Tips For Maintaining A Positive Self Image After Your Husband Has An Affair

By: Katie Lersch: Honestly, it isn’t fair that the person who seems to struggle the most after someone is unfaithful is the very person who should suffer the least – the faithful spouse. Often, the faithful spouse took no unfortunate action. They did nothing wrong. And yet, after they learn about the affair, it is them who feels badly about themselves.

I can tell you first hand that even if you are normally a confident person who knows that you are reasonably attractive, observant, and intelligent, you may begin to doubt these things about yourself the second you find out that your spouse has been cheating on you. Frankly, you could be unquestionably beautiful and accomplished and still feel that you weren’t quite good enough to hold your spouse’s attention and keep him faithful.

I often hear from wonderful women who say things like: “I feel so hideously ugly, fat, old, and stupid after finding out that my husband has been cheating on me. The woman is younger and she clearly is only interested in his money. But I am less worried about her motivations and more worried about my husband’s. Honestly, I may not even want him anymore. But I worry that no one is going to want me now. I feel like I’m losing my looks and I wonder how I could have been so stupid as to have not seen the signs. I feel like I’m losing a step and my self esteem is plummeting. This is a vicious cycle because it makes me angry at myself and it makes me feel weak. How can I maintain my self image? I used to be so confident and I actually liked myself. But I can feel this slipping away from me. I am as angry at myself as I am at my husband.”

I know that this is hard. But you have to be very vigilant about taking care of yourself right now. Because this process is hard enough on you without you beating yourself up. If you get nothing else from this article, please get this. This is not your fault and it very likely has nothing to do with your shortcomings. It has to do with your husband’s shortcomings. It is not where you come up short. It is where your husband comes up short. If you think about it, nothing about you has changed. You look the same as you did before you found out the affair. You are every bit as intelligent as you were. Nothing at all has changed, really, except for your knowledge of the affair.

Think about it this way. How can you feel stupid if it was your husband who made the mistake? Maybe you didn’t see it, but that is because you expected the best out of the person you loved the most. How can you really fault yourself for that?

Let The Appropriate Person Take The Responsibility: After an affair, you have no choice but to eventually deal with the issues that come up. Eventually, you will decide what you want to do with your marriage. There will be practical matters to attend to. But you don’t have to personalize this process.

Make no mistake.  Women have a tendency to take the blame in MANY situations. If our child misbehaves or does something wrong, we believe that we weren’t a good enough mother. If our boss falls short in some way, we think that we were not a good enough employee.

You have to train yourself to reject this type of thinking. We do not need to take on every one else’s mistakes as our own. Sometimes, their mistake is exactly that. Theirs.

It can be appropriate to learn and evolve from any situation. But none of aftermath of the affair is your responsibility. It is your husband’s. Don’t take on his mistake as your own.

Shelter Yourself From This Storm: Right now, there is no such thing as being overly gentle and caring when dealing with yourself. If your sister was going through this, could you love her enough, reassure her enough, and build her up enough? No, you’d do everything in your power to tell her that she is beautiful, talented, and brilliant. Right now, you have to treat yourself exactly as you would if this were some girlfriend or family member who you love and are protective of.

Get An Additional Perspective And Cheerleader If You Need It: Sometimes, we are so close to this situation that it is very difficult for us to remain objective. If we tell ourselves that we are beautiful, we feel vain or as if we are lying or in denial. We can’t quiet those thoughts that say “well if you were truly beautiful inside and out, why did your husband cheat on you?” Never mind that he probably cheated because it was HIM and not us that he didn’t think was so beautiful.

Because it is so hard to see this objectively, there is nothing wrong with enlisting a third party to keep you on track. Sometimes, this will be a therapist or other times it will be a best friend or family member. Now, I think you have to be careful about choosing this person. If you think you may want to save your marriage eventually, you don’t want to choose someone who is going to give you their opinion on this every time you turn around. You want to choose someone who can separate themselves from the outcome and who can just focus on supporting YOU.

I think that in order to keep your self worth in tact, you have to make that a very high priority and goal. You always have to watch your self talk and check in with yourself. But honestly, you did nothing wrong. And there is no reason to let your opinion of yourself change because of someone else’s actions that have to do with their faults and not with yours.

Also, give yourself permission to do what you need to do to feel good.  I did embark on a self improvement kick after my husband’s affair.  But I did these things for me.  I addressed things that would give me confidence and I have never regretted it.  You can read more about my journey on my blog at

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