I am on the crazy train and I can't get off! I constantly want and dream of getting revenge on the OW! I constantly sabatoge myself: I might be having a decent day and I look up the tramp on FB and I am in a rage! My husband is truly doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he can to try to make our marriage better and stronger. I get angry at him basically for the fact that the OW exists. I am scared I will push my husband away with my comets and total insanity. I know I need to let "it" go. Intellectually I know that I am allowing her way too much power over my life and I know that I am only hurting myself. Please help me! I found out -full details- of the affair 5 months ago (from the OW – she was only to happy to tell me). I am destroyed. I am angry, scared, and feel as if I will never feel normal again. I will never feel sane again. Please – any advice on how to get past obsessing over the OW will be welcome. I just see her going on with her happy little life as if she didn't destroy a whole family and it infuriates me.This experience is, sadly, not uncommon. And many betrayed wives act out their revenge, not something I recommend.
It's good that you recognize that this is only hurting you and your marriage. But recognizing it and stopping it are two different beasts.
I'll get to the stopping in a bit. Let me start by looking more closely at why you're doing this.
The feelings we experience in the wake of discovering a spouse's affair are primal. Abandonment. Rejection. Terror. Existential angst. So many of us have spent a lifetime avoiding those feelings. Trying to keep everything under control so that we don't have to feel those scary feelings. D-Day blows the lid off that.
By keeping your focus on the OW, you're avoiding those scary feelings. You're replacing them with cruddy feelings too – anger, for a start. But anger is hurt and fear in a mask, and my guess is you're feeling both those things in spades. I sure as hell was.
And, like you, I indulged in revenge fantasies at the start. I used some behaviour modification strategies (see below) because, like you, I knew it wasn't helping me heal at all. But feeling anger was far more preferable to pulling back the curtain and seeing my terrified self behind it. On some level, it felt as if my entire survival was at stake. It felt that primal. So I came out swinging, at least figuratively.
Over time though (and with a whole lotta therapy), I was able to see that the affair wasn't about her at all. She was convenient, nothing more. And I was able to examine my pain and my fear and recognize how deep they went and how they had lain dormant until the affair forced me to look at them and acknowledge them and work through them. I'll never say the affair was "good" for me...but I will say it forced me to face some demons that needed vanquishing.
I suspect your obsession with the OW might be similar. Outrage is understandable and, at the start, can be a healthy response to emotional injury. Obsession though is not.
So...what are you going to do about it?
There are behaviour modification techniques you can try. They sound silly but are surprisingly effective. An elastic band around your wrist that you snap each time you start thinking about the OW. A huge picture of a stop sign on your computer reminding you to NOT check out her FB page. A said-out-loud "NO!" or "STOP!" each time you think/do something related to her. The idea is to put a bit of distance between the temptation to obsess and the act. In that brief space, you want to remember that this is hurting you. You could even write a list with two columns: "What I Gain From Focussing on OW" on one side and "What I Lose..." on the other, and then keep it somewhere you can't ignore.
The other thing you could do (and this is something that worked for me, along with picturing a big STOP sign when my mind starting going down that well-worn path) is give yourself a time allowance to indulge in the fantasies. Say five minutes or so (even set a timer with an annoying beep) and then imagine the WORST possible scenario for her. Feed her to her starving cat. Run over her – repeatedly – in your car. Allow her to contract leprosy. But when that five minutes is up, immediately stop and get back to your real life. The idea is that by making something forbidden you're making it more desirable. Anyone on a diet can explain this. But allowing yourself a taste of it can keep it at bay. But this only works if you absolutely stick to a brief time limit. Once you're down that rabbit hole, it's hard to pull back out. (A weird thing happened to me when I allowed myself to indulge in my darkest revenge fantasies. I ended up feeling sorry for her. I was badass!! She seemed so pathetic and at my mercy. I felt powerful for those few minutes....and I decided ultimately to use my power for good (get my life back on track) than evil. Besides most OW are quite talented at screwing up their own lives. They don't need us to do it for them.)
If you're so inclined and your husband can stomach it, enlist his help in imagining some revenge fantasies. (Not all guys can handle this – in part because they're conflicted about her but also because recognizing that your sweet wife fantasizes about putting the OW's hand in a meat grinder can be a bit unsettling). If he can handle it though, it might be something you two can giggle about and feel like you're on the same team. But, and I'm saying this before my lawyer calls me in a panic: DON'T EVER ACT ON THESE VILE FANTASIES. There...that's the fine print.
However you proceed, whether by delving deeper into feelings behind your anger or behaviour modification or, better, both, this is a problem that's within your control. You can't change what happened but you can control how you respond to what happened. Don't give this woman any more real estate in your head. She's not worth it. Your husband figured that out. Now it's time for you to figure it out as well.