Why am I obsessed with my husband’s affair partner? My husband made a clean break from her. He told her he regretted their actions, he hated what they did, and he wished he had never met her. He also told her everything they did was based on a lie, so nothing between them was true. He told her he loved me and not her; still I can’t shake the thought that if I forgive him, she’ll be walking around thinking that he couldn’t really mean what he said because he had the affair with her. Why do I care what she thinks?
Thank you for the opportunity to serve. The situation you find yourself in, although unpleasant, is actually very common in this type of experience — especially for betrayed wives — and one of the main reasons for this is the female ego.
Here’s the thing. While a lot has been written and said about the male ego (indeed many women are well aware of what it is and how to recognize it), what many of us aren’t so familiar with is our very own — the less talked about female ego. And yet it’s just as relevant… especially in this type of situation. In fact, very few things can bring out a female ego than infidelity.
Here’s what I mean.
The female ego is characterized by two things: competitiveness and territorialism. And here’s how those two break down:
While the female ego is competitive, it’s not usually competing for trophies, resources or survival — it’s usually competing for attention and power.
Interestingly enough, the female ego isn’t usually competitive with men but with other women. When we say a woman is catty, it’s because she treats other women as rivals rather than friends.
When women get jealous, it’s usually because they’re competing with other women in their minds and seeing themselves as lesser than or losing in that competition. This leaves them feeling insecure, which is then expressed as
The female ego is very territorial. It often views its loved ones as possessions or as territory that belongs to them. When another woman tries to encroach on its territory or tries to “poach” its possession, the female ego reacts with outrage and viciousness.
So how does all this connect to your obsessing about the other woman?
Well, here’s the connection.
From the ego’s perspective, this other woman “poached” your territory. She stole what was yours… right under your nose. The ego is outraged that she would dare to do such a thing. It’s got you all riled up. You feel violated by her, you feel like she needs to be punished for what she did. And so now, you’ve declared war on her. That’s the ego territorialism coming into play.
And if that’s not enough… as we said before, the ego looks at other women as rivals, and so now you’ve made a mental enemy out of her. You’re now having a full-blown war with an imaginary rival. Your mind has become obsessed — not just with thoughts about her, but also with coming up with strategies to defeat her, humiliate her, retaliate and show her that she messed with the wrong woman’s husband.
For the ego, it’s not enough to know that you won. You want her to know that you won… you want her to feel small… you want her to be humiliated… you want her to pay a price for poaching another woman’s husband… and you want to be there to witness it.
Does any of this ring a bell?
I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. You see, I’m well acquainted with the female ego. I understand its petty thoughts and its thirst for revenge. I understand that urge to “teach people a lesson” and to “give them a piece of your mind.” I understand the feeling of “outrage” that erupts when others take advantage of you… and I know what it means to feel “threatened” by the unknown females who are able to “lure” the men we love.
The point here is this…
The ego isn’t personal to you… it’s a built-in part of the female psyche. You didn’t invent it… you’re a witness to it. In fact, your experiences are common among women who’ve gone through the same things you have. Indeed chances are many women reading your question right now can actually relate. Because we’ve all had these moments ourselves.
So how do you handle your ego’s reactions to all this? Good question.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for you.
- Don’t make a federal case over the fact that you’ve had these thoughts and feelings.
- Do realize that these are just “thoughts”, so you don’t need to believe them or act on them.
- Don’t “re-wound” by becoming a victim of your ego.
- Do recognize that you want peace more than you want to satisfy your ego. (Or else, why would you have taken the time to write?) Therefore, you must remember that the ego is not interested in peace; the ego is a warmonger… don’t take its advice!
- Don’t compete with other people in your mind, and Don’t turn anyone into a mental enemy, no matter what they’ve done or not done to you. Why? Because no thought leaves the mind of the thinker. That means that for every thought you use to punish the offender, you’re the one that is actually punished.
- Do extend mercy and forgiveness towards her.
Here’s the thing. As counterintuitive as it may seem, extending forgiveness and mercy towards her… will free YOU. It will calm you, and perhaps most importantly, it will release you from the cycle of obsessing.
How can I be so sure? Well, think it through with me.
From your email, you said your thoughts have been negative and painful about her, and you’ve been imagining her knowing that she lost. Why? Because you secretly want her to feel the pain of losing. You want her to know you won. This is called a “revenge fantasy.” It’s so addicting that you’re now trapped in an obsessing loop… wherein you can’t seem to stop yourself from thinking negatively about her over and over again, day in and day out.
Have you ever asked yourself why wishing her ill once wasn’t enough? Have you ever wondered why is it that your mind needs to keep replaying revenge scenarios… images of her learning a painful lesson and getting her “just desserts” and you getting to witness it over and over again?
If you never pondered these questions, you should.
Because there’s a reason. And it’s because punishing others in your mind (revenge thoughts) is like drinking seawater to quench thirst. Not only will it never satisfy you, but indulge too long and eventually it will poison you. And this is why it’s often said that indulging revenge thoughts is like praying to the devil — no matter how seductive it seems, nothing good ever comes out of it.
So here’s another question for you to consider.
If wishing her harm (obsessing/revenge fantasies) hasn’t done any good, what would happen if you were to do the opposite? Instead of having revenge fantasies, you extend forgiving thoughts and mercy. What do you imagine that might do? To discover for yourself…
For the next 21 days, every time you have a bad thought about her, I want you to interrupt and replace.
Interrupt them. Shut them down. Press and pause. Freeze the image.
Replace those thoughts. With the exact opposite thought. For example, if you were imagining the look of pain in her eyes when she realizes that he has chosen you above her, replace that thought. Imagine her instead feeling gratitude when she realizes that you’ve forgiven her and that he has chosen you.
What if you can’t think of a replacement thought?
No problem. Just imagine her surrounded in a warm light of love and forgiveness. See her healed from the thinking that allowed her to do what she did. See her going forward in her life a more loving and happy person — free from the types of thinking that caused her to harm others in the past. In other words, end the competition with her. Let her go in peace. Do this and then watch for miracles.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!