Does Taking My Husband Back After He Cheated And Had An Affair Mean I Have Low Self Esteem?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from women who are feeling a little insecure about their decision to take back their husband after he cheated or had an affair.   And quite often, these wives worry more about what other people think than about what they themselves think.  They often worry quite a bit about outward appearances and what their friends and family must think of their decision.

I heard from a wife who said “my husband had an affair last year.  After a lot of soul searching, I decided to take him back.  I kicked him out and we lived apart for a few months.  I missed him.  I just couldn’t help it.  And while I was missing him, he was calling all of the time and promising me that if I would just take him back, I wouldn’t be sorry because he would make this up to me.  I am excited about the thought of rebuilding my marriage, but not everyone is as excited and optimistic as I am.  My mother told me that only women with low self esteem take back cheating husbands.  She says I am crazy to take back a man who lied to me and cheated on me.  She always asks me if I don’t think I’m good enough to find anyone else.  She says I sell myself short and I could find a better man who would be faithful to me if I would just improve my self esteem.  Is she right?  Do only women with low self esteem take back men who cheat or have affairs?”  I will address these issues in the following article.

My Opinion On The Self Esteem Of Wives Who Take Back Husbands Who Have Cheated: I have a definite opinion on this, but it may not be a very objective one.  I took back my own husband after he cheated.  I don’t consider myself to be someone who is lacking in self esteem.  Admittedly, my self esteem was not at an all time high at that time.  I have since built myself back up.  However, the thought that I could never get another man or that my husband was the best that I would ever get never entered into my thought process.

I believe that this is true for many wives in the same situation.  Often, we are thinking about our families.  And, we don’t want to throw away a long term relationship that we worked so hard to build.  Now, I’m not going to say that there aren’t some wives who stay with serial cheaters who treat them very badly and show an appalling lack of respect.  That situation is a little different.  When you give a man every chance and he just continues to turn his back and hurt you again and again, eventually you should either demand change or do what is best for your own well being.

But the wife in this scenario was not in this situation.  This was the first time her husband had been unfaithful and he was more than willing to do whatever was necessary to help her (and their marriage) to heal.  She had kicked him out of the house and yet he still kept coming back and asking for another chance.  All of these things indicated that his sincerity was more likely.

The truth is, many very successful, fulfilled and strong women chose to try to save their marriages after infidelity.  This doesn’t mean that they are weak or stupid.  In fact, I think that it takes real strength to stand back up and try again even in the face of pain.  Of course, the best decision in every marriage is going to be quite individual.  What is right for one wife might be a mistake for another.  But it’s so important that we don’t judge each other.  Your decision to take him back or to stay is truly no one’s business but your own.

And sometimes, you will have to assert yourself.  A suggested conversation for this wife might be something like: “mom, I know that you are concerned because you love me, but I need your support right now.  And when you question my decisions or my self esteem, that hurts me.  Please respect my decision and just love and support me.  I don’t think that this is the wrong decision, but if it is, I will find that out soon enough and I’ll need you more than ever.  So please help me by not making hurtful comments.  I know you love me, but you can help me more by offering your support instead of your opinion and your comments.”

Even If Low Self Esteem Didn’t Factor Into Your Decision, It’s Always Helpful To Work On It After It’s Affected By Infidelity: Even if you took your husband back for very valid reasons, it’s usually a pretty safe bet that his cheating on you has made you doubt yourself.  This is just natural no matter how confident you are.  It’s normal to wonder why he would betray you in this way.  I always advocate doing self work to build up your self confidence after infidelity.  This is so necessary because self doubt can cause a lot of problems as you are trying to rebuild.  You don’t want to have to worry if your husband still finds you interesting or alluring.  You want to build yourself up so that there is no doubt in your mind about this.

But to answer the question posed, no, I don’t think that it necessarily means you have low self esteem if you take him back after he cheats.  Women have their own individual reasons for the decisions that they make after a husband’s cheating and no one should make any judgement calls about the same.

As I alluded to, I did take my husband back after he cheated.  Admittedly, my self esteem suffered because of his infidelity, but this was not the reason I took him back.  I did work very hard to rebuild my self confidence and self esteem and this made a huge difference in my life and in my marriage.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

 

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