Why Do I Feel Like I Have To Impress My Husband After He Had An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who feel that their relationship has become a bit lopsided after their husband has cheated or had an affair. Many expected that their husband will try to make amends or to work hard to impress them with his sincerity and hard work. Instead, the wife feels that she has to impress him so that he won’t cheat again. This is painful. And confusing.

I might hear a comment like: “my husband had an affair with a mutual friend of ours. Actually, this woman used to be my friend alone. But after her divorce she started spending a lot of time at our home. And then she became friends with my husband also. I trusted both of them. Looking back, she started spending more and more time at our house when she knew that I had to take my kids somewhere. I should have seen the signs, but didn’t. As much as I hate her and what she has done to my family, I have to admit that this woman has it all. She is beautiful. She is funny. People are naturally drawn to her because she is so smart and quick witted. My husband has broken things off with her, but I feel as if I can’t compete. I don’t think that he’s seeing her anymore because I know that he feels guilty and I know that he wants to keep our family together. But I’ll bet he still thinks about her. And although we have just started counseling and my husband has committed to being faithful to me, I almost feel like I have to impress him. I feel like I’m auditioning for the role of the woman that he’s going to be faithful to. Because I feel like if I don’t, then he knows there are women like my friend available to him. He’s a good looking guy. Women notice him. I worry that because of this affair, I will always feel as if I am not good enough. I will always feel the need to impress or to risk him looking around again. I have tried to pay more attention to how I look. But honestly, this whole process makes me feel sad and anxious. And when I’m sad and anxious, I’m less attractive to him.”

I always feel so deeply for these wives because I have been one of them. The thing is, most of us are relatively fine with our confidence and self esteem before the affair. But after it, we struggle. We immediately begin to explore what was wrong with us and where we fell short. Here is the thing that you need to understand. Please write it down or print it out and post it where you will be reminded of it. You can be the most beautiful, alluring, intelligent, giving, and sexually adventurous wife and still have a man who cheats. Why? Because nine times out of ten, his cheating is because of a void within him – not because of a void within you or within your marriage.

He is trying to fill up his own empty well of confidence and peace. And he is mistaken in thinking that something new is going to be able to do this when he himself could not. Many men will eventually learn this painful lesson all on their own, but unfortunately, many have done damage to their marriages, their wives, and themselves when they finally learn this lesson. You need to understand this because once you do, you are going to be so much kinder to yourself and not beat yourself up for something that was never your fault to begin with.

I’d like to make one more point and I’m going to say it as kindly as I can. If you suspect that your anxiety and your wish to impress him makes you seem less attractive and confident, you might be right. There is nothing wrong with you, but your worrying that there is almost implies fault. Confidence is attractive and sexy. This wife was absolutely correct when she said that he should be the one trying to impress her.

Now, I do know that this is all easier said and done. It is just normal to want to improve your appearance and your body after something like this happens to you. And if this is going to improve your confidence level, then by all means do it. My rule of thumb was that I gave myself enthusiastic permission to change something about myself as long as I was doing it for myself and not for any one else. Improvements or changes that you make for yourself improve your confidence and lessen your anxiety. The opposite is true if you are doing it for him, though.

I believe that it is much more important to impress yourself right now. Because if you like what you see and who you are, then he is much more likely to like it also. And if he doesn’t, it truly is his loss because it means that something is lacking within him. Believe me when I say that I understand.  It took me a long time to realize that the only person I needed to impress was myself.  Once I did this, my husband naturally followed along.  And things improved dramatically after that. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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