Tracking your thoughts after the affair is an important element as you try to control all the negative thoughts that invade your mind.

Tracking Your Thoughts After the Affair

By Linda

When trying to make it through each day after the affair, a main culprit that gets in the way is the plague of negative thoughts. The key is being able to control these thoughts.

When trying to control my own thoughts after Doug’s emotional affair, I implemented a process I learned from Dr. Gunzburg’s book that started with tracking my thoughts and moved on to challenging the reality of those thoughts.

This process helped me clear my mind and control what was running through my overly-active brain. It worked for me. If you work hard, it can work for you as well.

Thoughts drive your feelings. When you think about something negative you tend to feel bad. On the other hand, if you think about something positive, you tend to feel good. This is simply common sense.

However, when you are wrapped up in difficult, negative emotions, it isn’t always easy to see what thoughts are behind your painful feelings. When you have been injured in an affair, this is often the case. You are so overcome with feelings of betrayal and rage that you sometimes fail to see what thoughts are behind these feelings.

To make this situation worse, it is sometimes hard to tell one difficult thought from another when you are caught up in a seemingly endless stream of negative thoughts and feelings. Thoughts don’t always happen as single elements. They are often caught up in our fantasies or emotions. As such, they are sometimes hard to see for what they are.


If you feel like you are having a hard time distinguishing your thoughts from your feelings, or even one thought from another, thought tracking can be an immense help to you.  Even if you don’t seem to have these kinds of problems, this first step will help you get a good track record of what you are thinking and will allow you the opportunity to see if there are any consistent patterns to your thoughts.

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Take one week and track your negative thoughts about the affair. Just as with emotions, it is very difficult to effectively change your thoughts until you take the time to look at them.

Because each affair situation is different, it’s impossible to give you a list of common thoughts people have. Instead try and find out for yourself what common thoughts you are having about the affair.

Get yourself a notebook and every time you have a negative thought about the affair, take note of the following information:

• What time the thought occurred.

• What you were doing when the thought occurred.

• What the thought was.

• How the thought made you feel.

• Whether you acted on the thought in any way.

Be as thorough as you can about this process. Clearly, you won’t be able to record every single thought you have. That’s okay. You don’t need to. But be persistent in your efforts, and they will pay off.

If you find that you are having a flood of thoughts, just note whichever ones you can, and let the rest go. If you can only get a clear picture of one thought, take notes on that one. Do what you can, and don’t do more than that.

After you track your thoughts for a week, take the time to look back over your entries. Take note of a couple of things. First, check and see if there are any traceable patterns in your thinking. For example, do certain thoughts tend to come up at certain times of day or after certain activities? Do you wake up having certain thoughts in the morning or go to bed with them at night?

See also  The Results from the Emotional Affair Journey Reader Survey

Secondly, check to see if particular thoughts consistently lead to particular emotional or behavioral responses. For example, you may notice that every time you go into the bedroom you are reminded of the affair, and consequently, you feel like an awful partner. This thought pattern makes you feel worthless.

Researching the way you think after the affair is not a purely academic exercise. Rather, it allows you the foresight to know what you expect to think and feel in certain situations. If you learn your own patterns, you can prepare to challenge their reality and ultimately combat them.

For another great resource to help you with obsessive thoughts, triggers and memories of the affair, click here.


    6 replies to "The Importance of Tracking Your Thoughts After the Affair"

    • Saddenned

      I have done this yet. My counselor said that it might be therapeutic. It is amazing how the mind works. I logically know my H is not having an EA now, but my mind wanders.

      • KR

        I have recently learned that my husband has been having an affair for over a yr. he now says it’s over and he realizes how much he loves me and wants to make us work. I agree that is amazing how one’s mind wanders.

    • michael

      I too felt as you do a year ago. Only to find out later that she had continued the affair using other means. Not saying that is the case with you. But trust your gut instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, some times its not.

    • Ronald Johnson

      HELP!! I found out out the 13th of March that my wife has been having an emotional affair on me. You site has been very helpful at helping me cope with a lot of this. We have three small children ages 2, 3, and 5 that are being affected by this, heck even our dog is being affected. She only stays one night a week at the house. She is over to the house everyday about 0630 from Monday-Friday until about 8pm +/- a couple of hours. On the weekends she does not get to the house until early evening and either spends the night or leaves by 8pm.
      When she is here, she spends most of her time on the computer, doing homework or on her cell phone texting her boyfriend. We are going through therapy and we are still sexual active at least once a week. She is getting the best of both worlds I feel, and I am not sure how much more I can take.
      How long do these emotional affairs last? She has known him since high school and liked him then, but nothing ever happened then. He has asked her to move in, wants the kids to spend the night and time with him and her at his house. Should I let the kids spend the night or even be a part of their Lives?
      I really do love my wife and want this to work. Any words of advice from both Linda and Doug would be helpful. Thank you.

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