my h left for a month. Then he came home, he would lie about seeing the ow, gradually the negative feelings started to appear, instated counting me and our marriage. However the positives still appeared which is what kept me fighting.
      As time has gone on the positives are outweighing the negative thought which is such a huge relief.
      I have actually worked on myself when the negative emotions were running a mock, I started looking at ways that can help reinforce those positive emotion as I was exhausting myself trying to keep afloat with the negative thoughts.
      This is something I believe in, whe negativity takes hold it starts t affect everyone around you not just yourself. With my h and myself at negative points in our life someone needed to start being more positive to bring the other up into to positive thinking. As positive thoughts bring change for the better, it too affects everyone around you not just yourself. That is why I believe when you are stuck in a lot of negativity your life just falls apart around you, when you think positive thoughts focus on what’s important to you and what you want, although quite hard to squash those negative thoughts that sneak past the positive thoughts, eventually positive changes start happening.
      I read somewhere, I can’t remember where it was, it actually helped as well reinforce to me the importance of forgiving and forgetting. It is so you can let go of all the negativity tha holds you back from finding all the positives in your life.
      Now I know that both my h and I were in depression, and stressed, before my h ea, no wonder we ended up in the throws of negativity and my h in the arms of some ow who was just as depressed in her life so wanted a different life with my h. Her involvement just made everything worse.
      So finding the positives was quite an important step for me to take, because after seeing the destruction being in a negative emotional state can bring, being positive is the only other option if you want to survive drowning in negativity.
      My advice is grab a hold of every positive thing in your life, then each time you see another positive hold onto that with both hands and believe that better times are ahead.

      • Doug

        Great advice SR. You’re spot on when you mention how negativity can take hold and spread like the plague. When I was younger I was working around many people who were always so negative. I had to be around them and it very much affected my thinking and outlook. Thankfully, I’m not around those types anymore and refuse to do so.

    • Strengthrequired

      I’m notnsure how ” instated counting me” came from, must have been auto correct lol. I believe I was trying tom say that when the negativity came knocking at my door, when my h started lying to me about seeing the ow, it started to affect me as well as my marriage, it had me doubt myself and my marriage, my h and his true feelings for me. The problem with that was I have never had to question his feelings for me, not even when his ea came to light, it was when he kept lying that i started.

    • tryinghard

      I have so many positives going in both myself and my spouse.
      1. He is very attentive
      2. He listens to my fears and reassures me
      3. We go out at least 3-4 times per week to nice places or just the movies
      4. We work as a team
      5. He is very warm with me. These acts keep increasing too.
      6. He helps with meals and clean up!
      7. Helps around the house without being asked
      8. Speaks kindly to me
      9. Tries very hard to listen without being defensive

      I have become
      1. More quiet, and listen
      2. Ignore what’s not important, and most isn’t important 🙂
      3. Know that I am a good, strong person
      4. Getting closer and closer to forgiveness and trust. Yay me 🙂
      5. Not try to fill everyone’s needs and not feel guilty about it
      6. Finally accepting what happened and putting it in the past
      7. Seeing my therapist and learning how to deal with the narcissists in my life
      8. Truly getting that crappy things happen in life but truly being grateful for all the good things that happen and are happening in my life
      9. Letting go of any need for revenge against the ow, THANK GOD!!!

      • Doug

        Excellent TH! All great stuff. Can you tell me how long has it taken to get to this point and what would you say was the main catalyst for your husband’s positive changes? More quiet, huh…right! 😉

    • tryinghard

      LOL Doug! Maybe it’s because I get it all out here 🙂 Thanks for letting me 🙂

      All the affair stuff came out on Aug 1, 2011, so a little over 2 years. But as you know we had A LOT to work on. The affair was long term, physical, and lots of financial resources involved in it. Well I use the term “we” loosely. I really believe that my H just decided that he had not given our relationship 100% for a long time. Long before the affair. He knows he took me for granted, prioritized others and work, ignored me, etc. He’s working very hard to show me how important I am in his life and how much he loves me first and foremost. I believe through all my self education and therapy the positive reinforcement he gets from the kind acts and attentiveness makes him want to do more. And 90% of our recreational activity is done just the two of us. That has REALLY made a big difference.

      He’s really changed in many ways but I have changed too. Sometimes it scares me but I actually like me better too 🙂 Certainly the info you have on the member site has been very helpful to me and I can’t commend you and Linda enough for your good work on it.

      • Doug

        Thanks TH. I appreciate you sharing that additional information. It’s great that your husband did some introspection and came to the conclusion that he was taking you for granted, etc. Sounds like you’ve both grown quite a bit.

    • Karen

      I can totally identify with the feelings of negativity. My husband had his second emotional affair with the same coworker and I have been trying for almost a year to get him to answer my questions about both affairs. The first one happened 18 years ago and he recently admitted it to me after d-day from this most recent affair. Said he had the “40 year itch” at the time and then wouldn’t answer any other questions. This most recent affair has just shattered me! He won’t answer any but the most basic questions, which by the way do not add up with the incriminating text messages and some other information I found, so I know I have only the tip of the Iceberg as far as info goes. He also has become extremely verbally and emotionally abusive and physically intimidating, even going as far as spitting in my face, calling me a whore ( I’ve never been with another man- ever! So that was devastating to hear), and picking up our huge ottoman as if to heave it at me. He recently told me to never call him or text him on his work phone, the only phone on which I cannot monitor calls and the phone on which I found the incriminating texts this time. I have tried being positive but it just won’t come because my pain at not knowing what happened wont go away– and it’s been almost a year!!! I have tried setting boundaries, we have gone to marriage seminars, I have separated from due to the abuse. He says he wants the marriage, but his actions don’t. How does one stay positive in that type of situation? His last outburst at me as this past Friday and I have decided that if he doesn’t want to answer questions and control his temper and quit blaming me, then he doesn’t want the marriage badly enough. I am almost 58 years old, we’ve been married 35 years, I’ve put up with verbal abuse for at least 30 of those years, and I have given him a year to work this out and it has not happened. I may be negative but I think I am done. I am not going to waste another year of my life being his doormat. It’s time to call the lawyer. Maybe that’s actually positive thinking?

    • Tryinghard

      I feel for you. I’m sorry. No if you only focus on what he is doing there isn’t much positive going on. Can you focus on yourself and not him or the marriage for just a little bit every day. I know how you feel when all you want is answers but it doesn’t sound like you will be getting any from him any time soon. Lots of times people feel cornered when they know they are wrong. They want to defend themselves and lash out with words and behaviors. He thinks if he scares you emotionally and physically you will back off with the questions and saving him from all the negative feelings that come from admitting his bad choices. I don’t want to see you putting yourself in harms way with your attempt at trying to get the answers. Maybe for right now you know all you really need to know and that is he’s had at least two affairs and he is abusive on many levels. If there were ever a case where one has to focus on herself, her needs and her safety it is you and it is now. Words from him don’t mean anything without actions. He needs a lot of help professionally. I’m sure you love him and that he is a wonderful person in many ways but you need to stay safe. Hugs to you and positive thought going your way my friend. Please be careful

    • Healingperson


      It will be very difficult to express what is going on in my head. I am however sure that you have heard it all! My H had an emotional affair with a co-worker. This Fall, we are completing a 1 year anniversary of the initial event. The affair lasted 4 months. When I gave him the opportunity to go, he chose to stay. I know, in my heart he is regretful, and feels horrible. He will say from time-time, “I am really sorry for the pain I have caused!”. My point: 23 years of marriage, we were dorm it!

      We have three sons and 1 with a significant disability. We put our-lives on the back-burner to survive parenthood. The affair woke us both up. Today, aside from my own head, it could not be better. I know something drastic needed to happen. I need to be able to move forward, and can’t stand the strong feelings that come over me. Specially now at the 1 year anniversary where everything is a trigger. I suspected the affair Thanksgiving eve when he answered a cell-call and walked out of the house to talk. After that it was all my own detective work!

      He really wants to forget! I want to forget!He is in shame mode, I am in survival mode.

      My counselor said I was very unique for not having confronted her. She and He are teachers, in the same building at the time. He asked for a transfer this year.

      I see her and want to tear that long curly hair off her head!

      I need to move pass it. Again, the positive outcome of our marriage is that we are now awake. Living it. Liking it.

      • Doug

        Thanks for sharing Healingperson. I don’t think that you are that unique at all as far as not confronting the OW. From the people we have spoken to or have commented, I’d have to say that most have not confronted. Linda did not confront. I think that others will back me up here when I say that your triggers should decrease in intensity and frequency with time, though I’m sure there will always be some there at times. It sounds as though you and your husband are making good progress and are headed for a better place.

        • Healingperson

          Thanks Doug!

          How do I overcome the urges to yell at him? when I bring it up, his expressions are of defeat and sorrow. He does not want to give me details. He describes it as “crazy making”.

          She is very pretty. Convincing. Intentional. The entire school staff began rejecting her as soon as they realized what was up since they had known him for years as a good family man. They knew me, and our children. Our disabled son frequents that same school, across the hall from her. She also befriended him!

          She sought my H after he has asked her not to, in his classroom, told him she missed him, he was being mean to her. I find out pieces of information such as recent as yesterday that he was giving her rides to work in the mornings. I can’t say I forgive and keep throwing it in his face every-time I have a feeling.

          He has become more aware of my needs. Wanting to spend time together, etc… I have grieved many things in my life including birthing a child with a significant disability, and childhood molestation. I practice self-care, spiritual care, and am physically fit. This is by far the hardest thing I have dealt with because he was my best friend. And while I have feel as though a makeover was necessary, I struggle with the notion that still have lost a best friend. This is very confusing to discern!

          • Doug

            HP, Here’s what worked in our situation as I was letting out details bit by bit…Linda very calmly said something to the effect that she “needed to know everything, all the details, etc., not so that I can hold it against you, or punish you. No matter what happened, I need to know so that I can understand and so I can heal and move on.” Once I let everything out, I don’t think we’ve every spoke about “details” since. (That’s exactly what the cheater wants as well. btw 🙂 )

            That said, that may not always work with every human being. Sometimes I think the only way you can get through to some people is to yell.

            Right now your husband doesn’t want to give details probably because he is embarrassed, feels guilty and ashamed. He also is probably fearful of the consequences if he does. If your husband feels safe that he can share without being punished for it, then he will eventually share. He may not be to where he feels he can do it just yet, but if he is remorseful, wants to rebuild your relationship and “gets it”, then he will get there.

            • Healingperson

              Thanks Doug,

              It’s what I needed to hear. I am taking him out to dinner today and try to talk!

              I hope you and Linda have a fabulous Thanksgiving

    • Karen

      Confronting the OW does no good. I put it off for a long time, but when I actually did call her, she reassured me that ” no, honey, we’re not having an affair. We’re just friends!” Any time you have to put “just” in front of “friends”, red flags should go up. Also, what should I have expected her to say? To admit it? I was a fool to even confront her. She lied just like my husband did and continues to do. My gut tells me that they are still in communication, especially since they work in the same building and there is no way I can police any contact between them. He won’t be honest and I refuse to talk to her again which would give her too much power. I think I am, after a whole year of trying to get the truth, a $3000 marriage recovery seminar, and anger management counseling for my H due to his abuse, ready to throw in the towel on this marriage. Just waiting on my lawyer to call me back. No sense in beating a dead horse and that seems to be what our marriage has become. He doesn’t love me enough to be honest and has watched me suffer for a year, all the while having the info that could have started the healing for me. So if I appear negative, it’s because there is precious little positive to focus on in my life right now. The only positive is that I will soon be in a position that I no longer have to care if he is seeing, texting 90 times a day, or calling the “downgrade” with whom he chose to destroy our marriage. I wish them the best. They are going to need it.

      • Healingperson

        Thanks Karen.

        I think you are where you need to be right now. Hope time helps you heal and move forward. Do not let this break you, let it make you, as they say!

        Before my situation, I was 75 pounds heavier; could not walk a mile without loosing my breath. I have now ran 2 half-marathons. I still struggle, always will. We all will I believe, regardless if we choose to stay in a marriage or not. Someone deserves you and appreciate “the” you! Hang in there.

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