Dealing with your spouse’s infidelity has probably resulted in an all out assault on your self-respect, making you lose your sense of self-worth.

The flood of emotions that you experience after D-day can be quite overwhelming. The betrayal causes hurt and anger, and sometimes much of that anger points inward – leaving your self-confidence in tatters.

The hurt and anger that are directed inward is natural. The period after D-day is generally full of doubts about your marriage, who your spouse is, who you are, and what you want to happen next.

If it gets so bad that it’s making you sick and you feel that you can’t talk yourself through these negative thoughts, then it’s time to put in a massive effort to take care of yourself and turn things around.

Remember… only you can control what goes on in your mind.

So our discussion points for this week are:

How did discovering your spouse’s affair damage your self-respect?

What have you done to take care of yourself and gain it back?

Have you managed to regain your self-respect and self-confidence?

What actions did you take that were successful? Which ones weren’t so successful?

Remember to respond to each other in the comment section.

Take care!

Linda & Doug

    15 replies to "Discussion: Regaining Your Self-Respect"

    • Saddenned

      How did discovering your spouse’s affair damage your self-respect?

      It was a huge cut to my ego. I always believed I was confident and successful, but I felt like a failure and that I couldn’t provide my H what he needed.

      What have you done to take care of yourself and gain it back?

      I do stuff for me now. I get my nails done, and always look nice before I leave the house, which was something I didnt do before. I do more with my kids and most of all, I try to relax.

      Have you managed to regain your self-respect and self-confidence?

      I still struggle with this, but I am in counselling which is working towards that very thing. She reminds me that I need balance in my life. Eat right, exercise, rest, the basics in life. I also try not to dwell and get into that “stinkin thinkin”. For those of you who don’t know “stinkin thinkin” is when you dwell and only see the negative. Look it up.

      What actions did you take that were successful? Which ones weren’t so successful?

      Counseling is a positive because it helps remind me of balance. I need that balance in life.

      Sometimes I have a tendency to overcorrect. I was a very independent woman, maybe too independent to the point it made me cold and mean. Now I am a little too compromising. Having trouble realizing that I used to be aggressive, but now I need to be assertive.

    • RecoveringMommy

      I have absolutely no self confidence left at all. After 2 children, I do not resemble at all what I looked like the day we got married. I was a size 8 when we married and now I wear a 16. I never struggled with weight until after I had children and my weight has been a real tough issue for me. Then on top of that, I find out my H has been in an EA with another woman that is smaller than me, wears more make up than me, and wears nicer clothes than I do. Talk about a shot to the ego! After the aftermath of D-day, I lost about 20 lbs simply because I did not eat. But I’ve gained that back. I went on a weight loss program a couple months ago and had lost about 15 lbs in 6 weeks. But due to financial problems, I cannot afford to do that anymore and I can tell I’m putting the weight back on. I have no metabolism whatsoever. I’ve been checked for thyroid issues and that is not it either. So I don’t know! My H tells me that none of that matters to him, that he thinks I’m beautiful. I just usually respond with “yeah right.” I know I should just say thank you but compliments like that are so hard to hear. If he thinks I’m “so beautiful” then why did he step out on me?

    • jessica

      How did discovering your spouse’s affair damage your self-respect?

      I used to say I would never stay with someone who cheated on me, and here I am trying to make this marriage work with someone who hurt me beyond belief.

      What have you done to take care of yourself and gain it back?

      I have tried to see thru my hurt and pain what caused this to happen and came to the conclusion it wasn’t anything to do with me but rather it was him. This helped me to see that it wasn’t my fault. I read as much as I can and this site has helped. I make time during the week for “me” every wednesday is my day, I exercise, read and basically just do things for me, not for my husband or the kids, or my parents.

      Have you managed to regain your self-respect and self -confidence.

      Little by little I am getting some self-confidence back. I hate being needy and insecure, so when I start feeling that way I have to recognize it early on and deal with it.

      What actions did you take that were successful? Which ones weren’t so successful?

      Finding a friend to talk to was successful, I didn’t have much success with any of the therapists I went to after I discovered the affair. Putting my needs first and then putting our Marriage second.
      Basically taking care of my physical and mental health was my priority.

      • Kris

        Jessica I used to say the same thing! The worst part is I’d always advise my friends in the past to LEAVE. I had just told a friend to leave and she had moved out. I had to go back and eat my words and let her know she had every right to choose the option of working it out with her spouse. I’m happy to say they’re restored as well and moving forward 2 years later.

    • B

      How did discovering your spouse’s affair damage your self-respect?

      -I assumed that at 34 I was no longer attractive and had nothing to offer because my wife had decided a 25 year old (newer model) deserved her attention. I was devastated I stopped eating and went from 220 lbs. to 178 lbs in 6 months. I wondered where I went wrong and how I would ever be the same.

      What have you done to take care of yourself and gain it back?

      -I have started eating again, getting regular sleep, enjoying my kids, and of all things I got a promotion with a nice raise.

      Have you managed to regain your self-respect and self-confidence?

      -No, I haven’t got it all the way back. I realize that the EA wasn’t my fault and I am starting to feel good about myself, but because my wife is still in communication with the OM, I am not fully there.

      What actions did you take that were successful? Which ones weren’t so successful?

      -There is no real plan for success, it depends on the individual and whether or not they have a committed partner in the recovery. In my case I have learned to control my emotions, and am standing my ground but with my wife still communicating with this OM, the road to self-recovery is battered and tough to navigate.

    • JS

      How did discovering your spouse’s affair damage your self-respect?

      I realized that I had invested all I had into our marriage and our kids, and at the same time I realized how little he was invested in us. It made me feel stupid and naive to think the sacrifices I made through the years in order to support him and his career were appreciated by him, and I felt like he had used me throughout the marriage to get what he wanted. In addition, I had a lot of regret for having ignored myphysical state – I had gained 40 pounds and was content with the very few gray hairs. When I found out his affair was with a 24 year old, blonde, extremely skinny little thing, it hit me hard that I am no longer young and desirable. (I’m 41.) That was a big hit, because up to that point, I didn’t feel old and I’m told by many I don’t look anywhere near my age. Any more, though, I just feel like I look like an old lady – compared to her.

      What have you done to take care of yourself and gain it back?

      I started reading books again – books I wanted to read but never made time for myself to read. I started having lunches with girlfriends I had previously put off in order to spend time with my husband. I stopped sharing every detail of my life with my husband and bouncing everything off him, and I started making independent decisions about the direction of my life without consulting him on everything. I started spending money on ME – I started getting my nails done from time to time, I changed my hair, I started to change my wardrobe a little. The little things that made me feel prettier and better about myself but seemed “frivolous” before, are things I do now. I also joined a weight loss program because I had about 40 pounds to lose. I’ve been losing in a healthy way so far (7 pounds down!!), and I feel stronger and better about my physical state and I’m ready to start working out again. I ran a marathon 10 years ago, and I’m ready to think again about taking on a big physical challenge. I miss feeling confident in who I am, and these little things are going a long way toward that. On the spiritual side, I have amassed a set of quotes that remind me I AM worthly of love and respect. When I get down, I no longer look to my husband in the hopes he will give me a compliment or make me feel wanted. I look at those quotes and give myself a boost. I also read this site frequently to remind myself that I’m not alone in this pain.

      Have you managed to regain your self-respect and self -confidence?

      A little at a time, it’s coming back. I felt paralyzed for a year with this pain after 3 D Days and so many lies. I feel like I’m crawling out of this cave, little by little, and getting my life back. I believe I will be a stronger person than I ever was before after all this work is done.

      What actions did you take that were successful? Which ones weren’t so successful?

      What didn’t work: Waiting for my husband to come to his senses, waiting for him to be willing to talk with me about the affair, waiting for him to start showing me affection and take big steps to fix the damage he had caused, confronting the OP, hoping he would leave his job and work somewhere else (they work together), and expecting he would try to understand how this felt to me.

      All the above things I listed above under “what I’ve done to take care of myself” is what has worked. I lost myself in this marriage and I sacrificed and “did” for my family everything I believed I could to create a loving home and marriage. Getting myself back is what has worked for me. Also, my therapist said not to make any immediate decisions on whether to stay in the marriage. She said get my sense of self back, let the very intense emotions die down a little, put a timeframe on it, and then decide. That helped me take the pressure off myself. Since my husband was saying he had no intention of leaving and didn’t want to lose the marriage, it would be me throwing him out and separating our family, and that was a big burden to carry.

    • Kris

      How did discovering your spouse’s affair damage your self-respect?

      —In the beginning, I really did take a hit on my self-esteem as a wife and woman. Not only did he blame me as he walked out the door but he was incredibly cruel to me the months leading up to me finding out about the adultery so to find out why and realize what was the reason did even more damage to me. Then, instead of turning away from the adultery, he left and continued the adultery. It did a huge blow to my self-esteem and I spent months blaming myself until I realized those choices were his and his alone.

      What have you done to take care of yourself and gain it back and have you managed to regain your self-respect and self-confidence?

      —forgiveness has been huge for me in getting over the destruction that was done to me and finding my center again. It doesn’t mean that it’s fully back. I have my shaky, insecure moments but overall I don’t feel that way about myself, only with HIM at times. I need reassurances still that he finds me sexy, finds me beautiful, loves me to pieces. In general though I’m the same Kris I always have been. I don’t feel any less self-confident at all with others.

      What I’ve done to gain it personally has been to take care of me. I spend time on myself, I dress every day to look my best and feel my best. Not for HIM but for me. I take time to put on my make-up (the little that I wear) and do my hair. I feel good about myself again and that helps my overall view of myself.

      What actions did you take that were successful? Which ones weren’t so successful?

      At first when he left I was looking to get attention from other men. I needed to know I was desired. None of that helped. The more people that approached me the more I felt sad that the one person who I wanted desperately to notice me didn’t care about me any longer. I soon but the kibosh on that method. What was successful for me was turning to Christ for direction and comfort. I truly would have not reconciled with my husband if it wasn’t for my faith and trust in what God told me was going to happen.

    • Sad Mad Wife

      Damage my self-respect? Mmmm, do I still respect my self? Yes, I do. My self-worth and confidence was shattered though. I felt totally unloved, rage, disbelief, betrayal, unable to process feelings or thoughts about anything. Was I that stupid that I couldn’t see what was happening? That our marriage was a sham for the last several years? That he hadn’t loved me in years? I obsessed about my H and our marriage, so much that I neglected about everything else in my life. I felt like a walking corpse, with a nagging emptiness in my soul and a coldness that followed me. I truly couldn’t get warm, even in 90+ degree weather. Sadness had swallowed me up. There was such a disconnect between what I felt our marriage was and what my H was telling me that I thought I was crazy. Who and what do I believe? Where do I turn, who can I trust? Ugggh!

      What have I done to take care of myself and gain it back? Well, I still have a LOT of work to do. I have started walking for half an hour in the early morning, at least 4 times a week and playing tennis. The walking is therapeutic – I can think, and feel and cry at 5:30 am and no one is around. I had gained about 50 lbs. since we were first married. I wasn’t happy with this and the weight did contribute to me not feeling desirable or sexy enough for my H (although he never said anything about it). I couldn’t eat for the first couple of weeks after d-day. I have lost about 30 lbs in the last 2 months. Not the most healthy thing, I know, but I am now eating and making healthier decisions, and I am feeling better about my weight and health. I take more care in how I dress and my makeup. I try telling myself everyday that I’m loving, beautiful and worthy. So, not every day do I feel like that walking corpse, but there are bad days when I feel like I’ve made very little progress. I hate to admit it.
      I have looked deep into myself and realize there are things that I’ve done to hurt our relationship. I internalized a lot of resentment and was not as available to intimacy (both physical and mental). I’m not taking the blame for the affair, but the responsibility for my actions (or lack of).
      I’ve expressed to my H my apologies for letting him down in this area. I don’t think he can fully accept this yet. I’m trying to figure out how to forgive him.
      I’ve prayed for God to give me strength and to help me know what path He wants for us.
      I believe this is a process and I’m new to it.

      I regret talking to as many people as I have about the details. I’ve talked with probably 10 other women, most of whom I told as my H was moving out and I was feeling devastated. A few were supportive, but many were telling me to get rid of the SOB and hire an attorney ASAP. I still haven’t done that, and I may be the biggest fool for not, but I can’t get my heart around trying to make our marriage work and consulting a divorce attorney. I would give anything in the world that our daughters didn’t know about the affair. But they do and I try not to talk about it with them. I encourage them to be kind to their Dad. Also, I’ve flirted with a couple of men to make myself feel desirable. It made me feel good for about 10 seconds. I quickly found out that was not what I want right now.

    • TW

      Thank you for this blog Doug & Linda. Today theses responses make me feel normal and that’s what I needed.

    • Karenjzj

      Sad mad wife… Your answers are exactly where I’m at. “felt totally unloved, rage, disbelief, betrayal, unable to process feelings or thoughts about anything. Was I that stupid that I couldn’t see what was happening?”. Yep, me too.

      I have been trying to care more for my appearance, for ME. I started sewing for me and not the kids. It’s my hobby I share with our oldest, but I had to make some projects for me , not for her. I loved the great comments I received for a blouse I made. Those reinforced I can do something well.

      I have an extra burden of his depression. I have to wait to share my pain and anger until I think he’s ready to hear it. That hasn’t helped me move on. It seems like, again, the focus is on his needs when I need to be heard.

      I went to bars to talk to Anyone( male/female) It helped to have simple nonsense conversations with people who didn’t need me. What didn’t help was the unwanted males who wanted more. Some were looking for love, some just sex. I didn’t want any of that. I had to stop going because it wasn’t meeting my needs anymore and getting too crazy.

      Couple counseling has helped greatly. The counselor has been an extra voice to help him hear me. She has also opened my eyes to how I overlooked him while trying to raise good kids. I put more attention on the kids than our marriage. I have been working on that.

    • blueskyabove

      How did it damage my self-respect?

      It didn’t damage my self-respect at all. I didn’t do anything to make me lose respect for myself. Had I been trusting him when I apparently shouldn’t have? Absolutely, but I still don’t disrespect myself for being a trusting partner.

      What have I done to take care of myself?

      Well, just because I didn’t lose my self-respect doesn’t mean it wasn’t a self-esteem nightmare. I made a real effort to learn more about affairs. I read every book I could get my hands on about affairs until I started realizing they were all pretty much the same. I think I was hoping/expecting that “this one ” would have the magic cure, but that never happened so I sought out ways to empower myself instead. One of the absolutely BEST books I found was “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. He showed me how to control my obsessive thoughts which led me to find inner peace. On occasion I can still let my thoughts take over, but I now know how to silence “the voice in the head”. That has been very empowering for me which leads me to the question of regaining my self-confidence.

      Have I managed to regain my self-confidence?

      Yes! But again, it was books like this one, not books about affairs, that allowed me to grow, to develop another perspective, to help me realize that just because two people chose to do a lousy thing to me did not diminish me in any way. No one can really hurt me without my permission. It’s up to me to decide if I am going to be a victim and I’ve decided that I deserve better than that.

      What actions were successful?

      Everything I tried that led to my personal empowerment. Just to be clear, I’m talking about power over my thoughts, my actions, my decisions. I am not talking about power over others in an attempt to control them. This is all about me and my self-discovery!

      What actions weren’t successful?

      Off-hand I can’t think of any that weren’t ultimately successful. I have no intention of ever again letting someone who has no regard for another human being influence my life. I can look at myself in the mirror. That counts for something.

      I’ve grown a lot. Not only have I survived, I’ve discovered that I can thrive in the face of adversity. From now on it’s head up, shoulders back. You want a piece of me world? Bring it on. You don’t scare me. I’ve gotten through this…I can get through anything.

      • Holding On

        Thanks, blueskyabove!

        I’m going to look up that book. I read your words, and I need more of that positive thinking. This has taken a bit hit on my self-esteem. I want to feel how you are describing.

      • Christina

        Thank you Blueskyabove, your words were so inspirational and I wish I had a mentor like you to guide me through this tough time.

    • Vero

      I gained my self respect back today. I was resenting him because he was still seeing OW. Last night I heard him on the phone. That was my breaking point. Today I told him that the kids and I will be ok with or without him. We prefer with you but ur not ready. I told him I has met someone and was going on a date with him this weekend. I don’t know if I should have said or done this but I want to feel special (no sex just attention). I told him that this is all his choice. He stayed quiet. I think he was in shock. The past 2 weeks we’ve gotten along great. He even called me “babe”. But today I needed to express myself. And although it hurt to know I was letting him go, I felt relieved.

    • Anita

      Doug be thankful Linda wants to save your marriage, and forgave you. Asking the question of how do you get self respect after your spouse’s indfidelity, you do what God asks you to do, you forgive them. The spouse who betrayed needs to also forgive themselves. Linda forgiving Doug is the first step of healing, as you know learning to trust and respect again is a process. Doug many marriages fail when trust and respect and forgiveness are not restored and their hearts begins to harden. I hope this is a wake up call, now you understand why you never bring another person into a marriage. Please start reading your Bible, read Proverbs 5 what is says about adultery.

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