feeling that you’re not good enoughAs we’ve mentioned numerous times in past posts, there is a natural tendency to want to compare yourself to your spouse’s affair partner and say, “Well, what did this other person have that I didn’t have?”

In truth, this other person in many ways is a fantasy. They’re not in there day to day, dealing with paying the bills, or having to fix things around the house, or taking the trash out or taking care of the kids. So, it’s a very unreal environment, and in the case that it’s an unreal environment, it’s also an unreal relationship. So, there is so much that is not genuine. Remember that true intimacy includes everything in a relationship. It’s not just having all the good stuff. It’s also being able to go through the stuff that’s not so much fun.

The affair itself, along with comparing yourself to the other person and comparing your relationship to the affair relationship will hit upon all of your insecurities and most certainly will cause you to feel as if you are not good enough.

So what are some things you can do to help you feel better about yourself?

For starters, you might try a little physical exercise. Exercise hits the dopamine centers in your brain causing a chemical response that makes you feel good. After a period of regular exercise you will also start to look better. Put those two together and you can’t help but feel better about yourself. As you exercise make sure you eat right too as that can make a big difference.

Doing nice things for yourself, like getting a massage or a manicure or treating yourself to a new wardrobe, can make a big difference as well. Make it a point to treat yourself often, because part of feeling like you’re not good enough gets perpetuated when you keep saying, “Well, I don’t deserve this,” “I don’t deserve that.”

Not to get too psychological here but there may be old issues from your past that are feeding into the concept that “I’m not good enough.” that “I don’t deserve to have good things happen, because bad things have happened to me before, and here’s just another example of that.”

In this instance, it helps to try and shift your focus. Work on something positive. Go and volunteer some time with an organization somewhere or at the local hospital. You will be very appreciated, which is part of what we all want.

It’s also really important for the cheater to do things to acknowledge the person who has been betrayed, to notice when they done something nice for them, or comment, “Gee, you look really handsome,” or, “You look very beautiful today,” or, “Thank you so much for remembering me,” or, “I thought about you today.”

You know, do things to let each other know that you’re still on each other’s mind; because part of not feeling good enough is the feeling that your unfaithful spouse didn’t want to take the time to think about you. So, it’s real important to know you’re still being thought about.

Perhaps you can do things like leave little notes around the house, or a note can suddenly show up in somebody’s car or briefcase. It’s these little things that make a huge difference in terms of the interplay.

Sometimes, people that feel that they’re not good enough can get so stuck in that, so if you are willing to step out a little bit and do something nice for the other person, it makes the other person that much more willing to do something nice for you, and they kind of feed off each other. So, it’s a process. It takes time.

Some more ideas…

You can make a list of all your good attributes. What are the things you do that you can feel positive about? Where are some places you can go that make you feel special and alive? What are some accomplishments that you have in your life? Who are people that are important to you? What are some things that somebody has said before that made you feel good about yourself, be it a friend, a teacher, a coach, or whomever it is?

Everybody has something in their life that they’ve done where they felt good, and it’s important to begin to start putting all those in your arsenal to be able to point to those when you’re feeling bad and not good enough and say, “Well, but, you know, there was that time when I did this; and, yeah, I felt pretty good about that.” And, again, it’s shifting that focus from the negative to the positive.

There’s no sugarcoating things…it takes effort and a real disciplined consciousness to be able to make that shift.

It’s a little bit like everybody who says they want to lose weight…What is involved in losing weight? There are two basic components. There’s exercise, and there’s eating differently. You can think about it, but is that going to make you lose any weight? No. You can go to the gym and still not do anything, and that’s still not going to help. It’s the actual effort, and the initial effort – a conscious effort – does take more discipline.

The more you begin to do these things on a regular basis, the more they start to become second nature and the easier they become – and then you feel better. It’s a cycle that feeds on itself.

Do you struggle with feeling that you’re not good enough as a result of the affair?  Have you had any success with making that shift from being negative to feeling positive?  Please share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions in the comment section below.  Thanks!


    18 replies to "Dealing with the Feeling that You’re Not Good Enough"

    • Rachel

      My ex’s affair person was a double bagger. Ruff ruff. He said she wasn’t that bad. People will say she and I don’t make a good couple likenyou and I ?
      Now his new gold digger perfect hair perfect tight tanned body, well her and him will make a perfectly wonderful beautiful couple.
      From the outside.
      He cheated on his spouse and she cheated on her two spouses. She makes the rounds with the men at the gym.
      It’s funny that’s what matters to him. What people think? All superficial.
      He has a lot to learn.

    • Jamie

      I just feel like no matter what I do I am not good enough or I don’t do it right. The other women looks like a man. I know I am prettier and I have much more to offer but I still feel like I am competing against her. I feel like I am now trying to prove to him that I am worth it and he will loose the best thing that happened to him if he walks away. Does that ever of away?

      • Lynsey

        Jamie, you are good enough and don’t not have to prove it oi your H, especially if he’s still in la-la land because if he is, he won’t even notice. How far out are you from D-Day? There is no need to compare yourself to a whore with no morals who is messing around with a married man. Yes, an affair can shatter your confidence, but you CAN get it back, and things will get better. Do things for yourself: learn a new skill, pick up a hobby, exercise, whatever makes you happy. Your H will eventually notice a difference when you become confident, more assertive, etc. Show him that you can make it on your own. Learn about the 180 from past posts on this website. It works.

    • Broken2

      This issue is huge for me although I don’t really compare myself to the OW I do feel quite often that I’m not good enough for my husband. I know that is ridiculous but I feel it everyday no matter what I do. He tells me constantly and I mean constantly how beautiful I am, how worthy I am of good things, etc. I have done all of the suggestions here….and honestly I feel like I am a good person but not good enough because if I were he wouldn’t have been seeking the attention of other woman. The affair stole from me and gave me a permanent scar. I guess it is something I must learn to live with but it is hard.

    • Carol

      Broken2 and Jamie, I hear you. I struggled with this for a long time. In my case, most people looking in from the outside might well say the OW was ‘better’ than I am — she’s 12 years younger, gorgeous (she has — literally — been featured in _Vogue_), an internationally famous opera singer (did I mention I’m a failed professional musician?), speaks 4 languages fluently (something I’ve always longed to be able to do). Honestly, if my H had deliberately sought out an AP designed to do the most possible damage to my self-esteem, he couldn’t have done a better job.

      At my lowest moments, I thought, “Well, of course — who wouldn’t prefer her to me?” But the people on this board picked me up. They pointed out that she lacks the most important qualities: honesty, selflessness, the ability to love someone truly, kindness, generosity, the strength to face her problems squarely rather than try to self-medicate with somebody else’s husband.

      For some reason, when I first found out — I mean the moment I found out — I told my H that if he thought some opera whore was worth more than his faithful wife of 18 years and the mother of his 3 children, then he was too much of a fool for me and she was welcome to him. I honestly don’t know where that came from — maybe there’s a bit of trailer park left in me, heh. But it took a year or more for me to really *believe* what I’d said in anger, after repeated urging from people on this board and from my mother not to hold myself cheaply.

      It’s taken me even longer to realize that the affair was not about me at all. Even though the affair hurt *me*, and devastated *me*, it was about *his* shortcomings and character flaws, not mine. So many articles on this site drove that point home to me. I’ll hope that you too will be able to believe that and really own it. Because it’s true: a person of strong character will confront problems in his marriage, not run away. He won’t lie, he won’t cheat. The flaws are in him. No shortcomings in you can explain what he did. Or, as my grandmother used to say, you can’t make sense out of nonsense.

      So I’d urge you to be kind to yourself, be patient, and keep focused on those qualities that have real value. The wife of noble character (from Proverbs) is a savvy businesswoman, honest, kind, generous, truly loving of others, honorable, strong enough to confront problems head-on. By definition, an AP will NOT have many of those qualities!

      • Debbie

        Its been 7months since my husband told me he met someone else and he loves her. An hour later he packed his bags and left me and the kids. 5 days later he moved back home after he realized what he was losing. I have taken him back because I still love him and also because of my kids. It broke my heart when my 14year old asked me to please forgive his dad and give him a second chance. Our relationship is better that what it was before his affair. I think we both took each other for granted. We go on date nights and make sure that we look after our relationship and not only after us as a family. But the problem is I still feel broken inside. I’ve joined the gym (lost a few kg’s), do my nails and hair and just look after myself better to make myself feel better. But I am still broken deep inside. Every time he gets quite I think is he thinking of her because I am boring. She was new, he has been married to me for 21yrs. How do I stop feeling broken. How do you let go of the pain of your husband walking out on you after 21 yrs even if he realized afterwards it was a mistake. It feels like that moment has defined me deep inside.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Yes….that is putting it well…..I know that I will never be the same as well.

          It has been three years for me since d-day and slowly slowly I am starting to feel more like my old self. Coming here and reading other people’s stories, reading lots of books on the subject and seeing a counselor have all been very helpful. We were married almost forty years before I discovered the Emotional Affair that had been going on for over a year.

          Self care is really important. Also we had to go through and still have to go through many painful converstions about what went so very wrong. And having those conversations can be like pulling teeth as they really don’t want to talk about it.

          Seeing my husbands true remorse has also been really helpful. But in all honesty it’s been the most difficult journey of my life.

          Hang in there

        • Mary

          How are you now? I feel your pain now. Did you heal that broken feeling?

    • Joan

      He was over 50 and infatuated —he used the term “smitten” ..one-way emotionally addicted…she was a brilliant 18 year old student at university …interested in the same subjects as he was. She was book smart and ambitious and starved for attention from her successful father. He was unemployed and wrote her a lengthy letter (secretly)-accompanying our family’s gift for her graduation. She wrote him an over the top, embarrassingly effusive thank you calling him wise, wonderful and signed “all my love” which he took to mean something different than it did. He began to email her daily…at least a page. Asking questions, discussing books they had both read, being funny and showing how well he wrote and told her how smart and mature she was etc. went on for 3 months till I discovered the emails just before a birthday party for an 80 year old mutual friend at which they would both be. I saw him engaged in deep conversation across the table from me for almost two hours at which time he said he would come to see her at school some Saturday and take her out for coffee (about 40 minutes away). In the meantime he was unemployed and not doing the yard work nor helping with our teenage kids nor expressing any interest in their activities. I was working full time and doing it all while he was downstairs on the computer late at night “job hunting ” when he was actually hard at work composing emails that would impress her. when we got to the car I blew up and told him what I found out. He was livid and said he could have whatever friends he wanted. Fast forward 2 years later after he “gave her up” …before it became something else. He has sneaked looking her up on social networks and lied about it,watched her from afar at church mournfully. And we have been in counseling since then. He said he was over her but now she is the girlfriend of the son of one of our good friends who has just posted pictures of them together at his graduation on Facebook. I didn’t say anything about the pictures. But last night he accused me of erasing things from his Facebook account because he did not see the pictures and had before. I had not done so,but asked him why he went looking for them again if he was “over ” her. He said I was “thick” for just not understanding how FB worked because it was in a timeline or something like that and got very upset….I became angry and said hurtful things like “I am glad she found someone who is so much better for her than a married man who is 40 years older.” And he said that I “misread” the situation. Even though at the time 2 years ago he had blurted out that I didn’t know what it was like to “love someone and they didn’t love you back” in reference to her. So here we are…thousands of dollars of counseling fees…and he still refuses to do something about this addiction. She had flattered him…and he lapped it up. and he missed it. But he had flattered and cajoled her first. He doesn’t do this with me or he may have gotten that back. I want him to write me daily as he did her and ask me questions because he never asked me the things he asked her…thoughts and dreams, talking about books, even asking her about her child rearing beliefs!!!! He says I see him each day so he can’t write me but the kind of writing he did would not have been said in person. He writes beautifully and I am heartsick that she shall remain the person he wrote to the most…and we have been married over 30 years. The therapist has asked that he begin to write me but once in awhile he will write me a very short “love note” that has “more meaning” in it. My problem is the intensity and frequency of his correspondence. He has never done that or tried to have that much of an emotional or intellectual connection with me. He worked at it with her. But says he should not have to do that with me and I needed to show him some more acceptance that what he is doing for me is good enough because he says I am too critical about his efforts. I say his efforts are not much and he hasn’t changed much. He says he has. And there we are. At an impasse. He says he doesn’t feel like writing because I am too angry. But I am only angry when I find out that he is still interested in any way about her. I am sick of it.

      • Melanie

        Aww I admire you so much for sticking around through all that hurt and betrayal and feelings of not being good enough and desires to be on the other ends of those effort full emails.. and still sticking around. You have a very strong and beautiful heart and he don’t deserve you at all. But you love him . I get it. You must know how brave and strong you are!! ❤️❤️❤️

    • BeckyB

      Please hear this EVERY ONE OF US WERE TOO GOOD. This is the reality no sane person goes after roadkill unless they are sick. Please remember sick people are hurt and hurt can come out as hurting others mentally or physically or it can come out as anger (both are hurt not dealt with internally) immature people act like overgrown toddlers. Personally at 2years and 9 months from #1 spewage of sewage since then so much gaslighting (I could keep a flame going eternally on all the hot air he blew )TT all the other spewage of sewage days are a jumble with the lies and hiding I no longer feel as strongly that I want to continue to work and hurt for marriage with a selfish selfcentered irresponsible immature person. I now hear my husband telling me he wants to love deeply (after a few counselling sessions which he stopped he said he was told he has commitment issues, he is shallow, he is often jealous and spiteful of others who have something he wishes he had ,he loves shallowly ,he attaches with lies since he can be any one he can create ,and when lies fail he flounders, I did ask if he is a pathological liar and if he is narcissistic he got offended) it never occurred to him HE can’t run away from his own pain by making every female part of his walking wounded/walking dead. I only wanted the truth all I got was everything but.

    • BeckyB

      Too good for the liar we all are married to. Too good hearted to cruelly inflict pain on our spouse. Too good to abandon our morals and accept less than we deserve. Our cheating spouses went out with blinders on abandoning their own truthful words leaving behind the person who can and will at the stroke of their ego drop themselves and say come play in my sewer be my rat we will build a rat kingdom hmm if they could only see with eyes wide open. If we could see how desperate to have fantasy cheaters are perhaps the psychiatric facilities would be overflowing with physiologically damaged people instead of us feeling as if we have been taken to the looney bin by an insane stranger.

    • Gizfield

      Becky B, you are so right. No person in their right mind is flattered by attention from someone who is already taken. If a person they were dating acted this way, people with any sense would run. I just would love to hear the first conversation my husband had with his whore. How csn you be flattered by someone who does not respect you enough to date you while he is married? It’s like broadcasting “I KNOW you’re a whore”. That is disgusting. What is in your mind when this guy trash talks his WIFE and CHILD? A certain sign of a real PRIZE. When this whore called me insecure, I said “yeah, it’s a real sign of security to sneak around with a married man behind his wife’s back.” It’s cause her slimy ass knows it’s the only hope she has for a “relationship” cause anybody decent dumps her sorry ass. And no, he’s not decent either. Blame is distributed fairly all around.

    • Tan

      Well, It surely has struck the nerve, reading this. Until i found out about his emotional affair, i thought we were happy in all aspects of life. We had good chemistry emotional, intellectual, physical, as I said in every aspect of life. Yet from the start of the marriage he was attracted to his older cousin (who was married and with kids at that time), I was young, vibrant yet he was fantasizing about her. Fining out about the affair has hurt me emotionally and wounded my pride and confidence. Every time I look into the mirror, I start comparing myself to her. I know I am much better than her in other parts and yet cant help but think if I am not pretty enough? It hurts you the way you can never imagine.

    • Unlucky

      From the names on the posts, I am assuming that you are all women who have had husbands stray from your marriage. We aren’t all bad… I promise. But we do have similar issues.

      My wife cheated the first time (that i know of) after 18 years of marriage. I saw all the signs but struggled to believe it was really happening…after all, everything seemed great in our marriage and I thought she had no reason to want to cheat. She broke it off when I found out about it and I eventually recovered.

      Now 18 years later and 36 years of marriage, I found out she was involved with two different men. I think it was more emotional than physical but it literally ripped my heart to shreds. She claims to have broken both of these off and says I am the only thing she has ever wanted (go figure). Through months of counseling, I have agreed to stay with her with the promise that she will NEVER do this again (2nd time I’ve heard this).

      Just wanted to let you know the pain and the wondering if you are good enough is across the board. I struggle daily and am seeing a counselor myself to try to adjust. I am a long way from being “fixed” but I highly recommend all who feel this way go talk to someone. I have hope that it will eventually make me see my self worth. Hopefully you will too!

    • Deedee

      It’s hard to read all of these posts. I can relate to the feeling like your not good enough. My husband traveled six days a week and was home on sundays. I found out two yrs ago that while he’s away he was going to strip clubs and getting lap dancea. I found out because I outright asked him if he was going because his behavior was so overly sexually demeaning to me and one day it occurred to me …gee…where is he going that makes him think he can sexually disrespect woman like thia. I attacked him physically when I found out and we were both arrested and had a court ordered restraining order for three months against eachother. We got back together went for counseling and started going to church together. He’s been very remorseful at times and other times he blames me.for.his cheating. Said he was lonely too. The issue now is i feel deeply insecure about myself with him. I can never compare to those perfect young bodies he was going to be with at those strip clubs and nothing I have done to help myself has worked. Now and then he triggers me and I start telling and crying and he says something insensitive and I start hitting him. It happened last night and he’s left me. It’s probably for the bettee. I cant see how I will ever feel good about myself in a relationship with him. He’s been so good to me but I feel worthless to him.

    • Paul

      Over 5 years ago I ended my 11 year loveless marriage and not long after came together with a girl who I was great friends with, I was always attracted to her but never gave any signs. She is was and still is very pretty and had been single for a long time. When we were coming together everything seemed amazing until random texts would come and she would act weird. I started to feel like something was off but didn’t say anything and just hoped it was nothing as we seemed to be so good. A couple of month’s went by and we hadnt quite confirmed we were a couple. She wanted me to meet her family first at her son’s birthday in a week. She said she had a girls shopping catch up in another town with old school friend’s two days before the party and would stay away there. I was happy for her to go as we had been spending a lot of time together and I was keen to catch up with friends as well. The day she left to go she was acting strange. When she arrived in the other town she text to say she was safe then turned her phone off and didn’t text back until very late and was very brief. She came back a couple of days later. I had a very bad gut feeling . When I saw her I had pulled away and asked where we were at. She cried and said that all we needed to do was put a label on our relationship and she wanted to be together. She seemed a different person . More relaxed. From then we became this more amazing couple. I felt like I had met my soulmate…. until 6 months later a random guy texted something and I asked her what it was about as it was a foreign number. My world came crashing down. She had been in a hotel 6 months early with a married man from another country 17 years her senior. It ripped me apart. We were coming together as this amazing couple. She said it was pre planned months before. That was no excuse she could have stopped it. I went from feeling on top of the world to a piece of dirt on the ground. I am still with her after all this time and she has shown me nothing but love . But I suffer in silence. I have never been able to shake ..the never be good enough.. feeling. I love her a lot but feel like I lost my confident self .I know I shouldn’t live in the past but it left it’s mark on me . I feel like I was deceived into our relationship and had known the truth I would have run a mile before I fell fully in love. It’s the silent suffering that gets me . I feel like she missed seeing me in time but that version of me who was a bloody happy man is now gone. My perception of myself now is not a great one because of this. But I know deep down I’m a good hard-working loving guy. How do i get myself back? Do I just end it with the girl that should have been? It’s all on me now to change but how?

    • DeeDee

      I am Soo sorry this happened to you . I went through something similar with my husband when I found out he was going to strip clubs for years and getting private dances . I was devastated . I went through two years of not feeling like I was good enough for him and that I was in attractive even though he swore that he found me beautiful . He was very depressed and stressed from his job he said and had always used those clubs for stress relief in his single days so he started doing it again and feels terrible about it . Even though he stopped and we had some marriage counseling I could not shake that feeling that I wasn’t good enough . I had seperated from him for 3 months to grieve and think and when we got back together I cried a lot but he was very supportive . Shareing your feelings with the person who betrayed you is very important so that they can help you to heal. It took two years and he was so good to me and stayed by me as I healed from this so I know now that he really wants me. Plus I started takeing some classes to help me to feel smart and confident. I became a fitness instruction and I also began to study the art of exotic pole dance hahaha. I did this for me not him. I did it because I no longer felt sexy or attractive and since learning exotic dance I feel amazing about myself. I’m not a certified instructor in bodybuilding and pole dance. It’s been 4 years since our relationship blew up and I now hold a dozen certification as a fitness instructor in various modalities . I feel sooo good about myself now. Nobody can ever take that away from me. My accomplishments have boosted my self esteem through the roof and when I watch myself dance exotic pole and watch myself in the mirrors and video myself I think damn I’m freaking sexy !!!! Hahaha . So my advice to you is to go all out in doing something that will shift your focus off of not feeling good enough to seeing how amazing you are. Take up a hobby or sport or classes or ballroom dancing . Something that makes you feel really good about yourself . And in time you will heal from this and it will be a faded memory . We have a fantastic relationship now. His friends are all jealous he has a wife that pole dances haha and he brags about me. But better yet. I feel so good about myself and take such great care of myself and I would not be the person I am today if that had not happened with him. Bug hugs to you dear and now go start being your amazing self. Xoxoxo

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