How Can I Think More Positively After My Husband’s Affair?

By Katie Lersch:  I recently heard from a wife who had noticed a change in her attitude and her world view after finding out about her husband’s affair.  She said that she’d always been a “glass half full” type of person but since her husband cheated on her, she had a much more pessimistic view of the world and of human nature.

She said, in part: “I used to have a very upbeat attitude and I was a trusting person.  But I never saw my husband’s affair coming it literally brought me to my knees.  I later found out that some of our friends knew about his cheating but never told me about it or stepped in.  As a result, I’m suspicious of every one and I constantly think that bad things are going to happen to me.   We’re actually working on our marriage and making some progress, but I guess this doesn’t do enough to reassure me because I am always filled with doubt and anxiety.  For example, if I see my husband so much as talking to another woman, I wonder if he’s saying something suggestive.  If my husband says something sweet and loving to me, I wonder if it’s his guilt talking.  If we are actually having a nice family outing, rather than enjoying it and taking it in, I wonder if we’ll all still be together this time next year.  I hate that this is happening to me.  I want to be happy and I want my positive attitude back, but I can’t seem to stop all of these invasive thoughts.  What can I do?”

These concerns are extremely common.  When something as devastating as infidelity happens in your life,  it’s normal to have some doubts about your intuition, your judgments, and your trust.  In turn, the anxieties that come as the result can cloud how you see the world and can turn your previously optimistic outlook into one of pessimism.  This isn’t any reflection on you.  It’s completely understandable.   And, it’s very important that you are able to recognize this (and the fact that you are reading this article tells me that you want to change this pattern.)  So in the following article, I’ll discuss some tips for shedding the negative outlook and the defeatist thinking and learning to think more positively after the affair.

Recognizing Your Negative Thinking After Your Husband’s Affair Is Very Important, But It’s Only The First Step: Obviously, the woman mentioned above not only noticed her negative thinking, she also wanted to change it.  This is vitally important.   Most of us know women who grow to be very bitter after their husband cheats or has an affair and they never really recover.  As a result, every relationship that they have is affected.  They never learn to trust again and they are never as happy as they could be because they just can’t, or won’t, let it go.

In order to avoid becoming one of these women, you have to not only recognize the negative thoughts that you may have, but you need to challenge or reroute them.  Because it’s a very painful existence if your thoughts only consist of negativity that constantly brings you down or has you living under a dark cloud.  This sucks the joy out of your life.  And you don’t deserve that.  So, make a commitment to not only recognize these thoughts, but also to address them.  I’ll discuss how to do that right now.

Learn To Immediately Challenge Or Question Your Negative Thoughts And Anxieties: The most important thing that you can do is to learn to not only notice the negative thinking when it comes up, but to also immediately challenge or question it.  For example, the women who wrote to me often had doubts about her husband’s love for and commitment to her.  She would often have thoughts like: “who are you kidding?  You know he’s going to cheat again.”  Or “you know that he will eventually leave you.”

I suggested that she challenge these thoughts when they came up.  She might respond with a thought like “if that’s true, why is he at our home right now?”  Or “if he didn’t want to be with me, he wouldn’t have come home and he wouldn’t still be there.”   She also had a lot of destructive thoughts about her family.   Sometimes, they would be on a family outing and she would be paralyzed with the fear that in a year’s time, she and her husband would be divorced and their family would be broken apart.  I suggested that when she have these thoughts, she challenge them with something like: “I’m going to enjoy today with my family.  My children will always have two parents who love them very much and I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure that we remain together.  Beyond that, I’m not going to worry because I know that I can handle whatever comes my way and that I will always put my children’s well being first.”

Do you see a theme here?  You take the thoughts and you flip them with reassurance and confidence in yourself. You have to build yourself up and know that you are a confident, capable, and remarkable woman. It took me a long time to learn this, and I struggled after my husband’s affair.  But, eventually you learn that you will handle whatever comes your way and you are committed to working this out and ensuring that your life unfolds as it’s meant to because you have conducted yourself with integrity and intention.

Surround Yourself With Whatever (And Whoever) Makes You Feel Peace, Confidence, And Reassurance: I know that the phrase “misery loves company” is a cliche, but it’s not uncommon to reach out to friends or acquaintances who are familiar with our own struggles.  In other words, we’re more likely to reach out to friends who have dealt with an affair in their own marriage.  And I have to tell you that sometimes this turns out to be good thing that supports you, but many times, it doesn’t.

It’s not always a good idea to surround yourself with people whose marriages didn’t work out after an affair or who still have not recovered.  This is just the type of reinforcement that you don’t need and can’t afford right now.  Instead, seek out people who have survived the affair and came out stronger on the other side.  Listen to those who encourage and strengthen you rather than those who bring you down.

This applies to things and activities as well as people.  It’s very important that you focus on those things that bring you comfort and confidence.  Do whatever it takes to build yourself up and to banish those things that bring you down.  Strive every day to feel good about yourself. The more you are surrounded with positive people and things, the more likely it is that your thoughts and your attitude are going to reflect this.   And, when you do have thoughts or days that challenge you, then you will have these positive surroundings to build you up and to help you recover.

Surviving The Affair is a blog I put together to share my story in the hopes that it helps someone else. I know that this is a very difficult time, and that forgiveness can be elusive, but working through it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, better times were ahead. My marriage eventually recovered and is stronger than ever. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem remained in tact. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read that very personal story at http://surviving-the-affair.com/ I have also listed what I think are helpful free resources for surviving the affair on the side of this blog.

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