Controlling your thoughts after an emotional affair (or physical affair) is a difficult task to accomplish and has been an immense struggle for me from day one.  I tend to think a lot to begin with, so to say it’s been tough for me is an understatement.  I wanted to give you an idea of how this can be done by way of an example.

Last weekend Doug had planned a wonderful getaway for the both of us.  It has been something I’ve wanted to do since D-day, but for a variety of reasons, it just didn’t materialize.  I had many assumptions as to why we haven’t gone away to a hotel for a weekend after the affair, which I had verbalized to Doug on several occasions.  Most of these assumptions were shot down by Doug and replaced with legitimate excuses.

Without going into too much detail, I have long believed that going away with me for a weekend -specifically to a hotel – was something he couldn’t do after the affair with Tanya. I believed this because I had carried suspicions that he had gone away with Tanya at some point.

I was so excited and thankful that Doug had taken the initiative to arrange everything, but as the day approached, I became very nervous.  I worried that our weekend would not be everything that I believed he had with Tanya. I was so sick to my stomach that at one point I thought about backing out.

It is amazing how much our mind and illusions can take over and ruin something that is so good. So I used the technique I learned in the book “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life.” That is, to question if my thoughts were real.  So I asked myself if what I was thinking was true.  Do I know for a fact that he spent the night with her?  The answer was NO.

Then I asked myself:  “Where would I be if I didn’t have that thought?” I came to the conclusion that I would be able to spend a wonderful weekend with my husband without worrying that I wasn’t exciting enough, and without the pressure of having to make it some sort of super-magical event.  I could just be me and we could have a good time.

I was pretty proud of myself because for the most part I did let those thoughts go, and we did have a wonderful time.  I felt like for 24 hours it was just me and Doug in our own little world, removed from everyday stress and focusing on just being together.

I guess it was almost like being in an affair but on a much deeper level. I felt that this was another step closer to strengthening the bond of our relationship after the affair.

    20 replies to "How to Control Your Thoughts After the Affair – An Example"

    • Donna

      I dream for those days to be able to do that. AT the moment, I think I am always going to ‘wonder’ what my husband and ow got up too. I know they went camping together in the back of his pick up. I don’t know what I would do if he EVER asked me to go away with him and sleep in their with him. How would I respond to that. Would I just do it because he was asking me and he wouldn’t ask if he didn’t want my company.. or would I get hung up on the fact thatthey did this together first. Just typing this my insideds are churning from the hurt of it all 🙁 I still feel like she is this exciting person, full of life and energy etc… Do you know what is sad though, it is I feel like I have found myself again and have all this energy and I feel that life could be exciting. Kids are getting older, I have lost a ton of weight, have so much energy and am up to trying all sorts of wacky things. However, he is not ready to share those things with me. Too sad.
      Well done Lynday on your achievement!

    • Anonymous

      WOW! Yes, I do the over thinking thing all the time and it does ruin what would have been special moments with my husband. It’s so hard to push them away especially when your emotions run away with you.

      • Doug

        Anonymous, Thanks for commenting. Controlling her thoughts is the hardest thing to overcome for Linda. She has come a long way, but every now and then it’s a challenge.

    • Rushan

      At this moment I also have a lot of thoughts about the affair and the ow. Maybe it is because she came to visit him at his work two days ago while she was in town. She came to fetch something here in town because she lives 2 hours away from here. He came and told me that she was here but that he didn’t even had time to chat with her a lot because she was in a hurry, but he can tell me things she said and did. I also saw a strange number on his phone towhom he send a “strange” message when he was in hospital. Then later that evening at about nine o’ clock someone from unknown number. He told me about all the calls he had but no mention of that number or person. Now I am so uncertain what is going on, I am down in the dumps and just want to cry all the time because I thought everything was okay and now I am starting with all this crying and feeling down again. It’s now nearly 18 months since d-day. I think I need a lot of help, but where can I go.

      • Doug

        Rushan, I’m sure it’s tough to stop thinking the worst after these recent events. Try to be thankful that he is being transparent, and telling you that the OW came to visit him. Try using the exercise that Linda described. It sounds for the most part that your husband is being open with you.

      • Doug

        Rushan, I think the best thing to do is try to stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions. When anxiety surfaces it is difficult to think clearly and you begin to do things that you shouldn’t do. Explain to your husband that you are feeling insecure about these phone calls and calmly ask him if there is something he needs to tell you. Without being overly emotional or combative listen to what he has to say, and let it go. Set back and try to look at his behaviors and determine if there is something you should be alarmed about. You don’t have to react now, just let things go and in a week or so you are still upset address it again. The most important part is not to allow your emotions to take over, when they do it is hard to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Linda

        • Rushan

          thanks to you both,I’ll try my best not to let my emotions take over and listen to your advice. You’ve helped me already a lot

    • Jennifer

      “Where would I be if I didn’t have that thought?” It sounds good. But isn’t that a way of training yourself to ‘ignore’ your thoughts/feelings? What if that’s not a good thing to do?
      In my situation, for example. I have thoughts that he is texting another woman. Where would I be if I didn’t have that thought? Oblivious to the infidelity going on under my nose, suffering from a longing to be loved, married but miserable. As you can probably tell, I am torn today about my decision to stay married. Just another day on the rollercoaster…

      • Doug

        Jennifer, I agree with you, are there are some ideas from this book that I had issues with. However, for me I do have problems letting go of the past and the pain so this concept allows me question my thoughts. Yesterday it was not so effective, Doug’s comment to yesterday’s post (which he later changed) sparked a wave of bad thoughts that I could not control. They came shooting back like fireworks and I didn’t have time to question them. By the end of the day I had sent Doug a hundred text messages, was in tears and ready to walk away and set him free. I can say that Doug handled my moment of insanity very well. He was patient and kind and because of his actions by the time I came home from work I had let it go and we enjoyed a nice evening. As you said just another day on th”old” rollercoaster. Linda

        • suzie

          Amazing…..Thank you Linda for your HONESTY… makes me feel less crazy. I’m divorced from my husband ….he divorced me after his multiple affairs telling me it was because i wasn’t getting better…he divorced me about 2 years after the last affair….but the little white lies and big ones continued…his wandering eyes…he actually wrote down that if he ever got in another relationship he would be sure not to tell me…..Honesty wasn’t his top priority…but he got involved with yet another women right after he moved out…then another…but he’s been with the last one for almost 3 years now…we’ve been divorced for 2….but I still have flashbacks…I still breakdown and cry about the 33 years of marriage of his alcoholism and cheating…and he still thru me away….somehow he has it working out with the new women….he’s flat broke but moved in with her……Anyway, as I digress….You’re honesty of not being perfect dealing with all the pain even after this many years….and that you’re not crazy or just being a [email protected]…punishing him by bringing up your pain….all the words I got….That Doug is really in there working on….maybe not perfect, but you know he’s there for you for the most part when things so south as they do….and him understanding that there are those moments that so much emotion comes rushing in that it ovewhelms us….Thank you thank you….I haven’t read the post for awhile, but you just restored alittle of my self esteem….that I’m not stupid or mean or a [email protected] because I couldn’t manage my emotions at times….it wasn’t purposefully punishing him….it wasn’t that I was “addicted to misery”…..I was JUST IN PAIN that I couldn’t handle…Not pain I created…pain I had to deal with and didn’t always do it well……

    • mil

      Just help, someone please help. It is about 2.5 years since the initial discovery of my h’s EA but since then he got a secret phone which I discovered 1st April 2009. We have just stayed in for a ‘romantic’ night in and as usual it’s ended in disaster. I brought ‘her’ up big style and he went to bed at 8.30 yet again threatening divorce. I JUST CAN’T GET OVER THE BETRAYAL. Please help………………

    • Joe

      How do I respond to my wife who had an EA, lied about it to me when I found out then admitted her so called frienship went to far and it was her fault but says she feels she did nothing wrong and because she didn’t have a PA I should be thnakuing her and be proud of her for not going that far. I have no intellegent response.

    • Annie

      It has been 10 months since the affair started, and I think 3 months since it ended, I am not really sure, because I think even after the affair ended they still spent alone time with each other when it suited them. I know theirs was a very sexual affair, and she is very different to me. I am struggling with the fact that my husband finds it difficult to make love to me now. I feel so rejected and unwanted, although his words say he wants to be with me, and loves me, and has realised his mistake, and is so sorry, etc etc etc. To me his actions show me that the spark has gone, what we used to have, and I feel so empty and useless. Anyone got any ideas? He says that he wants to take the love making slow, and not rush into it because he knows how much he has hurt me. Is that true? or is it just what he thinks I want to hear? I am beside myself and ready to just call it quits, rather than go on like this.

    • Joe

      How do I respond to my wife (married 29 yrs) who had a two year EA with a man 20 years younger then her, sent me to a spare bedroom with a bad excuss took her rings off with another bad excuss and when I found out about it lied to me until I got the most of what happened out of her and then when I tried to make it right she would just go along but never initate anything. She claims she did nothing wrong so she cant say she’s sorry and now tells me I should be thanking her and be proud of her because she didnt sleep with him. When I ask her how would she feel if i did this to her she has no answer. I’ve told her she’s wasted the last two years of our lives and we need to divorce but now she claims she’s depressed but still feels she did nothing wrong even when I tell her how much she hurt me?

    • stupidandtrusting

      Joe, does your wife indicate she had the affair because she was depressed? If so, I will have more to add to that.

    • Joe

      Yes, she has been depressed for some time and she does say that was part of the reason. What I dont understand is she wont get help and how can she tell me she cant come near me because she’s depressed but can carry on an EA?

    • Joe

      If she had an EA due to depression and what I believe to be low self esteem but wont take responsibility or work on the marriage then what do I do except make plans to end it.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Hi Joe – My husband went for help throughout the two years but was lying the whole time, to his therapist, psychiatrist, and himself. He never told them about his EA and he lied to himself about his depression – he went to appease me but also hoping for a magical cure. After hours and hours of exploration and honesty, I am able to grasp that depression played a very large role in his behavior – it truly was so out of character for him. The guilt made the depression worse and he withdrew further and further. We now understand that he had been in a low level depression, dysthymia (sp?), for as long as 5 years. I also had to make plans to end things, I asked him to leave before I even knew about the EA. Doing so, threw him into a downward spiral and he sat in his hotel sobbing. He called her to tell her he had been so wrong to be doing what he had been doing, that he loved his wife, didn’t know what he had done, couldn’t understand it. When she suggested to him that they had a real future now, he finally accepted that he was in a major crisis, didn’t know how to get out of it, and certainly had no interest in her, but rather the moments of relief her attention provided and the small amount of boost to his low self-esteem. He called me and said “you are right, I am not doing well, I need help”. That is when he was able to actually accept the help offered. That is when I found out about the EA – he told her he didn’t want her at all and never had so she called to see how much she could destroy me and us. I can’t believe how different our life is now (mostly). I still have hard days but things improve slowly. My H also didn’t come near me but he explains it was guilt and depression. He never even wanted his AP physically, he just wanted her to tell him how wonderful he was…..

    • BethD

      Out of control thoughts have been my biggest problem in getting over my affair. I read the book The Power of Now. I reread the book when my thoughts become out of control. I think at times I am doing well. I constantly pray that my OM doesn’t contact me again. I don’t know why I feel this obligation to him and to help him through this. I also have to get the thought of worrying about him out of my mind. When you are in a long term emotional affair you start to feel as responsible for your lover as your husband. I know when I talk to him and hear how miserable he is it affects me so much I take a step back yet when I try to cut him off he goes crazy. I am doing well with my husband and I am guilty about that as crazy as it sounds because he is doing worse than ever with his wife with me out of the picture. I did encourage him to see a counselor but he feels that it is useless and would most likely lead to a divorce with his wife. For religious reasons and the sake of the children neither of them want that. God helps those who help themselves and I know it is crazy to feel responsible for his unhappiness yet somehow I do.

    • chiffchaff

      This way of thinking is very useful Linda. I also try to think what I will gain by having a particular thought and whether it’s something I can do something about or not. If I can’t do anything about it, say, it’s my delayed anger at something that happened during the PA then I have to let it go or find out what could be useful to address from it.
      The worst thing that happened recently was finding a stash of undeleted email traffic between my H and his OW. It gave me masses of detail to fill in the awful gaps in my understanding. All it did was show just how in deep my H was, and how self-centred both he and the OW were. He even sent the OW ideas for things to do that were based on my suggestions for things for us to do together in the same email that he was saying that me and him didn’t do anything interesting anymore. I feel like I trod on a landmine that day. I don’t want to do that again because it really damaged me to know the details. It changed what I wanted to know – I now want to know more about where he is now. That’s more important to our marriage. I can’t do anything about the past.

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