How Do You Stop Thinking About the Other Woman?

These tips on how to stop thinking about the other woman are inspired by a reader’s question. He wants to get to a place where he no longer feels tempted to talk to the woman he had an affair with. He feels obsessed with her and wants to be with her more than ever before.

“I recently confessed to my wife that I had been cheating for nearly a year,” Jerry says on Comfort and Healing After Your Husband Leaves You for Another Woman. “This affair took place while I was away from home on business. The affair was not just physical, we became emotionally involved. I am not attempting to justify my actions. They are beyond justification. Now, my wife and I are both seeking help. We are working very hard to get back to one another and in some ways our relationship is at its most healthy. I am, however, struggling. There are days where I miss the other woman and I have repeatedly cut contact with her only to get in touch with her again.”

Jerry adds that he decided he does not want to contact or be with the other woman, but his resolve isn’t where it needs to be. “I would like to save my marriage and be the man and husband I know I can be,” he says. “My wife is making changes regarding how she approached our marriage before. I’d like to make changes into what was bad in me that allowed me to do something this hurtful. Is there any insight you would be willing to give that would help me get to a place where I no longer feel the desire or temptation to speak to this woman?

These suggestions are only one small piece of the puzzle. Moving on after infidelity – forgiving after an affair – is a long, long process for everyone. Healing is possible, but it takes time.

Ways to Stop Thinking About the Other Woman

If you keep berating yourself for thinking or obsessing about the other woman, then you’ll keep thinking about her. The more you try not to do something, the stronger the temptation gets. That which you resist, persists. You’re feeding the beast by trying not to think about her. And, she’s no doubt becoming more attractive and alluring in your mind because you can’t have her.

Learn the paradox of change

“As soon as you say, ‘I want to change’ or make a program, a counter-force is created that prevents you from change. Changes are taking place by themselves. If you go deeper into what you are, if you accept what is there, then a change automatically occurs by itself. This is the paradox of change.” Frederick S. Perls.

Getting to the place where you no longer feel desire for the other woman depends on your personality. We’ve all struggled to give up some sort of temptation, but what really works depends on who we are. For instance, I struggled with bulimia for years – and I didn’t quit because I forced myself not to think about food. I quit because I got emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Gaining control over your temptations is a process that takes time, whether you’re giving up the other woman, cigarettes, or hot fudge sundaes. That’s why Mark Twain said, “Quitting is easy – I’ve done it hundreds of times.”

Let the longing flow through you

What does it mean to accept the present moment for what it is? To accept your own yearnings, brokenness, disappointments and failures? It means to simply be in this present moment. Acceptance and surrender brings choices and options you’d never otherwise recognize.

Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment may help you stop thinking about the other woman, because it’s about being in the moment – not being dragged down by the past or consumed with anxieties about the future. I think one of the best ways to overcome temptation is to be present in this very moment. Acknowledge your desire, and acknowledge your desire to stay married. Be present with those contradictory thoughts.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Being present in the moment is more powerful and practical than it may first appear.

Know yourself

Become aware of why you cheated on your wife. Read Why Do People Cheat in Relationships? for insight into your own choices. Something was missing in your marriage, and you found it elsewhere. You’re not a bad or evil man; you were trying to meet your needs. Now, you need to meet your needs within your marriage.

Other ways to stop thinking about the other woman:

  • Talk to a counselor; explore different ways to heal your heart and save your marriage.
  • Make a list of reasons you want to save your relationship, and pull out that list whenever your thoughts wander to the woman you had the affair with.
  • Ask your wife to write down how the affair affected her, and carry around that piece of paper with you. Read it when you feel tempted (maybe you’ll only need to think about it! That may be enough to snuff out those thoughts of the other woman).
  • Consider making lifestyle changes that take you out of the affair. For example, avoid business trips for the next couple of years. Find a different job, or a different employer. Remove yourself from the routine may help.

If you need more practical tips, read Do You Think About Your Ex All the Time? 6 Ways to Stop Obsessing.


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11 thoughts on “How Do You Stop Thinking About the Other Woman?”

  1. I was the other woman in a two year long affair to a man married for ten with two children. I know my short comings and don’t expect respect or sympathy on these sort of threads and usually don’t add to the posts but here I am. As wrong as it was of us to carry on like we did, I love him always. I have no intentions of contacting him and have been working on moving forward as he works on his marriage we jacked up. At the end of the day the love is still there. I’ve had break ups before, nothing ever like this one. I’ve met married men and never did anything with them or felt anything for them, never thought I’d fall for one but then he came along. It all went right out the window for me just like it did him and that’s something hard to write off. It’s not normal to have to go through all these withdraws and therapy and rebuilding of a sense of self and how love should feel etc over a breakup. We’re forced to get over each other for the sake of keeping our big houses and routines etc. But we were in love and couldn’t be together. It is what it is. I understand it’s not always the case some married men are dogs but he wasn’t. He was a family man with a big heart who lost himself as did I. Ill never hate him I just hated the situation. Probably took five years off everyone involved’s life the stress it caused. He was going to leave her but both her and I wouldn’t allow it. I know he still loves me because there wouldn’t be these intense one two year withdraw periods with the occasional tears if it wasn’t love.

    1. It’s not love. You don’t know what’s it like to deal with his down sides, everyday stressors of loving with someone etc. It’s like you are a kid visiting Disneyland and the wives are the workers who make it run and are taken for granted. The “magic” wears of after a while, TRUE real love is what you do once it does. Your infatuation is just that. The relationship didn’t run it’s course so you are stuck in a time warp of fantasy.

  2. I can’t stop thinking about my husband’s other woman, I got married three years ago, it was sweet in the beginning after a year and few months, I gave birth to a male child, at that moment I started facing spiritual falsies in my life along the process automatically my husband changed his attitude coming home lately and all sort of meaningless things. After a while he said he can’t live under the same roof with me and he left the home. my life was in hell starting from the day my man left home, he stopped picking my calls he blocked me on his Facebook account.

  3. I am 26 years old and have recently just got out of a relationship with a 30 year old man, who yes is married. While it may seem like the other woman is to blame. please keep in mind our feelings were destroyed when it all came crashing down.
    I met him 6 years ago and we became close friends. He was literally the first person i would talk to that morning and the last at night. We didn’t start an intimate relationship until 2 years ago. To add more drama i got married to my husband last year. He was everything to me and i have pushed aside everyone in my life for him. The relationship was wrong in so many ways but i was happy and did whatever he wanted. I have wasted hours waiting for his calls and always leaving work at random times to go see him. I would bring and buy him lunch every day. We were emotionally and physically attached. This past year i got pregnant for him and neither my husband or his wife knew about it. My husband is obeyed that we now have a child.
    His wife recently discovered our affair and made him choose, low and behold he chose to walk away from us. He never told her about the child or how long things went on.
    In all honestly, i knew that would happen and he is choosing right but it doesn’t help the pain and depression from the break up. I do believe it is possible to love more than one person but i truly hope no one makes the mistake i made. I will live with this my entire life and always have feelings for a man i cant have and it is devastating. I am to the point of starving bc feeling hungry is so much better to deal with than the anxiety and depression of losing someone so close to me. it hurts for all parties involved. Nothing should ever get this out of hand.

  4. My apologies for missing your comments! Looking back, I realize I was going back to school in Sept 2012, to get my MSW at UBC. I must have been overwhelmed with classes and assignments, and unable to keep up with my comments here on Love and Relationships.

    I trust you have worked through your issue, and are facing a whole new life now. Still, I do apologize.


  5. Our very good friends have been married for 10 years. They appeared to have what seems “The Perfect Marriage”. They never argue or fight, and always seemed happy. They have no children and are 35 years of age. This past August, Brad started an affair with a co-worker. He told his wife (Lola)about it. She was shocked, sad, mad and everything else. She does not want to separate from him. She wants the marriage to work. He cannot stop obsessing over the other woman and thinks he is in love with her. This girl is not his type whatsoever, and all of his friends think he is making a huge mistake. The affair is still going on this day, but he has tried to breakaway from her, but cannot. He cannot even go a day without texting her. It is almost as if he is brainwashed. He has not made efforts to file for divorce, or separate from his wife, which tells us that he is utterly confused and very torn. He is a mess. They went to a counselor 4 times, but it didn’t seem to do anything as the girlfriend will not leave him alone, and vice versa. He stays with us sometimes, he has broke down and cried, just balled. He is truly in a state of depression, anxiety, and literally obsessed with this other woman he barely even knows. His wife is hanging in the balance, but is wearing very thin, she wants her husband back. Most would have ended the marriage months ago. Any thoughts?

    -Extremely concerned friends.

  6. My husband had an affair with an ex. I found out 3months ago. She has just given birth to their child. I so not know how to deal with the situation because he says he has to keep in contact with her. We are in therapy but he is not proactive in trying to make amends. He behaves as though he is the victim because our marriage was in a sorry state to begin with. I feel I have over invested emotionally in our marriage because even though he says he loves me he doesn’t consider how devastated I am by his affair. Is it fair on him to give him an ultimatum because I am not able to continue sharing my life with him if he maintains any kind of relationship with her and this child.

  7. Laurie,

    Thank you, so much, for this. I am going to be seeing a therapist once a week to help me deal with my own personal struggles regarding my infidelity and marriage. My wife and I will be going to therapy together, a different therapist (of course), to work on the difficulties in our marriage that we face as a pair.

    A lot of the things you said rang true with my own interpretation of things. And, while I don’t know you, the support has lifted my spirits today.

    I really liked your idea of carrying around that slip of paper.

    Thank you, again, for taking the time to be active on this matter. It makes more of a difference than you might suspect and given the medium you undoubtably don’t get to feel the results of your attention.

  8. Hi Jill,

    It makes me sad that your boyfriend says he’s “past the age of dreaming.” What’s up with that?? Even 80 and 90 year olds still have dreams — and their dreams keep them young, healthy, vibrant, and healthy.

    I wrote this for you:

    My Boyfriend Isn’t Ambitious – Will He Drag Me Down?

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts.


    PS Readers, if you have questions on how to stop thinking about the other woman after you had an affair, you’re welcome to comment here. We’re on a bit of a tangent, but that’s okay :-)

  9. I am deeply in love and in a relationship with a man who is ten years older than me. Despite the age difference, we have a great time and lots of fun. My biggest problem with him is that I’m in my 20’s and life is just starting for me, but he has NO goals, NO ambitions, and NO passion. I appreciate that he is a hard worker, but he is constantly stuck in dead end jobs at minimum wage. He also has a culinary degree, but chooses to work small construction jobs here and there to make ends meet. I don’t understand him! He says he is past the age of dreaming and now he just wants to pay the bill. Finishing college and having a career along with a family is my number one priority and something I am working hard for. Is his lack of passion for life going to drag me down? I understand paying the bills is important, but following your dreams and personal journey (I feel) is waaaay more important.