Recovering From an Affair – Be More Bitchy?

recovering from an affair - be more bitchyI have realized that neither Doug nor I were completely at fault for our marital mess. I really blame it all on stupidity.  We really didn’t know what each other needed.  I know that I didn’t take my marriage lightly as that is not my personality.  I always put 100% into everything I do whether it is my career, my appearance, home, family and most of all being a great wife. 

If I could have one thing in the world it would have been for Doug to love and admire me – especially while recovering from an affair.  I felt that I did everything to make that happen, but unfortunately at times I followed the wrong path, made mistakes and went about it the wrong way.

I picked up a book recently called “Why Men Love Bitches” by Sherry Argov.  I was intrigued by the title because I always thought that was the opposite of the way I tried to be (Doug may disagree).  I always tried to be the nice girl, accommodating and easy-going.  Basically someone my husband would want to be around. 

The book really opened my eyes.  The book didn’t recommend that you act like a bitch, but it talked more about not being a doormat. Rather, you should display confidence, power and integrity. 

Reading this book made me realize that I had become too nice, too predictable and too boring.  I was trying to do all the right things by making life easier for Doug.  Instead, I should have given Doug something to fight for instead.  It’s like I literally took away his manhood.

I am going to highlight two of the principles that hit home for me:

“Act like a prize and he will turn into a believer.” I am one of those women who have a hard time taking compliments. I also seem to highlight my flaws instead of my attributes.  Men love confident women who know what they want.  They don’t want someone who goes along with their every whim.

“Let him think he’s in control.” He’ll automatically start doing things you want done because he will always look like a “king” in your eyes.  “When a woman acts as though she’s capable of everything, she gets stuck doing everything”.  This hits home because another mistake I made was trying to do it all. 

I felt Doug would appreciate that I made his life easier.  The more I did the less Doug seemed to notice and the more upset and resentful I became.  Little by little I took responsibility for almost everything around the house because I wanted Doug to come home and feel relaxed and proud that he had a wife that was so efficient.  I learned that he didn’t want a wife that could do it all.  He wanted someone who would relax and spend time with him.

There are many principles in the book that provide a reminder about remaining a confident woman who puts herself first.  The book pertains more to the dating woman, but someone who is recovering from an affair can use the information so they do not become (or remain) a doormat in the future. 

I found myself doing many of the behaviors that I now know jeopardized my integrity and respect.   My behaviors displayed a person who was needy, powerless and  not confident.  I wonder if I would have acted differently when I found out about Doug’s affair if I knew then what I know now!

 

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13 Responses to Recovering From an Affair – Be More Bitchy?

  1. Jeffrey Murrah August 20, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Linda,

    That sounds like a great book. The importance of being active, rather than passive (dormant) can not be stressed too much. This is especially true in modern culture. Many tend to make the choice to suffer in quiet desperation rather than to speak out and take action.

  2. ruth August 20, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    I see myself trying way to hard to please my h. He is now retired and I still do everything. He dose nothing at all to help. He either golfs or goes to the casino everyday while I am at work. When I get home, I still do all the cooking, cleaning and try to make date night for us. I need to stop but I have been doing this so long I honestly dont know how or where to begin? I thought if he didnt have to worry about anything and I took care of everything he would be grateful instead of walking all over me . I then start thinking about it and I get very angry. I am looking for an answer how to stop being so giving and start taking a little. He told me the OW wasn”t smart as me, I think he likes that, that she depended on him for all her emtional needs, where as I figure things out myself. I have several girlfriends who are bitchy and their h wait on them, I could never figure that out. How do I change myself??

  3. Karen August 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    This is exactly what counselor told me when we had marital counseling 11 years ago after my H had his first EA with a college-aged girl, “You’ve got to stop doing everything for him and for everyone else!” I can attest that I changed right then and there, but somewhere got mixed up and lost respect/love for my H. So I became much more “bitchy” but didn’t ALSO meet any of his other needs as I went overboard too much the other way and was waiting for him to meet all of my needs as a new “bitchy” woman before I showed him any respect. I’m thinking he was confused as he kept asking me why did I have to change – he liked me better the other way. He became bitter and angry toward me and our kids. I think I just gave up for 10 years and kept a positive outlook until this latest EA (lasted 2 years) that I discovered in late May. Now after all the help from this site and reading, researching, etc., etc., we are FINALLY working on our marriage together (I hope). Still no forgiveness or trust, but using the tools I am/have learned, I finally feel like my husband is making an effort to understand my needs. Biggest regret is didn’t figure this out 10 years ago. One day at a time.

  4. Jennifer August 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Interesting. I will definitely look this one up. Though I doubt I’d find it at the local library. 😉 I have been told for most of my life that I am a ‘doormat.’ Its a hard habit to break though. I WANT to do things for people. It’s nice, right? Apparently, not always. My first lesson with this was my kids. They don’t learn things unless you let them do it themselves. Only recently (as I have been reading everything in sight) have I applied that lesson to my marriage. I don’t HAVE to do everything for him. I can’t MAKE him love me if he doesn’t. It’s okay to say ‘no’ to him. He shouldn’t love me less because of it. (And he may even love me more.) I never thought it would be HARD for me to relax, but it has been a challenge for me to step back. I take it one step at a time.

    • Linda August 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

      Jennifer, I thought it would be hard for me to relax because I was one to never sit down, but it has been fairly easy. I have learned to let things go around me and not jump into action and take over. I am definitely less angry and resentful and when I do things that are over and above the call of duty it is usually something that I really enjoy so there is a benefit to everyone.

      I enjoy doing things for people but with Doug I was doing them for the wrong reasons. I wanted him to admire and love me and I thought if I were super woman he would love me all the more. I should have figured out after 20 years it wasn’t working but I was too busy (being super woman) to see that. I know that my heart was in the right place I just wished someone would have clued me in to stop the nonsense, maybe I wouldn’t have been so exhausted.

      I also found another great book along the same lines but pertaining more to building commitment in relationships. I learned a lot about myself and hope to write about it next week. Linda

  5. our life as a doormat August 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    WE have been a doormat for our families for a long time. We have done for our families more than any of them would do for us. We have had many tradeoffs. But for the most part we have done more. And my wife the most.
    I think that led to and still leads to resentment on her part and a devaluation of me.
    One thing she told me early on after discovery, was that I never showed enough appreciation for her and all she does. I on the other hand have begged all along to not do so much. So we got to the point where I wouldn’t show appreciation for what I didn’t think she should be doing in the first place.
    It continues today, and I don’t want to think that she does so much just to keep her mind off of having to deal with what happened. And I know that when we lay down tonight she will fall asleep right away. Worn out from all that she feels she needs to do on a daily basis. Things that I could care less if they got done today or not. But she insist on occupying her time, all the time.
    None of that time is occupied with me. Yes she says she does these things for me and our family. But do I need the grass watered or do I need to be engaged in a meaningful conversation with my wife. I would rather enjoy my wife than have a green yard.
    Yes these things can wait. And yes they need to be done. But at what expense. What do we give up by doing everything.

  6. Jennifer August 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Ruth, have you read “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?” I know it is a little old by now, but I’m just getting around to it and there is a chapter about asking for what you want. It talks about asking him to do things he already does, but in a nice way. Using “would you” and “will you” instead of “can you” or “could you.” And also about how a woman does not need to give a reason why she is asking. If he wants to know, he’ll ask. It says too many times women feel they have to give reasons behind what they want to justify it. Men, don’t necessarily care WHY they just want to know they are needed. If we ASK for their help in a loving way, instead of demanding or assuming that they will or should do something, they are more giving and more apt to give the next time we ask. If you haven’t read it, do. I love it. It’s by John Gray. I also agree with Linda in recommending, The Divorce Remedy by Michele Weiner-Davis. And my personal favorite, Forgive for Love by Dr. Fred Luskin. 🙂

  7. Darleen December 11, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    I discovered another reason for not doing everything for my husband. He and I were trying to discover the reason for his affairs (he’s had two now). Finally I think we nailed it. Both women he was attracted to had problems in their lives and he listened and made him feel needed. I had always wanted to be “strong” so I’d be somebody he’s admire. Now I’ have gotten to the “can you help me?” and showing appreciate so that he feels needed. I feel appreciated because he’s helping with housework, etc. and listening to me when I have problems. He doesn’t have as much of a reason to look elsewhere because he realizes how much I need him. Being the “strong silent type” definately didn’t help my marriage. People need to be needed. I never realized how much my husband needed that to build his own esteem up.

  8. Lesli Doares May 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    I don’t particularly like the title of the book, especially because it implies that being confident in who you are, what you need and setting appropriate boundaries makes a woman a “bitch”. Gail Sheehy wrote a book several years ago-“The Seasoned Woman” about 50-60 year old women making this discovery and honoring themselves. My view is that everyone, man or woman, should honor their own feelings, wants and needs. Being a doormat is not attractive to men. They like a bit of a challenge. Most don’t ask their partner to do everything for them. If she does, they will assume it’s because she wants to and they will let her. This is why they get confused by the anger and resentment that eventually arises. The need to please needs to be balanced with the need to respect yourself. This balance can be tough but its the only one that works for either men or women.

  9. Rae Z November 20, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    This was a very interesting article. It does kind of suck to think that you could spend so many years taking care of your spouse (being a doormat) and in return, you become dull and boring to your spouse and hence, an excuse for your spouse to go out and have an affair. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? I guess that is a lesson many of us learn, life is not fair. Unfortunately, spouses who cheat are extremely selfish people. This article does give good advice, however, and its important to find the right balance.

  10. Brian January 17, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    This works both ways in that women also need “a challenge” because a man who is too accommodating runs the risk of being regarded as indifferent, boring, too nice, without passion, etc. I have been guilty of this but was not always. As my wife grew distant I tried to bridge the gap by trying to be a better husband, more loving and caring. It only made things worse. The “pursuer – distancer” dynamic is real and if the relationship is not a partnership in balance it causes problems. If one person in the relationship is doing everything, the other person doesn’t have to do anything… no passion in that.

  11. Notoverit January 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I think you are right Brian. I was the one who gave and gave while my H took and took. He didn’t have to do “anything” because I was right there, doing it before he even thought. Well, wake up call – EA. He chased the OW (though she wasn’t very hard to catch – it was her idea). So I finally reached the end of my rope and told him “DATE ME.” That left him with a big question – “How?” I told him to figure it out. He figured out how to hide texts, phone calls and meetings, so I know he has a brain. He needs to pursue me a bit. Maybe it isn’t in balance but I need to feel special too. I want him to see my worth. Guess it’s working because he is making the effort. We’ll see…

  12. Brian January 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Good for you! Sounds like you and your husband are at the same point as my wife and I. Remember: you are worth his effort. We need to remember that and be careful not to back slide. We’ll see… 🙂
    All the best. B

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