The unpredictability of flashbacks after an affair can be very exasperating. Sometimes it can feel like you are taking one step forward and two steps back. This can be especially true when you feel like you've been making progress. Sometimes it may feel as if the roller coaster ride will never end. Hard as it might be to imagine at times, I promise you that they will slowly fade off into the sunset.

1) Let Your Partner Support You: Like every stage of you restoring your marriage, flashbacks are a shared responsibility and experience. This can be very challenging for the partner who has strayed because flashbacks can stir up feelings of guilt or frustration. But, challenging as it may be, the quickest road to getting back to normal is for the unfaithful partner to be there patient and understanding (there is a section coming up on how your partner can be supportive of you so s/he will know exactly what to do). This can be a very powerful bonding experience. If you both approach this with the right attitude you can actually end up feeling closer than ever before in your relationship.

2) Recognize Your Triggers : Pay attention to the things or situations that trigger your flashbacks so that you can either avoid or prepare yourself the next time you are faced with it.

3) Work on Ways to Minimize the Number of Flashbacks : Once you begin to understand your triggers you can work as a team to avoid flashbacks or fights. For example you might say something like: "When you're late getting home from work and I haven't heard from you, I worry about where you are, and who you're with or what you're doing. Can we figure out some way to avoid this happening?" Or if there is a place that triggers a flashback (e.g. driving by the restaurant you walked in on your partner and the affair partner and discovered the affair) you might want to consider avoiding it completely and taking a different route for the time being.

4) Learn What Helps You Feel Better When You Have a Flashback: You might have to try different things until you find what works best but try to pay attention to what soothes you when you have a flashback. Do you want your partner to respond to your feelings by offering to hold you, reassure you, or provide you time and space to be by yourself? Let your partner know what works best for you.

5) Ride the wave: Sometimes flashbacks are unavoidable. Once a flashback begins, you shouldn't try to stop it. That could actually intensify it and cause you to have more flashbacks. Say to yourself, "This is just a flashback. It will pass." Flashbacks are like waves. No matter how intense and scary they may feel, no matter how much it feels like it will never end flashbacks usually last no more than 15 minutes. Sometimes they may last a bit longer, but that is more the exception than the rule. It is physiologically impossible for you to stay in a state that intense for a prolonged period of time. Now, you may have days where they come in waves, almost like aftershocks after an earthquake, but they will pass. Just hold on, recognize it for what it is, get whatever help or support you need and it will pass.

Pay attention to the frequency and severity of your flashbacks. If they start to happen less often and don't hit you as hard congratulate yourself on the progress you've made. The more you are able to recognize that you are getting a better handle on controlling your flashbacks and obsessions and feel good about it the quicker they will get better. You will know that healing after an affair is nearly complete when flashbacks are twinges rather than painful re-experience.

Author's Bio: 

Go here to learn more about coping after an affair.

Dr. Joe James is a psychologist who specializes in anger management and couples therapy in his Maryland marriage counselor office.