How Long Does It Take For The Feelings For The Other Person In The Affair To Fade?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from folks who really do want to save their marriages but who are also struggling with moving on from the affair. Often, they really do love their spouse and they want to stay with their spouse. But, they can not deny that they are experiencing some residual feelings for the other person. They often want these feelings to leave or to end. And they want to know how long they can expect for this to go on. They wish that they could just stop their feelings or turn them off. But, so far, they haven’t been able to make this happen. And so they are waiting.

I might hear a comment like: “I regret cheating on my husband more than any mistake that I have ever made in my entire life. I love my husband. He is a wonderful man and a great father. I don’t want for him to leave me. I want him in my life. I was an idiot to jeopardize my marriage with this man. I had an affair that started at my job. And I know that the other man isn’t a high quality person. He’s not an upstanding guy the way that my husband is. The only thing that I had with the other man was great sex. We had wonderful chemistry that I have never had with any one else. And I can not stop thinking about this. The thing is, I know that there is no future with the other man. He wouldn’t treat me right over the long haul. He is not dependable or particularly kind in the way that my husband is. I wouldn’t even trust him if I were in a real relationship with him. But the problem is that I just can’t stop thinking about him. And honestly, most of my thoughts are remembering the physical interactions between us. I’m wondering how much longer these memories will go on. How long will it take for the feelings for the other man to fade?”

This is not an uncommon question. Not every one has the courage to ask it. Many people who are trying to save their marriages will deny that they still have memories or feelings for the other person,  because they know that these memories are wrong. But, here is the thing. You can’t control what you feel. Even though I was the faithful spouse in my own bout with infidelity, I do understand that the cheating spouse doesn’t necessarily have control over their feelings, at least as far as the other person is concerned. What really matters, though, is how you react to those feelings. You can’t react to them by reaching out to, contacting, or seeing the other person, especially if you are interested in saving your marriage. But, wanting to know how long these feelings or memories will remain are a fair question. Although I can’t answer it for you personally, I can tell you what many people disclose on my blog.

Why It’s Important To Take Control And To Not Give Into Your Feelings: Many people tell me that the feelings eventually do fade. However, you aren’t likely to completely forget, especially since the relationship often didn’t meet its natural end. Thoughts, feelings, or memories may pop into your head very frequently, especially in the beginning. But you can learn to distract yourself and do something else. It’s a great idea to do something to prioritize your marriage. This allows you to get into the habit of turning to your marriage every time the other relationship tries to invade your thoughts.

Most people will tell you that as your marriage improves and as the healing begins, then you will start to remember your feelings for the affair less and less. After all, if you begin to rebuild your marriage, you will begin to reestablish intimacy and memories with your spouse. As a result, your thoughts are going to naturally return to thoughts of your spouse. This gives less room for thoughts of the other man. I can’t tell you exactly how long this will take, but I can say with a great degree of confidence that the sooner your marriage improves, the sooner you will get some relief.

Know That You Don’t Have To Act: Many people share that this can take weeks or months. As I alluded to, I know that this is difficult and uncomfortable. But they are only feelings. You do not have to act on them. You can distract yourself and do something else without needing to give into the feelings. You can offer yourself reassurance that things will get better as your marriage gets better.

I am sure that my husband probably thought of the other woman from time to time in the beginning of this process. But, I no longer think that is true. Our marriage is our focus and I believe that this is where most of our thoughts and memories lie, since we’ve worked very hard to create a new history for ourselves. And I think that is truly the key. Set it up so that your have a reason to think of your spouse and of your marriage and you will just naturally think of the other person less. Obviously the sooner this happens, the better for all concerned.

As I alluded to, truly healing yourself and your marriage will contribute greatly to the problems you’re still trying to overcome. If it helps, you can read more of my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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