I often hear from wives who can’t stop very hurtful and repetitive thoughts about the woman with whom their husband has been cheating or having an affair. Common comments are things like this from a wife: “my husband and I are trying to repair our marriage and I am committed to that process. But the major problem for us right now is the fact that I am constantly thinking about the other woman. I know a little bit about her because she works with my husband. I know that she is younger and doesn’t have children. I know that she’s very slim and has a very good job. And these things just feed my insecurities. I can’t stop thinking about how she seems to be better than me in multiple ways. My thoughts just seem to run away from me and then this makes me angry at my husband all over again and sabotages my marriage. I truly want to stop having these thoughts about her, but I just can’t seem to do so. How can I get her out of my mind?”
This is one of the biggest concerns that I hear about on my blog. This wife was certainly not alone. The vast majority of wives who deal with infidelity struggle with this issue. In the following article, I’ll offer some suggestions that might help you to deal with (and hopefully to lessen) these invasive thoughts.
Accept That People Are Not Always What They Appear To Be: Almost without fail, the wives in this situation tend to overestimate the attributes and worth of the other woman while they tend to underestimate the same attributes and worth within themselves.
Beautiful, accomplished, brilliant and perceptive women will fear that they pale in comparison to the other woman. They will think that she is smarter, prettier, and perhaps more skilled sexually. This is so very common, but it often isn’t all that accurate. People are always not exactly as they appear. And frankly, your insecurities will often build her up to a level that she does not deserve. The truth is, you just don’t know. You can only speculate. But her youth or her job or her looks really don’t tell you anything about who she truly is. It will help you if you can accept that looks can be deceiving and that, at the end of the day, who she is or what she has shouldn’t matter to you because you are banishing her from your life.
Try To Redirect The Thoughts And Do Something Productive When They Invade Your Thoughts: I know from experience that when these thoughts come, it’s very tempting to just sort of wallow in them. You could be having a perfectly productive day and you could be making progress with your husband but then suddenly thoughts of her will come into your mind and suddenly the day is ruined because you can think of nothing else. That’s why it’s vital that you learn how to stop this cycle.
For me, I used to force myself to do something productive or nice for myself when the thoughts invaded. I would journal. I would list all of the things that were positive about me. Or I would take a walk, or tell myself that thoughts are not the same as reality, or I would ask my husband to tell me the things he found attractive about me to build my self esteem.
In short, you need to learn to do anything that you can to both redirect your thoughts and then to build up your self esteem instead of allowing it to be damaged. This takes practice quite honestly. Some days, you will literally have to force yourself to redirect. But this is so much better than allowing yourself to be damaged and discouraged every time a thought beyond your control pops into your head.
Accept That Things Will Get Better As Healing Progresses: Many wives unfortunately have these thoughts and then begin to believe things like “this is never going to change. I am going to have to deal with this woman for the rest of my life. I have nothing to look forward to and I’ll never get any better because of these thoughts.” This type of thinking is normal, but it often isn’t true. When you begin to heal, thoughts like this will begin to occur less and less, until eventually, they begin to stop altogether. I can honestly tell you that it’s very rare for me to think about the other woman now. She isn’t even on my radar anymore. And once you heal, you will likely feel the same way.
But until then, it’s important that you learn to pause, redirect, and then build yourself up because you have done nothing wrong and you don’t deserve the daily onslaught of the thoughts that are damaging and hurtful to you.