There are many ways you can build your self-esteem after infidelity has occurred. It’s part mind-set and part action.

build your self-esteem after infidelity

By Sarah P.

There’s nothing like betrayal to throw your self-esteem for a loop. When your spouse betrays you, you are devastated. But, your devastation might pale in comparison to the hit that your self-esteem takes when this happens. 

Infidelity is the worst of the worst when it comes to damaging your self-esteem. Even though you know it’s not about you, there are still society’s messages directed at you.

Many people will whisper and wonder whether or not you were a good wife or husband  and if your spouse cheated because of your deficits not his/hers.

But, still this pales in comparison to the blow your self-esteem takes whenever you think of the other person. Thinking of the other person and how she/he was able to lure your spouse away down the rabbit hole really takes the cake in terms of self-esteem destroyers.

Feelings must be dealt with

It’s not rational, but most feelings are not rational. I would go as far as to say there are no wrong feelings, just wrong actions. Feelings should never be stuffed or suppressed—feelings are not wrong. So, it doesn’t matter if the feeling is rational or not—they need to be dealt with.

The Validity of Emotional Responses

Hurt feelings, feelings of rage, feelings of abandonment, frustration, lack of trust, and a myriad of others are valid to the person that feels them. Because these feelings are valid, they are worthy of being accepted and even examined. After all, feelings can serve as warning signs of what is to come and they can help you gauge where you are in the recovery process.

Navigating Betrayal and Personal Reactions

When your spouse has betrayed you, you are allowed to feel whatever you feel or need to feel. Don’t ever allow others to invalidate you by minimizing your feelings or making light of your feelings.

This is especially true for your spouse. Do not allow your spouse to invalidate you by making light of your feelings, by telling you to get over it, or by telling you he/she no longer wishes to hear how you feel.

I am Strong

Entitlement to Your Feelings

You are entitled to feel whatever you need to feel about the betrayal. It doesn’t matter if your spouse minimizes the betrayal and expects you to minimize it as well. You are entitled to feel.

For example, let’s say that your spouse kissed his/her coworker. Let’s imagine that you found out about the affair before the kiss turned into something else. Even though it was a passionate kiss, you are going to feel the sting of betrayal.

Of course, your husband or wife, being angry that he/she was found out, will try to minimize your feelings. If he/she sees you sulking over the fact that you were betrayed, he/she might just tell you that you need to get over it because, after all, it was just a kiss and therefore it was no big deal.

This could not be further from the truth. It does not matter if it was an emotional affair, a physical affair, or even just a passionate kiss on “one occasion.” All of these acts constitute a betrayal of marriage.

While some may argue that some acts were worse than others, they all say one thing: Houston, we have a problem.

It’s a problem that turns your life upside down, a problem that makes you doubt your reality, a problem that makes you wonder if anyone is trustworthy, and a problem that cuts to the very core of your sense of self. Your rational mind says it’s not about you, but your heart tells you that it might be about you.

The Impact of Infidelity on Self-Perception

If you start to believe the lie that you did something wrong, you can come up with one million different reasons as to how you might have failed. Suddenly, you wonder if you’re enough for your spouse or enough for anyone really.

These thoughts might linger just below your conscious thinking, but they still influence you profoundly. The place where they will influence you the most is in the area of your self-esteem (or lack of it).

Self-Esteem and External Influences

Unfortunately, self-esteem is not something that your spouse can give you, but it is something that he/she can take away from you, if only momentarily. The malaise is only compounded by the fact that we live in a look-ist and an ageist culture. If you watch TV or even glance at a magazine, it would seem that almost everyone fears the “O” word: old.

Some say that this is the main driver for the midlife crisis affair. For instance, a man does not want to be thought of as old (neither do women for that matter). Men fear of loss of virility and subsequent impotence.

Remember: impotence has two meanings: 1) loss of erection and 2) being in a state of powerlessness. Men are praised for their strength, youthful sexuality, and their inherent power. Getting older means that a man can lose all three of these things.

See also  Resources for Dealing with Abusive Relationships

This can induce a lot of fear in men and I really believe that it is the main driver behind the mid-life crisis. Getting a youthful partner has nothing to do with the wife, but has everything to do with the man’s paralyzing fear.

Reassessing the Fear of Aging

But, when a man does this, it induces a cascade of fears in a wife. A wife possibly fears that one day she might be thrown away because she is old and cannot compete with a younger mistress. Yet, no one escapes the hands of time.

So, should we really be afraid of getting old?

Aging is no more than a biological process. Fear of growing old is simply a symbol for deeper fears. Women fear being abandoned due to old age and men fear losing power. Nonetheless, aging is not the problem. The problem lies in how we perceive getting older.

Now, I want to circle back and talk about how this relates to self-esteem…

You Create

We must do a great deal of re-framing. First of all, there is the old adage that beauty is as beauty does. You were the one who remained loyal to your marriage, held up the family in times of crises, lived your life as an honorable man or woman, and remained a good husband or wife. That is beautiful!

The True Essence of Beauty

If you are a woman, you have given birth to lovely children and your body shows all of the love that you have given. Your body is a testament to your ability to give life to another, to sustain life through actions such as breastfeeding, and it’s just pure magic, really.

You are the repository and the creator of new life and the one who has responsibly raised the next-generation. You are beautiful precisely because you are a wife and mom (and maybe because you are a grandma too!)

Defining Beauty Through Actions

Whether man or woman, the truth is that age and experience define all that is beautiful. How we live our lives well defines beauty. Kindness to others defines beauty.

In it’s pure essence, beauty is internal and it can be seen in the soul, which shines through your eyes. Beauty is something that you do on a daily basis and beauty is shown through your actions.

The Contrast of Betrayal

In fact, your spouse’s betrayal should stand in stark contrast to all that you are and all that you stand for. You were the one who kept constant integrity. That’s beautiful. You were the one who took the high road and chose to be a good wife/husband and mother/father. That’s beautiful. You live a life where you do not hurt others. That’s beautiful.

Contrast that to the other person. It doesn’t matter what her/his exterior might look like, I can guarantee that she/he is an ugly human being. She/he is a wretched creature who chose to disrupt the beauty of the family and the sanctity of marriage. That’s ugly. She/he chose to lie, to be selfish, to pursue something that went about shattering lives in secret. That’s pure ugliness.


Inner Beauty vs. Outer Appearance

Most likely, she/he tried to get your spouse to leave you and your family. She/he is the most ugly person in the world because of that. And, even if she/he happens to have a sliver of the kind of external beauty that the world often admires, soon she/he will be ugly on the outside as well.  

Beauty is something that can only be cultivated from within. Do not allow yourself to think for one instant that you are less than beautiful. Do not allow negative thoughts to fool you into believing that you are less than.

In reality, you are more than because you gave more love, more kindness, and acted with more integrity. You will always be more than – and the other person will always be less than.

But, you are beautiful because of all of the right things that you did do and the bad things that you did not do.

I dedicate this video to all of you because you are wonderful just as you are:

Build Your Self-Esteem after Infidelity

Self-Esteem isn’t everything; it’s just that there is nothing without it.”

~Gloria Steinham

Now, let’s dive in to the practical steps you can take to build your self-esteem. I have come up with a list of ten things that can help.

  1. Put a gag on your inner critic

Amy Morin at Forbes notes, “The private conversations you have with yourself can be either a powerful stepping stone or a major obstacle to reaching ‘goals.  If your inner monologue repeats things like, ‘I’m going to embarrass myself,’ or ‘No one is going to talk to me,’ as you walk you into a cocktail party, you probably won’t appear relaxed and approachable. Or, if you’re thinking, ‘I’m never going to get this job, in the middle of an interview, you’ll struggle to present yourself in a confident manner.

See also  I’m Finished Competing With The Emotional Affair

Often, those negative predictions can quickly turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your thoughts greatly influence how you feel and behave which can cause negative self-talk to become downright self-destructive. Telling yourself that you’ll never be successful or that you aren’t as good as other people, will reduce your feelings of self-worth and deter you from facing your fears.” (1)

Anytime the inner critic makes you believe un-truths about yourself, the inner critic wins. Anytime the inner critic tells you that you are not enough, put a gag on the inner critic!

The inner critic rarely gives any kind of worthwhile feedback. Worthwhile feedback comes from insight. The inner critic is just there to make you feel small. So it’s time to put a gag on the inner critic and show him the door.

2. Don’t compare yourself to people that you think are “better” in some way

Our world seems to be a competition of the haves and have not’s and this is all measured based on material wealth, external beauty, or circumstances. We cannot use material items or situations as a way to gauge whether or not we have a decent life.

We certainly cannot base happiness on these things. Why? Well, because in the long run they don’t have the ability to satisfy. Also, they are fleeting and can be taken away at any time. The way to have self-esteem is to be a person of value by being kind and having iron clad integrity.

3. Spend time with supportive friends and family members. Banish the Debbie or Dan Downers.

Sometimes we have friends who try to bring us down. People who do that are usually fearful and insecure. Sometimes, their energy can be like a black hole. It is best to avoid these people because you have enough on your plate.

But when it comes to affair recovery, it is best to avoid people who want to focus on the negative and want you to do what they think you should do.

Some people lose friends after their spouse has had an affair. The reason they lose friends is because some of their friends think they should have left their spouse instead of staying and working it through. These are the Debbie or Dan Downers.

You are the one who must live your life and live with your decisions. It’s always easy for someone to tell you what to do if they don’t have to live with the decision.

4. Check your need to be perfect at the door

Perfection can become a kind of unhealthy obsession. Merissa Bury notes, “This idea of perfection — no flaws, no issues, no problems — seems to infiltrate all our lives at one time or another. And like the yearning for perfection in the workplace, we also yearn for perfection in other aspects of our lives, whether it is a perfect family, perfect spouse, perfect job, or some other kind of perfect life situation. And living in a society that embraces achievement, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel compelled to meet such high standards in their lives.” (2)

But, perfection is going to drive you crazy.

The way I look at it, each of us needs to prioritize things in our life via importance. When I evaluate what is important, I use the “death bed” test. I ask myself “when I am 95-years-old and on my deathbed, will this matter?” When seen in that light, priorities come into focus really quickly.

Spending time with children and grandchildren trumps having a clean house. Spending less time at a dead-end job trumps working yourself to death to climb an invisible corporate ladder.  Telling your spouse “I love you” more often seems reasonable. Letting go of the small things seems prudent.

5. Focus on the things you can change in your life (in your purview)

What can you change? You can change yourself. You cannot change someone else, no matter how hard you try. Many of us try to alter others through our own behavior. That is kind of like trying to whip up a windstorm by blowing hard into the air on a calm, sunny day. It just won’t work. The only person that you can change is YOU.

6. Exercise and eat healthy food (fish oil, vitamins)

Study after study has demonstrated that exercise and fish oil has anti-depressant effects. Anything that adds an anti-depressant effect is good for your self-esteem. When your body and mind feels good, YOU feel good too.

The Omega 3’s in fish oil have the ability to improve mood, even out mood swings, ease the pain of arthritis, contribute to heart health, lower blood pressure, and even make the mind sharp. Now, that is good news.

7. Learn something new

This is about self-mastery and self-mastery builds self-esteem. So, go ahead and pursue that thing that you have always wanted to learn and give yourself enough time to get good at it.

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I have a friend who is in her late 70’s. She has a Master’s in Education but has always wanted to pursue a PhD. She was bemoaning the fact that she would never be able to get a PhD because she is “too old.” I told her that was nonsense. Her mind is sharp, her body is in great shape and she has the stamina of most 50-year-olds. She has the money and time to pursue another degree. The only thing that is stopping her is her self-perception. Don’t allow your self-perception to hold you back.

8. Volunteer

This one is straightforward. When you are doing good to others, you feel good.  Therefore, volunteering can lead to better mental health:

“Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. Volunteering can help you reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving of yourself to others in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.” (3)

9. Own it (own who you are not who others think you should be)

It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you have. Just own it. Own whatever you are good at.

Own the beauty that God gave you instead of wishing you looked like someone else. And own the fact that you have been through infidelity and own the fact that you are okay and everything will be okay.

Hold your head high because infidelity does not define you and it does not have to define your marriage either. There were still the good times, there was growth, there was family, there was love, laughter, anger, happiness, tears, fears, worry, and everything else. Own it all.

10. Let go of should’s

Stop should-ing on yourself!

In a Huffington Post article, author Melody Pourmoradi says, “If you learn that you are in fact doing what someone else is expecting of you and not what you want or feel is in line with your highest good, challenge the thought and make a conscious decision that is in line with YOUR personal values. A good question to ask yourself would be “What is my reason for taking this action?” or “Is this decision in my best interest or in the best interest of someone else? This awareness is key so that you can understand what the motivation truly is behind your actions.” (4)

One of the biggest traps we can fall into is the trap of “should.” I should do… fill in the blank or I should not do… fill in the blank. Sometimes a should can be good, but most of the time it can lead us down the wrong path.

For example, ‘good shoulds’ are ones that remind you to keep your integrity. But, most other ‘shoulds’ come from a bad place. For example, “I should be more attractive” or “I should have a new car like my neighbor” or “I should allow someone else to control my life” are all ‘bad should’s.’


In summary, there is a lot to celebrate—most of all it is cause for celebration that there are many avenues through which you can build your self-esteem after infidelity has occurred. Part of this involves your mind-set and part of it involves action.

I tend to think that challenges in life are a good thing because each challenge invites is to learn something essential and to become a better version of ourselves.

Going through infidelity is the ultimate teacher in terms of marriage. It shines a light into our marriage, into our spouse, and even into our own minds. We can learn from it and we can use it to become stronger than before. So, embrace the change.

How has your week been? Please let us know in the comment section below.

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Morin, Amy. Taming Your Inner Critic: 7 Steps To Silencing The Negativity. From

Bury, Merissa. How Our Obsessions with Perfections Makes Us So Imperfect. From 

Volunteering and It’s Surprising Benefits. From

Pourmoradi, Melody. Time to Stop All the Should-ing. From




    33 replies to "10 Things that Can Help Build Your Self-Esteem Post D-day"

    • Shifting Impressions

      Sarah, your description of what one goes through upon discovering infidelity is spot on. It has been over 21/2 years but I can bring up the emotions of that day in a heartbeat. It definitely has the power to rob one of their self-esteem.

      Several months after d-day I asked my oldest son (he was 39 at the time and unaware of what happened) Was I overly critical all those years??? His loving words soothed my soul….He said “Mom, it’s your voice I hear in my head…saying “You can do it.” It’s your encouragement that still pulls me through.”

      Just reading of what one goes through brings me to tears…but I AM STILL STANDING!!! I remind myself that he made himself “Less Than” not the other way around.

      • Rachel

        Ther ya go shifting sands!!!!!

    • Sarah P

      Hi Shifting Impressions,
      My D-Day was mid-January, 2002, and the trauma that followed has been burned into my mind. The trauma forever changed me as a person. The way he handled it was really the worst way anyone could handle it and I will never forget it. What he did though caused so much of a rift that the relationship was beyond repair. When he did try to come back, he pretended that there was no other woman even though he had moved her into our mutually-owned home by that time. I have been there, done that, and even though I married someone else and had children with my current husband, the fear of adultery is still there and the self-doubt creeps in from time to time. There are things that no one gets over it instead learns to live with. That experience forever changed me and I have spent all of my years trying to recover myself piece by piece. I don’t think everyone has it as bad as I do in terms of trauma. A lot of the trauma was how my ex dealt with it. He never admitted to having the other woman even though I had proof and about 20 witnesses who had seen them and out and about telling everyone they were engaged. (And all of that happened a week within him asking me to leave our mutually owned home and refusing to discuss it or to tell me why.) His ego was so huge that he would have lost whatever sense of power he had if he had admitted the truth to my face. And so he didn’t and instead chose to play some of the most vicious mind games I had ever experienced in my life. All of this just a little while before we were to be married. After I wouldn’t take him back, he married the other woman and had kids with her. I had a retraining order and so he was never allowed to communicate with me after I had had enough. Mutual friends have said she has ruined him as a person and brought him to his knees. It has not turned out well for him since she is a sociopath. (I have no question in my mind that she is a sociopath.) I have never told my whole story here and maybe one day I will blog about it. I live the self-esteem hit everyday and it is a process of getting over it. My dad and mom say that I have not yet fully recovered myself and I have a long way to go. Thankfully my husband loves me and is patient.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sarah. By hank you for sharing. I understand how these horrible events stay with you forever.

        I fear my son who just graduated HS will be permanently scarred from his HS GF

        Narcissistic psycho drama queen who purposely did the most horrible things to my son. She humiliated him all senior year – cheating lying stealing his possessions.

        I just hope he can recover from it. But he did tell me he only trusts 2people right now (friends).

        • Sarah P

          Hi TheFirstWife,

          I am so sorry that your son had to go through this. I really hope that he can use this experience to learn how to recognize GOOD women and to choose them in the future. Good women do exist but boys and men need to learn how to recognize them. Hope that he recovers. I am glad that he is able to talk to you about it. That’s a big deal.

      • Sam

        Sarah P –
        That OW sounds like a nasty piece of work, and sounds like he’s had his dose of Karma! 😀

        • Sarah P.

          From what I hear, she was and is a really scary person. I am not sure how much karma she has gotten. But, I have heard he has gotten several lifetimes of karma after marrying her. Mutual friends sometimes see them together and report back time how miserable he is. She has shut him down as a person. One of his dreams was to get published and he had a blog where he would post his poems. I noticed he had put up some poems about me and how much regret he felt. His entire writing blog was taken down and has never returned. I hear from friends that he is a shell of a person and unrecognizable now. He wasn’t smart enough to figure out that if she asked him to do ruthless things to me during the break up, she would one day turn the ruthlessness on him. Too bad, so sad! (Smirk)

          I have been told she is the opposite of me in every way. When we were together he and I edited each other’s poetry and manuscripts. I supported him 100% and cheered him on. I think the affair fog probably explains everything and she knew she had to act quickly and get him while in the fog. And she did. She won and he lost himself. That’s a pretty steep price to pay if you ask me. I could never be married to someone who didn’t under my dreams or goals or try to help with them. My husband and I are each other’s cheerleaders and advisors. I have his back.

          What is your dad up to? I bet that your dad will wake up one day and hopefully it’s not too late. Regret and not being able to make peace with the harm he has caused is such a bad thing that it can eat people like him alive.

    • Sarah P

      PS Shifting,
      NEVER give up STANDING and remember it was never about you.

    • Rachel

      I often have to read a quote that I find helps me on those bad days.

      If someone treats you badly, just remember that there is something wrong with them, not you.
      Normal people don’t go around destroying other human beings.

      This life is tough. Good days bad day, just one foot in front of each other.
      I hope you all are well!

      • Strengthrequired

        Rachel, I met an elderly woman last night, she was a sweet old lady. She has had some sad times in her life. We were out and she sat next to me, and just started talking to me about her life. What she kept saying to me over and over was, be happy every day. Do things that make you happy, life is too short, we all waiting for our time to be up.
        I don’t think I had anything tattooed to my head saying, I’ve had some Sh!t times in my life, lol. I think she just wanted someone to talk to me, and took a liking to me. We talked for over an hour, well I listened a lot to what she had to talk about. I really do think she needed that ear. Anyhow, she said she lives her life with a smile on her face everyday. Even through bad /hard times.
        I’m thinking maybe it was the universe or some sort of divine intervention that this lady started talking to me, reminding me to keep the smile on my face, which I have been working on a lot for a while now, and i know it has helped so much. It’s not like I was looking depressed and sad, lol, it was more that I was nice to her, that she decided to stay and talk.
        It doesn’t hurt remembering that life is too short to be sad.
        It’s been good to see you around here, hope all is well with you and your boys. That includes your not so new man…. Lol

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Strength,
          Angels come in many forms and it seems to me that God might have sent one your way.

          • Strengthrequired

            Sarah, she was out with her son, he wanted to take her out for a while. Not sure if she was an angel, lol, but you know sometimes angels can speak through the words of others. I did feel so sorry for her, apparently she goes to where we were all the time, several times a week, I am just not sure I have noticed her before, because we are regular too, yet you know how sometimes, someone tells you something sad, and you just don’t know what to say, anymore except, I’m sorry for what you and your family have gone through, yet listening seems to help them more than words can ever help.
            So I am hoping that I gave some sort of comfort to her, just by listening.

        • Sarah P.

          I do believe that you met an angel speaking through someone and perhaps by being there to speak with her at the right time you were her angel too. I have witnessed several events where there is no doubt an Angel is working through another person or sometimes even through myself. I had an experience a several of years ago where I have no doubt in my mind that either God or some kind of angelic force arranged a situation. I had a mystery disease where I would land in the ER frequently but no one knew what was going on. Couple of months prior to that, I had ordered some things online and someone had sent me a solid silver angel wing with zirconia accents. They sent me the angel wing on accident and so I called the company and asked if I could send it back. They told me that it was not a big deal and to keep it. Showed it to several female friends to see if they wanted it and none of them wanted it. So, I kept the angel wing in a pocket in my purse and promptly forgot about it. A couple of months later I got sick with the mystery disease and I asked my husband to take me to a hospital that was about 45 minutes away because of insurance. I did not have to go there but it was easier for insurance purposes I needed to be admitted. Low and behold, the ER doctor night was a specialist in a rare genetic condition and he told me that all of my symptoms pointed to that. He ran all the tests and found and diagnose that genetic condition. Also gave me invaluable in formation about how to care for the disease in the long term and what I can do to prevent flareups. Well, I was not done yet and since the ER with full they came in and pulled a curtain in my room and they admitted another patient to share the room with me. I could not see her but I could hear her gut wrenching story on how she had tried to commit suicide minutes before. Your mother Her mother, who was also the woman’s best friend died a year prior on that day. She explained that every day without her mother was painful and she felt extremely alone. She told the doctors and nurses that she just wanted a sign that her mom was OK on the other side. Instead of the nurses acting empathetic, they badgered her about her lack of insurance. At that point I could feel the angel wearing burning a hole in my purse. (Not literally but figuratively.) When it was time to leave, she was surrounded by about six doctors and nurses and they were all badgering her about being such a bad girl because she tried to kill herself. I took the angel wing, held it up, and walked toward her and simply said, “I am sorry to disturb you but I believe this angel wing is for you.” She burst into tears. She said that the secret sign that she and her mom agreed upon was the angel wing. She said, “thank you. That is what I needed and I will never harm myself again.” Time stood still and everyone was speechless. My husband and I left and he was silent for the whole way home. Finally, when we got home he said he realized that I just witnessed a miracle, but, since he is scientifically-minded he was trying to find an explanation for what he saw. He believed it was a miracle and had no explanation for it.

          That is precisely how God and angels work through people.

          • Strengthrequired

            Sarah, that was beautiful. I do believe angels speak through others. I have been reading a lot about communicating with angels etc. I remember speaking to several psychics many years ago, and if you can believe each one told me that I am a healer. I didn’t Thi k much of it the first time, but after about the fourth time each time a different psychic, getting told I am a healer, I wonder what type of healer. Lol.
            I saw one pyschic one day, and she told me that my mum had given me some jewellery which was hers, my grandmothers. It was strange because I had pulled up a tarot card, with a heart with two hands holding it. When she mentioned that about the jewellery, I told the lady that, the ring I was given when my grandmother died, was the exact same as the picture on the tarot card. I even sent her a picture of the ring once I got home. She had even mentioned that my grandmother was holding my little boy. So she was there with my baby.
            Another one had told me how my husband had bought me some jewellery when he was on holiday. She said to me that my twin boys had led him to that piece of jewellery. I had a look at the jewellery my husband had bought me afterwards, and I never realised until then that the necklace had a giant M for mum, on it. She also said to me that they like to play around the house and move things, it is their game with us, and honestly there is always something going missing, then mysteriously showing up. They apparently also didn’t like my kitchen, lol. They didn’t like how their daddy changed the kitchen. I too don’t like it, because of the round sinks, lol.
            Anyway, I do believe in angels working through others, and I think the elderly lady and myself, did get something out of our conversation, something that helped us.
            Just like you and this poor lady, what a lovely thing you did. We all look out for those signs, and you gave her, her sign. You were meant to meet each other.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Strength,
              Maybe the psychics know something that you don’t about your life path. Next time ask them what type of healer you are supposed to be. Or, look at your life and look for patterns of serendipitous situations where you offered help. Maybe you are a strong empath. If that is the case, all empaths are healers but have to learn how to not soak in the risidual energy around them. It can be toxic and I know from experience.

              It’s never to late to explore opportunities that would involve you being a healer.

            • Strengthrequired

              Sarah, they say many healers go through hard times, before finding out that they are supposed to be a healer, that being a healer is their life’s path. Honestly if that is true, I do not wish to expererience any more hard times, nolonger do I wish to feel depression etc. So if healing is my life’s path, then I hope it shows itself to me in a different way, like in a dream. Lol. Show me in my dream, helping others in some form or another, so I know.
              I don’t like being around crowds, prefer my own company, the noise etc, just drains me. Solitude seems so peaceful to me.
              I do feel I am empathic. I have seen things that are unexplainable to many, I have also dreamt some future events that happened the very next day,, not exactly the same people, but different people, to me finding out about it up to a week later. Each time, I had told my ch prior to it happening, each time he just shakes his head in disbelief. Lol. I was thinking one day I will see another psychic, just for fun, to see if they say anything about it again. Lol

          • Tanya D

            Sarah P.
            I couldn’t agree with more! When I saw your post it and the previous article it brought tears to my eyes. In 2011 , after nearly twenty years of marriage and 30 together with my H we were torn apart by infidelity. To say that I felt like I was in hell on earth is an understatement. We had succumbed to the usual things that lead to a broken marriage…children, high stress careers, growing up in alcoholic homes ,and mid life crisis, Its been 2 years since the nearly 3 yr affair ended. I wonder sometimes if I suffer from PTSD. The OW was my daughters 5th grade teacher, she was with my H in my bed, in my solely owned flower shop, and countless other places she revealed when I asked her to stop lying and prove she was having an affair with him. She was more than happy to provide every detail of my home and business and children. That was D day one. I was in such denial , there were more…each time I “believed” he ended it. The second we were taking a cruise to celebrate what I thought was a new beginning and she texted me all of their explicit messages and details they had shared so I would have them as soon as I arrived 1000 miles away from home. And the third and final time my children were home – I could no longer cover for him. I believe this was what finally helped him see all that he was throwing away.
            Ive always had low self esteem and this crushed the shred I had. Also, the opposite of me, a slim, outwardly beautiful (ty for putting that into perspective),athletic, funny, who had all the same interests as my H (she would have feigned any interest if she thought it would lure him closer)
            After the final discovery we decided to reconcile. Weve worked hard to rebuild our lives and love for each other. Weve done some sweeping under rugs but, there is definitely more good than bad in our marriage and the fog has finally lifted.
            There is not a day though,still, that the images, words, fear of seeing her in public, thoughts of confronting her don’t replay in my mind..there are so many triggers I wonder if I will ever heal.
            With that said I wanted to thank you for your insight. During those few years and now I had numbers which repeated in odd, random places, (11,23,47) so often that I looked up what it could mean. It led me to angel numbers! I truly believe we had God and Angels on our side helping us find our way. Sending me messages of hope and reassurance that I was worthy. By the way you had 23 replies when I sent this msg!
            I am printing the article as a daily reminder ….for today its what I needed to move forward. Thank you.

            • TheFirstWife

              Tanya. I am so sorry for you. And yes I do believe you suffered/suffer from PTSD.

              I know I did. I was seriously concerned for a long time my H was leaving (which he had one foot out the door for almost a year) me and kids with no $.

              Very stressful.

              Now I have a plan B in place. It is my anti-PTSD safety net. Financial, insurance, house, car – all of it. I bought a new car recently with my own $ in my name. I own all the insurance policies so he cannot change beneficiaries. I will inherit when he dies even if we are not married. I have always controlled all the finances so I have control of it all.

              Also to your point I love how the OW gets angry when dumped and then is so willing to share emails & photos of the affair. I had the same thing happen to me. OW finally realized it was OVER and sent me hundreds of emails.

              I am glad she did b/c immediately after I confronted him about affair he was “being honest about everything”. Turns out hecwas still lying to cover his own butt. Had she not sent me the emails I would have continued believing him.

              We argued for 9 months over whether he loved her. He said no but I saw it in emails where he said it. I almost divorced him over that continued denial and lying.

              So I feel we, the BS, are victimized multiple times by both our CS and the AP or OM/OW.

              I am sorry you suffered this injustice. I had a wonderful therapist who I saw for 2-3 years. My H refused counseling or couples counseling because “we did not need it”. now three years later he wants to go to couples counseling.

              In my mind I am good with him or without him. Strong, confident, happy, good life, good church, successful, good friends, I volunteer for a number of things – all lead to a good path to be on. he can be with me or not.

              It is no longer the most important thing in life. I am the most important thing in my life and my children.

              When I got my power or mojo back I started to turn things around for me. I love my H and treat him well – despite everything- but if it ended tomorrow I would be sad and upset but not crushed or devastated. Far cry from where I was 3 years ago.

            • Tanya D

              I appreciate your reply so much?. Initially I saw a therapist who was incredibly helpful. But , I do not hold insurance bc of my job. And it was getting too expensive to continue. Alanon was very helpful too. But I stopped going as things improved between is. Besides it was everyone else who needed fixing not my self (hahaha)! My H went reluctantly a few times. It was fruitless at the time bc he wasnt ready to end the affair. He saw someone on his own for 2 months .We did not do couples therapy. But he has chosen a straight path finding his way from other resources like working (nonstop) and financial advisors (dave ramsey) -not what i thought would help but…I had to trust it was working when I saw the positive results.
              I find myself continuing to look over my shoulder …(what if I run into her), I compare my everchanging , over 40 overweight body to hers, and as i said the thoughts continue to run amuck in my head! I think this sight will be helpful in relieving some of that. Jist knowing im not alone and someone else has had similar feelings helps trmendously.
              Your strength is inspiring and a reminder that I can put myself in a more empowering position. I will remember I do not have to be a victim. Time to work on me 🙂

            • Strengthrequired

              Tanya D, I am not as thin as my ch ow either, those thoughts of comparing myself to her make myself sick. She may be thin, she may think she is beautiful, but her ugliness came out when she tried to break my marriage, my family, fully knowing that he was married with young children. Her ugliness shined through every time she kept her claws in my ch and wouldn’t leave him alone to sort his life out with his wife.
              when I compare myself to her, I then make sure I remember, beauty is skin deep, it is what is inside that counts. If you are beautiful on the inside, it will shine through to the outside, if you are ugly on the inside, it too will shine on the outside.
              Hugs to you, I know exactly how you feel.

            • Tina

              Hi the first wife,

              First, I’m sorry for what you have gone through but omg you are my hero – I love your plan B! I am trying to heal and make a new life for myself after my ch. We have been married over 20 years with two children.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Tanya D.,

              Thank you for sharing your story with me. It makes a difference to me to know that my writing has helped you in some way. It is always my intention to reach someone out there who needs to move forward. I am honored that you are printing out the article because that is the best gift I could receive and why I contribute to this blog.

              I am really sorry about your story. The OW that you describe is exactly what I had in mind. Even if a woman is exceptionally beautiful (by the media’s narrow standards) it does not matter, if she is ugly on the inside. Ultimately it is the character, the honor, and the integrity of the person that counts. It sounds like the OW was the opposite of all of that. I cannot understand why a 5th grade teacher would want to break up a family. Maybe I am naive but I like to think the best of people go into teaching. Teachers know first hand what a family goes through when there is a divorce. Shame on her. Is she still a teacher? If so, other parents need to be warned. If she is trawling the parent population for dates, that needs to stop.

              I am so sorry about the pain you have been through and sorry that it almost broke up your marriage. I have often wondered what life would look like if who a person is on the inside determined their external appearance. Then, one could tell a person’s character by their physical appearance. That sounds like justice would be served if that were the case, but life doesn’t work that way. I

              I am so glad that you did not give up and that you are coming out the other side. I hope that you rarely see the OW and that she is no longer a factor in your lives. I hope that your husband has a plan to avoid her.

              I would love to hear more of your story and how you came out of it.

              Many blessings to you!!!!

        • Rachel

          Thank you strength! It’s amazing the people that enter our lives. For a reason I do believe.
          Yes the smile does help. Plastered on sometimes.
          I’ve even heard you’ve never looked so good! Stress and unhappiness does wear on our face.
          Have a good day all!!?

    • Sam

      I was reading an article on here about “affair fog” and “the affair fog lifting”… How long does it typically take for the ‘Affair Fog’ to typically lift?!? and when it happens what typically happens to the Cheater? Do they have some sort of mental/nervous breakdown? Do they typically become dismissive of the Affair Partner? Can they become abusive?

      • Hopeful

        From what it seems like it is different for everyone. I think each case has similarities but also differences. For my husband once I confronted him he told me as little as he could since he thought it would be easier for both of us. He is in the mental health field so it is crazy he did not come clean to me but I guess he felt this was best at the time. It made it way worse for both of us. I just could not make sense of it all so I kept pushing. That led to a dday 2 five months later and another detailed discussion after that. He was not very open but I wrote him a letter explaining how he was making me feel. It was such a low point for me. I just had this feeling he was not being open. And to be clear I never asked for exact details. He had two affairs overlapping over 10 years, online relationships, on fb, secret emails, porn issues. So there was no way he could give me exact issues. But I wanted to understand what these all meant and entailed. I wanted to know how and when he communicated with these women. How these relationships ended. For us I think we progressed quickly since the one affair he had ended over a year before dday and had not talked to her for a year. The other one was sporadic emails and he told her once to stop and leave him alone and he did not hear back from her again. From what I have read if the affair is still going on it can take a lot longer and be a different experience.

        For us I will say my husband’s perspective evolved over time. When he told me he had no idea how i would react and was not sure if he could be the husband that he felt i deserved. Yes some of this was self preservation on his part but it fed into his mentality. I basically asked if he would try his hardest and at least commit to that. I knew early on I wanted to try my hardest and really in the beginning it was just for the kids. But I know myself and knew i wanted to give it my all. So that is what I asked of him too. It was hard and it took him a long time. After about 8-9 months things started to improve and move forward. At a year I really was feeling better about me and us. At this time is when I really felt like he started to focus on himself. I honestly thought he was fine since he knew what he did all along, had ended the affairs before dday 1 etc. But I could not have been more wrong. He was trying so hard to make me happy and help me through the recovery he never focused on himself. It is really hard for him to face and deal with the shame still 17 months later. But we are still working at it.

        As far as dismissive I can totally see that. It is easier to be that way than face what they have done. And I think they can be at risk for mental or nervous breakdown. If they have any sense of what they have done it is the lowest thing anyone can do to someone they thought was their most trusted person in life. It is a terrible thing to do and most people get it. My young kids get it even. This is not a hard concept. As far as abuse I am sure anything can happen and is possible. All I know is my therapist told me the first session if I felt any threat of abuse we needed to talk about getting me to a safe place/situation. Granted I think the gasslighting and years of affairs constitutes mental abuse but we are working through that.

        • Sam

          When my dad came back I also caught him looking at porn (he’s 55, pathetic really)… I really do think he has had a nerveous breakdown and/or midlife crisis…. started dressing younger for his age. He is now back with the OW after walking out with her, without telling her where he was going (going to another city), and didn’t go back to her for two months…. She sent him childish texts, calling him “a spineless bastard”. He went back to her and has been with her for almost six months now, and appears to be totally unhappy. His friend who he works with says that HE will NOT talk about the OW or her family, basically stonewalling her…. and his friend says he’s become a total bore and boring to be around (when his friend is NOT exactly the most bubblely of people himself).

          My father said he left me, my brother and mother because he was “bored”, and “the OW gave him some attention”…. However now I think the OW lives with insecurity, because he lies about ‘little lies’, and she knows that he could easily cheat/have another affair and leave her for another woman in the future. She apparently checks his online phone records, checking to see if he is speaking to other ‘younger’ women… He is a self-employed gardener with many young female customers; so god only knows how she is coping with her insecurity with that.

          • Hopeful

            All I can say is over time I have realized the cheaters are the ones with the issues and problems. And we cannot change them. My husband has told me the only mistake I made was not demanding that he leaves or leaving him. It was all his issues and his terrible decisions and he has no one to blame but himself. I think one hard thing when you are trying to work it out is the what-ifs of is it worth it to work it out or would it be better to cut ties and move forward. No path is easy.

            As far as pornography goes I see it as all related. I am not sure if it is in every case. My husband at first said he had limited use but then admitted over months that he used to use it too often again another way to detach and isolate. Now he tells me that the less he uses it the better our relationship is between us. I feel like it is so easily accessible and endless options all for free on your smartphone or wherever. And all the research and information I have read this online pornography really is different and how your brain reacts. The information I read states that it makes men feel exactly how my husband has described his affairs. And to me it seems like the more you use pornography it could lead to a more casual view of women and sex in general.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              I hope that you guys are making progress and I am sorry for the late response. I am now working through comments since I took some time off for my birthday.

              You are right about porn and its effect on the brain. I have been mulling over whether or not to write an article about it because there is a lot to say about the neurological changes that occur in the brain. Would such an article be helpful for you?

    • TheFirstWife

      Sam. Good to see karma at work in some situations.

      • Sam

        What do you mean “karma”? In terms of ‘her insecurity’ or ‘him being unhappy’, and/or both? Does what they say as “karma” even exist!?!?

    • Jo

      5 weeks ago i found texts on my husbands phone to his co worker. He had also deleted others and one was a text where he had told her she looked amazing at a work do. My husband has never told me in 25 years that i looked amazing and now I find myself feeling so low its depressing. I am comparing myself to her every day, I am 45 and she is 36. We are attending counselling as a couple from last week but I am so stuck on this compliment he gave her its really driving me to an unpleasant state of mind and I just keep bringing it up. Any tips on how I can help myself get through this?

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Jo,
        I would view your husband’s affair as coming from a place of insecurity on his side. If he told his younger coworker that she looked amazing, he was hoping to get some narcissistic feed back from her… something along the lines of “you looked great in your suit today.” Once he gets feedback along those lines, he no longer feels like a man slipping quietly into the obscurity of middle age. Instead he gets to think of himself as someone who still “has it goin on.” This is generally why affair start in the first place. A wayward spouse comes from a place of insecurity abc wondering if they are enough. If they can find someone in a younger age group or someone who assuages their insecurity in an area, then it’s easy for an affair to begin. If a younger woman is going along for the ride, an insecure man can paint himself as The Man and that could serve as a TEMPORARY band aid to make him feel less insecure.

        Also, I give you permission to hit your husband on the head with a stack of printer paper. Comments about beauty are to be given to you only. And when he is at work he needs to stay focused on photocopying his presentations and ignoring the women in the nearby cube.

        Also, don’t forget there are other handsome men in the world for you to admire. Ask your husband how that would feel if you hired a pool boy (especially if you don’t have a pool) and texted him that he has nice abs.

        In short, remember some affairs begin due to insecurity and your husband was probably looking for feedback that he still has it. He was looking in the wrong place for that affirmation. But this is more about his deficits than yours. Please believe me when I say this.


    • Myra smith

      Thank you so much this helped out a lot. It reminded me of me all the way. I feel like I’m gonna reread it every time I need some encouragement to help me out.

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