Your husband cheated, and you want to stay married – but you’re obsessed with thoughts about his affair. Here are six ways to cope with the betrayal and rebuild your marriage.
First, it’s important to remember that an affair isn’t something you just “get over” – no matter how well-adjusted, secure, or healthy you are.
These tips are inspired by a reader who can’t forgive and forget the fact that her husband cheated on her.
“It’s been over a year and I am still completely depressed,” says B. on Should You Leave Your Husband? “I can’t get over the betrayal. I have supported him for years, I put my dreams aside for him. I don’t sleep at night, thinking about what he did. I can’t live this way. I am getting older. I’ve destroyed my appearance because of the stress. I have acne all over. I am not the attractive girl I once was. I am so unhappy…I don’t know if it’s me or the cheating.”
Something has sent her on a downward spiral of depression and obsession – and it wasn’t just her husband’s affair. The affair was a sign of something bigger, something rotten in her marriage or the way they were living their lives.
If your husband cheated and you can’t stop thinking about it, read Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship.
And, here are a few thoughts for wives who can’t stop obsessing about their husband’s infidelity…
6 Ways to Overcome Your Obsession With Your Husband’s Affair
“Moving on with your life” after your husband’s betrayal can mean either saving your marriage or getting a divorce. But these tips aren’t about saving marriages or getting divorced…these tips are about rebuilding yourself into a happy, healthy, strong, successful woman.
The stronger, happier, and healthier you are, the better able you’ll be to stop obsessing about your husband’s affair and move on with your life – whatever that means to you.
Look at your marriage – and yourself – through objective eyes
According to marriage counselor Gary Neuman, men cheat on their wives because they don’t feel emotionally connected. About 12% of men cheat for no reason at all – even when they’re happily married. They have no conscience; they couldn’t care less about how their affairs affect their families.
Why did your husband have the affair? I believe the best way to find out is to go to a session or two of marriage counseling. If your husband refuses, then go to counseling yourself. You need to gain insight into your marriage, yourself, and the reason he cheated.
Don’t let the time you invested in your marriage dictate your future
In her comment, B said one reason she is having trouble moving on (leaving her husband) is that she’s put so much time, effort, and energy into her marriage. She doesn’t want to “lose” that by leaving her husband.
I don’t think leaving your husband means your marriage was a waste of time. A marriage is an investment; and like any investment if it goes bad, it needs to be abandoned. Being married for 10 or 20 or even 40 years is not a good reason to stay married!
If you can’t stop obsessing about your husband’s affair and you’re scared to “lose” the time you’ve invested in your marriage, read Was My Marriage a Waste of Time? The Silver Lining of Divorce.
Get physically healthy
Are you dealing with weight issues, emotional eating, insomnia, depression, exhaustion, or physical issues such as acne or stomach problems? You need to take care of your body immediately. Go to a doctor, and get treated for whatever physical issues are ailing you.
The better you feel physically – rested, exercised, well-fed in a healthy way, relaxed – the better able you’ll be to stop obsessing about your husband’s affair and move on with your life.
Reconnect with yourself
One of the best ways to stop obsessing about your husband’s affair is to figure out what you really think and feel. Maybe you can’t get over the betrayal because your dad cheated on your mom, or your uncle cheated on your aunt. Sometimes the reasons we obsess about things are tied to events and people in our past.
Or, maybe you’ve always felt insecure, unworthy, and unlovable – and your husband’s affair confirmed those feelings for you. Maybe you can’t stop obsessing about the affair because of what it says about you (if this sounds like you, read Why Men Cheat – Insights From a Marriage Counselor).
How do you reconnect with yourself, so you can move on with your life? It depends on your personality and lifestyle. Different things work for different women.
Ways to reconnect with yourself
- Spirituality – read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (pictured)
- Writing & creativity – read The Artist’s Way (you don’t need to be an artist!)
- Travelling – read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
- Mind-body connection – try Shiva Rea: Daily Energy – Vinyasa Flow Yoga (it’s an excellent yoga DVD – I love it)
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Introverts get energy from being alone, while extroverts get energy from being with people. Knowing whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert can help you reconnect with yourself. If you aren’t sure about this, read Are You an Introvert?
Stop doing what others tell you to do
One reason women stay in loveless marriages is because their friends and family members urge them to. Sometimes our loved ones want things to stay the same – you to stay in your marriage – because it makes life easier, more predictable, and more stable.
Listen to what your friends and family say. Read articles like this — and don’t ask people to tell you if you should stay married or move out! Nobody can make this decision for you. It’s your life, and you have to decide how you want to live it.
Get involved in something you believe in – a job, church, volunteer work, etc
What are the most important three things in your life? If it’s marriage, kids, and your home, then your life is too narrowly focused. If the three most important things in your life are marriage, marriage, and marriage, then you really need to broaden your horizons!
To be happy, fulfilled, healthy woman, you need to build a life that involves more than your husband. Your marriage should be one aspect of your life. Your husband is important, but he is not your whole life. Perhaps the reason you can’t stop obsessing about your husband’s affair is because he is your whole life. It’s time to jump into something exciting, something you believe in and are excited about!
If you want to move on with your life and leave your husband, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
For more tips overcoming your obsession with your husband’s affair – and you haven’t tried counseling yet – read 4 Signs Marriage Counseling Will Improve an Unhappy Relationship.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.