After infidelity is discovered it’s not unusual to struggle with obsessive thinking. There’s something about writing your feelings down that helps you to be rid of them, at least for awhile. Its as if you can do a brain dump of all those horrible feelings onto the paper and be rid of them for awhile.
Give yourself permission to write whatever feels right. Curse, write in giant letters, scribble in rage, cry, write about what you imagine may have happened, write about all the nasty things you would like to say and/or do to your partner and the person s/he had the affair with, just let go of whatever needs to come out. Let yourself go to the point of exhaustion.
Along the way, you may gain new insights about you and your relationship, clarify your own point of view, identify issues you want to follow up on, and uncover new strengths.
I’ve found three ways of writing to be particularly helpful:
1) Keep a journal: When you start to obsess about the affair, it can help to express your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Some may find it better to write at a regular time while others may find it better to write whenever the mood strikes. You can use the computer, a diary, or a plain spiral notebook. Some people find it better to write in their own voice, others find it helpful to vent their feelings and then write in the voice of a wise and trusted friend guiding them with advice on how to deal with the situation. Experiment – there is no right or wrong way to journal. Find out what works best for you and then stick with it!
2) Write letters: Write a letter or an e-mail to your partner or to the affair partner to let them know just what you are feeling. Don’t worry about what you say or how you say it; just let the feelings flow out of you. Here’s the important part: do not send the letter right away. Things can look very different in a couple of days and you don’t want to put something out there that you later regret. So put the letter away for a day or two and then decide if you want to send it or if you want to delete or rewrite certain parts of it. Your partner can read your letter without being affected by the tone of your voice or the impulse to interrupt you. Caution: Do not send anything to the affair partner without the support and input of your spouse.
3) Write a List of Questions for Later: Every time you start to obsess over unanswered questions about the affair, write them down. Keep them in a safe place. When you and your partner are in a place where you can communicate calmly, you can let him or her see your list of questions. Your partner can choose which ones to answer right away and which ones need to be deferred until things are a bit more stable between the two of you.
Watch this video to learn more about coping with the obsessive thinking that comes after infidelity.