How Can I Feel Better About Myself After My Spouse’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I so often hear from wives (and sometimes husbands too) who feel extremely bad about themselves because of their spouse’s cheating or affair.  Yes, the betrayal hurts horribly.  But even often, the hit to your self esteem and your self worth can hurt just as bad.  I heard from a wife who said: “I will admit that since I had my children, I have put on a little weight.  I have meant to get myself back to the gym and focus on my appearance again, but before I could do that, my husband had an affair.  He has broken it off and he wants to save our marriage.  I want that too.  But I am hurting so badly right now.  Every time I look in the mirror, I see a fat, tried woman who wasn’t good enough to keep her husband faithful.  It doesn’t help that my husband doesn’t look at me with lust anymore.  I honestly think that he’s staying with me only because of our kids.  It’s almost as if he pities me or tolerates me rather than desires me.  I hate feeling so horrible about myself. What can I do to start to feel better about myself?”

I felt for this wife because I have been in her shoes.  I know how it feels to wonder if your husband was justified in his cheating because of something that you lacked.  But please allow me to offer you a little reassurance.  You don’t lack anything that would justify his cheating or his affair.  Men cheat on beautiful, exciting women every day.  Look at all of the models and actresses who deal with infidelity with women who have nothing on them.  So, it really isn’t accurate to start thinking that the other woman was better than you or that you were not enough.  I can’t tell you how often I hear from women who tell me that the other woman was actually not very attractive, accomplished or charming.  That goes to show you that men are often not being very picky about these women and they often aren’t choosing them based on looks or attributes.  They often are just there at a convenient time and nothing more.

Tips On Restoring Your Self Esteem After Infidelity:  Having said the above, I know that my reassurances aren’t likely to make you forget all of your insecurities.  I know that these things are still likely to weigh on you, which is why it can help to take some action.  The first thing that I would recommend is trying to obtain some perspective.  Think about this.  You are the same person you were on the day before you found out about the affair.  Who you are and what you are worth has not changed.  And why should you change who you already know you are because of someone else’s actions.  It’s important that you understand this when you begin evaluating yourself.

With this said, every one has things that both them about themselves.  And I’m talking about things that were present before the affair.  This insecurities can become magnified after infidelity.  And, if they truly bother you, then there is nothing wrong with addressing them.  For example, it always really bothered me that I had put my career on hold because this meant I was completely dependent upon my husband.  So when he had an affair, this fear of mine was greatly magnified.  I started to think that no wonder he cheated with someone from one since I wasn’t intellectually stimulating.  This wasn’t fair to me, of course.  And with the passage of time I realize how unbalanced my thinking was.  Still, I’m glad that I followed up on this because today I am glad that I have my own career.  It makes me feel better about myself and I believe it makes me more balanced.   Also, getting a make over and new clothing helped to boost my confidence.  It really helped me when people would compliment my appearance.  It started to give me reassurance that if my husband didn’t find me attractive, well then, plenty of other people did.

I think that the important distinction with this is to make sure that you are acting on the things that bother you – not the things that you imagine bother your husband.  Because if you change for anyone else, then it will not be genuine and it will actually hurt your self esteem.  But if you change for yourself, then it will be very authentic and this can actually greatly improve your self esteem.  The final tip that I’d want to give you is to never apologize for making yourself a priority.  Don’t feel guilty for the time you give yourself or for the money you spend on a massage, a makeover, classes, or whatever the case may be.  Your deserve your best effort.  And there’s no reason to make any apologies for respecting yourself enough to move yourself forward.  You absolutely matter and you absolutely have a great deal of worth.  But you have to believe this yourself before anyone else will.

As I alluded to before, I underwent a little bit of a transformation after my husband’s affair.  Many of the changes were for the better and they enhanced my life.  But I was very careful to make sure that every change was for me and not for him.  If it helps you can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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