How Can I Not Worry About My Husband’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: There is no question that finding out that your spouse has been cheating on your can force your mind to operate in overdrive. Suddenly, all those things that you weren’t really concerned too much about – your future, your marriage going forward, and your self esteem – are taking up prime real estate in your brain.

This is totally natural and hard to control. Often, women who are going through this are told not to fixate on or become consumed with worry over it. I might hear from someone who says: “three weeks ago, I found out that my husband was having an affair. I debated for a long time whether or not I should confront him over it. One night, I began to bring it up and my husband became defensive about it and so I backed off because I didn’t want a huge fight on my hands. I was discussing this with one of my friends and she said that the best thing that I can do is to try not to worry about it. She said if she were me, she would keep herself busy at work and just wait for the affair to end on its own. I am really not sure how this is even possible. How can you know something like this and not worry about it? Is she right? Should I just try to ignore it and not worry?”

I think that there are a couple of ways that you can look at this. If we’re talking about being in denial, then I am afraid that I do not agree. Many people feel that it’s better to just watch and wait rather than to have a big confrontation about the affair. The theory is that the affair will eventually fizzle out on its own and so by waiting, you are sparing yourself a lot of drama and still getting the same outcome.

But, what people sometimes don’t consider is that the affair sometimes will not fizzle out naturally. And also, at least in my opinion people who suggest this strategy have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to live with the knowledge that your spouse is cheating on you and then not acting on it. That is an excruciatingly difficult thing to have to pull off. And I know that I could not have done it. Once you know that your spouse is cheating, it’s very hard to make yourself believe that you don’t.

I understand wanting to avoid a huge conflict or fight. And I do think that you can discuss this in such a way that it’s possible to attempt to remain calm. But turning a blind eye is almost the same as being in denial. And, in my view, you can’t fix something that you do not acknowledge. Of course, I’m not a therapist or a professional. Nor do I know your husband or how he might react. I’m simply suggesting that trying to pretend that the affair doesn’t exist is not going to be completely possible for most people.  Or, at the very least, can be as difficult as going ahead and addressing it.

With this said, you can place your priority someplace else instead of being solely focused on the worry. To be honest, even when you do confront your spouse about cheating and even when your spouse ends the affair, you still have a lot of uncertainty ahead. This is a challenge for most people. Many people, myself included, struggle with the idea of not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring in terms of your marriage. It helps to remind yourself that none of us knows what tomorrow brings in ANY area of our lives. All that we can do is the best that we can. And that includes building ourselves up so that we are as strong as we can be when the course of things becomes more obvious.

So my answer to the question of “how do I not worry about my husband’s affair” is that you try as best as you can. You tell yourself that you are much better off worrying about what you can control – which is yourself and your own reactions and healing – than what you can not control. You can not fully control what your husband does or feels. You can share your feelings or offer information on where you stand. But you can not completely control other people.  So the friend is right about that.  It doesn’t make sense to worry about what you can not control.  You can control your own healing though.

So I think that the better course of action is to realize that you can clarify what you will or will not accept and then, while you are waiting to see what he is going to do, you can evaluate what you want and what you need. You can focus on your own healing. In other words, you can worry more about yourself than you are worrying about him. I think it’s a little unrealistic to think that you aren’t going to worry about your husband’s affair at all. That would be denying its existence. But I believe that it’s smart to focus your attention on yourself and on own needs and wants right now.

Of course my husband’s affair took up a huge chunk of my thoughts.  And of course I worried about it.  But, I did come to eventually realize that worry didn’t make things better.  So, I started to control what I could and then I left the rest for a bit to regroup.  This did help.  And I tried to turn my attention back to myself if I started to notice myself becoming more depressed or negative. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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