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Joined: May 2023
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Hello,

I am looking for some advice on how to stop ruminating about the OW with whom my H had an affair. About 6 months ago I came to know about my husband's 8 yrs of a PA with his colleague at work. She is a married woman with 2 kids but does not get along with her husband of 20yrs and has been planning for years on divorcing him.

It was very devastating when I accidentally discovered it, my trust was broken and we were almost on the verge of a divorce. We had our issues of not being very sexually active and me not getting along with my in-laws. But we have worked together on this, and are moving forward on rebuilding our marriage. My H cut off all ties with the OW, changed his job, disclosed all the minute details including how she approached him, cried about her issues, his inability to set boundaries and say no.

I am not able to get past the fact that this had been going on for such a long time, 8 yrs, and I had no clue about it and all the lies and deception. He was always a good husband and dad at home. He still is. It is not as painful to think about all the details as it was in the beginning of the discovery. I feel like it doesn't stab my heart as much as it did in the beginning. We have spent countless hours talking about his affair, what he could have done differently, what we can do together to get us back on track, read books, scoured the internet on this topic and listened to podcasts on marriages. I do love my husband and want a future with him and grow old with him. He has been remorseful and discloses everything to me now.

At the same time, I also want her to suffer just as much as I did after the discovery. I stalk her social media to get clues if she is just as devastated as I was. How do I stop these ruminating thoughts? I want to concentrate on the future with my husband, but I also think about her everyday and curse her every single day, call her a b****h (in my head). I want to stop thinking about her but am unable to do so. I have tried grounding techniques, and put a big stop sign in my mind as soon as it starts to wander. Think only positive thoughts, but I am not being successful. I imagine one day her husband will kick her out of the house, she will lose her job, house, kids, everything and that would be justice served. But I also know her misery will not put me out of mine. Only I can do that. Please give me some advice. I am interested in hearing from people who have had a spouse with a really long affair and how they managed to keep the past in the past and move forward. I know it will get easier as time progresses.

Thanks,
A BW


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Originally Posted by raysunshine
Hello,

I am looking for some advice on how to stop ruminating about the OW with whom my H had an affair. About 6 months ago I came to know about my husband's 8 yrs of a PA with his colleague at work. She is a married woman with 2 kids but does not get along with her husband of 20yrs and has been planning for years on divorcing him.

It was very devastating when I accidentally discovered it, my trust was broken and we were almost on the verge of a divorce. We had our issues of not being very sexually active and me not getting along with my in-laws. But we have worked together on this, and are moving forward on rebuilding our marriage. My H cut off all ties with the OW, changed his job, disclosed all the minute details including how she approached him, cried about her issues, his inability to set boundaries and say no.

I am not able to get past the fact that this had been going on for such a long time, 8 yrs, and I had no clue about it and all the lies and deception. He was always a good husband and dad at home. He still is. It is not as painful to think about all the details as it was in the beginning of the discovery. I feel like it doesn't stab my heart as much as it did in the beginning. We have spent countless hours talking about his affair, what he could have done differently, what we can do together to get us back on track, read books, scoured the internet on this topic and listened to podcasts on marriages. I do love my husband and want a future with him and grow old with him. He has been remorseful and discloses everything to me now.

At the same time, I also want her to suffer just as much as I did after the discovery. I stalk her social media to get clues if she is just as devastated as I was. How do I stop these ruminating thoughts? I want to concentrate on the future with my husband, but I also think about her everyday and curse her every single day, call her a b****h (in my head). I want to stop thinking about her but am unable to do so. I have tried grounding techniques, and put a big stop sign in my mind as soon as it starts to wander. Think only positive thoughts, but I am not being successful. I imagine one day her husband will kick her out of the house, she will lose her job, house, kids, everything and that would be justice served. But I also know her misery will not put me out of mine. Only I can do that. Please give me some advice. I am interested in hearing from people who have had a spouse with a really long affair and how they managed to keep the past in the past and move forward. I know it will get easier as time progresses.

Thanks,
A BW
Welcome to MB and I’m sorry for what has brought you here.

How did you find out about the affair?
How long have you been married? Do you have children together and what are their ages?

Does he still work with this OW? Was his affair ever exposed? If so, who was it exposed to?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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How did you find out about the affair? -- he forgot his phone one day and I looked through his messages, previous ones were deleted, but the one from that day was enough to show evidence, I confronted him and he confessed about the affair
How long have you been married? Do you have children together and what are their ages? -- almost 20 yrs, yes, 2 kids, 17 and 13

Does he still work with this OW? -- no, he changed jobs
Was his affair ever exposed? -- yes
If so, who was it exposed to? -- to his parents and my side of family, friends, not the OWH, and I don't want to expose any further as I do believe the OW should be the one telling her H.


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Please read Exposure 101

It’s very important that you expose to the OW’s BH. He is your best weapon to make sure the affair stays shutdown. Did he ever write a NC letter to the OW?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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The affair is shutdown. I am not looking for ways to shut down the affair. I am looking for advice on how to move forward. I am interested in hearing from people who have had a spouse with a really long affair and how they managed to keep the past in the past and move forward.


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Has your WH given you Just Compensation ?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Yes he has.
I clicked on the link you provided and the radio shows, but looks like the previous shows are no longer there. I looked in the Archives, but there is no segment id 7127.
I was specifically looking for:-
Radio Clip on Forgiving the OW
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=7127
Do you have a transcript for that?
What techniques did you use to move forward? Did you have a long affair?


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Some of us didn't use "techniques" as such, or at least not consistently. I have now become very good at blocking and changing my thoughts, but I could not do that for some time. It just takes time and patience.

I now no longer see OW as the issue. I could see quite early after D Day that she was to be pitied, and I certainly was not prepared to waste my time resenting her or, much less, hating her. Like OW in your case, she'd been looking for a way out of her marriage almost from the beginning. I felt sorry for her.

I don't think many regular posters here have long affairs. You will be able to find some recovery stories with long affairs by looking through the Recovery forum here. You will also find stories of multiple affairs and hook ups and prostitution (within the one marriage), on that forum. You will see that it takes a long time, but betrayed spouses can recover from terrible things.


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His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
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How to stop ruminating - that's a tough one to answer...

I would suggest a multi-pronged approach to doing this...

First, I am going to share with you the DBT skill of 'wise mind' to reframe what you have described.

From what you have described your 'logical mind' has put the affair in your rear view mirror and you have processed it. If I understand you correctly, it is as though you are stating 'I have processed his affair, it is over, it is not coming back, and I need to move forward, and get past what this has done to our relationship'.

However, your 'emotional mind' has not done that, as you want this woman to suffer like you did, and you cannot get past that until she has suffered. Also the fact that you are "not able to get past the fact that this had been going on for such a long time, 8 yrs" indicates you still have strong unresolved issues around this event. Since you have spent countless hours trying to resolve this with your husband, and yet, it still remains an issue. I would strongly suggest obtaining an individual therapist for yourself to address these unresolved issues.

From my perspective I see that your emotional mind does not agree with your logical mind. Where 'wise mind' comes in, you need to force both the logical and emotional minds to come to an agreement in the process of wise mind, often with a compromise. From what you have described, it sounds like this is not happening, if you can get an independent 3rd party, ideally a licensed therapist, alternatively pastor or other religious person who might be able to help to come to a 'wise mind' solution.

Personally for me infidelity is exceptionally painful from an emotional perspective, my exGF did that to me twice. We did not get married. There was a lot of hurt when she did that to me, and it was much shorter than what you have described with a lot less emotional investment that you experienced with your husband. Even to this day, 23 & 24 years later, whenever I think of it, it 'stings me' emotionally when I think about it, but not like it did back then.

Time will heal, but it won't heal completely. From what you have described, that process is starting for you where you say 'it doesn't stab my heart as much it did in the beginning'.

It is impossible to 'forget' the hurt; however, it is possible to 'forgive' your husband for his transgression, which you have apparently done logically, but not emotionally.

When I find myself starting to ruminate, I 'distract' myself. To some this comes easier than for others. Methods of distraction are similar for treating depression. When you find your mind wandering on the 'other woman' and how it affected your marriage. This may be different for you, but this is what I do when I find myself ruminating on negative things:

1. Watch a movie I am really interested in, and watch it, and get lost in that world of 'make believe' even if it is for a short while. Binge watch a TV/movie series if you need a longer distraction.
2. Go out with friends, and do an activity that all of you enjoy doing together
3. Read a good book and get lost in it.
4. Exercise (I use a mountain e-bike and get out in nature, this is my 'go to' method of distraction as it requires my full attention not to crash - not for most)
5. Take a walk outdoors in the sunshine
6. Pamper yourself, take a long hot shower, get a massage, etc.
7. Etc., do something, anything to take your mind off of the affair or whatever you are ruminating on.

These are just a few suggestions on how to 'distract' yourself from thinking about something that upsets.

Finally, follow the advice of Dr. Harley to make your marriage 'affair proof'.

In summary this is what I would recommend if I were in your shoes based on my own personal experience:

1. Obtain an individual therapist for yourself, in order to process your unresolved emotions surrounding your husband's affair
2. Once these unresolved emotions are resolved, ideally in therapy, consider forgiving your husband's behaviors while holding him accountable for them.
3. Distract yourself with other things to take attention away from these painful emotions to ones that are more positive in nature.
4. Follow the advice of Dr. Harley on making your marriage 'affair proof' once you have moved past your anger and hurt of the affair with individual therapy for yourself.

I hope this helps, as it worked for me.

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@sugarcane and @sailorpost - I appreciate both of you taking the time to respond to my questions. I guess I need to give myself time to heal and distract my mind on things which are more positive. I certainly don't want to spend any more time on the OW, she doesn't deserve it. Thank you!


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My XH had several long term affairs. They are far harder to detect because there is no sudden change in behaviour. But you can see, looking back, how this was a cancer that ate into your marriage.

Be glad you found out and be glad that you fought and won. As Sugar Cane says, time and patience will do the rest.


3 adult children
Divorced - he was a serial adulterer
Now remarried, thank you MB
(formerly lied_to_again)

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