I have had self image issues as well. One thing that helped me was immersing myself in the practice of martial arts. I lost weight, got in shape, and learned how to kick some major ass! I'd recommend martial arts, or any other type of physical activity to increase those good endorphins, and get you feeling better about yourself again.
And always remember, the best and most authentic validation comes from within yourself.
Hang in there...
Time to hit a fancy barber shop, get a snazzy new (different) haircut or a luxurious shave or something. Or maybe treat yourself to fine new clothes if you can afford it, or dig up your Sunday best to wear any old day if you can't.
Looking at yourself looking different will help you see your attractiveness with fresh eyes.
You can take your new appearance and use it to go out with your male friends and do something dignified and manly. No need to interact with women or put out vibes. Take pics to remember how cool it was. Acting attractively will help you feel better.
A word of caution....you might FEEL dumpy and unattractive, but other women wont necessarily see you that way....this can be a dangerous time for you personally.
A kind comment from a waitress could enter into a flirty exchange...and it WILL make you feel instantly better...you will want more of that. Pay the bill and leave.
I see you are aware of this and that is good...but we have moments of weakness...got to develop plans during our stronger times.
For instance...I know I am vulnerable to temptation...when I enter I restaurant I choose to sit close to other patrons, NOT at a table that is by itself...it keeps the conversation light and polite as it should be.
I have always gone to lunch with at least 2 coworkers when one is a woman...temptations after my wifes A have been to drop this boundary. I have not.
I would caution you also on really good days....where you feel like your old self. It seems women in particular pick up on this cool vibe and will be drawn to you. Pre-A I enjoyed the attention but temptation were not a part of that. That changes after DD.
Longish post I know. Just trying to get you to really embrace your character and not sacrifice it for a cheap ego boost. It IS cheap...but oh so tempting.
God be with you.
If she broke your trust,,she needs to start earning it back. Is she doing that? No contact with OM. Full transparency with all passwords, etc., IC, MC, providing reassurance to you, etc.
In terms of desirability, you're probably not very desirable right now, frankly. That's because of this:
Happy, confident = attractive
Sad, self doubting, suspicious, needy, uncertain = unattractive
The trick is to figure out how to be happy again. It's hard to be happy when someone is sneaking up behind you and hurting you.
Best to you. (Note: it might be good to post some of your story in your profile. It provides people with some frame of reference for their replies to your posts!)
If you FEEL unattractive, start taking care of yourself because YOU want to put yourself as a priority for once. You are supposed to take care of yourself anyway. Work out, get a massage, try out a new hair cut place, get a spray tan. I don't know...just DO stuff that will take the focus off of what someone has done to you and instead put it on what you are doing for yourself. It is really helpful for the healing process.
Another thing...her cheating has nothing to do with you being desirable or undesirable. I just recently lost close to 40#...my SAWH still won't come near me. It's his fear of intimacy - real intimacy - not just sexual - with another human that is behind this. At least that is what I think at this point. Cheating/not cheating - it's a choice. Your BS made the wrong choice and so did mine.
[This message edited by womaninflux at 8:33 AM, July 26th (Friday)]
My advice is to try to find something that makes you proud of yourself on your own, rather than seeking that from someone else. Join a gym, or take up a new hobby. And know that your feelings are normal.
One of the things I did after my H filed for divorce (long story; it's in my profile) was join an online dating site. Which, seeing as we were heading for divorce, probably wouldn't be viewed as wrong by some, but my motivation was not actually to find someone to date (way too early) but to get validation of my attractiveness from others. Thing is, after I corresponded with some of the guys, it didn't make me feel better. It made me feel wrong and guilty, because I was only using them to make myself feel better. And that's not the person I want to be. Be the person you always have been, and try to get that validation from yourself, not others.
I guess I'm feeling that hit so bad that I just can't imagine/picture anyone else wanting/desiring me. Sometimes I think that I'd give anything to feel desired or wanted, but then I actually think about it and no, I wouldn't. I wouldn't sacrifice what means the most for some cheap thrill. We're better than that.
For me, I try not to focus on it by keeping myself busy and occupied. When I'm idle, that's when my mind starts going so find something that interests you or that you enjoy.
presently working towards...well i don't know anymore...
Womaninflux...You mention in your post that your WH has a true fear of intimacy..real intimacy.
How did this come to light? Was it something he uncovered or something that you have pieced together through less direct routes?
I am wrestling with where my wife is really at on this. Our conversations about this have left me with a vague feeling.
At one point we both thought she had a deep intimacy with her AP. Since then we have both realized how false that assumption was (dang those "emotional truths of the moment"!).
I am asking in an effort to define all of our issues...so that we can go about tending to them....or at least recognize them and see if we both have a desire to tend them. KWIM?
I am also wanting to see if I have a fear of real deep intimacy due to my modes of operation (namely fear of abandonment).
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 10:17 AM, July 26th (Friday)]
"...You mention in your post that your WH has a true fear of intimacy..real intimacy.
How did this come to light? Was it something he uncovered or something that you have pieced together through less direct routes?"
This came about through therapy and eventual dx of SA. Sawh has childhood issues (attachment disorder, witness to a trauma, parents with dysfunctional "separate lives" marriage) which contribute tonthis intimacy issue.
Our Dads are now a part of our lives...but most of that relationship is us reaching out to them.
My wife and I both have intimacy issues...working to figure out the extent to which they exist and figure out a path through that boundary.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 2:10 PM, July 29th (Monday)]
I just am torn between feeling a need to be desired and not trusting her and being the man I have always been. Thoughts?
Not worth it my friend. Be good to yourself, not just now, but your future self as well.
I ALWAYS had self esteem issues, I was too thin, too fat, not smart enough, whatever. I always felt like it wasn't enough for everyone else (horribly codependent much). Anyway the whole infidelity thing blew away my self esteem, Not the actual DDay but the time leading up to it. My H projected his unhappiness onto me by using my weakness of always trying to be the best by telling me I was a bad mom, housekeeper or whatever. That being said just before Dday I cut off all of my hair, I had always kept it long becuase he liked it that way. I had lost a ton of weight due to the infidelity diet, and when I finally started to get my head clear, I looked in the mirror, and realized I was pretty freaking awesome.
You too will eventually feel that way. I do think that you have to figure that out on your own, you can't rely on others telling you that you look good to feel good about who you are. You have to look at your sum total.
I do think a new hairstyle, some new clothes, perhaps a size smaller due to some unexpected weight loss, can help you realize that you are the total package.
Don't let others make you believe that you are an attractive person, and that you are enough. Sure the compliments help, but real true happiness whith who you are has to come from you.
Love your statement....faithfulness is very sexy.
Interesting to ponder the opposite....
It's best to stay away from that scene until this phase passes. The gym can be a dangerous place too. It's a meat market. My therapist says that so many affairs start at the gym and always recommends a home gym to those that have had affairs or may be susceptible to an affair and still want to work out.
The desire to seek validation from others is normal but you don't need it and it can be a slippery slope. It's great that you are aware of it. Try to remember that the affair had nothing to do with you or your physical appearance. (I don't always practice what I preach : ) It's about 2 people with low self esteems and poor coping skills.
I'm mostly back to my normal self (it just takes time) although I don't feel attractive in his eyes, probably never will. Sadly, whenever he pays me a compliment I say things like, "whatever" and "sorry my boobs aren't big enough for you." I know it's not healthy to say those things but I think it's just a defense mechanism to keep me from opening up to him.
You said yourself that you WERE a desirable man until she cheated. You are STILL that man and even more desirable for not compromising your morals! Hang in there!