I often hear from wives who are trying very hard to pick up the pieces of their lives and to move on with dignity and grace after their husband cheated or had an affair. But, no matter how well intentioned or determined you are, this can be easier said than done. Your head can understand things that your heart can not. You can have steel resolve in the morning only to fall apart by night fall.
And, even though your husband can tell you all those things he thinks that you want to hear, hearing is very different than actually believing. I often hear comments like “my husband ended his affair. He says he realizes now that he made a mistake and that he loves me. He says he is putting our family first. And, all of these things sound really good. But, I know too much about the other woman and about their relationship. She’s young. She’s pretty. She’s carefree. He treated her like gold and risked everything for her. I know I can’t compete with that. And it makes me feel second best. I know that my husband is home and he’s doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. But, I can’t help but wonder if it weren’t for the kids, if he’d still be here. I feel like I only got him back by default. How can I get over feeling second best and like I’m not good enough. He’s not telling me this, but I feel it just the same.”
These concerns are so common. Wives who are trying to recover from affairs question everything about themselves, their marriages, their husbands, and about that same husband’s feelings. Infidelity feels like a complete rejection, even when your husband will swear that this is not the case. You might, as many do, feel like you’re what’s leftover when things didn’t work out. And, this is horribly painful. The thing is, it’s very unfair for you to have to carry these feelings around with you when you weren’t the one who set this whole thing into motion. In the following article, I will discuss some ways to stop feeling like second best after your husband had an affair.
Place The Focus On What Makes You Feel Better Rather Than On What Makes You Feel Worse: At the risk of sounding insensitive, I know from experience that it’s very easy to place your focus on what feels the worst. Even though you know it’s not productive, even though you know it’s not moving you forward, the thoughts that hurt the worst are the ones that keep popping up the most. And it’s very tempting and easy to dwell on them.
It’s so tempting to just sort of sink into it. Because you don’t know how to begin to dig yourself out and no matter what you do, the thoughts just keep coming. That’s why, to break this cycle, you have to react as soon as you find the thoughts coming. Replace the bad thoughts with something that makes you feel better about yourself. So, as soon as you have a thought or feeling that makes you feel second best or not good enough or not attractive, do something that makes you feel proactive.
This takes practice. It might feel silly. And quite honestly, sometimes it’s easier to just give in to the negative. But in my experience when you begin to be proactive and you take positive action in response to negative thoughts, you begin to remove the power over the negativity. Here’s an example. In my own experience, when those sabotaging thoughts came, I would stop what I was doing and take a walk. Or I would work out. Or, maybe I’d call a supportive and non judgmental friend. Or I would go to the arcade with my kids. Basically, I would find something to derail my thoughts and make me feel like I wasn’t giving in to them.
In the end, the walking and exercise turned out to be a good call because I lost weight and toned up. This changed my appearance a bit, and gave me more confidence which lead to me making more changes in my life. The weight loss added to a new way of looking at my appearance, myself, and what I was portraying the world. Because what you portray to the world can become the way that you see yourself.
Once you see yourself in a more positive way, you begin to become much more protective of your piece of mind and well being. And you start seeing those negative thoughts as the enemy that you aren’t going to let invade that hard fought peace of mind. This doesn’t happen overnight of course. It’s a difficult process and it takes time.
But fighting it every step of the way and making sure you move toward the positive gives you the sense of control that you deserve. No, you didn’t have any control over his cheating or affair. That was the action that he chose to take without your input. But, you do have control over your OWN thoughts and actions. And, you can’t feel second best unless you allow those thoughts to take hold. When you start to feel second best, it’s up to you to take action to derail this until you regain some control and build yourself up to a place where you begin to know and believe that this just isn’t true.