Shifting Focus

If you’re anything like me, you get fixated on things easily. I know, I know, what man doesn’t?

For the unfaithful spouse, fixating on desire or passion can be overwhelming. If you’re a betrayed spouse however, how can you not fixate on the overwhelming amount of trauma you’re in, not to mention the daily reminders of hurt, pain, betrayal and heartbreak?

At EMS Weekend, Rick shares that we have to “shift our focus and intentionally focus on something different. If I focus on desire, whatever captures my attention will ultimately capture me. I can’t think (fixate) on this stuff and expect to overcome it. I’ve got to begin to think about something very different.”

It’s true for both sides of the equation. We have to shift our focus, but purposefully and intentionally shift our focus to something redemptive and hopeful. Early on, when things were very “western” (as Rick describes it), I’d focus on my kids and how much I loved them and was willing to do whatever it took simply to live in the same house as them. I’d focus on motocross riding as it became a cathartic outlet. I’d focus on scripture and various books I was reading. It helped to get my focus off Samantha, and off of my affair partner who I was detoxing from, and ultimately off of the lust and self-absorption I was a prisoner of.

If we don’t shift out focus quickly and diligently, we’ll allow our minds to wander. Before you know it, we’re down the road into our hurt and our pain which will forge a pathway to more self-absorption and anger. For me, this would lead to a cul-de-sac of hopelessness and depression.

Shift your focus quickly, but to something that provides hope and encouragement. Do it early and do it militantly. It will get easier and easier over time as you employ this principle, but it is not for the faint of heart. This isn’t a Disney princess moment, but a warrior moment for both spouses which requires an armor plated mind which refuses to give in and quit. Persistence wins the day friend. You’ll lose a few battles sure, but the war wages on, and you can win friends. You can. Quit what’s harming you: fixating, doubting and flooding. Don’t quit the good stuff: shifting our focus and placing our thoughts on hopeful, redemptive and encouraging emblems.  

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How to get both sides to shift

I am the betrayer - I cheated on my husband for 3 years. I was not in love with my AP but I had built up a friendship with him as well as satisfying my sexual needs.
So now I have been discovered I have broken it off 100% with my AP - I fully regret everything I have done and wish I had made better choices right at the start. I really want to rebuild my marriage and I am trying to do so but my husband is so angry and hurt I don't think he wants to be with me and it's incredibly difficult. He cannot shift focus - he thinks that everything we have done over the past 3 years has been a lie. To my mind it has not been - yes I was a betrayer and I cheated and I accept that I need to live with the consequences of that. But I did not stop loving him and wanting to be with him. I never wanted to leave him.
I wish I could undo all the hurt and damage but I am at a loss to know how. Everything I read is basically geared towards a betrayed spouse who wants to rebuild the marriage. But he doesn't - he hurts so bad and I don't know how to help him. I have agreed to everything he's asked for but basically he just wants me to give him the kids and the house and that's about it.

sadcheater.....I'm so sorry

Sadcheater, that's hard to deal with i bet for sure. question for you though, how long has he known about your affair? shifting focus is not easy and is something that will take time to do, and more than likely the betrayed spouse will only do it once they are wanting to heal. it doesn't sound like he wants to heal and like he's still stuck in the anger of it all? when you say three years, does that mean you've been married three years? if you're comfortable, how long has he known about the affair as that may help me encourage you with some insight. shifting focus can take time, but if a betrayed spouse is still angry, and wants to remain angry and doesn't want to heal, then that's overwhelmingly hard to process through. have you all gotten any kind of help at all? is he open you think to even a last ditch effort to get help? maybe the ems weekend on the site is something he would consider to get help and insight before finally giving up and wanting that divorce? i'll check back today to see if you answer. i'm sorry i haven't answered till now, but didn't see the comment and i've heard the notifications on the site are a bit iffy right now.


thanks so much for your reply. We have been married for 15 years and he has known about the affair for 2 months now. So I guess it is still early days. We are seeing a marriage counselor together so that is positive but I think for him that is more about how we can not hate each other for the sake of the kids. I think right now he's hurting so bad that he can't really contemplate forgiving me or finding a way to live with what I have done. He is very bitter about everything that has happened which I can understand but also to his way of thinking I could only have done this if I didn't love him and he almost feels as I was laughing behind his back. I totally was not. Obviously I have sinned and I have been bad but in a crazy way I used my AP to supplement my relationship with my husband rather than replace it. Does that make sense. I guess it's a bit mad but I didn't want to leave my husband for my AP.

two months...

Sadcheater, you are correct, two months is barely much time at all. it's about enough time to rage, get angry, and remain angry and see no way out. i think at two months, Samantha and I were about at that same point. seeing little to no way out, but mad as hell and not sure what exactly to do. have you read many of the free resources? there are a ton of articles there that will help you and him. also, would he talk with anyone you think from the staff at AR? i'm sure someone would talk to him and help him with his emotions and getting an idea of what the future could look two months, for me what worked was allowing Samantha to get angry and be angry. i'd just ripped her life apart and her heart apart, and i needed to 'give her permission' to be angry. not officially, but in my own mind, i needed to give her permission from my own thinking that she was angry, was going to be angry and had every right to be angry. i needed to take it and process it and when the time was right, reinforce my love for her and for our family and how i was willing to do whatever it took to save the marriage. if the marriage counselor hasn't been through infidelity, i'm not sure how much practical help they will be friend, as unless someone has been through this hell and ordeal, they will be hard pressed to understand what you are feeling or what your husband is feeling and even harder pressed to find a way out of it all ya know? would he attend an ems weekend you think? it would help incredibly, even as a 'last ditch effort' for you both to 'merely see' if the marriage can be saved ya know? it's normal what you feel about your AP for sure, and it's at some level what we all do. but there is hope for the marriage to be redeemed in a way that you look back and think 'wow, what was i thinking...what i wanted was here all along.' i hope my blogs past and present help you with this, and if you'd like to talk more, i'm happy to help in any way I can. for now you can email the site to get to me if you need to talk more off line, or if you need some insight and step by step help navigating this. i'll be praying for you for sure. thanks for replying. i hope i'm helping.

You are right

You are right. I just need to let him be angry and accept that his anger is normal and perfectly justified at this stage. I need to learn how to process/deal with the anger which is what I am struggling with - I get so upset and I find it hard. So maybe this is more about me than him. I need to find a way to allow him to be angry and reassure him that I am there for him regardless of the anger.
I have been avidly reading all your blogs and indeed all the others on this site - I have found them very helpful. Unfortunately the ems weekend won't work for us as we live so far away but I have been considering signing up for the online course. Maybe I can suggest that to him too.

Thank you for all your support. I really appreciate it.

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