I Don’t Feel That I Deserve My Spouse Because I Cheated. And I Don’t Understand Why He’s Willing To Stand By Me

By: Katie Lersch: It’s very normal to be hard on yourself after you have cheated on your spouse. You know that you have make probably the biggest mistake of your life and you borderline hate yourself. Seeing the pain on your spouse’s face is like a dagger in your heart because you know that you alone are responsible for this.

At the same time, what you want most of all is to somehow make this up to your spouse, but your self loathing makes this extremely difficult. Because you see your spouse as someone who deserves much more than you can offer.

A spouse might explain it this way: “my husband is the best man imaginable. He is loyal, kind, sensitive, and sweet. I never thought that I could have a man like this. And recently, I took him for granted by cheating on him with a man who is the complete opposite. The other man is direct and insensitive – your typical bad boy. I am afraid it says something about my character that I chose someone who doesn’t hold a candle to my husband in terms of character. The truth is, I have never felt that I deserved my husband. I try to be a good person, but my nature is not like my husband’s. My husband is inherently good. I am not. I have to make an effort to be considerate. I have to try really hard to be polite. When my husband found out that I was cheating, in typical fashion, he told me that although he was hurt, he would stand by me. I am glad that he is not leaving me, but honestly, his loyalty almost makes things worse for me. It just keeps driving home the fact that I don’t deserve my husband and that I am not worthy of him. I want to be his wife. I want my marriage. But part of me feels like the right thing to do would be to let him go because he deserves so much better.”

Why Your Doubts Leave You Vulnerable: Before I get to the issue of whether or not you deserve your husband, I want to bring something very important to your attention. Low self esteem and not feeling good enough are two very big contributors to and precursors of cheating. I hear from countless people who have been unfaithful to spouses whom they adored in the middle of solid marriages because they did not feel worthy and were therefore participating in self sabotage.

If you take nothing else from this article, please understand that not addressing your feelings of worthlessness or of being undeserving may well leave you vulnerable to cheating again and may cause you to seek out partners who you think are “more like me” since you don’t think that you are as high a quality person as your spouse.

I think that before you can completely tackle the issues in your marriage, you are absolutely going to need to tackle the issues within your own mind – the feelings of worthlessness and of being “less than.” I can’t tell you that having an affair wasn’t a horrible thing to do, because you already know that.

The Here And The Now:  Rather than focusing on the past damage, I think it is best to now turn your attention to what you do in the here and the now. I am not sure that whether or not you deserve your husband is completely your call. It is his marriage too and if he wants it and feels that he is getting something out of it, do you really want to second guess him?

To me, a better strategy is to work on yourself, on your marriage, and on your internal dialog so that in a short period time, you can say with absolute certainty that you have become the wife that he deserves. To me, that is the best way to approach this.

Our views of ourselves can become self fulfilling prophesies. And yet, you have a man who is willing to stick it out with you, so I would strongly encourage you not to sabotage this with self loathing and hatred for yourself. Picking yourself up and doing the work to become as emotionally strong and having as much integrity of character as you possibly can will help give you the self confidence that you need to know that you bring something to your marriage also.

Are You Dragging Your Past Around With You?: Many of us drag baggage from our childhood into our marriage. I suspect that might be what is happening here. But, by doing this, you are making both your husband (and yourself) pay for something that happened a long time ago – something that I would be willing to bet wasn’t the fault of either of you.

Now, however, you are an adult. And you have the power to set down the baggage of your past. Starting today, you can begin to become the person that you want to be and the spouse that you want your husband to have. The first step in doing that is to give yourself a break. You made a mistake. But you are serious about fixing it. And part of that is no longer seeing yourself as not good enough.

Yes, you have issues to deal with. And yes, you have made a bit of a mess. But just the fact that you recognize the issues and want desperately to make them better tells me that you have a higher degree of integrity than you think. Because people who aren’t truly remorseful about infidelity and who don’t want to be better person would not be reading this article.

My husband struggled with feelings of inadequacy after his affair.  I really couldn’t help him with this very much because I was so angry.  Luckily, he took the initiative to address this himself.  And I think this drastically helped our outcome.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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