Happy Wednesday!

One of the therapeutic philosophies that we subscribe to and preach to others in posts and comments is the aspect of working on YOU in your efforts to heal after the affair. In short, get yourself strong both physically and emotionally and prepare for the rough road ahead. Linda wrote a very good post on this subject some time ago called “Don’t Lose Your Self Concept.”

With this in mind, here are the discussion points for this week:

Have you been working on YOU? If so, how? How has it effected you in your recovery and in your relationship? How has your spouse/partner reacted to this?

As always, please reply to each other in the comments. Each person leaving a comment is not an isolated incident. Many folks find the comments very helpful. Also, don’t forget to utilize the forum!

Thanks again!

Doug & Linda

    20 replies to "Open Discussion: Are You Working on YOU After the Affair?"

    • Duane

      Once I rejected this notion that the affair occurred because the betrayed spouse failed to meet some unmet need, I began to feel better about myself. There are a lot of “experts” out there that subscribe to this point of view, but it’s BS. An unmet need fosters communication, not betrayal. An affair is a cowardly way to deal with one’s own pain. It has nothing at all to do with one’s spouse.

      Once I accepted that I was not the problem I started to get annoyed at my wife’s vacillating. I started seriously asking myself if I was happy in my marriage. I began researching what divorce meant and to prepare for it because I didn’t want to cower from it. that gave me a huge edge because I realized that although I would prefer to reconcile, I wasn’t going to be a doormat while she figured herself out.

      For the first three months I was a doormat. I constantly poured over what I did wrong, how I could change, etc. But once I made the transition to my needs I found what she did or felt mattered far less to me. I stopped thinking of her as my wife even until she started acting like she was. During one heated discussion I offered to drive her to his house so she could ask him once and for all if he wanted her, because I wasn’t going to wait around for them to decide on their own. It’s tough love, but I definitely regained my strength from that encounter.

      My wife doesn’t like my time line. She wants to sit and meditate about the why and how. She wants to understand how she fell into this. She doesn’t want to accept that ALL affairs are about lust and opportunity.

      If there are issues in your marriage, deal with them. Don’t run away and hide within an affair.

      Five months later and we are further along than many said we would be. I trace that to my own growth, independence, and firm belief that, while not perfect, I didn’t deserve her selfishness, and she should know that what I feel I do deserve I’ve regained the confidence to go get it.

      • ruth

        Duane, I need to get where you are but it so hard. For the longest time he always told me it was my fault, I needed to read his mind and be more fun! Honestly I have put him and my childeren in front of myself for so long I dont even know where to beging to help myself. And I am affraid that if I do he will leave me for her. I know how stupid that sounds but its how I feel.

        • duane

          Ruth, it was the hardest thing to face divorce. It made me feel a failure and alone, but after a while you begin to think of what YOU want in life, what YOU deserve. There is nothing more selfish than an affair. My wife has ruined so much in our lives whether we stay together or not, our lives will never be the same. She’ll be the first to tell anyone, “It isn’t worth it.”
          I want love in my life. I want someone who can commit to that. I still don’t trust her. I don’t know if that’s worth putting up with. So it’s not so much a fear that she’ll leave me as it is that I’ll simply stop needing her in my life. My own addiction will be broken.

          It is not your fault, Ruth. Are there things we can all work on in our lives, yes. Will those things ever justify an affair? Never in a million years. If one is that unhappy, either work on it or leave.

          • A

            Duane—are you still married 9 years later? Your comments have been the strongest I’ve read and have really resonated with me as I am 6 months into this hell. Any update would be greatly appreciated.

      • surprised

        I actually had my mother in law & sister in law hand me an article from Focus on the Family Feb newsletter to show me the “winning love letter”. Now I like Focus & they have good content but I was surprised at their “winning letter”. It was from a wife to her husband basically saying I know why you found someone else & it’s because I wasn’t the wife you needed me to be and basically it’s all my fault & I will try to be better. They actually handed me this to read while we were all waiting at the hospital while my husband had outpaitent heart surgery!

        I start therapy on Monday because I need help getting through the anger, distrust, & paranoia of them still working together & learn how to walk the fine line of being a good mate yet standing up for myself too. But H seems to be making strides to correct his mistake.

        • Doug

          Surprised, that sounds like a strange letter, and I don’t agree with the premise that the affair was the fault of the betrayed. Sounds like some sort of ultra conservative religious mentality or something. Good luck with therapy. Please feel free to share your experiences if you feel comfortable doing so.

      • Brenda

        Thank you! He is currently battling what I think is depression and is dragging me with him. We had a perfect marriage until his trainer, who didn’t have a perfect marriage, swooped in. His actions are not his own earl character, at all. Everything he did was the exact opposite of his true character. He is in counseling but still won’t really talk to me. “I’m not going to tell you everything we talk about and make things worse”. Which makes my mind think a million things! I did nothing wrong. We have always been able to talk. Everything you said, is where I am headed then I fall back thinking, “if I had only…”. Thank you!!

    • Michael

      Yes I have been working on me.
      It was one of the things my best friend had been telling me from the get go. It took months, and a few friends, for me to see it. But once I understood that I was able to pick myself up and ask myself is this what you want?
      Is this what I deserve? Should I stay at home and beg for her love. Or should I find some happiness in myself. Some me time. Stand up for myself when I can’t take the lies anymore.
      I know I can’t change her. I know there is a lot that she isn’t ready to change for herself. But am I gonna stand around feeling sorry for myself because she won’t give me what I need. She won’t.
      I have to do the things that make me feel better. I wish I could share in those things with her. But to be honest I don’t think that the things that she needs and wants are the same as mine. I don’t think she knows what she wants.
      She has always been a guarded person. Either to protect herself or maybe even to protect us from her. Either way she keeps it all inside for herself to struggle with.

      One of the things that has helped me the most is putting my feelings in writing. I used to hate writing. But I didn’t know it would make me feel so good to express myself.

      I honestly don’t know how me taking charge of myself has affected my wife. The only time I see an affect is when I’m pushed to a point that I say this is enough. And she begs and pleads for me not to leave her or just curls up and closes to world out.
      Then within a couple of weeks we’re right back to the way it has been, to me feeling alone and unloved. Back to her quiet as a mouse. And us not talking.
      When things have come up in the past she drops them and never wants to talk about them again. She only reacts to me. She isn’t proactively working on us or herself.

      Is that enough for me. I don’t know. I don’t have an answer yet. Because I’m still working on me.

    • jay

      Ruth

      Don’t let him make you believe for one minute it is because of YOU. Even if there were needs in the marriage that weren’t being met, it was his responsiblity to talk to you about it not go out and have an affair. I too at first spent hours trying to figure out what I did wrong, what I didn’t do. I couldn’t understand it. I put my husband and my kids first for 22 years, what more could I do. Well therapy helped alot. First I learned to accept myself along with any limitations I may have. I am a person and I am not perfect. I have learned this technique from my therapist called eft tapping. You can find it on the internet and it looks ridiculous at first but it really helps. Every day and many times multiple times a day I reaffirmed my fears, the worst case scenario, how it could get better and finally reaffirming that I am a very worthy person. If you do it enough you start to explore yourself instead of beatin yourself up. It also gave me the strength to calmly tell my husband that I was not going to take responsiblity for his affair. I am slowly reclaiming myself and thats where I went wrong years ago. It’s only been 8 weeks but I can’t tell you how much bettre I am. I still have bad days but I am getting there.

      • Doug

        Jay, I loved your comment and wanted you to know what you have accomplished in 8 weeks has taken me almost two years to realize. I still worry that I will never fill Tanya’s shoes. Yesterday I was having a bad day and wasn’t as loving as I should have been and I beat myself up about it all night. I feel the same as you, I felt I always put my husband and kids first, it may not have been the way Doug had needed me too, but I felt I always had their best interest at heart. It is sad that something that was so beyond our control has greatly impacted our lives, our outlook and our behavior. I will never be the same person again, I am hoping that someday I will realize that is a good thing however at times it is difficult to see the positive through the pain and agony. –Linda

      • ruth

        Jay, Thank you so much for your encouragement. I know everyone on here feels the same or has felt the same as me at one time or another. Thank God I found this sight. Someday all I do is read what everyone wrote and try to keep my chin up. Thank you I will look into the EFT Tapping. I need to do something. Thank all of you.

        • jay

          Ruth:

          Somedays I would sit and read the comments over and over to where I probably had them memorized. I think it was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one and many times people said things that helped me so much. I still am struggling with good days and bad days and I know my life will never be the same. But maybe the same wasn’t really a good thing. The other bizarre realization that I had was that in the beginning I was overcome with worry about what if our marriage doesn’t make it or what if he truly wants to leave, what will I do. As I have gotten stronger I am beginning to realize that you know what, I WILL BE OKAY NO MATTER WHAT. If I can get through this then I can get through anything. My husband is working hard to fix things and that helps too. I am glad you found this site also and I am glad it helps and you will survive this. I say a prayer for all of us each night.

    • Rushan

      I’ve put myself first now, started a new hobby, went out with my friends, my brother told me I looked so good he wondered what happened. One day I told him I can get through this and that day was the first day of my new life. I went for facials etcf. My hubby was so proud of me for all the new things I did. He just didn’t like the fact that I go places with my friends and he had to stay at home. but it was functions for women only. I went to have coffee with my friends. Now he can’t get enough of my company, which didn’t happen last year. So, the fact that I didn’t stay at home and cry all the time was too much for him. He can’t believe that I can cope on my one. Is always saying how much I need him. I think he is a bit worried now that I will leave him, but that is not what I want I want to make our marriage work and keep his interest in me. He tells me how beautiful I look and how much he loves me. So I am going to try to believe it and make a success of my marriage.

    • Donna

      wow, I so needed to read this today. I am trying to fix myself. Some days i feel so strong, but inthe back of my head I have that fear of my husband leaving me and 4 children for the OW. He is 4 weeks of NC with her and is still withdrawing. We are separated but see each other most nights, has been like this for nearly 3 months. I still feel that if I went off with kids etc he really wouldn’t care less. I hate that I have that fear though. I have become stronger in so many ways though, look great, not that he EVER mentions and I do know that I could survive if he did leave. Thing is though, I still am so darn in love with him I have this constant ache in my chest. How do I leave my anger towards the affair behind.. more the betrayal of it. Some days i think I am doing ok, but other days it just about kills me. Any ideas, helps etc would be great.

    • jay

      Donna: I think you should not think of it as fixing yourself, it almost implies that something is wrong with you. It helps me to do for myself because I deserve it and even when I don’t feel like it I remind myself of how valuable I am, even with any short commings I may have. I also know that just because someone breaks our heart it doesn’t mean we just stop loving them. I think its okay to still love him but you need to love yourself too. I have good days and bad days and whenever I would have a bad day I would get so upset with myself, then someone on this site would remind me its okay to have bad days and you know what, it is okay. I am still really angry at my husband but I do still love him and thats okay

      • Donna

        Thank you so much jay, your reply has made so much sense. I was pretty angry that day where as today my husband is really trying his hardest to make our marriage work. Nearing 5 weeks of NC and Ia m so proud of him. He really wants to Love me like he should, so I will be grateful for that and continue to do things for me that me a happier person. He still, not all the time but mostly wants to hug me and make love to me because it is me… no one else, but his wofe. So that has got to mean something doesn’t it. I am proud of his efforts and I will continue to look for the good in each day and be proud of his small every day achievements.

    • jay

      Donna
      I am glad you are feeling beter. I have days too where I am so angry I just can’t find any reason to think my H should even exist, but then I get past my anger and I too find the ways that he is trying and committing himself to our relationship. I hope that these things and our committment will see us through and maybe even make us stronger. Ho;pe today was a good one.

    • J

      Rushan, Thanks for that. Through this, I have thought I had to become a different person. I turned to faith, when I had none, and am greatful for that, but its like I put myself completely asside. My wife insists she wants normalcy and I just cant find it. I need to do as you did, find a way to live without her, infact, its essential if this thing goes to hell in a hand basket, as i think it will. I am going out Friday, thats for sure.

    • Marie

      Michael … She has passive aggressive personality disorder. They are serial cheaters and can’t ever be honest. These types are pathological liars. Web sites out there to support you! Get help. I married one. They are silent killers.

      • Pam

        Thank you for this Marie…I have been married to another Tiger Woods for almost 20 years!! We have been separated for almost 3 years now and I finally healed myself and am ready to move on and Guess what?? He wants to get help and come home!! I don’t want to go back and take that chance again…I’ve come toooo far and I feel GREAT!! There is hope Michael…It’s ALL about you now!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.