What could be more torturous for an affair victim than to think they somehow don’t measure up to the paramour?

No one wants to feel second best, or undesirable, especially not to the person you’ve given your hand in marriage to. Yet, many husbands and wives who’ve been cheated on wonder what’s wrong with them to make their spouse want to stray in the first place.

In this blog, we’ll examine some of the obsessive thoughts that can occur about the paramour—and 3 tips for how to focus on yourself and rebuild your self-esteem. Please keep reading…

Affairs Introduce Doubts and Questions

You wonder if the paramour is better than you, but don’t forget this: your cheating spouse is the one with the character flaw. And if the paramour knew your spouse was married, they also have a character flaw.

Your spouse made the decision to cheat, not you—so why would you think of yourself as “less than?”

Give yourself credit for having the strength of character to not choose infidelity as the answer to your problems.

However, the blow to your self-esteem is very real, as you are no doubt experiencing. When a spouse cheats, doubts and questions are introduced into the equation:

  • Will the marriage survive?
  • Did I marry the wrong person?
  • Why didn’t I see this coming?

And most damaging:

  • What’s wrong with me?”

There’s nothing wrong with you. Even if your marriage was struggling prior to the affair, you were having troubles like any married couple has. Only, your spouse decided to cheat rather than stay, dig in and resolve the problems.

Some people cheat as a way to avoid dealing with problems. That’s like throwing a stick of dynamite you’re your living room and blowing up your house because there’s a small fire on the stove.

One of the first things an affair victim has to realize is they did not make the decision to cheat, their spouse did. You did not hold a gun to your spouse’s head or in any way threaten him or her to make them have an affair. Ownership of that decision belongs squarely with the cheater.

What you have been handed is a mound of turmoil that you’ll need to work through. Your spouse can’t fix it for you, nor can anyone else. And one of the first things you’ll need to tackle is taking care of yourself—and rebuilding your self-esteem that has suffered from your spouse’s cheating. No matter how self-confident you may have been prior to your spouse’s affair, your self-esteem still takes a hit at first.

Here are 3 tips for getting back your self-esteem.

Tip #1: Be self-centered for a while

This is hard to do: most people are givers and have a difficult time taking time for themselves. Being self-centered simply means taking care of your needs. Right now, post-affair, you have a lot of them: your emotions are in turmoil, you have negative thoughts—about yourself and life in general, you struggle with the memories of the affair and wondering about the paramour.

Work through this period of time and allow yourself the time and space to heal.

Tip #2: Make a long, long list

You have many good qualities—you just need a refresher on what those are. Make a list. You may not be able to do it all in one sitting, so consider it an ongoing project of adding the various good things that you are and offer.

Tip #3: You need a “win”

What is something you can do to help you feel good about yourself? If ever there was a time you needed a “win,” it’s now. Something to boost your spirit and self-confidence. So, your challenge is to find a challenge that you can apply yourself to and succeed at. Take a class, run a 5k race, learn how to dance.

My best to you as you heal from the affair.

Do thoughts of the paramour plague you?

If so, what are your thoughts composed of?

How has your self-esteem suffered as a result of your spouse’s affair?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson


Marriage Sherpa

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