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Self Esteem

aslan18 posted 11/15/2017 12:28 PM

It's been nearly a year since I discovered my wife's three year long affair -- while pregnant with both of our two kids. She lied and lied and lied and lied. She took me to couple's therapy and lied about the affair there. She lied when I confronted her about her relationship with her AP on two separate occasions.

I cannot afford to leave. She seems generally apologetic. I've seen real change in her.

But I feel like so much less of a man. Like half a person. Her affair partner was everything I am not -- funny, tall, dark, handsome, full head of hair, skinny, better endowed... And I feel like he was more of man. After all he had the balls to cheat on his wife. His wife knew about the affair, had her own revenge affair, but did nothing to stop it. When he and my wife would fight he'd tell her all about the great sex he was having with his wife... and still my wife staid. Infact she competed.

All of that makes me feel emasculated. It makes me doubt everything.

My wife vehemently denies this but I feel in my heart that she would have left me for him if he had been willing to leave his wife. I know in my heart she would have picked him.

My therapist says to stop thinking this way. That they are clearly broken people and I can be proud not to make the mistakes they have made. But I don't feel proud.

My therapist says to not consider what my cheating wife of the past would do but what my loyal wife of the present is doing. What she is saying. Treat them like different people. But they aren't different people. She is still her.

I just needed to vent this out. I don't have anyone else to talk to about it.

Dorothy123 posted 11/15/2017 12:57 PM


Please understand that for cheaters that don't leave their BS for the AP, cheating is beyond absurd.

So, your WW is the crazy one.

"What did WS risk for A ?"

Please also understand that there are many misconceptions among non BS's that the BS caused the cheater to cheat.

"Misconceptions about A's you had b/4 being cheated on? "

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Please also understand that many other male BS's do feel emasculated when their WW steps out of the relationship on them to cheat.

"A question for male BS's. "

Please also understand that infidelity is the gift that keeps on giving.

"What did the affair cost you ?"

Just stick around here and you'll have all your misconceptions cleared up.

You will slowly let go of your old ideas and adopt new ones.

Pretty soon you know that the A is 100% your WW fault.

So sorry that you are struggling.

Sending you peace and strength.

Walking with you.

[This message edited by Dorothy123 at 1:00 PM, November 15th (Wednesday)]

CincyKid posted 11/15/2017 12:57 PM

I've been to at least half a dozen therapists in my life so listen to me when I tell you that you have a really bad therapist. They're basically telling you to sweep it all under the rug. Quit them and get another one.

[This message edited by CincyKid at 12:58 PM, November 15th (Wednesday)]

Chrysalis123 posted 11/15/2017 12:59 PM

Hi Aslan.

I'm sorry you are hurting. Your pain is radiating through the words.

I can only tell you what I think. When I read your description of the man she cheated with I did not see a handsome man. I saw a disgusting broken cruel man. It doesn't matter how he looked to me. It mattered what he did.

To me, you are the prize. You are the better man in every way. You had the balls to NOT cheat. You have honor and integrity. You are the prize.

I know you probably can't see that now, but it is true. Of course you doubt everything...she was lying and gas lighting you for years.

She caused a horrific injury to your spirit, and with time and TLC you will heal. You already have taken great steps by finding SI and a therapist, and my friend your injury was recent. It takes a long time to heal from this.

You have found the perfect place to vent...

[This message edited by Chrysalis123 at 1:01 PM, November 15th (Wednesday)]

HouseOfPlane posted 11/15/2017 13:11 PM

As long as you use her as the judge of who you are, you are doomed to low self-esteem.

You are basically going to the biggest asshole on the planet and asking them, what do you think of me? You know how that is going to work out.

I'll go further, as long as you use anybody else to determine who you are and your worth, you are not in control.

Do you have standards? Of conduct? Do you adhere to them? Even when it is hard and no one is looking? If so, you are doing all a person can do, and can look at yourself in the mirror. She can't, she should be the last person to weigh in on if you are worth something or not.

Sending strength!

madhattermarilyn posted 11/15/2017 14:18 PM

The OM sounds like Marilyn Manson to be honest, or at least the hotter 90s/early 2000s version. Okay maybe not very funny. In answer to your question, I battled self esteem issues like you after my husband cheated with much hotter girls. I ended up having RAs with the angels who work at the male strip club downtown. Bad advice I know, but that's the only thing that helped after paying for years of useless expensive therapy.

antlered posted 11/15/2017 14:54 PM

Damn HOP you nailed it!

OP go back and read what he said.
SHE does not define how manly you are. YOU define that.

aslan18 posted 11/15/2017 15:14 PM

Dorothy123 and Chrysalis123. Thanks for the kind words and links. They brought tears to my eyes.

And for all of you... I know rationally nothing was really taken away from me as a human or a man. I know that rationally.

I know it takes a bigger man not to extract revenge and to try to reconcile and forgive.

But I do not FEEL that. I feel diminished and small and weak. I feel like a fool and a patsy.

A coworker kind of said it best... The air is thin when you take the high road.

What to I get for taking the high road? Self respect. Maybe someday respect of my kids?

What does everyone else involved get? A three year romantic affair with no consequences. And I notice my wife doesn't have too much trouble sleeping at night...

need2bfree posted 11/15/2017 15:24 PM

I understand how you're feeling Aslan. I felt ugly, old and unattractive after my husbands affair. And she was not better looking than me. I think affairs do a real number on us BS's. How can we feel anything but less than when our spouses cast us aside so easily for someone else.

I don't feel that way any longer though. It has taken time, work and consistency on my husbands part to help me to heal from the insecurities his cheating created. In time though, I understood, not just in my head but in my heart, that cheating is not about how beautiful the other person is or how not manly you might think you are, but it's all about the brokenness in the cheater.

Give it time. You will eventually see more clearly just how ugly the other man is and come to see yourself with more value.

Notthevictem posted 11/15/2017 15:29 PM

wjy cant yoy leave again?

stayedforthekids posted 11/15/2017 15:44 PM

Aslan, do you think your wife would have cheated if you were taller, better looking, funnier, etc.?

Also, your wife is a cheater. She knowingly cheated with a married man. She betrayed her children. She was a disruptive force in another marriage. She has shown that she lacks morals, integrity, and character. Why in the hell would you use that woman's behavior as some sort of gauge of your manhood?

You always have options. Never forget that. You can leave if you want. Where there's a will there's a way.

steadychevy posted 11/15/2017 15:48 PM

Very bad advise by the madhatter. It seems to me madhatter that you're simply an unremorseful cheater.

If you read enough here, Asian, you'll see that many who had revenge adultery didn't find it helped them at all and probably made them feel worse causing poorer self esteem and feeling cheap.

Hold on to your integrity with both hands. Anyone who breaks vows and sacred covenants is not "better" in any way. Yes, your self esteem certainly takes a hit. Mine sure did. My WW had an LTA of 4 years. He was supposedly "physically attractive" which attracted her. The corollary of that is that I wasn't or, comparatively speaking, not as physically attractive.

I very much suspect that your WW is telling the truth when she says wouldn't have left you. Very common for the cheater to want what they have at home and the extra, too. They don't want one or the other but both. Greed and selfish.

They certainly don't want to give up the solid relationship for the one they know is flawed. Why would they want to go with a known cheater? The person they cheated with doesn't provide the stability they want in a marriage. This sounds like a broad generalization. It isn't always like that but more often it is. You were to never find out. If she wanted to be with him she wouldn't have lied so vehemently.

It's a tough road for sure. Long and painful with many little ups and big downs in the depths of despair. It does get better.

Since she was cheating through two pregnancies are you sure the children are yours?

I'd look for a different therapist. This one seems to want you to just move on. That isn't in your best interests, IMO.

Strength, Asian, strength.

ramius posted 11/15/2017 16:16 PM

I second what stayed said.

If you want to leave, but cannot afford it, then make a plan. If it was a deal breaker for you then do the math and work the problem

2 years, 5 years, whatever it takes. Better than being in Limbo with a cheating wife.

Dorothy123 posted 11/15/2017 19:38 PM

Dorothy123 and Chrysalis123. Thanks for the kind words and links. They brought tears to my eyes.

Aww, that touched my heart !

xZOOMx posted 11/15/2017 19:45 PM

Then built your self-esteem back up, start hitting the gym, eating healthy even get a personal trainer to help. Buy new/nice clothing even tailored suits, go on mini vacation with your male friends, buy that new motorcycle or that Porsche 911-gt3 you've always wanted start spending money on YOU. Go out to bars meet new and interesting people, join a social club try new hobbies and have fun without the damage goods....errr...wife I mean wife. If the new an improved you happens to meet a new woman during your adventures well why keep the old broken model, go ahead and trade her in she is a Ford - pinto go get yourself a BMW. On another note the standard SI advice of not having an RA does not work for all people only you know if that will help you in the long run, to be fair you've had a half open marriage for 3yrs so now might be your turn up at bat. Sometimes in life you have to take the low road don't let anyone tell you differently those that alway take the "high" road often use it as a crutch to mask their spinelessnes.

[This message edited by xZOOMx at 7:45 PM, November 15th (Wednesday)]

Mystic posted 11/16/2017 00:39 AM

I知 only new so not sure how this works
But want to share my story
I suffer from ptsd from sexual abuse and tortured child hood for many of years 3/10 actually
I suffer from major self esteem issues
11 years ago I met this amazing man I fell for him hard I was a single mum to a 5 month old baby was not long before we were living together then 2 years into living together and being in a relationship I get this phone call from this women asking me if I was seeing her husband I知 like no way I would never do anything like that she said my partners name and next thing u know it I知 the dirty mistress but I loved him I could not let him go so 11 years down the track I知 still with him and he is still married to her who he visits once a month fifo meaning he works here then goes home to her for a couple of days I have now lost my inner being and am so depressed and feel like I have waisted my life but it痴 like I知 chained to this guy and he has the key I知 really so very very lost and my child who now is 11 absolutely adores him

Tren0R201 posted 11/16/2017 00:59 AM


Then you can enjoy that high road where the air is thin but at least you'll be able to breathe instead of this slow suffocation.

You're not so much emasculated as you probably feel like you're violating your own ethical code by staying. From the way you're talking you may forgive but you'll never ever forget so why settle for settling?

anoldlion posted 11/16/2017 03:07 AM

I read your thread and started not to comment but decided I wanted to. First of all, let me impart to you a truth. NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION. By their actions you feel less of a man. You are giving their actions permission to make you feel this way. In actuality the lesser man is the self absorbed POS who infringes in someone's else's marriage. He is not a man. He is a parasite. You said your WW's AP was tall, dark, and handsome. So was Dracula and like her AP he sucked the blood out of people and ruined lives. There is only one person that has permission to make you feel about yourself. It's the man in the mirror whose face you shave. If your wife wants tall, dark and handsome then let her have him. Believe me when I say you can replace her just as fast as she replaced you and with someone who doesn't cheat. I feel safe in saying that most women would prefer a loyal spouse over any tall, dark and handsome cheater and womanizer. Don't say you can't afford to leave because you can. Anything can be done with time and planning. That includes setting yourself free. In my military career I helped plan and execute some near impossible things. We use to say, "We do the difficult immediately. The impossible takes a little bit longer". You are a man. By your description, the AP is scum that would screw a monkey if he thought he would get a thrill out of it. You have no reason to feel emasculated. Your wife made her choices. She may or may not have chosen you if the AP left his wife. After 3 years I would go with, she would have chosen him. And since The AP didn't leave his wife then your wife choses you and comes crawling back. This does not mean you have to chose her. You have gotten advice from many on what to do, IC, MC, revenge affair, etc... So here is my advice. You do EXACTLY what will make you feel better about yourself for today, tomorrow, and the years to come. It is your life so don't let her actions, his actions, or anyone else make you feel inferior or less. You are a much better man than the POS and don't let anyone tell or make you feel different. I read something someone wrote on SI. You want a better woman? Throw a rock out the window and you will probably hit one that is a lot better partner. I do wish you well.

aslan18 posted 11/16/2017 15:48 PM


If you read enough here, Asian, you'll see that many who had revenge adultery didn't find it helped them at all and probably made them feel worse causing poorer self esteem and feeling cheap.

Yeah. I don't think I'll stoop to revenge affair (though part of me does think that that is appealing). A big part of me wants to leave but there are reasons not to. My therapist asked me what those reasons where today and I came up with: 1) Doing better than my parents -- who had affairs and revenge affairs which lead to my dad moving hundreds of miles away; 2) being there for my kids everyday -- I didn't have a dad after the age of 3, I'll be damned if my kids have that same experience; 3) my wife says she is awake now -- she sees how much pain she has caused and that she was the problem, not me, and that she will change and is changing. She seems to be doing that but I don't full trust her that she means it or that she can sustain it. Time will tell. Before all of this I really did like her and have a ton of affection for her. Now... it's so complicated.

Since she was cheating through two pregnancies are you sure the children are yours?

Had them tested. They are mine.

Minnesota posted 11/16/2017 16:24 PM


There was a guy around here named "Hobbes The Tiger" when I first started posting and he challenged me to define what I wanted to be. How was I going to let this affect/change me?

And I wrote out a lot of things, and the he asked how I was going to get there?

First- let me echo that YOU seem like a man of integrity and character. Let that be the start of where you are going. If you're not satisfied with your size, shape, strength, etc., you can change them. But do them for YOU. Not for her or us or anyone else. You be the captain of your ship.

And ok- if you're not funny what DO you have?
and you can't change anything about not being tall or dark haired or full haired or "better endowed." Tushnurse told me very early in my visits here that confidence is sexy. So now,

I'm too sexy for this shirt!!! (remember the song?- ) Use what you have. AS for being skinny- well, I've tried, but gained all my infidelity weightloss back. Sometimes I think I should startworking on the again... But until then- I'm too sexy for this shirt!!!

What WOULD make you feel proud? Or- what DOES make you feel proud?

And as much as others will punch me in the throat for saying this- I do agree with your therapist. What she did is in the past. YOU CAN'T CHANGE THAT. But that doesn't mean you have to forgive and forget. I would suggest you have to accept that it happened. And then ask yourself, "now what?" You said she's trying. Is that enough? For some people, it's a deal breaker. You can be done. You can Divorce any time you want. Or you can stay and see what she does next. Maybe she learned and is different. Watch her actions and you'll see. The point of this, though, is that you can't hang your healing or hat on her or what she does. You have to wear it yourself.

So who are you going to be?

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