iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2010
Thu, 05-29-2014 - 12:51pm


For some of the WS community, one of the biggest issues to deal with is creating emotional indifference to our AP’s. Whether it was a LTA or an ONS, some of us latched onto our AP’s on an emotional basis and subsequently, we have faced the struggle of letting go. If we ever want to heal ourselves and fix the brokenness that allowed us to have an affair in the first place, achieving indifference is of prime importance and a bottom line requirement.

Creating indifference is not a simple 10 step action plan with a set timeline. For each WS, it may be a different process depending on the emotional investment that was put into the affair. The more you thought that you loved the AP, the harder the process will be. Some WS’s can throw their AP under the bus without nary a glance while others struggle to get the AP out of their hearts and minds for months or years.

While the process is individual to each WS, there is a process of detachment called creating indifference. Mind you, we are not talking about hating the AP, we are merely taking about an emotional void for the AP. Hating the AP for the affair is the same as self-hatred to ourselves because we were also in the affair. No, what you want to achieve is neutral. Prior to the affair, the AP was a non-entity in our lives and that’s where we want to leave them at the end of this process. Who cares? Joe who? You are the one that is in control of this process. You have to be accountable. You do get to control your mind, your thoughts and your actions.

So, what is the process that you need to follow? At the most basic level, you need to separate your emotional needs from the AP and that process can be kicked started by following some simple rules.

Step 1 - Stop romanticizing the affair - No matter what your story is, the simple truth is that using flowery language to describe it doesn’t change the smell of the rotten affair. Be honest with yourself and use plain words to describe your time and your relationship. It was not rekindling the flames; it was a cheap and tawdry affair. It was not a reconnection of two lost souls, it was sweaty sex. It was not destiny or romantic, it was cheating on your spouse. You simply can't continue doing the old “what if my AP & I” in your head and move on. This holding on to the "if only" is bad because in our subconscious, our dreams usually turn out great because there are no such things as husbands, jobs, careers interfering with our fantasies. Stop living in fantasies and start living in the real world. It was not two hearts beating as one; it was guilty sneaking around in the dark.

Step two – De-personalize the AP - If you call your AP by their nickname then you are holding onto them too tight. Call them what they were. The Affair Partner. The two timing cheater. The person who had sex with you. They were the OM or OW, not your lover. Remember, your AP allowed you to become a cheater. Real love doesn’t have to lie or deceive. Stop saying and using the phrase “my AP” when you talk of the affair. Be honest. You should just use the word cheater and drop the “my” crap. You should stop putting your ownership onto the affair.
Demonize the affair partner if need be. While you should be aiming at indifference, demonizing your AP is better than putting them up on a pedestal. As the WS, we were guilty of seeing the AP with rose coloured glasses and one of the first things we need to do is to take them off. See your AP for what they truly were. If they were so grand and so great, then why were they having an affair with a dumpy, lumpy middle aged middle class working stiff? Didn’t they have cellulite on their thighs too? Didn’t they burb? If you have to think of them as ugly and sweaty, then do it. A mental image of that will go a long way in demolishing the picture perfect image of them in our heads.

STEP 3 – Focus on your BS - Make a purposeful shift of your mental focus to your SO and your marriage. Most people only have room for one thing at a time and if your SO is taking up the space, then the AP can’t come and take up space. Remind yourself daily of your commitment to your BS. Put up sayings, pictures, poems ... anything to focus your mind on them. If they’re staring down at you from the office wall, it’s hard to picture the AP instead.
Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it- hard when your thoughts wander to the A or the OP. Be prepared for the pain! Visualize a stop sign when you got into one of those pining times. Learn how to shift your focus from OP and the A to your spouse when you notice your thoughts wandering. The purposeful shifting of your mental focus to your spouse should help you break the bad habit of thinking of the OP.

Step 4 - Reach out to your support group - When your mind wanders, then change the tempo of your thoughts. Call your spouse and talk to them. Talk to your kids or your therapist. Post on SI or read some more books from the WS reading list. Focusing on the affair and wishing for closure or one last kiss or anything like that is only taking you back into foggy land and you have to stay out of there. Get physically active and change your mental thought process too! It’s hard to think of the AP when your mind is focused on sorting out the sock drawer or if you are planning quality time with your children and spouse.

Step 5 – Become Healthy - If you’re feeling depressed or fall into a shame spiral, its normal and easy to fall into the practice of fantasy thinking of the affair and the AP. If that’s the case, then see your doctor and get on some anti-depressants. Depression is a medical condition and it can be treated. Being physically and mentally fit is important in your life. You're likely going to go through stages of grief, no matter how much you just want it all to be fixed overnight. Find the post on S.W.I.R.L and see if it can help.

Step 6 - Stop the memory game - See reality for what it is. They cheated with you and the chances are they dumped you like a rock when the going got tough. So instead of pining and wishing and hoping and dreaming of another turn at the affair game, simply face reality and give it up. You will never get them and they only wanted you for sex or money or ego stroking. Remind yourself that your OP was no great friend- they helped you cheat on your spouse. Delete each and every memento’s that hold memories. That means emails and letters. That means CD’s or USB sticks of music. That means the sweater that she bought you or the coffee mug with his name on it. Everything, big or small has to go. It might be easier if you make a symbolic ceremony in the backyard fire pit with your spouse helping you burn this all. Learn to recognize the words, thoughts, and actions etc. that trigger a longing for the AP and figure out how to eliminate them from your life. Country songs make you weep? Then change to classic music. Find yourself going by the AP’s house? Then carpool with someone who won’t swing by that neighbour.

The danger exists that you never let go. The danger is that you sublimate the feelings, you compartmentalize them. You hide them into your subconscious. You take those feelings into your dreams and you create your fantasy relationship there. You get good at creating surface indifference. Hell, you can get so good at hiding the magnitude of your feelings that you can deny them to yourself. But you know what? Buried and unresolved feelings have a tendency to pop up to the surface sooner than later and create even bigger problems. Hell, it’s why I’m here.

If you’re having problems wrapping your head around the issue of indifference, then perhaps it’s time to get to basics and recall what it is that you really want out of life. Do you want your wife or do you want your AP? Make a decision and live it. We understand that it can takes time to get over the A and the AP but we have faith that you will be able to get over the AP. People do this every day and every month and so can you. Yes there are temptations but I know that you can accomplish this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2014
Tue, 09-23-2014 - 8:24pm

Thanks I needed this....It hurts....