Can Taking Revenge After The Affair Restore My Self Esteem

I recently heard from a wife who was struggling with her self esteem after her husband’s affair.  The husband had cheated with a woman who was much younger.  After much time had passed and after much consideration, the couple decided to stay together.  The husband seemed committed, remorseful, and willing to work with the wife toward saving the marriage.  He admitted that cheating was a huge mistake and he asked for forgiveness.  The wife wanted to forgive.  She wanted to move on.  But she was still filled with doubt.

She told me that she felt a lot of her issues and her inability to move on stemmed A LOT with her lack of self esteem since the affair.  She just could not stop comparing herself to the younger woman.  She admitted that she had looked this woman up, checked her out on facebook, and even went by her house and had watched her from across the street.  She knew that this obsession with the other woman (and comparing herself to her) was just not healthy but she couldn’t seem to stop.

But she just didn’t know how to get any closure on this.  And the longer this went on, the more it increased the wife’s self doubt and lowered her self esteem.  She admitted to me that she felt like a helpless victim and this just continued to make her feel worse.  So, she wanted to be proactive and she wanted to do something to restore her self esteem and make her feel better about herself, her husband, and her marriage.

She asked me in part “can taking revenge on either the other woman or my husband after the affair help to restore my self esteem?  Would it give me any closure or make me feel better? I feel like if I could show them that I wasn’t going to just sit back and take this I might feel better about myself.”

Oh, do I understand this sentiment.  And frankly, any one who feels this way has a very valid reason to do so.  You are being affected by the bad judgment of two people who have hurt you.  So, it’s very natural to want revenge and many people suspect that it might just make them feel better about their situation and about themselves.

But it’s my experience that actually, despite how good you think this might feel, it truly doesn’t help as much as you had hoped.  I know it feels like it might and I know that it feels so very tempting, but really, it only makes you feel more out of control.  And it just keeps the drama and the bad feelings going.

Hurting them isn’t likely to take your own hurt away.  Only time and hard work is going to do that.  And in this instance, the wife truly did want to save her marriage and get back together with her husband.  Taking revenge on him was just going to make things worse and make this less likely to happen.

What Is Your Best Revenge After The Affair? What Will Make You Feel Better?:  Let’s think about this for a second.  Why, exactly do you want revenge?  There’s probably a couple of reasons as follows:

taking revenge might help you feel better and give you a sense of relief;

it might show all of the people involved that you aren’t just going to take this;

and it might cause them some of the hurt and pain that you have been going through. 

But, what is the likelihood that your taking revenge is going to actually accomplish these goals within the long term?  Actually, many “other women” really enjoy seeing the wife so out of control and reacting strongly because they know that they’ve really gotten under her skin and upset her.

This is actually giving her more power rather than less power, which should be your goal.  And honestly, revenge doesn’t often hurt the people involved as much as you hope that it might. (In fact, it can backfire and hurt you.)

Frankly, if you want to “show them,” the best way to do that is to often return to a place of happiness.  Frankly, many mistresses or “the other woman” often is happiest when you are the most miserable.  Your happiness is not what she wants.

And if one of your main goals is to restore your own self esteem, frankly there is no better way to do that than to ensure your own happiness.  I understand that it is hard to feel good about yourself when your husband has an affair with another woman (and a younger one at that.)  But you can restore your self esteem with some concentrated effort. 

It may take a while and it may be work, but it can be done.  You are still the wonderful person you were before this external event happened.  It was not your fault and it’s not your responsibility.  But you can take control of your own happiness.  You can rise up, hold your head high, and know that none of this was your own doing.  You can reaffirm that you are a beautiful, capable and vibrant woman who won’t be brought down or made to feel bad about herself because of someone else’s actions.

Frankly, the best revenge that you can ever take on anyone who has wronged you is living well.  Yes, Ivanna Trump was right.  You may or may not chose to take your husband back or to save your marriage.  But your self esteem, self worth and happiness is yours to keep.  No one should be able to take that away from you.  Don’t stoop to negative behaviors that put on the same level as “the other woman.”  Take the high road and focus on your major strength- yourself.   Making yourself stronger, happier, and more confident is probably the best revenge you could ever have.

Believe me when I say that I was very tempted to take revenge on the woman my husband cheated with.  In the end, I decided this would probably just lead to more hurt and drama.  I did focus on restoring my own self esteem – but I did that by focusing on myself, not her – and not him.  And this eventually worked.  You can read more about how I was able to move on and restore my self esteem after my husband’s affair on my blog at

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