Are You Obsessing About Your Spouse’s Affair?

Many people who have struggled with a spouse’s infidelity, find themselves still thinking about it years, even decades after it happened.  I had one person call me from South Africa and tell me that even though she and her husband had worked things through and were still together many years later, she still found herself thinking about his affair.   Conventional wisdom would have you say to her “Let it go, already!”  couple split

But why do people obsess and is there any value in keeping that betrayal alive?  We all know why infidelity hurts so much.  It makes you question whether you will ever be loved again, whether the partner will continue to cheat, and most importantly, whether the relationship can be saved.  For most people, the betrayal of the infidelity is even more hurtful than the fact that their loved one may have had sex with someone else.

When people continue to think about the affair even after it is long over, I believe that they have never really worked through all of the complicated issues that arise in trying to repair, or let go of,  a relationship.  There are so many questions to be asked, not only about what your partner did but about what might have been wrong in the relationship before the affair even happened.

The betrayed partner often wants to ask:

*When did it start?

*Is he/she better looking than I am?

*Do you love him/her and not me?

*Was the sex better?

*Does everyone know about this but me

But there are other important questions that also need to be asked and answered.  What was our marriage like when it was at its best?  What has been missing and why, in recent years?  How have we let each other down?  How have we made each other feel good?  What stressors have we been dealing with and could we have done a better job?

Of course, the first group of questions is part of dealing with the immediate crisis and trauma of discovering the infidelity.  But if you find yourself obsessing, it is possible that you have never fully come to terms with the early trauma, or that you never really got to that second group of questions that enrich a relationship and reweave it so that it is whole and fulfilling.  So don’t beat yourself up for obsessing….think about what remains to be dealt with and know that there is help available for you to go on.