Are the disturbing images of your husband with his lover haunting you?
Do you find yourself visually imagining your husband being with his lover, over and over again.
Learning that your husband has cheated on you can leave you feeling desperately unhappy, lonely and yearning for simpler times.
A happily married couple shares extraordinary intimacy, both physical and mental. But in the aftermath of his betrayal, you find yourself plagued with visual images of the affair that haunt you day and night.
Obviously, you need to find a way to stop obsessively imagining how it was when your husband took his lover in his arms. That way lies madness.
Imagining your husband lying in bed entwined with his lover is a normal thing to do after learning of his affair. You may also imagine him speaking with his lover over coffee or sitting in a movie theater sharing popcorn with her – the list goes on and on.
Remember that you are imagining events that did not occur exactly as you see them in your mind’s eye – and actively work to stop this sad-making habit.
Teach yourself to do something when you begin to imagine his affair; do 10 jumping jacks, bake some cookies, meditate, call a friend, play with a child or do whatever distracts you.
It may not seem like it now, but if you consistently distract yourself from visualizing your husband with his ex-lover, you will be able to move on. Deepak Chopra, cofounder of the Chopra Foundation, suggests that we interrupt our negative thought patterns by setting a concrete plan in action in response to them.
Creating a plan
While distracting yourself from hurtful thoughts is a useful tactic, you do need a strategy for dealing with the origins of these thoughts. You may be worried that your husband no longer loves you, that he will have another affair as soon as the opportunity presents itself, or that you can no longer trust your best friend.
You can take steps to rebuild the trust you and your husband once had, if you are both willing. The excellent “The First Step to Surviving Infidelity” program provides some concrete steps on how to deal with the mess of emotions you have to deal with after an affair has rocked your marriage.
An affair can leave both you and your husband feeling adrift, unsure what to do next. Putting together a plan that you both commit to following can push away some of that uncertainty and help you to see what a future together – post affair – might look like.
Forgive your husband
Sure, you may feel like pulling your husband’s hair out or kicking him out of your bed or leaving him to eat dinner on his own but these are not helpful things. If you love your husband and you believe that he loves you, forgive him. Do it for you. Carrying around resentment can raise your stress level, increase your blood pressure, cause you to abuse alcohol and more.
Forgiveness may require some couples therapy or an innovative marriage bootcamp like the one available here. If you actively decide, as a couple or on your own, to save your marriage, you should use all the tools that are available to you. Also, forgiving your husband will help you to dispel the hurtful images that flit across your brain now and then.
If at first you don’t succeed
You are navigating through uncharted waters; if you have to make some adjustments to your plan, do so. You may find a therapist that you respond to but your husband doesn’t. Maybe you could have a few solo sessions while your husband seeks out a therapist that he believes he could work with?
You might find the idea of a marriage bootcamp more appealing than couples therapy. If you continue to try new things, you will boost your chances of success.
Are you ready to give them up?
It takes time to get to the point where those painful images in your head go away completely or at least diminished in their intensity to haunt you. You really can’t stop the images from coming. But you can replace those negative images with more positive ones and also make a deliberate effort to not dwell on them.
I know it’s tough to deal with those recurring images of your husband and his lover. But if you want to break free from the haunting fantasies, you must be willing to let go, give them up and not hold on to them as a justification for your pain.