How can you avoid negative thinking after learning about your spouse’s affair?
It is very easy to get discouraged after an affair has affected your marriage. This can be true regardless of whether you are the faithful spouse or the unfaithful spouse. No matter which side you are on, you can feel like your life has drastically changed. It may seem like it will never get better. And always looking at the negative side of life can get depressing. But it can also be challenging to see any other side.
For example, from a cheating spouse, you might hear something like: “I am very depressed, but I know I deserve what happens. I cheated on my wife, just once, and I couldn’t be more sorry. I have repeatedly begged for her mercy, but she’s furious with me. We’ve been trying to advise, but she’s still very angry. I can’t blame her either. I would be mad at her if she cheated on me. I’m mad at myself. But I can’t get better and our home life is suffering. Our children They know something’s wrong. Last night, I was randomly scrolling through my phone and looking at pictures from six months ago. My family was happy. That was before anyone knew how much I was going to screw things up. be happy never again. Counselor tells me to find little ways to lighten the load in my home, but it feels useless. Now there is a black cloud over everything. I want to be more positive because I hate feeling this way, but I’m not sure how to p I would hate to do it. when this is all my fault. “
You may hear a similar theme from the faithful spouse, saying something like, “My spouse says he’s sorry he cheated and goes to therapy every week. But it’s like he feels like someone should be able to wave a magic wand and join our marriage and our home. I wish it would work that way, but it doesn’t. My husband always complains that he hates that children have to live this way, because now there is anger in our house. I hate him too. I wish I could smile and laugh again. But I’m so mad. I can’t help it. I trusted my husband and he betrayed me in the worst possible way. He lied through his teeth. And now that he’s been caught, he wants to pretend everything okay. Our counselor and our pastor are suggesting that we try hard to have a more positive outlook on the future. No one believes that I really love doing this, but I would. Does everyone think I like to be angry and hurt all over? time ? ‘t. But I don’t know how to stop the feelings. How are you supposed to be more positive after an affair? “
I agree that this is a great challenge. I will share a few things that helped me a bit. And to be clear, I was initially trying to be positive for myself and my children. I didn’t feel like my husband deserved my positivity at the time, even though he did win it back. It helped me write in a gratitude journal with five things to be thankful for each night. I started with five things, but found that if I really tried and focused, I could usually come up with a lot more. I still remember common themes that I had almost every night. They were things like:
I am alive;
my children are alive;
my children and I are healthy;
I am capable and intelligent and can start over if necessary;
my spouse and I love our children and will do whatever is necessary for their well-being;
my dogs love me;
my extended family supports me;
both my spouse and I are still present, so eventually we might have a chance even if we are struggling right now;
we have a roof over our heads;
we have enough food to eat;
I have loving friends who will support me.
I could go on and on. But at the end of the day, tracking down things to be thankful for helped me see that adventure was a small part of my life. Yes, it made everything else feel tainted, so I had to train myself to protect other areas of my life, which I didn’t want to tarnish. I told my friends that love talk was forbidden. And I finally agreed with my husband that we would try to talk about it in counseling and a couple of scheduled times a week, but other than that, I was going to try really hard not to think about it. Because I felt that if I didn’t make this conscious decision, I was going to spend every waking moment thinking about it and I didn’t need or want that. I felt miserable spending so much time on it.
The truth is, whether you think about it or not, things are going to change over time. Your perspective will change over time. Your marriage will survive or not, but reflecting on it and allowing it to contaminate what is good in your life is not going to change the outcome, but it could make you feel much worse about everything else, even the good. Being positive in the middle of an adventure is very hard work. You need to be aware of your thoughts and decisions several times a day and then redirect yourself. But it may be worth the effort because swimming in negativity 24/7 is painful and debilitating. You deserve more. And with effort, it can become a habit to reorient yourself to positive thinking.