My Husband Stayed After The Affair, But I Worry That He Still Thinks About Her

By: Katie Lersch:  If you are a wife who is open to saving her marriage after an affair, there’s no question that having your husband end the affair, stay home, and commit to working on your marriage is, at least technically, a “win.”  Sure, it may not feel like a great victory at the time.  But I can tell you that there are many women in this situation who are dealing with husbands who are asking for “more time” in breaking it off or who are dragging their feet when it comes to deciding between the wife and the other woman.

So having a husband who took quick and decisive action and who remained at home and in the marriage is a good sign.  But even so, there’s always the fall out of the affair to deal with.  There are always the doubts, especially at first.  Even if the wife believes that the other woman is physically and literally gone, she can wonder if the other woman is emotionally absent or banished from the husband’s heart.  Sure, the husband may not SEE her anymore, but does he THINK of her?  And if he does, what does this mean?

A wife might say: “I know that I am kind of lucky.  When I caught my husband cheating and demanded that he commit to ending it NOW, he did just that.  He did not even blink an eye.  I have a friend whose husband actually moved out of their house because he did not want to break it off.  The couple eventually got back together, but only after the affair ran its course and the other woman dumped the husband.  I am grateful that this is not the case for me.  My husband didn’t waiver on his commitment to stay home and work on our marriage.  I tend to believe him when he says that he isn’t in contact, because he literally spends all of the time that he isn’t at work with me.  But he seems sad sometimes.  He is trying.  I know that.  But at times there feels to be so much distance between us.  The other day at dinner, I said something to my husband and he didn’t respond.  I looked up to see what was the matter and my husband had such a faraway look in his eye.  I don’t think he even heard me.  At that moment, I’m almost positive that he was thinking about the other woman.  I just stopped talking and got up from the table.  I don’t want to think about him fantasizing about her, but I guess how could I expect him to totally erase her from his mind?  Part of me wants to ask him how often he thinks of her and part of me doesn’t want to know.  How often do men think of the other woman?”

He’s Likely Thinking About Her Sometimes, But It May Not Be In The Way That You Think: I would say that the amount of thinking depends on the man in question.  I agree with you that it is unrealistic to think that he just erases her from his mind the minute that he breaks it off.  But I also think that it can be a mistake to just assume that he’s thinking about her in a longing way.  Sometimes, he thinks about what a mistake he has made.  Or what a mess he has made.  Or he feels like a fool for being taken in.  Or he may feel resentment toward her for contributing to him risking his family.  Frankly, there can be a lot of conflicting emotions.  But not all of them are good emotions.

Looking At What Is Important: In the event that he is thinking about her, you have to put this into perspective.  Things are still fresh.  And you’re still thinking about it, too.   He’s in YOUR home trying to work on YOUR marriage.  He can’t control his thoughts (assuming that they are longing thoughts.  You don’t know that they are.)  But he can control his actions. And by breaking things off and committing to your marriage, he has done that.

As someone who has gone through healing in the aftermath of an affair, I can tell you that you’ll have many such thoughts and worries like this one.  But if you let these thoughts run away and get out of control, then they can become an obsession. It can get to the point where you can think of nothing else.  Try not to guess.  Try not to assume the worst.  Go by what is happening right in front of you.  Go by what you can actually see and not on just guessing.

Try To Watch Your Assumptions: There’s a real tendency to always expect the worst, which is completely understandable because you’ve been burned.  But sometimes, if we expect the worst, that is exactly what we bring about. And we hurt our chances of recovery because of paranoia.  If he gives you a concrete reason to worry that his thoughts are becoming a problem, then take action.  But if he’s doing what he’s said and trying to make things right, give him that chance.

The truth is, he may very well think of her sometimes.  But those thoughts might not be good ones.  And the longer that time passes, the less the thoughts occur.

I know that these worries and doubts are very hurtful.  But honestly, you can’t control everything.  You can only take it one day at a time and watch for any potential issues that will have real consequences.  Thoughts don’t necessarily have consequences unless they become actions.  As your marriage heals, you should both gradually have far less thoughts about the affair.   You’re welcome to read more about how I handled (or sometimes struggled with) issues like this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

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