How can a person increase their chances of building self-confidence after an affair?

building self-confidence
How can a person increase their chances of building self-confidence after an affair?

Linda is not very difficult to read most of the time.  When she’s upset, mad or feeling down I can usually see it on her face right away.  The other day she was talking with a neighbor whose husband left her and married the affair partner.  I could tell after she got off the phone that she was pissed. 

There are many reasons for why she gets riled up when she talks to people about this stuff of course, but this time she told me it was because the whole affair relationship is so unfair to the betrayed due to the comparisons and the seemingly perfect world that the affair partners exist in.   This frustrates the hell out of her.

Even if a couple remains married after an affair, the victim’s self-confidence is shot.  After all, how can a betrayed give their cheating spouse everything that the affair partner could – the excitement, the fresh conversation, the attention, etc.?  What happens if the betrayed fails at this?

For instance, in this situation this woman and her now ex-husband were married for at least 25 years.  They had two kids together who have all recently flown from the nest.  They were good kids for the most part but there were a few issues with them during the teenage years.  The husband worked long and hard and became very successful, moving up the corporate ladder, getting promoted and transferred several times.  The woman did not work outside the home but instead took care of the kids and ran the household for 20+ years while he was traveling for work or just plain busy. The woman is a little older than the husband and he (being quite vain) was not happy with the way in which she was aging.   Basically, they have been through a lot together – both good and not so good.

Now, the new wife/mistress has no job and spends her days for the most part doing nothing but taking care of herself and dreaming up new ways of creating relationship excitement.   Since there are no kids in the home, they can spend their considerable free time traveling and going out on the town.  There is plenty of money to go around so there will never be any stress or concern about financial issues.  Oh…and the new wife is several years younger and fairly attractive.  She is pretty much a younger version of the ex-wife in many other respects.  She has fallen into a perfect situation. She is set as long as she holds his interests and doesn’t screw up.

I wonder how long this bliss will last, but that’s a subject for another post. 

The question here is how can our neighbor’s self-confidence be restored so that she can feel better about herself and (in her case) eventually be able to move on and begin to establish a meaningful relationship of her own?

First of all, it appears that self-esteem , self-concept and self-confidence are all very similar and somewhat related.  According to Jonathan Wells in his blog, Advanced Life Skills… 

“Even though they are not the same thing, self-confidence and self-esteem are very closely related.

Is one more important than the other? Not really because they go hand in hand. To be a happy, healthy, fully functional person you need both.

Confident behavior and demeanor are a reflection of a healthy self-esteem and will be evident in your level of assertiveness or confidence.

If you lack confidence and thus produce less than encouraging results, it will adversely affect your sense of self-worth. Confidence is gained by taking actions that lead to successful outcomes. Your successes give you reasons to approve of yourself, which builds your self-esteem. One feeds the other.”

 

Building Self-Confidence

Mr. Wells goes on in another article to offer us some ways for building self-confidence.

1) Acknowledge and list existing areas of confidence. Any area in your life where you are producing good results is an area where you have confidence in your own abilities. Take some time to examine and list those areas along with the beliefs and feelings that support them.

2) Start where you know you can succeed. One effective way to build your self-confidence is to choose an area in your life where you know you can take control. No matter who we are, there is always some area in our life where we feel a level of competence. Start by setting one reachable goal in that direction and then take action.

3) Repeat the process. When you experience success, set another reachable goal in that same direction and follow through with more action. Continue this pattern until you become comfortable with your ability to produce your intended outcome.

4) Expand your efforts. Next, choose another area in your life where you have a degree of competence and repeat the process. As your feelings of confidence grow, allow yourself to identify with your success. Learn to view yourself as a successful person and attach feelings of approval to your positive experiences.

5) Enlist some external feedback. Explain your challenge to a friend and ask them to provide you with some positive feedback every time you succeed in producing an intended result. Now you will have a source of both external and internal positive validation.

6) Walk the walk and talk the talk. Adopt the external characteristics of someone with a great deal of confidence. If you walk, talk, dress and conduct yourself like a person who is very confident, you will send signals to your own nervous system that say, “I can do anything I set my mind to.” You will also send those same messages to everyone you come in contact with.

7) Make confidence part of your identity. Embracing a positive view of yourself that empowers you to confidently take action in the direction of your goals is a huge step in your personal development. If you experience any disappointing results, resist the urge to link them to your personal identity. They are just part of the process. Make adjustments and move on. (Read full article here.)

Here’s a quick  video (less than 3 minutes) by therapist Gordon McInnis that offers some tips for building self-confidence after infidelity.

Author Daryl Campbell offers the following suggestions for building self-confidence specifically as it relates to infidelity:

1. Do not take responsibility for the affair.  You had simply no power over what exactly your wife or husband did which means do not take that responsibility regarding it. You are only responsible for the positive or harmful messages you actually tell yourself concerning your personal well-being.

Believing the other person your spouse experienced cheated with is in some manner superior to you or perhaps that you will constantly have these feelings of hopelessness ensures your self-respect and confidence will remain very low.  This which means that you must stay sensitive to the communication you are supplying to you. Start looking to counteract the negative thoughts by using a few optimistic statements regarding who you are and why after cheating you are going to be better than in the past.

2. Accept exactly what your spouse has done.  Among the particular challenges after cheating for many spouses on the receiving end is their unwillingness to accept what their significant other did. These people live in denial. To them what took place has been simply a horrible dream they eventually wake from.

The only thing this accomplishes is to hold back your healing process. So accept that your mate has carried on an affair and go forward. Nobody says you need to like this which is not the actual issue in any case. The point is that you are demonstrating power just by confronting it head on which could lift your self-confidence drastically.

3. Enjoy the fun.  You are no doubt telling yourself that having fun is out of the question at this juncture. Except that it is considered to be one of the foundations to help you make it through the marital relationship following infidelity. Enjoyment is the key which opens the locking mechanism and frees you from the jail relating to sadness combined with feeling sorry for yourself. You feel that you are allowing yourself approval in order to start living again.

It goes without saying you’re focusing on the marriage, hopefully together with your spouse, yet more importantly you will be taking care of yourself and also bringing your personal self-assurance amount into completely new altitudes which you presumed would not take place.

A few final ideas…

As we have preached for so long…Don’t forget to take care of yourself in a variety of ways.  Go out with friends, start an exercise routine or a new hobby. Do things that you know that you are already good at so that you can remind yourself that you are confident.

Remember also that the problem was with your spouse, not you. More than likely your cheating spouse has a million different excuses for why you are to blame for his/her cheating.  That’s all bullshit. Don’t take the blame for his/her behavior but also understand that his/her weakness and selfishness were the real reasons for the affair. It has more to do with him/her than with you.

Our neighbor has taken some nice steps in her own journey towards healing and building self-confidence.  Since the divorce has become final, she has gone out and secured a well paying job in an industry that’s a natural fit.  She has finally sold their 12 year old minivan and purchased a nice new Honda.  She has cleansed her house of some bad memories by giving some household crap away to charity and sold some other stuff at a garage sale.  She has purchased a ton of new clothes. She goes to church regularly and has become involved in a divorce support group.  Linda and I have also seen her out at several festivals and concerts having a good time with some of her friends.  We’ve even ran into her at a restaurant having dinner with a man (though she claims it was not a date).

If you have taken a blow to your self-confidence as a result of the affair, hopefully these tips can get you on the track to getting it back.  If you have some other ideas for building self-confidence after infidelity, please share them in the comment section below.

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    65 replies to "Building Self-Confidence After It’s Been Shattered by Infidelity"

    • exercisegrace

      This has been an on-going issue for me. As I suspected and questioned I felt desperate inside. After d-day, I felt thrown away, worthless and unloved. This has been the lowest point of my life.
      In the immediate aftermath of d-day, I bagged up all his clothes and donated them. Then I bought him new ones. He was so stunned he didn’t really respond. I told him i wasn’t going to look at clothes that she had taken off his body.
      I also ditched a bunch of my OWN clothes, and spared no expense in buying some nice things for myself. Pretty outfits, Coach purses, and some nice shoes. I signed up for tanning bed sessions (yes, I know. I’m a nurse!), bought new make up and started wearing it regularly and just paid attention to things that I could do to boost my morale. I can’t say that it’s been entirely successful, but if I run into his COW (crazy other woman) I know I will be looking good. As a stay at home mom, I always put my needs dead last. Now, not so much.
      While the main thing I need to work on is INSIDE of me, I still get a bit of a boost when I leave the house looking very put together, with makeup on etc.

    • justbecause

      Exercise Grace – Good for you! My H’s affair was EA so he doesn’t get any new clothes but I have treated myself to a few. I went into a jean specialty store and said “I want the most expensive pair of jeans you have”. I look great in them. I am great. I am awesome.

      So it doesn’t seem like I have a self-confidence problem… think again. People who know me think I am very self assured. I was pretty good until this EA thing 7 months ago. I now have my times of wonder. I am an expert at putting up a good front. I wish my H could see through this and know I need more examples of his love and caring.

      This blog and Exercise Grace’s comments remind me to keep working on myself. I am worth it. My marriage is worth it.

      I did run into the COW on Sept 12 (her birthday). I looked so much better then her. I had on some new pants and a way cool top from Chico’s. I stood by my car with my arms crossed and my nose slightly in the air as she got out of her car. She turned and saw me for the first time. She new who I was. Her mouth dropped and her face turned bright red. She had on a white skirt with gigantice blue flowers on it and a white sweater — it’s September in the midwest! She looked like she ws going to an Easter parade. I watched her go into work. She looked back once. I said nothing. This episode helped my self-esteem a whole bunch!

    • Lissa

      When I found out about my husbands EA 10 months ago, while it utterly destroyed me, I came out fighting and found my confidence. I looked at myself and realised how unhappy I was, I was so concerned about looking after my family and work that I forgot about me. From that moment on I decided, that while my family is still everything to me, my happiness is important – I felt empowered and my confidence grew. I have 2 gorgeous kids, am very successful in my job, am smart, funny, attractive and came to the conclusion they if my husband can’t see that then more fool him (i have had plenty of offers during my 11 year marriage – I just choose to keep my vows as I loved him!). As soon as I walked the walk my husbands attitude changed and he began to seriously worry that he would loose me.

      Best advice I can give is believe you are lovely and fabulous (or appear to believe when you truly don’t)- you will be surprised at how infectious it is.

      While I am still fighting to keep my marriage on track – if things go wrong, I know it will devastate but not destroy me now

    • Disappointed

      It must be nice to be able to say you look better than the OW. I can’t say that. She is 8 years younger and even f I starved myself for a year and worked out nonstop I will never be athletically built like her – I am curvy, she looks like a teenage boy. I don’t think I will ever get my confidence back in that regard. There will always be someone younger and smaller. I miss how I used to feel about myself. He said my hair color is the same as hers so that is gone too. I have lost weight, bought new clothes, etc, but most days I look in the mirror and just see the sadness in my eyes and the passage of time. I can’t be new and I can’t be young again. I lost myself and have not found my way back. I can’t see myself in his eyes any more, they are just dead. I am not sure where i went to…

      • Lissa

        Disappointed – my husband while he did choose someone 7 years younger than me, she was a good 100 lbs heavier than me (now if I want to get nasty she looked like a squirrel who was storing nuts in her cheeks for winter!). You can really only be happy with what you are and not try to compare yourself – unfortunately some men need the attention of others to boost their ageing ego and the terrible thing is they don’t seem to care if the person is nice / attractive! I am certainly not going to put weight on to compete… I will leave the nut collecting to the ow

      • Anna

        Oh Disappointed, I feel for you. The OW in my case is an other GIRL since she is 15 years younger than me and only just out of University! I cannot compete with that. But do you know what? I don’t need to. You don’t need to either. Do you know why? These other women…look at what they are…no matter how old or young they choose to f*** around with someone else’s husband. What does that say about them as people? A whole lot of bad things, that’s what!!

        Maybe the OG in my case is younger, and has a firmer body because she hasn’t had 2 babies, and perky breasts because she hasn’t breastfed any babies, and a smooth face because she hasn’t yet lived. But I take ownership of myself…my body is my own, and all my life experiences have gone into it to make it what it is. It isn’t perfect, but it’s me. He loved it enough once to marry me, and it’s not my fault he’s behaved like an asshole.

        I look at myself in the mirror and I think ‘Look at who you are…look how strong you are….look how brave and patient and forgiving…look how you fight for the things you value, the things that are important…look at the values you hold dear, how true you are to your own self.’ Yes, she is young and skinny and she has good hair every day and probably smells nice all the time. She isn’t a Mommy. She doesn’t rush to get kids ready in the morning or spend her days shopping and cleaning and cooking and raising children. She hasn’t had any life yet, and she doesn’t know who she really is or who she wants to be.
        I am TEN times the woman she is or she could ever hope to be.

        YOU, disappointed, YOU TOO are worth ten of her.

        Say it over and over. Until you start to believe it. Don’t let her have any more power over you, to hurt you any more than you’ve already been hurt.

        • Lissa

          Great comment Anna – couldn’t agree more! I am not the person I was when I was 20, and I don’t want to be! I may not be as perky as i once was and have a few more wrinkles but there is more to me than just the outside.

          I am a big believer in karma and what goes around comes around! In 10 years time these OW will have also aged and will find them selves on the other side of the heartbreak and I hope they look back and remember what they did!

      • Battleborn

        Disappointed, I too was in the same category as you. She was younger, perkier, etc., but you know what – there is nothing wrong with being who you are. I finally came out of my own fog and realized that no matter what I look like I will never measure up (or down) to what my H saw in her. I have to like myself; he doesn’t count anymore. He lost that by making his choice to have an affair. If he can’t love me for who I am that is his problem. The way I look is not the cause for his affair. If he uses that as one of the reasons, it is bullshit. Yes, I said it, bullshit. I believe that once we understand that we need to make ourselves look and feel better for ourselves, not for anyone else.

        Having said that, it is always nice to be better looking than the younger woman, but truly do you want to look anything like her? Stay the course and learn to love yourself no matter what. I did and I feel a lot better.

        Hang in there Disappointed, I guarantee you will become more beautiful as the whole package in the future.

    • Gizfield

      Disappointed, PLEASE do not say you want to look like a teenage boy.! Ugh. I can tell you from personal experience that the only true benefit from being skinny is not worrying about how your clothes fit. That, and attracting shallow people, which is not a benefit. As an adult woman, I have weighed everything from 96 pounds to 190 pounds. Right now, I am about 170 at 5′ 4″. If my husband or anyone else can’t like me at that size, well, I guess they just can’t like me. Is his GF skinnier than me? Of course she is! Also 11 years younger. Guess what, when I met him, I weighed 120 pounds and was the same age as when he pursued her. Co incidence? I think not. When I met her years ago, my thought is, she reminds me of me. Creepy but true. Dont be jealous of this woman, in 8 years she will be your age, if shes lucky. I work in a building with 700 people, mostly female, many of them smart, young, skinny, pretty, you name it. if I am going to be jealous it is certainly not going to pick a middle aged tramp who dates married men to be jealous of. That skank disgusts me, she is NASTY!! Ugh.

    • rachel

      Lissa,I like that Karma. Gosh I hope it happens to my soon to be ex husband. I was low in confidence for most of my marriag (25 years) as my H would constantly make comments about my clothes, hair etc.
      Now that I am working full time in the public eye I have 100% confidence. I’m not cocky or anything but I do know that I look halfway decent for someone at 51.
      The soon to be ex said to me the other day “I see your finally dressing the way I like”. I said nothing but thanked him for giving me this new life because many doors are opening. He’s such a jerk!

      • gizfield

        congratulations, Rachel, I’m very happy for you!!! You deserve it!

      • exercisegrace

        Good job Rachel!! What is that old saying? Living well is the best revenge? You certainly are, and I hope he eats his heart out.

      • Pam

        Next time he mentions it’s “the way he likes” such as the way your dressing, tell him “it’s the way you like” and has absolutely nothing at all to do with him. Thank him for the compliment and let him know that he could do with a new look himself. His old look is a bit boring.

    • gizfield

      When I had my one and only”text fight” with my husbands girl friend a year ago she said,” if I were overweight, fifty, and insecure I’d be snooping too”. Had to tell the dumb bitch I was snooping because of the way he was acting.Now get this, a 43 year old woman is insulting me about my age. I almost asked her “who do you have for homeroom?” I.e. you are acting like you are in high school. She was undoubtedly one of the stupidest, vilest creatures I have every encountered. She also said “think about your daughter” which was hysterically funny considering the situation since I was the only one who did. That is why I recommend confronting the cow if you want to, because you will probably see what a vapid pathetic little twit she really is. Ugh. I never had any desire to communicate with her again, I mean why bother. Any lingering jealousy disappeared that day. I have met this witch twice, the latest time being 7 or 8 years ago, I dont remember and have not sen any photos, so maybe she does look better, but really, who gives a f#& k? Uh, not me, this isn’t the damn Miss America contest anyway.

      • Battleborn

        Doesn’t anyone realize that 50 is the new 20? We live longer and look better when we are 50 than most younger women. Why? Because we are wiser and know better than pin everything on outward appearances. BUCK UP LADIES!!! We cannot let the younger “girls” tell us how we look, it’s sad that they think looks are everything when we all know it is only component of life.

        I will take my fine lines (or wrinkles) and graying hair over the bleach blond bimbo any day. If your H doesn’t then he is a idiot!

    • gizfield

      Oh, and if this were the Miss America contest, the prize would be a crown, some $$$, hopefully a car, too, not a balding, overweight, middle man who is a cheater. Wow, he would be so difficult to replace. Not !

      • Lissa

        Your comment made me giggle – I really would pay good money to see an OW beauty completion where they are forced to now live with their prize. It would be an amusing but sorry sight to watch

        • Gizfield

          I’ve often thought the best punishment for cheaters would be to have to follow up on all the promises they made to each other. Too bad I can’t force my husband to talk to his tramp “til the phone lines go dead”, lol.

    • chiffchaff

      building self-confidence after being effectively told through an affair that you’re not enough discovering an affair is bloody hard work. the comparison to the OW is the first natural response, presumably it’s the same for male BS?
      I still have low confidence and poor self-image, not as bad as it was some months ago thankfully but I am starting to feel the benefits of taking control of those things in my life I didn’t like about myself. my H has now repeatedly told me I don’t need to lose anymore weight or get too much fitter… hmmm if I want to do both of those things then I will.
      I can still hear my mother in law telling me that I only had an ‘inner beauty’ so it wasn’t too surprising that her son fell for a stunner like the OW. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive her that comment as it was completely unnecessary as well as cruel.

      I like who I am. The affair was my H’s weakness and he will have to live with that. I don’t have to.

      • exercisegrace

        Really? Seriously? That’s going down in the mother-in-law hall of fame! If she ever says that again, I would reply….If you really believe that he is so shallow as to pick someone based solely on their looks, you must be devastated that you failed to instill good values in him.

        I’m going to go ahead and play Captain Obvious here. You KNOW that’s not why he chose her. It’s NEVER why they choose them. It’s almost always based someone who will reflect back all the things they want to believe about themselves. It was certainly the case for my husband. The woman he chose outweighs me by close to 100 pounds, is far from fit, and everyone they came in contact with via the business they owned, HATED her. Even my husband says he never found her physically attractive. Sex was basically just the currency he paid for what he really wanted. Total adoration and ego boosting.

        • chiffchaff

          It’s probably true that he didn’t choose her for her looks but she made him feel special right from the start. He thought she was fascinated by him when she first came up to him as she had apparently been listening to his talk. He didn’t know then that it was her job to write articles about the speakers like him so she’d been taking notes. It started with an ego boost and continued like that for 9 months.

      • Gizfield

        I’m afraid if my MIL said that to me, or if anyone else did, I would probably have one of those involuntary reactions you hear about and deck her ass. Sorry, it’s just in my blood, lol.

    • Gizfield

      I like the term cow somebody used for “crazy other woman” but I generally just use “girlfriend”. You know, “not the wife, just a girlfriend.” I absolutely refuse to say “other woman” cause to me other implies something that is equal. Uh, no. I have a couple of other pet names for her too, but they aren’t printable in polite society. In the last few weeks I have also just started using her name, which reduces it’s power as a trigger amazingly. I have actually enjoyed that.

      • exercisegrace

        I used it because she actually is crazy, and to our sorrow has demonstrated that repeatedly. Time to let go of him, silly slut. He’s chosen his wife.

        I too have a number of other names for her, as I am not at a point where I want to say or even hear her name. When we are having affair discussions and he says her name I cringe every time. The only name I can really print here without getting in trouble ( I think!) is The Pillsbury Dough Whore.

        • Gizfield

          My husband has”chosen” me too, I guess. I really doubt looking back that he never intended to leave. I think he was testing the water, stuck his foot in, and pulled it back out. Unfortunately for him, I have now chosen the door. My preferred nickname for his GF has pretty much always been Whore. I took some flak on here for that, as well as from him. He has High Morals, by God. I beg to differ. Any woman who wil date a man who she knows is married with a five year old child behind his wife’s back is a whore. He was living with me, we were not divorced, separated, anything and she KNEW it.

          • Gizfield

            Oooops, Freudian slip. Sb”she has high morals” lol.

    • ChangedForever

      Great confidence building comments …all good to hear, and so true.
      I am further along on this journey than most of you…actually, 2 years TODAY, i discovered what ended up being my worst nightmare. My H was cheating. His OW? 26 years younger. 26! 20 years younger than me … No one can compete with that. Did i try to? its difficult to remember….
      At the time i discovered the EA/PA affair, one of our 3 children was 20! And this ‘thing’ was giving my H advice on how to handle the then-crisis we were in the midst of, with pur 20 year old son at the time…’Its’ advice? “…he’s 20, he can take care of himself…” Laughable now, but truly unbelievable back then. And my H listened to her and caused irreparable damage. There it was, a single, unemployed, diseased pig that had a history of dating older, married men giving my middle aged H advice. I always craved fiction novels but this one tops ANY I’ve EVER read. Took me over a year of counseling to evn BEGIN to get my self esteem ‘footing’ back to a noticeable-to-me level. It took that length of time because it took that long to dig out of the devastation that this had even happened! And it happened, unfortunately, the weekend of our 25 wedding anniversary. I don’t know what it is when the 20 and then 25th year anniversaries come along. I read a LOT about the mid life crises ‘kicking in’ around these milestones.
      Yes…START and then push yourself to keep the exercise routine going or whatever NEW self improvement programs you start for yourself. This tremendously helps. Don’t miss a day if you can help it. Keep going. Keep reaching for the next gold/brass ring. Its there. Think ‘mental’ health ( counseling and /or self help books & blogs, ) ‘physical’ health (exercise/self improvement, ) and ‘spiritual’ health (your faith,) to survive this. I couldn’t survive without constantly feeding all 3 of these needed health regiments.
      Best wishes…Hope this helps some of you early on on your journey…
      ChangedForever
      24 months from DDay#1
      Still married, 27 years, and counting!

    • Gizfield

      I honestly think the most hurtful thing my husband did was defend this chick’s morality. Then one dayIrealized he is not defending her or her morality. What he is, was actually defending was his own morality, his own choices, and his own poor decisions. they are a box set, if shes a whore, so is he, and he just can’t stand THAT.

    • Broken2

      Changed Forever …Its been 26 months for me and while it really looks as if my marriage will be ok…I am still a mess. This article is so timely because this is exactly what I am dealing with. I have no self esteem and no self confidence left and try as I might I cant get them back. I told my hubby this weekend I dont think I will ever come back and I actually told him maybe it would be best if he just went to the OW because I will never be 20 years younger, run marathons, etc. I am at the age where woman normally have to deal with issues of aging (53). Then on top of that pile on the affair. I am the shell of what I use to be and when I look in the mirror I see a person who is nothing. A person who wasnt good enough then why am I so good now, according to my husband? Some days I wish I could just drive away from my life and never come back. Today is one of them. I allready exercise, I try to go out but I have come to the point where I feel more comfortable at home. I always think people say things about me because they must see how I dont measure up. SOmetimes I wish he would just leave and go be with her so I dont have to compare myself anymore. I dont let anyone take my picture as I hate looking at myself. I try everything people suggest but I fear its gone for good. My husband keeps telling me it will come back but it doesnt.

    • CBB

      Loved your comments!! I am 1,5y past D-day and although I have the feeling things are on the right track I still have days where all my rebuild selfesteem just seems to drain away. I think I cought the EA quite early and thanks to reading all of your comments I was a little less surprised that there came a D-Day#2 but I think thats is where the fog began to lift. Although I was devastated It triggered some unexpected survival rage : I think my reasoning was : what have I got to loose… if he leaves I’ll have to cope on my one (working and mother of 3kids) anyway. So I told myself I was willing to fight for this marriage but I was gooing to be prepared for devorce, he was not going to kick me out as a broken woman. I took parental half-time leave (I can’t thank my boss enough for the support!) I went to see a solicitor,and a therapist, I was looking ahead and getting prepared… You can’t believe how that decision alone gave me strenght. I told my H I took leave (he actually thought I was finally getting my act together and giving him and the family the attention they deserved !!) I expained that this wasn’t about fullfilling his needs but taking time for myself to figure out what this marriage was worth to me… and then confronted him with the evidence and here was D-Day#2. Everything got better from that day on.
      But everytime I meet the OW( co-worker -I call her the perfect Bitch- 10y younger and part of a fixed group af friends) I get a terrible setback (PTSD- reading about it helped me understand the heavy emotions but the rebound in selfesteam is the hardest part to overcome…) Although it does get better everytime….

    • Lily

      I am almost 5m after d-day. Although we tried to work it out, my husband left about 2 months ago. Left me with the 3 kids, (7, 5 and 6 months). He actually told me, when it all first came out, that the bigger I was, the less attracted I am to him. I was 4 months post partum with our 3rd child. The OW is about my age, has 3 kids who are in there teens, however, she does not have custody of them. She has fake breasts, and all the time in the world to work out and make sure she looks her best. I am not and have never been fat, maybe not perky and firm like I was when I was 20 (Im 37 now) but really? I’ve given birth to, raised and nursed 3 babies, my boobs are real. I wondered for a long time why he refused to even hug me, or touch my belly when I was pregnant, slept on the very edge of our king size bed and acted disgusted if I wanted to have sex why. I feel like a disgusting saggy sack of crap. I’m tired cuz I’ve been left with the kids, I now have to get a job and leave my babies with a stranger. Im miserable, and I feel like I’m not worth anything. He was my best friend, my highschool sweetheart, the only person I’ve ever been with, and he cheated on me with a fake boobed, slut who has slept with several of his co-workers, regardless of if they are married or not. She doesnt want to be with her kids, has no work ethic and really is a terrible person. She’s pretty… with big fake boobs. He left me and our kids for that…
      I’ve been trying to figure out how to feel better about myself, but its hard, I have 3 little kids, and I didnt have much time for myself before let alone now. How long before I will start to feel better? How long before I wont feel like a rejected, saggy, shell of a person, who has been replaced by a hotter woman. I know all this stuff, about self esteem and self worth, but I cant seem to get there, or when I think I’ve made a bit of headway, something drags me back down.

      • Natalia

        Lily, I’m sorry things are not looking better you. Please be strong and take one day at a time. You have 3 children to worry about. Don’t waste your previous time on your husband. He’s wrong and you are beautiful. You will always be the mother of his children and his loss. Just get an aggressive lawyer cause he will have to pay child support for a very long time and try to get alimony too. Be strong.

      • chiffchaff

        Hi Lily. Sending you some much needed love and hugs.
        Can you get the help of your family and friends at this time? Do they know what’s happened to you? At this shitty time you really need to let your friends and family help you if that’s possible.
        What a selfish, selfish man to leave you at such a vulnerable time and to leave his own children for a woman who has left hers. It’s easy to say that such lowlifes deserve each other but that doesn’t help you. There are many useful articles on this blog, keep posting.

    • liberty

      Hi. This is my first post here. I too am having a hard time with being so insecure. How can a EA turn me into this person I never was. I don’t want to go out. I have never been insecure or timid and now I am. Its been 5 months now and I hope I can find myself again. Ive been reading a lot on this website and it does help.

      • Natalia

        Liberty: This too shall pass, as they say, however it’s true. It’s not going to happen right away and it takes a lot of courage and strength. I suggest you read books on EAs, speak to a counselor, if it makes you feel better and most importantly, talk to you husband and DEMAND that he answer your questions. You’ve probably been through all the initial stages: shock, sadness, fear, anger, etc. Well, think of all these feelings when you talk to him and you’ll feel stronger because he wronged you and he needs to fix it. Ultimately, he’s the one who will help you heal. Let me know if you’d like the names of the books that can help. Also, read this blog from the beginning, lots of people here have given each other good advice. Good luck!

    • rachel

      Natalia,
      My H would not talk about his A. I would ask questions and he would not answer. I went through the stages, shock, sadness, and anger. He didn’t understand these stages at all. Especially the anger stage. He felt that I should just accept what happened.
      I feel that my H is the only one on this blog that couldn’t and wouldn’t help me heal.

      • Natalia

        Rachel, I’m sorry to hear the he wouldn’t answer your questions or feel your pain. It only shows he’s a narcissist (read up on this, you might find answers). Now it’s up to you to find a way to heal. A therapist would help.

        • Natalia

          DUH! Rachel, you were the one that gave me the tip on narcissists, and here I am telling you to read up on it! Sorry, but at the same time, reading what you wrote, confirms what you said about his narcissism.

    • liberty

      Thank you Natalia. I would be interested in some books. We are in counseling.

      • Natalia

        Liberty, these are all the books I read and then gave them to my husband to read. At this time he’s reading #10. The helped me tremendously, especially #1, which opened my eyes to what was happening with my husband. Hope this helps.
        1. Not Just friends – Dr. Shirley Glass
        2. Desperate Marriages – Dr. Gary Chapman
        3. The Emotional Affair – Ronald T. Potter
        4. Emotional Infidelity – M. Gary Neuman
        5. The Truth About Cheating – M. Garry Neuman
        6. Getting Past The Affait – Douglas K. Snyder, PhD.
        7. When Good Men Behave Badly – David Wexler
        8. After The Affair – Janis Abrahms Spring
        9. Five Languages Of Love – Dr. Gary Chapman
        10. You Might Be A Narcissist If… – Paul Meier

        • liberty

          Natalia..thank you so much. I haven’t been able to read anything but this blog but I hope I can now. I just feel to depressed. I know it will help as will talking on here. I have told no one but the counselor and Doug and Linda.

          • Carly

            Liberty,
            I’m sorry for what you are going through. Is your husband attending counseling with you or are you going alone? Also, was it an EA or PA (or both)? Hang in there…it’s rough, but it does get better.

            • liberty

              Carly, It was an EA. For 3 months. We both went to counseling and I went on my own. The counselor said I should get over it already because it didn’t seem like he did anything wrong (other than talking to a friend on the phone) I think its a big deal. We are talking and he does answer questions but I just cant get a grip on it yet. It ruins my days. I’m always sad. I hope to start reading some books now. Thanks to everyone here I am getting better, I think. It does help to know other people feel like you do.

            • Natalia

              Liberty, pardon my French but that counselor is an assh#%e! Of course it’s a big deal! Where in the world did he/she get his/her license? Read book #1 and you’ll understand. Don’t let anyone undermine your gut feeling that something is not right in your marriage.

          • Natalia

            Liberty, it’s a good thing that you haven’t told anyone else about your situation. It’s never a good idea to involve your kids, family members, or friends. Because if you make up with your husband they will feel stupid for having taken sides and any negative comments made about the other party cannot be erased. And if your marriage should not survive, those who care about you or him will feel guilty for not having helped enough to make a difference. This is something between you and your H and the counselor. I suggest you mention it to your H so he doesn’t confide in anyone else. Speaking of confiding, be careful who you or he chose, sometimes the best intentions from a close friend can back fire. A friend of mine whose H confided in her best friend ended up having an affair with the best friend. Hang in there, it will get better.

    • Disappointed

      Rachel – You arent the only one whose H did nothing. My H said he was sorry hebetrayed and hurt me. That I did not deserve it. But said he will never regret the affair because it awakened him to want more from his life than our dead existence. He blames me for the affair. I told him it was a choice and I will never accept the blame. I am admittedly jealous of all who have husbands who are actually helping with healing I am doing it all on my own. A year of NC and he is still thinking of her and wants to see her. I think 2013 will find me filing for divorce… So much for 20 years… All gone for text messages and a few calls and emails.

      • rachel

        Disappointed, I am jealous too of all who have husbands that are helping with the healing. He said that’s my problem. We were married 25 years.
        I am in therapy and have been since June 2011 when he said that he wanted to fall in love with someone else.
        I can’t imagine being so mean and heartless to someone that you’ve spent 30 “? She said it’s habit.
        I can’t wait for my heart to mend back together. It feels like it’s sitting in my body, cracked in half.

        • Natalia

          Rachel, I also felt, for many months, that my heart was broken in half and would never heal. But I feel much better now and am working hard to keep getting better. I will never forget what my H did to me, as it is, I’ve never told him that I forgive him. I know that will come in time. For now, there are other things that need fixing first.
          My Dday was the day he told me he had found an ex-girlfriend on Facebook. I thought someone had punched me in the stomach! I was so shocked I couldn’t say or do anything. All I said was “Really?” and didn’t talk to him for the rest of the day. That was the worst day of my life. I couldn’t function at work or at home. I was nauseated and I cried all day (when no one was watching), when I was asked why my eyes were red, I’d say it was allergies. What I really wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs and grab my H by the throat and strangle him for humiliating me that day.
          The next day (I hadn’t confronted my H yet with my suspicions) I sat down and wrote what I was going to tell him along with what I would say after he answered my questions. I wrote it all down because I was afraid I’d forget to say everything that was on my mind or that I would cry so hard I wouldn’t be able to think! That night I told him we needed to talk. As soon as I mentioned his ex-gf, he immediately apologized and promised to delete her from his FB page. This was the answer I was hoping for. I then started telling him how I thought our marriage was in a very bad place if he thought it was NORMAL to contact his ex-gf and on top of that think it was OK to tell me like it was nothing. Even though I was pleased that he responded in that way it also made me more suspicious and I started investigating everything he had been doing behind my back. Little did I know that his ex-gf was just the tip of the iceberg. I got all my answers when I demanded and he gave me the passwords to all his email accounts and FB.
          However, had he answered differently and defended his right to privacy and to contact his ex-gf and any other bitch, my answer would have been: “Congratulations bastard, you lost me! You just blew 26 years of marrige” I had already made plans to leave him if he did not see how stupid he had slowly become in the past few years. Not only was I going to leave him because I knew I couldn’t work with him if he became defensive, but I would have left him the task to explain to our children, friends and other family members, why I had left him because no one was going to get an answer from me. Fortunately for him, we didn’t have to go that way.
          Sorry this is such a long post, but I wanted to show you all that maybe because of the way I am (I don’t take any bullshit from anyone), I was either going make my H fix this marriage and help me heal or I was OUT. I would never be put in a position of being the one to do all the work. He was going to have to do most of it because I wasn’t the one who had an EA nor was I the one who had changed in the last few years.
          I read all the books I could get my hands on and I made him read them too. At the beginning he asked me if I wanted to go to a therapist and I laughed in his face. I told him he was the one who needed counseling because I was no longer being gaslighted by him and felt stronger than ever. He could take all the bullshit he had been feeding me with for so long and shove it. From now on he was going to do what I said. And we were not going to go to counseling because I knew he would try to manipulate the therapist into saying that I was the one with the problem. After I said all this, he agreed to do whatever I said. I’ve read 10 books on the subject and he’s reading the 10th one now. All I can say is that I wish I had seen the signs earlier, but it was hard when you’re trying to raise 3 kids (twins included) and trying to keep a non-supporting husband happy.

    • Surviving

      Natalia,
      How long was your H. EA?
      Why did he tell you?
      And I also got all my H passwords once I got those and looked at our phone bills I was in shock!!

      • Natalia

        Surviving, where do I begin? My H has always been very sociable and charming with other women, especially co-workers. He would tell me about the conversations he sometimes had with them which made me uncomfortable because they were clearly flirting. This has gone on for years and I never said anything because 1) I was naive and too trusting and never in a million years would I have thought my husband was having an EA with these women (I didn’t even know the term EA) and 2) he has narcissistic traits which would make me think it was all in my head and I was just too sensitive (I recommend everyone read what a narcissist is).
        However there was one co-worker in particular I never liked because he would talk about her constantly and then one day stopped. When I asked him about her he claimed he hadn’t seen her lately (they work for the same company but different floors). So I left it at that. But after discovering what an EA was I knew right away he had been having one with her. They’ve known each other for 17 years, so go figure! She is now out of the picture because I told my H he was to have no contact with that bitch.

        The day he told me about contacting an ex-gf on FB was the day the sh*t hit the fan. I became so suspicious I couldn’t stand it. I also felt so victimized I wanted to physically hurt him. When I confronted him he immediately apologized and said he’d delete her from his page. But when I asked for the passwords he had a funny look on his face, like he was panicking. That’s when I put on my “detective” hat and found out more than I would ever want to know. But if I had to do it all over again, I do it sooner.

        I found emails where he had flirted with other women related to his job, emails flirting with old girlfriends, old women friends (some I knew, some I didn’t), even emails from a total stranger he met on Yahoo Groups and the mom of one of my kids’ classmate! Every time I found “something” I would confront him and have a whole discussion about his lack of boundaries and how I was not going to tolerate it. He was probably getting fed up with the whole thing but never complained and did everything I asked and has read every single book or article I given him. And since he still had to work with some of these bitches, he’s kept all conversations at a professional level. I know this because once in a while I log into his work account and read their emails. He doesn’t dare erase them.

        One thing I have done differently than what all the books I’ve read say is that I have allowed him to keep that ex-gf on FB and any other bitch who was his friend in the past as long as I am friends with them on FB too. If they don’t accept my request to be “friends” they get deleted. Also, all conversations are posted on the wall for everyone to see. The minute they go into private messaging and write something flirty, they get deleted (I’ve deleted a few because of this). He has accepted these conditions and apparently so has that ex-gf and the other “women friends”. The key wordS in all this mess as been CONFRONTATION WITH EVIDENCE!

        • Rachel

          OMG!!!! Natalia,
          I can nit believe this blog! My soon to be ex is very very charming too. So charming it makes me sick!!!
          I heard constantly that people at work love him . That means the other women. Well good for her she hasn’t seen his real obnoxious side yet. I can’t wait for him to say to her that she should be wearing a different size blouse or pants. She needs to straighten her hair because he doesn’t like it curly. Or that she needs a breast lift. He couldnt accept me as I was, but some day someone will.

          • Natalia

            Rachel, of course someone else will accept you the way you are and most importantly, he will value you. I said it to my H and he suddenly realized I was going to move on with or without him. And it made him think twice about making any stupid remarks about my appearance, especially because none if his idiotic girlfriends had twins like me. I might not be his skinny wife anymore but at least I know my boundaries and don’t flirt with married or single men for that matter.

        • Surviving

          Natalia,
          Thanks for sharing.

          Our turning point came when my husband took me away for a very romantic weekend, and over a very expensive dinner and my second glass of wine… I told him I didn’t know if our marriage would make it, I didn’t know if I wanted to be married to him anymore. And I meant it.

    • Gizfield

      Well, Rachel, just be glad you aren’t ME! I’m “too fat to have sex with”. I had the audacity to go from 120 poundS to 170 pounds after the birth our child. Oooh. It doesn’t matter that I looked like a sick scarecrow at 120, and didnt eat due to depression about abusive, alcoholic dead husband. It took him a couple of months to come out with this gem. I said something like “you used to think I was attractive” or something like that. He said “well that was fifty pounds ago!” I was so shocked he was that shallow. I have never told anyone that cause it was so creepy. It’s weird cause nobody goes shreiking when I come in the room, and usually there are lots bigger people around me. I was super skinny growing up and dont really give a damn about my weight, which is ironic.

    • Surviving

      Not just friends is the best book I’ve read so far,

      Rachel,
      Accept yourself and love yourself exactly as you are you don’t need to change yourself for the right person.

      Once my husband tried telling me to change and I told him look in the mirror!

      Be strong and that strength will get you through this

    • Surviving

      Liberty,
      How knows what your therapist issues are but this one doesn’t sound like they are experienced in helping people with EA
      and that is what you need

      • liberty

        Surviving and Natalia….I know!! I couldn’t believe he said it. Now when I’m asking the same questions of my H he says, “even the counselor told you you should not get so upet”. So, we are not seeing him anymore. I am just not sure what to believe anymore. It’s all mixed up in my head and I’m driving myself crazy! I just got the book Not just just friends on my kindle and am going to start it tonight. Thanks everyone!

    • Dave

      I’ve never had a lot of self-confidence. I’ve struggled with this anyway, so a handsome and confident man comes along and takes my wife..or better yet she went to him. The pain of catching her was bad enough, but I tried to fool myself into thinking there wasn’t more until she told me there was.

      I’m loosing the self-confidence battle now. For a while, I worked out and was getting into pretty good shape – but for what. Her? She doesn’t care. For other women? I’m too old and broken to move on, and they aren’t interested anyway. It just seems pointless.

    • Surviving

      @ Dave,
      Do it for you don’t stop, you never know what or who will enter your life and when.
      Some say we attract like people and when you are working out and taking care of you that’s the type of person who will be drawn to you and the type of friends who will be too.

      Lately with all the publicity about affairs it’s been overwhelming.

      Take care,

    • Amee

      I’m needing this right now. My husbands PA came only 5 years into our marriage that lasted a 1.5, and the COW is an older women. Shes not even that attractive, but shes a career women (I’m a stay at home mom, of our 2 kids never worked since we had our first child when I was 21), self assured and confident. It’s been exactly a year last week that I found out. My self esteem was always faulty but now.. its non-existent. I’m still in my 20s, an exercise fanatic and try to dress well, and still I feel worthless, unattractive, unlovable. I used to be extroverted and enjoy being around people. I’ve come to the point I about avoid any conversation, due to just not being confident. Hopefully I can return to somewhat of my former self, instead of this shadow of who I am. Even close friends say I’m a shell of person. My biggest fear is this being my new normal.

      • Blue

        Hi Amee, you are not alone.
        It’s odd that the ones that are honest and have integrity are the ones that suffer from lack of self confidence after being betrayed and the betrayers that lie, cheat and act without integrity walk around like puffed up peakcocks.

        If lying and cheating and acting without integrity will give me confidence, I think I’ll pass. I too hope I find a way to see myself as a person full of good and not full of ego.

        YOU are the better person. YOU REALLY ARE BETTER! Don’t let someone else define YOU when they are defining themselves as unworthy of you and your trust.

        Lot’s of wishes for your happiness.

      • Not going to list my name

        The first of 6 was only 5 months into our marriage so I definitely understand your pain

    • Eyesore

      I’m at a point in my life now where there is finally stability…child is thriving, spouse just got the job of their dreams and financially, we’re finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel…
      There’s just one problem…
      …me…I can’t let go…I can’t stop feeling like I’m nothing and blaming myself for what happened…7 years now and I’m finally realizing it wasn’t me…7 years now and I’ve finally grasped the concept that I have to take care of MYSELF…this post has helped immensely, don’t give up guys whether you stay in your relationship…don’t give up on yourselves

    • Not going to list my name

      What if your husband doesn’t seem to acknowledge the affair at all and still talks to and reacts to you the same way as before?

    • sissy

      Ladies, you have made my day! My H had an affair with someone 40 years younger! Yes, she was 20 and he was 60.. now if that’s not gross I don’t know what is! I have been going through hell with my self-esteem, because who can compete with someone 40 years younger than myself?
      I am finally realizing that this “affair” had more to do with his narcissistic need to be worshiped by a bimbo than by my shortcomings. Our marriage was good, sexy, and fun. Now, not so much.
      I am really trying to get my self esteem back, and I will keep reading these posts to give me a great attitude. I have allowed myself to get way too defeated.

      I keep myself up very well and am a professional. I should realize that 20 year old skank has her karma coming, and get on with my life. Thanks, ladies, for your boost.

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