I See Myself As Damaged After My Spouse’s Affair
By Katie Lersch, contributing writer
I believe that perhaps the most unfortunate thing about a marital affair is that the faithful spouse is often very hurt by something that he or she never even set into motion. If having an affair were a crime, it would be a crime for which the innocent party pays a very high price.
Wives who were always confident and self-assured now can struggle with their self image. They feel as if they were stupid to miss the signs and were too smug in thinking that they had a good marriage or a loving husband. And some of them even believe that their inability to see things clearly means that they are one of those people who are always in denial.
They worry that all of this is going to leave a kind of mark or flaw on them that they can never shake. They wonder if they can ever fully trust again or see themselves as a whole and worthwhile person.
Someone may describe it this way:
“I look back at the woman I was six months ago and it makes me so sad that I’m almost sick over it. I honestly thought that I had it all. I thought that I had the world’s best husband, the world’s best marriage, and the world’s best life. I was on top of the world – thinking that I was finally where I always wanted to be. I felt like I was at a great place in my job and at home.
This all changed when I found out about my husband’s affair. I was completely shocked and devastated. I felt like an idiot. I won’t say that the signs were completely obvious, but they were there. And I didn’t see them because I was so smug that my life was wonderful. I feel like a complete fool.
People at my job know about this because the other woman actually works here. And now I feel like I’ve lost the respect at my job that I have worked so hard for. And I feel like my friends, who used to respect me, now pity me.
Honestly, I feel damaged. I feel like someone who had too much pride and smugness and who must know be taken down a notch. I have lost a good deal of my confidence and this means that I have lost a lot of my contentedness. Will I always feel this damaged? I feel like I’m in a hole that I can’t dig myself out of.”
I understand how you feel. I knew very few women in this situation who haven’t felt some variation on what you are feeling right now. I’d like it very much if you would consider just a few things.
Trusting, Well-Adjusted People Often Do Not See It Coming: I know you feel like you should have seen it coming and that it reflects badly on you that you didn’t. But I can tell you that many intelligent, observant, and astute people do not see it coming. Why? Because we are trusting people who love our spouses and who believe in our marriages. If we didn’t, we’d go through life always expecting the worst, always on the lookout, always anxious that tragedy is about to strike. And that is not a great way to live. That would be every bit as “damaged” as you feel right now.
The Changing Of Your World View: There is nothing wrong in believing in your spouse and in yourself. Yes, this has shaken you. But I promise that it is possible to survive and even thrive after this. It does take a while to stop being on your guard all of the time and expecting the worst of people.
That was one of the hardest things for me to overcome. I saw the world as a much darker place. I doubted the innate goodness of people. And this was one aspect of the affair that was the most damaging to me. I liked my world view. I liked that I saw the glass as half full. After the affair, the glass was definitely half empty.
It took some time, but I was able to return to my regular self after the affair.
I was determined that my husband’s choice and my husband’s mistake was not going to change who I was. I was determined to hang onto the best parts of myself. I decided that I did not deserve to be the one who was damaged because I was not the one who had participated in the bad behavior.
You almost have to have a determination to not accept any more pain than what you’ve already endured. You do not deserve a life time of pain for something that you did not even do. It’s almost a choice that you’re going to get serious about healing, about moving on in a healthy way, and about using this as a learning experience so that it wasn’t all a waste.
It is possible to take some positive things from this. I honestly believe that I am stronger, more resilient, and more clear. I know myself very well and I am clear on what I do and do not want in my life. There was a time when I did feel damaged, but I don’t anymore. It can be the same for you, but it does take time, determination, and concentrated effort.
And there’s no shame in getting help if you need it.Therapy helped me as did some self help resources. You can’t expect yourself to be an expert on all things. But you can be patient with yourself and vow to be your own best advocate. You can read more about things that I found helpful at http://surviving-the-affair.com
P.S. Pin it!Tweet it! Like it! & Download our eCourse – it’s free!