Marriage Counseling Self-help

How To Stop Overthinking After Being Cheated On

Author: MA RSW RMFT

Learn how to how to stop overthinking after being cheated on by your cheating husband or cheating wife.

How to cope with infidelity

Infidelity is a relationship transgression that hurts everyone.

Infidelity kills the trust of everyone in the family including the children and extended family. 

Yet, no one is hurt more than the cheater’s partner. He or she is the primary infidelity victim.

If this is you, one of the many ways you are injured is that you are haunted by obsessive thoughts about your spouse cheating.

Over time, your obsessive thoughts can take on a life of their own. They can consume every moment of your day from the moment you wake up until you go back to sleep.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can push back the obsessive thoughts about your spouse cheating as will be presented below.

how to stop overthinking after being cheatedHow does being cheated on change you?

When you marry or enter into a committed relationship, whether stated openly or not, there is a clear understanding that your partner will not stray and become intimately involved with another person. When this ‘promise’ is broken, the betrayal shatters you in many ways.

When you are betrayed by your cheating wife or cheating husband, likely your mind is swamped with thoughts and images regarding what has happened and what might occur in the future.

This mental and emotional anguish can not possibly be understood unless someone has gone through it themselves. Experiencing chronic worry and fear is a common part of coping with the pain of infidelity. 

People betrayed by their partner find their thoughts and emotions 100% altered. Thoughts of revenge, rage, helplessness, fear, confusion, worry, sleeplessness, crying, and the like are all common forms of emotional suffering. This is all part of dealing with infidelity.

In some ways, the emotional pain the betrayed partner feels is even worse than a negative medical diagnosis. At least with a medical diagnosis, there is an entire staff of medical practitioners who have ideas as to how to help — there is always some degree of hope. When it comes to surviving the betrayal of infidelity, often the struggle is in isolation, and you feel confused and overwhelmed with nowhere to turn.

In the past, when a crisis has occurred, you could have turned to your husband, wife, or committed partner for advice and comfort. But now, since he or she has cheated on you, you have no support. The person who has been a comfort to you in the past is now your ‘cheating wife’ or ‘cheating husband,’ and he or she is now perceived as the greatest threat to your well-being and future.

Your mental and emotional pain is relentless; negative thoughts and feelings intrude day and night, at work and home, in good moments and bad moments.

“Does the pain of being cheated on ever go away?”
“Will I ever be able to enjoy my life again?”
“Does the anxiety of being cheated on ever go away?”
“Why am I so insecure after being cheated on?”
“How does being cheated on change you?”

These are all common mantras that play over and over in the minds of infidelity victims. 

When dealing with infidelity, what should you do to calm the storm?

Here are 7 suggestions to calm the raging thoughts and feelings that are flooding you:

However, it needn’t be that way. You have choices in how you think about what has happened. You are more than any problem you are currently experiencing — including the problem of having been betrayed by your partner.

Take a step back, and you will realize that there are many things in your life that are good. You are more than this overbearing challenge of dealing with infidelity. For example, perhaps you have amazing children, you have a good job, your life includes many opportunities to help others, you have your faith, you have friends, and your life includes many opportunities for change and growth.

This might be obvious to you if your marriage was seemingly ‘perfect.’ However, it can be confusing if you had marital problems in the past. Nonetheless, even in a bad marriage, cheating is not a legitimate option, and no reason can justify it.

Cheating is not an additional dimension to marital conflict. Cheating is like a nuclear bomb that destroys everything — there is absolutely no good to be found in the act of adultery.

Knowing it is not your fault is comforting. Remind yourself whenever you are distraught over what you’re going through that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. The fault lies at the feet of your betraying partner.

There are times to think about the affair and what happened and discuss it with your partner. There are also times NOT to think about infidelity. Your thoughts about this relationship crisis need to be contained. It should not flood your life with worry, anger, and guilt.

You are entitled to be happy — and you should be. Don’t allow yourself to stay in a perpetual ‘bad mood.’

If you are having trouble stopping your turbulent thoughts about infidelity during times when you should be focused on other things, which in some cases includes marital reconciliation, you should treat these unwelcome thoughts and feelings as irrational anxiety.

Don’t let your mind consume you with negative thoughts. Take a stand and push them away. Toward that end, I recommend you seek professional help to deal with anxiety and/or get some good self-help books on how to reduce and eliminate unwanted and intruding anxiety and worry.

One of the most common questions victims of infidelity ask is, “How to stop overthinking after being cheated?”

Obsessive thinking, overthinking, and panic attacks are all products of a common human condition called ‘anxiety.’

Anxiety is intense feelings of fear, worry, and hopelessness. Anxiety can disrupt a person’s total being, from the physical to the emotional to the spiritual.

Anxiety can become so intense and painful that it can cause emotional paralysis (panic attacks). Professional intervention is sometimes required, especially if a person’s eating and sleeping patterns have been disrupted. Mild anxiety is often temporary, and with personal education and growth, full recovery will occur, and calm feelings will return.

Many anxieties are caused by negative and fear-provoking thoughts and unreasonable expectations.

Curing “anxiety” can be complex and can include many different approaches. Sometimes medication can be helpful and even necessary, but often it is not.

The following are approaches to reducing anxiety that have helped many people. Some may help you eliminate or reduce overthinking after being cheated on.

Relaxation training
There are many different types of relaxation training. You can find trainers, books, and courses on this topic. Learning to relax is not only healthy for you in many different ways, but it presents to you the message that you have control over how you feel. In other words, you can choose to relax or do the opposite.

Self-hypnosis
Hypnosis teaches you the power of your thoughts and how you can influence them. Even though it is thought of as a simple cliche, “How you think is how you feel” — in real life, it is an absolute fact. With hypnosis, you use the ‘power of your mind’ — your thinking — to let go of your anxiety, overthinking, and stress.

Refuting irrational ideas
Although dealing with infidelity is complex and contains many uncertainties, the mind also generates many irrational ideas. When an idea is irrational, you should briefly argue using your self-talk that it makes no sense and then quickly dismiss it. If you are not sure if a fear or thought is rational or irrational, ask a friend or professional to help you determine if it is a valid concern or a negative fantasy.

Anger management
Having been cheated on, it is normal and understandable to be angry at times. However, if the anger is too strong or too frequent, it becomes a burden, injurious, and dysfunctional.

Learn to control your anger. There are good books, courses, and professionals to help you eliminate or reduce anger and achieve inner serenity.

Physical exercise
Exercise helps your body recalibrate itself and find its natural balance by releasing natural chemicals caused by stress. Exercise can increase the endorphins in your body, creating a sense of well-being.

Being cheated on is a body blow to your entire life. It is very natural to become so distraught that your grief overwhelms everything, including parenting, eating, working, and sleeping.

Should the trauma of infidelity overwhelm you, you can become emotionally and physically sick. At the same time, dealing with the challenges of infidelity is a time when you need your maximum strength and alertness.

To compensate for the understandable worry and fear that is brought upon you by your cheating partner, you need to prioritize the basics. You need to ensure you are behaving responsibly, eating sufficiently, doing your work as required, and getting enough sleep.

If you periodically miss one of the essential self-care components, most likely you will be OK. However, if you find that you are not taking care of yourself as you should, and it is continuing for many days, you may require medication to help you get through this difficult time in your life.

Go to your doctor and explain to him or her how you are feeling, and if they feel it is warranted, they will give you a prescription to help you calm down. Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, as this may become a slippery slope that can be difficult to reverse.

If you are a member of a faith-based group, you can find great opportunities to strengthen your resolve and commitment to a good and healthy life.

If you are a deep thinker, work on an all-inclusive narrative, a story that helps you live well regardless of what your partner did. If you are a meditator, use the power of your mind to still your thoughts and feelings.

Spiritual resources are powerful and for many, will make the difference between living a life of peace or one of turmoil.

It is possible to do it alone, but not probable.

Seek professional help from a caring and competent relationship specialist. Not just any mental health professional will do. You need to find someone who has the training and experience to deal with relationship betrayal and its aftermath. At the bottom of this page are resources where you can find professional help.

Above are proven methods on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on

Even though it is your cheating husband or cheating wife that has injured you, they cannot fully heal you.

You need to help yourself with your own healing. Just like if you were a passenger in a car that led to an injury caused by the driver’s carelessness, you would do whatever it takes to get healthy again. The healing would come from your efforts, not the careless driver. The same is true for having been injured by your partner’s affair. Take responsibility for your recovery and well-being.

Know that you are good and deserve a healthy and happy life — regardless of what your partner has done. With the right effort, this can and will be achieved.

Wishing you and your family the very best,
Abe

Find a therapist to help you deal with infidelity and overcome obsessive thoughts about your spouse's cheating

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abe kass

Abe has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families for twenty-five-plus years. When it comes to relationship expertise — Abe is the real deal and can be trusted!

abe kassProfessional Therapist Abe Kass MA RSW RMFT

Abe has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families for twenty-five-plus years. When it comes to relationship expertise — Abe is the real deal and can be trusted!