Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Forgetting an Affair/Letting go of the pain
January 4, 2014, my husband confessed to an affair with a former girlfriend that lasted about a year (they met physically 3 times but the rest of the time was texting/phone calls/emails). After 20 years of marriage, I was completely shocked and devastated, despite him telling me for the last several months that he wasn't sure he was in love with me anymore and we had nothing in common. I still had no idea he would do something like this. By the time he confessed, he told me had just ended the affair, he was deeply sorry for hurting me and wanted to work on our marriage.
I found your podcasts after searching on the internet for help in dealing with the feelings of shock, betrayal, sadness and confusion. I listened to them in my car, to and from my way to work whenever I could. Everything you said in your podcasts made perfect sense to me. Your calm, reassuring voice instantly had a calming effect on me. I instantly began to implement some of the strategies you suggested. I worked on changing myself, I became more of the woman he fell in love with, I became a pleasant person to be around! Here it is, only 9 weeks later, and I can say with certainty that we are going to make it and that our relationship is the best it has ever been. My husband is commenting on the positive changes and the wonderful feelings we have gotten back. I haven't told him about your podcasts, and probably won't for a while, but I wanted you to know the positive impact you've had on my life.
I've listened to your podcast on forgiveness, and I was able to forgive my husband for everything and told him so. I also apologized for the roles I played in letting our marriage go on the back-burner, as I took him for granted and always put our kids first. My question is, although I've forgiven him, I keep replaying the "mind movies" in my head, especially when I'm at work, away from him. I picture him with her and I wonder what was said in all those emails and texts over a year's time. I get angry and sad when that happens. I am afraid that my inability to forget will interfere with the great things that are happening with us. Is it really just a matter of time before the pain lessens? Is there a way to quicken the process of forgetting or at least, making the remembering less painful?
Again, I am trying not to sound like an info-mercial, but seriously, you have been instrumental in me being able to keep my sanity during this difficult time. Most of all, you have been "key" in saving my marriage and my quality of life. At the risk of sounding over dramatic, I feel as if you've saved my life as well as my marriage. And if my husband knew about you, he would thank you. I am just looking for direction on how to lessen the pain or stop remembering the bad thing that happened when there are so many good things happening now.
It's wonderful news that your marriage is back on track and thank you for your kind words. I'm very glad to have been of help.
Regarding, lessening the pain, I understand how difficult it can be. It will lessen with time, but you might find the following technique helpful. It sounds a bit weird but it can be very effective!
The thing to remember is that the 'movies' in your head are exactly that - scenes from the past that may or may not have happened but which your brain is replaying over and over. You want to get rid of the movie, so try this when the movie starts playing in your head:
- think of it as a movie - it's not real, it's just something on the screen of your mind
- close your eyes and watch the move. If it's in color, turn it into black and white
- speed it up - keep making it faster and faster
- then slow it right down and 'freeze frame' it - turn it into a black and white photograph and put a frame around it
- imagine that photograph getting smaller - to the size of a piece of small notepaper
- imagine your hand coming and 'scrunching' the paper into a ball
- then imagine striking a match and burning the paper ball - watch the flames make the paper turn into nothing but ashes and then disappearing
- say to yourself: "It is gone; I don't need it any more."
This is a technique I use in my 30 Day Marriage Relationship Transformation program and a lot of people have found it works well. Give it a try and see what happens!
Thanks again for sharing your success and I hope things continue to get better.
All the best,