I Feel So Unsure After My Husband’s Affair

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s amazing how one event in your life can knock everything else out of kilter.  Something that has nothing whatsoever to do with your work or your friends can affect both.  Few things knock your world off its axis quite like your spouse having an affair.  Few things can make you doubt yourself, and your own place in the world, quite as much.  I hear from a lot of wives who express a great deal of uncertainty and doubt after their husband has been unfaithful.  This can feel like a double blow because you’re being punished for a mistake that YOU didn’t even make – but one that your husband did.

A wife might say: “although you wouldn’t know it to look at me today, I actually am usually quite self confident.  I’m usually very successful at my job and I feel at home in front of all sorts of people when I represent my business.  I’m a very prepared person and I typically always feel and appear confident.  I am the type of person who has always made pretty firm, quick, and clear decisions because I know who I am, what I stand for, and what I want.  I approach parenting and my children in the same way.  I rarely have questioned my parenting because frankly, I have good kids who listen and who thrive. They are kind, smart, and doing well in all areas.  On the outside, it would look like I have everything together.  But this just is not the case anymore, since my husband’s affair.  I am so unsure of myself and of my place in this world.   I am constantly in doubt about everything.  I saw myself as a woman who was somewhat in control of her life due to working hard and paying attention.  But now I realize that this notion is laughable.  I can do what I am supposed to do, but it is not just my decisions that impact my life.  This is very upsetting to me.  The other day, I got flustered during a work presentation and I even teared up a little.  When my boss asked me about it, I teared up again.  It was so embarrassing.  Now I’m starting to worry that all of my accomplishments were just a farce and were built on a house of cards.  I am filled with self doubt, and not just about my marriage.  My husband is spouting off all of these promises, but I do not believe any of them, really.  I doubt everything that he tells me, even though he seems sincere.  I worry about the impact that this will have on my children and then that makes me doubt my parenting, which I’ve never done before.  I doubt that my life was ever real and I hate that more than anything.  I hate that everything feels as if it has been turned upside down.  Will these doubts ever go away?”

In my experience, they will.  Here is one realization that might help — at least it helped me.  Ask yourself what really and truly changed on the day that you found out about the affair.  Likely, a few things have changed.  You learned that your husband had been cheating.  You learned that your marriage was going to undergo a serious challenge.  And you may have learned that your view of your husband and your marriage might be altered, at least for a while.

But notice that I didn’t mention your job, yourself, or your life outside of your marriage.  And the reason that I did not mention any of that was because none of that has changed.  You did not suddenly become incompetent at your job over night, although I know that it can feel that way.  You did not suddenly become an ineffective parent or socially awkward in the world outside of your home.  You have worked long and hard for your competence.  Do not relinquish it because of someone else’s actions.  It is yours.  Don’t allow any one to take it from you.

It is completely normal to feel somewhat shaky for a while after you find out that things aren’t what you thought in your marriage.  But place the focus where it should be – on your husband and on your marriage.  The rest of your life doesn’t need to be altered or diminished.  In fact, after my own husband’s affair, I did lean on other areas of my life for a while – so much so that the other areas became stronger and a source of solace for me.

It does take a while to regain your footing, so don’t be so hard on yourself.  But know that your husband’s actions should not mean that you lose your power or your strength.  You are exactly the same strong, competent, and successful person that you were before he decided to have an affair.  You did not make that decision.  You are not at fault.  So your strengths should still be your own and should still be in tact.  Make no apologies for focusing on your own self confidence and worth.  You have worked for it and you deserve to maintain it.

I also struggled in my self confidence and self esteem after my husband’s affair.  And one day it dawned on me that really, no one was going to fix this but me.  So I made it a goal to build myself up each and every day.  Believe it or not, this actually helped my marriage.  Because as my confidence grew, my doubts about all aspects of my life lessened.  This allowed my marriage the space to heal.  There’s more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

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