This article is specifically on the obsessive thoughts about the other person (people)/affair partner(s). They are often the hardest thoughts to shift, lingering after all the others have been dealt with and you are quite well down the path on your healing journey. Really, the affair partner was around for long enough in person – you don’t want them still there in your head.
I have written before on triggers and obsessive thoughts as overcoming them is a major part of the healing journey. The obsessive thinking or rumination is result of the trauma of discovering the affair and is a very normal response to what has happened. But in most instances they don’t just go away of their own accord – they need to be managed out of your brain.
In the early days when they are overwhelming, you need to be gentle on yourself and take it slowly. If you are in the early stages go back to this article for some strategies.
But if you are ready to banish the other person for good then read on…
- Don’t give them airplay – if you are watching tv and a show you don’t like comes on you change the channel. Do the same with the affair partner – they pop into your head do not give them even a millisecond of space. Just like the remote control replaces the show you don’t like with one you do, replace thoughts of the affair partner with things you like. Have something or a number of things you love ready to think of at short notice and just like picking up the remote visualizing changing the channel can be a great way to change the thoughts and pictures in your head.
- Get the other person into perspective – there is nothing special about the other person and to continue to focus on them gives them way more power in your life than they deserve. They were just another person who happened to be available for a relationship with your partner at a time when your partner decided they were up for a relationship with them. The reality was if it wasn’t them it would probably have been someone else because the affair in your relationship is all about the one who had it – the affair partner is just enabled it to happen. A great example of this is Peggy Vaughan’s husband who had 15 affairs over 7 years – the partner was interchangeable because it was all about him.
- Lose the comparisons – comparing yourself to anyone is never a pathway to mental sanity but comparing yourself to the affair partner is a guaranteed way to feel bad. The affair partner was not better – just different. Just like any other person they have strengths and weaknesses but focusing on any of these is irrelevant to you and how you are feeling right now. So if you find yourself comparing go back to strategy 1 and if you need further help focus on you and the good things about you without comparing them to anyone else.
Banishing the other person for good will open you up to a new level of peace and healing on your affair recovery journey.
I wish you well