Many affair victims want to know how to get over infidelity and the thoughts that come with it. When you learn that your spouse cheated on you, there is a swirl of negative thoughts that hit you. You may feel numb at first. Then the questions start to creep in: “How can this be? Is this my life? Why would this person I love do this to me, to our family, to our marriage? Where do I learn how to get over infidelity?”
Negative thoughts invade your mind, threatening to sweep away your ability to cope with daily life, to feel balanced, to focus on saving your marriage.
In this post, I’ll help you survive these insidious negative thoughts so you can recover your most prized personal asset: your own thoughts.
Reasons for Infidelity Often Incomprehensible
After you’ve discovered your spouse’s affair, you may feel like you’re going crazy, drowning in negative thoughts about yourself, your cheating spouse, the future of your marriage—even life itself.
Most people who are caught up in such negative thinking are looking for a logical explanation for illogical behavior on the part of their spouse. The core question is: “Why did my spouse cheat?” as they struggle with how to get over infidelity and back to some semblance of normality.
But when a cheating spouse is really pressed for an answer to this question, they often can’t explain their actions.
Getting trapped by this question and the pool of negative thoughts that accompanies it is natural, but it’s ultimately a waste of time. You should not have to remain in this state any longer than what it takes to process these negative thoughts and then toss them out.
If you are experiencing this period of negative thoughts, you need to know how to begin freeing yourself and recovering from this negativity loop so you can find the peace of mind you deserve.
Redirect Your Negative Thoughts
You will probably continue to be haunted by negative thoughts until you take the necessary steps to handle what can feel like an overwhelming inner struggle. But understand that you will heal—and the pain of these thoughts can be released. It won’t happen overnight, or even in the next couple of weeks, but it will happen.
There is a lot at stake here, such as the cheater’s behavior, and whether it has changed. It’s hard for you to heal negative thoughts if your spouse continues to stoke the fires of those thoughts through dishonesty or failure to maintain transparency.
You can’t control your spouse’s behavior, and he or she may or may not change. What you can control is the work you put into directing the tone of your own inner thoughts, and how you react to your spouse’s cheating and subsequent actions after the affair’s revelation.
Start recovery from negative thoughts with these steps:
Step 1: A negative thought self-check
This is an exercise you can do throughout the day, checking in with your thoughts: define what they are and what you are feeling at the moment you are focusing on them.
But what types of thoughts are you lost in? Does your inner dialogue resemble any of these lines?
- “Our marriage will never survive this, so I may as well not even try.”
- “I can’t imagine ever being intimate with him again. Just looking at him makes me sick to my stomach.”
- “Her mother never did like me, never thought I was good enough for her daughter. Maybe I wasn’t, and that’s why she went out of the marriage.”
- “If I hadn’t been so busy with work and trying to provide a nice life for us, she might not have strayed.”
Just reading through, you can get a sense of how torturous it must be for anyone having these thoughts—built on fears, doubts anger, and self-recriminations—daily playing on their inner thought loop.
Whatever thoughts and feelings you are experiencing, select one. Focus on it a moment, and then move on to the next step.
Step 2: Understand the Association Link Surrounding Thoughts
Once you have focused on one particular negative thought you are experiencing, tell yourself: This thought can be changed.
For example, if the thought you selected was: His/her mother never did like me, never thought I was good enough…
What has happened here is a natural occurrence: you have now associated an old memory regarding a stab at your self-esteem with your spouse’s decision to cheat. Quite understandable. But you didn’t always think this negative thought about your value in relation to your spouse.
This means, the thought was changed, brought on by the infidelity. So, if the thought and feeling changed once, it can be changed again, and you are capable of changing it.
Step 3: Change the Negative Association with that Thought
Now, change the thought you selected.
How? You can try a replacement thought. When you think of the stab to your self-esteem from your spouse’s cheating, try replacing it with a memory in which you were strong, your self-esteem at a high point.
I’d like to hear about how you are coping with your negative thoughts …
How long have you suffered with these negative thoughts?
What have you tried to help you through this period of crisis, when your thoughts don’t feel like your own?
Have you experienced success in changing negative thoughts?
Please share your experience by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,
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