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How do betrayed spouses cope with self esteem after dday?

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sarahstar posted 8/4/2014 21:24 PM

How does everyone cope with self esteem?
My husband almost caved again to meet with an amazingly gorgeous woman that wanted to have sex with him. She was chasing him and he loved the attention. It was literally in the minutes driving to her that he backed out and came home.
He knew that if he had met her and I found out that would be it this time. I cannot do another betrayal in our marriage.

Since our main dday I have been struggling with my self esteem. I always thought of myself as an attractive woman with a nice body but now I feel so unattractive and I can't stand my body. I guess I feel as though I'm not good enough for him to just want me. He shouldn't get aroused by other woman and want to have sex elsewhere. He used to whinge he didn't get enough. Since dday, I have given him more sex to see if it helps and he still almost strayed.
Obviously I'm not enough for him and it has completely broken me. I don't feel like the same confident woman I used to be and now I'm worried that this will turn him off me more. I love him so much. There is more to our story of course and I have previously posted about that. I would love to know how other Betrayed Spouses cope with self esteem...

BtraydWife posted 8/4/2014 22:11 PM

Our self esteem certainly takes a massive hit after dday. It is difficult and so incredibly painful to go through this.

Part of what helps is when you begin "getting it" yourself. It's a hard pill to swallow but it's the truth. Repeat this stuff until it clicks.

You are enough. You can want to make changes to improve yourself, everyone has some of those. That's not what I'm talking about. You are enough, you always have been.

He's the one that's not enough. He's not enough for himself. His affairs have NOTHING do to with you. Really they don't. It hurts you but you aren't the cause, you couldn't have stopped him, and you can't fix him.

It's not that you aren't enough, it's that he isn't enough. He's trying to fill a hole within himself with other people and it doesn't work that way. He has to face and address the problems within himself.

Christy Brinkley's husband cheated on her. Do you believe she wasn't attractive enough? You have nothing to do with it. It's a deficiency in him.

Now I have to cut from that and say that I think it's unrealistic for you to expect a spouse to not be attracted to anyone else. What you should expect though is for him to know and uphold the boundaries of your marriage and not act on them.

Ok you messed up and thought maybe being a part of this with him would bring you closer. No it won't because this is not a healthy thing to share in. I'm not talking about porn I'm talking about indulging in his distorted thinking. You don't want to share that and once your mistake with this was clear it became even more painful for you.

Your husband should not have access to any porn, chat room, etc. NONE. He needs help. He needs IC, every week starting now. He's not capable of addressing his real issues on his own.

It wouldn't have mattered how you look, how much money you have, what kind of person you are, etc. Nothing about you made this happen. This is all on him.

You'll start feeling less rejected and down on yourself when the reason he cheated starts really clicking with you. I know it's hard not to internalize this because it's a foreign concept for a loyal person.

saturnpatrick posted 8/4/2014 23:54 PM

My self esteem absolutely tanked and didn't start to recover for about a year. Sometimes it was so bad that I couldn't think and had to leave early from work.

For me, my self esteem recovery was directly related to how much I actually believed the A had to do more with her than me. At first I knew, but I didn't believe.

For a long time (and sometimes still) I really struggled. On one hand, I thought I was a great and rare guy. I could probably put together a sizable list of my qualities.

On the other hand, I was convinced that either I was good on paper but not in real life, or that the qualities I had were good but didn't matter or were not enough. There is a sizable list I could put here about my shortcomings as well.

Piled on top of that, I hated the things OM had that I didn't. I would think "I have 'a,b,c,d...', but OM has 'z' which I don't have and can never have and that trumps everything good about me and that really sucks." Quick example: OM is taller than me. I'm 5'8" and consider that about average. OM was probably about 6'. My height never bugged me before, but suddenly I hated the fact that I'm shorter than OM.

I would flip back and forth between trying to convince myself that I was good enough, only to point out something OM had that I'll never have and why it made me not good enough. Sometimes I would do this every minute or so. Not fun.

That paragraph was raw for me to write. That stuff really hurts. Taking a couple of deep breaths....

Over time it became clearer to me though that this was not about me. It was about FWW and her issues.

The simple truth is my FWW is messed up. Messed up may not be a strong enough word. She has/had some distorted views on life and thank God our MC helped identify them so she can work on them.

Your WH is messed up too. It isn't about you or how pretty or smart or athletic or witty or whatever it is that you think you don't have enough of. It's about your WH just having a scrambled up understanding of the world.

Not.the.Big.Easy posted 8/5/2014 01:29 AM

After my xGF tried to emotionally destroy me, it took me several years to truly build my self esteem back up. I've always had issues with poor self esteem, which is why I stayed with her for so long.

I've been in IC since May to help me deal with anxiety and panic attacks, and my therapist has helped me see that many of my issues stem from childhood and from living with a person with Borderline personality disorder.

What is ironic is that right when I was making some really big breakthoughs, and doing the things my wife wants us to do is when she has her EA then tells me she doesn't want MC she wants D.

She has since changed her mind and will do MC when she gets back, but having her 6 hours away really sucks. I've spoken to our MC and asked about her experience with PAs and EAs and she seemed to know what she's talking about. I'm hoping that she'll be able to explain to my WW why I feel so lost (the only info I know is what I was able to figure out), and hopefully she'll put a stop to the blameshifting and justifications.

Right now I don't feel like my WW even regrets her actions. She said she feels bad because she was attracted to him. Not because she lied to me many times, hid every detail that anything was wrong from me. Called him and never mentioned a thing. Didn't comfort me in any way when she knew that I had the worst panic attack I'd ever had when I figured it out (and she knew why).

All I've gotten out of her is insincere I'm sorry's, and she can't even say what for! The way she talked then and talks now, I know she's still in the fog.

I know I screwed up a lot in our marriage. I've always tried to do the right thing. She's screwed up too! and not just the EA. She's previously admitted that she holds me to the standard she has for herself. And admits she doesn't meet her own standard. I've always held myself to an impossible standard, but I've never expected anyone to meet a standard I can't even attain.

Wow! OK. sorry about the rant. I didn't mean to highjack the thread. I'm still working on trying to have a healthy self esteem. But it's really hard when you hate yourself for always putting others before you.

forkinthehead posted 8/5/2014 07:24 AM

One of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around, it wasn't about me. This has been all about him. Logically I get it. Emotionally... I still don't. Affairs are selfish acts. Plain and simple, selfish acts. If they are so selfish, why do I feel so bad about myself? The conclusion I came to is projection. I have projected what he feels about himself onto me. That's even stranger for me to wrap my brain around.

I understand how you are feeling. Im so sorry that this is your reality. Its earth shattering to find out and makes it difficult to function. You have found a good place to be. Please take time to read the healing library. Good information there.

Please know that you aren't alone. Hugs to you kiddo.

10yearsafter posted 8/5/2014 11:04 AM

Right after DDay I had a self esteem issue, and then about a week later I was looking at my self naked in the mirror, and realized that she was f'd up. Then I thought to my self apparently size does NOT matter.

And I realized if she was willing to give up all this she is the one with the problem not me.

BTW I knew the guy, he worked with FWW. To this day I still can't believe she was even remotely attracted to him much less have sex with him.

[This message edited by 10yearsafter at 11:06 AM, August 5th (Tuesday)]

sarahstar posted 8/6/2014 23:44 PM

thankyou everyone for replying....
I truly appreciate the great advice.

My husband saw this post and I vaguely hear him saying to me that I shouldn't have self esteem issues. I am attractive and have a nice body. But you know, it was like he was saying that in a dream.... it was like it was said in the distance. I know he wanted me to feel better , but it just wasn't sinking in.

outtanowhere posted 8/7/2014 00:01 AM

Because he is not being forced to face his demons. He won't do it unless you make him realize that his behavior is unacceptable. So far, you have bent over backward so that he doesn't have to feel bad about himself. He needs to feel bad. He has committed crimes against your marriage yet you seem to totally dismiss it and even appear to join in the madness.

I will say it one more time....if you don't hold him accountable for what you know he has done then you need to prepare yourself for the next dday because, it's coming. We are trying to tell you how to move forward in a healthy way but we can't make you do what you need to do. There is so much more to this but, I think you are just not in a place where you can accept that yet and, all the while your WH is feeling like he just dodged a bullet.

If you don't believe anything else I tell you, believe this. He will do it again if you both don't get some professional help as well as him getting into a 12 step group. He may say he doesn't need it but, he does and, you should insist on both of these thing to even so consider staying in this relationship.

sarahstar posted 8/7/2014 00:27 AM

outtanowhere, I do understand what you are saying, really I do. I guess you are right that he does probably think he dodged another bullet but he also knows now that I won't do this again and there will not be any further excuses. I will leave. I have told him numerous times, would you like it if I did that? Would you still be with me if I did all the things you have done to me? Each time he has replied "no".
He knows I am devastated... I may make some sarcastic jokes from it but honestly if I didn't I would be going crazy. I am truly a person that always looks for the good in people regardless how horrible they can be. I don't like dwelling on the past because it causes more pain. But in the same respect I never forgive and forget and he does know what I expect from him from now on. If those boundaries are crossed... that is the end of us.
I do appreciate what you are saying and you are right about me in some ways. I have never heard of the 12 step program? Is that in Australia?

jb3199 posted 8/7/2014 05:21 AM

Think of the 12 steps like they do in AA. The steps are worked with most addictions(alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc.).

You have received some fantastic advice and insight from these few posts so far on this thread....more than you may even tend to believe. There really isn't much I can add, except to reiterate that your WH can't do this on his own, and needs to seek professional help.

This has ZERO to do with yourself. Whether you are a size 4, 14, or 24---do you really think that healthy love doesn't see right past this? If your husband can't love you for who you are, where would you lay the blame?

He was right to say that you shouldn't have self-esteem issues. But you do---because of his actions. And you are going to have to work through this. Rereading these posts will help some. Your WH going to work on himself would also help. Is he willing to do that? Will he seek help without your insistence?

BtraydWife posted 8/7/2014 07:36 AM

What you are going through is not dwelling on the past. It is your now. You can't get past this unless you go through it. There is no bypassing the pain.

Just as your husband will likely cheat again if he doesn't resolve his issues, you will allow yourself to be jerked around by his dysfunction unless you resolve within yourself what he has done. That's not a process that takes a few weeks or months. It takes years.

None of us wanted to go through this, but now that he has put you both in this situation, there is no other healthy way out. Don't you rugsweep because you don't want to deal with this pain. Doing that is asking for more pain in the future.

We all have lives that were completely disrupted by this. I missed a few years of my kids' life because mentally I was so consumed by what he continued to do to me. What he did wasn't continue to cheat, it was that he wasn't remorseful.

That sorta in between place kills your soul.

tushnurse posted 8/7/2014 07:39 AM

We as BS's take a huge hit to our self esteem. IT HURTS, and we do feel that we aren't enough, but that's before you fully grasp the situation, and the reality of their choices.

His choice to act out has ZERO to do with you, and 120% to do with his broken self. You need to learn this, accept this, and remind yourself daily of it.

He used to whinge he didn't get enough. Since dday, I have given him more sex to see if it helps and he still almost strayed.
Obviously I'm not enough for him and it has completely broken me. I don't feel like the same confident woman I used to be and now I'm worried that this will turn him off me more

This makes me so sad for you. You are acting from a place of fear. You fear that if you don't give him what he wants enough he will act out again, and that will be your fault. Sex should be something you enjoy to be close and intimate with your partner, not some bargaining chip so he sticks around. You deserve so much more than he is giving you. However you are the only one, let me repeat that....
Start setting some boundaries, and telling him what you are not going to tolerate, and being some fuck toy should be at the top of the list.

He needs to be groveling at your feet for what he has done, and he needs to be singing your praises everyday.....But your real self esteem has to come from within.
This goes back to what I am always saying about R. The toughest part, and the biggest part of healing is healing yourself, learning to love you for who you are, and being happy with that. Once you learn your worth and base your self esteem on that, it won't matter anymore what he thinks. He will either get that you are freaking awesome, and a goddess, or he won't and he won't deserve you. But you get to choose.

Start doing things for you.
If you like your hair done, go do it.
If you like the way having mani's make you look and feel go do it.
Go buy yourself some pretty panties for everyday, pretty ones that make you feel good, that aren't uncomfortable, and also don't look like granny britches.
Spend some time on looking yourself in the mirror each day telling yourself you are worth so much more.
Start doing things that you enjoy that make you who you are/were before all this, or even better who you want to be....
Take lessons on an instrument that you want to learn, take a dance class, anything that will make you feel even more awesome than you already are.

keptmyword posted 8/7/2014 16:50 PM

My self-esteem was good before D-day and actually only got better since then.

Yes, my self-esteem increased after finding out about my XWW gross affair and subsequently divorcing her.

Look, first you must realize fully that what your husband has done has NOTHING to do with you. It also had nothing to do with your marriage or how much sex he was getting, etc.

If your husband was unhappy with you and the marriage then he simply would have filed for divorce and ended it. Yes, it is that simple.

He would have done this whether he was married to you or anyone else. He would have done this if he was married to Angelina Jolie or Kate Upton.

I'm certain you are a very attractive woman - and he knows this. But again, it doesn't have anything to do with you.

Would your self-esteem take a hit if instead of discovering that your husband was unfaithful, you discovered that he was hiding a cocaine addiction? No, probably not. Both of these behaviors are addictive in their nature. You cannot be responsible for another person choosing to get into an addictive behavior.

The behavior is the result of their issues, their weak mind, weak will, weak boundaries, and of course, a gigantic sense of selfishness.

You have stayed true to yourself and your values. You have held-fast to them throughout this horrible time. Most people tend to abandon their values, morals, and principles during times like this.

You did not. I didn't either.

That is why my self-esteem rose throughout all this. I feel better than ever about myself.

And you should too.

[This message edited by keptmyword at 4:53 PM, August 7th (Thursday)]

standinghere posted 8/7/2014 19:38 PM

Would your self-esteem take a hit if instead of discovering that your husband was unfaithful, you discovered that he was hiding a cocaine addiction? No, probably not. Both of these behaviors are addictive in their nature. You cannot be responsible for another person choosing to get into an addictive behavior.

Give this guy a gold medal!!! This nails it better thaw any other statement. This is where the BS has to get to in their own recovery, to really understand the betrayal. The affair is nothing more than a hidden self destructive behavior, no different in the end than your spouse shoplifting, embezzling, drinking, snorting, injecting, popping, purging, self mutilating, cutting, etc, and keeping it hidden from you.

It has nothing to do with you...except you married the person who is doing it and you can't see it.

Most if the time, there is more to the hidden behavior than the sex, it takes time to recognize it, or for the confessions to role out.

sarahstar posted 8/10/2014 18:06 PM

thankyou for your replies. I really appreciate the feedback. still struggling but I guess I will eventually get there.

TrampledRose posted 8/11/2014 20:38 PM

Hmm... These responses helped me! Especially the drug addiction analogy I think my WH was a Having problems prior to our marriage, I just didn't know...

[This message edited by TrampledRose at 7:42 PM, August 13th, 2014 (Wednesday)]

WhereIsHome posted 8/11/2014 20:58 PM

It does hurt huge don't get me wrong. Escape a bit at first. Listen to music. Drink some beers (all in moderation I am not advocating getting hammered), confide in an inner circle or counselor, and exercise. Let a little time pass then remember that you are a beautiful, awesome person and that the wayward nimrod is the one with issues.

It's tough stuff no doubt but we will survive.

sunny58 posted 8/12/2014 10:41 AM

((((Thanks everyone)))) I really needed to read this today. Iíve been feeling down in the dumps lately. I have been struggling with my self-esteem. Although I know itís his problem, itís all about him, not meÖbutÖsometimes it just painful. The nights are the hardest.

bravegirl19 posted 8/12/2014 11:15 AM

Sarah, I'm very sorry you are suffering this way. Your post hit home for me as I have been feeling down about myself more these last few days when I start comparing myself to OW and pointlessly thinking back on ways our marriage could've been "happier." You deserve so much better than to walk on eggshells all the time quietly hoping that he will not cheat again. That is no way to live! While I my WH and I had no desire to go through R, if its what you want than I agree with posters here that professional help is needed to get to the root cause of his behavior.

What an amazing set of replies to read first thing this morning. Reminders that looking back at past behavior and overanalyzing does no good. Except to accept that I say warning signs/red flags and have learned that next time I will ALWAYS trust my intuition.

JLyn1128 posted 8/12/2014 12:43 PM

Funny that this was a very interesting conversation I had with my IC. She wanted to talk about my self esteem because I was devastated that WSO had A with OW who was 25 years our junior. My question had been 'how do I compete with that?' I'm 61, I can be my best and still not have a 30 year old body, or a 30 year old's energy. We discussed it for a short time and she was surprised to be able to tell me my self esteem was very good. She didn't have to tell me. I KNOW who I am and what my strengths are, as well as my weaknesses. I value the person I am, I have my own income, I'm pretty well kept for a woman my age. I am strong, independent, intelligent, articulate, and a loving and compassionate person. My self esteem was hard fought in my youth and I don't give it up to anyone. I don't base my self esteem on my appearance...that's just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.

So why was I worried about competing with a 30 year old if youth and appearance are not important to me? Because it was apparently important to him. That was the key... to find out if it was so important to him that we could never repair our relationship. So I had to have the discussion with him... I couldn't resolve it myself.

Him?....He was genuinely shocked that I thought the OW was better than me in any way. He assured me she was less than me, no matter how young she was. All she was, as far as he was concerned, was available. It was HER lack of self esteem that drew him to her (3 times over 17 years). Her availability was the draw. That and the ego kibbles she could dish out because I wasn't giving them (my issues to work on) and his lack of appropriate tools to deal with his ego needs. They fed each other's egos. Mine was never in question. His statement to me was, "I don't see you as 61. You were beautiful when we were young, and you're beautiful now. Ask anyone."

Is she really that gorgeous, or do you just see her that way because you think he does? Either way, it's HIS self esteem that needs to be bolstered by chasing another woman. If he had a healthy ego.....he'd know what is important in life and that it is found in you, not her. I was crying when I asked my WSO if I was ever going to be 'enough'. That's all I ever wanted to be, was 'enough' for him. I'm reading a great book now, it's called "Fighting For Your Marriage". It's not about affairs, it's a manual for marriage recommended by my IC. We work through it together and are finding the tools we both need to make our relationship strong and meet both our needs. I have hope. I hope you can find it too. Your H needs to find out what he needs before you should worry that you aren't enough for him.

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