Are you feeling insecure after your spouse cheated?
Did the person you swore who love you forever betray you by having an affair?
Has your self-esteem been decimated and do you find yourself circling the drain in more ways than one?
Don’t worry! You are not alone. Many people suffer from feeling insecure after their partner cheats.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take that will help you manage that insecurity and move forward with your head held high.
#1 – Don’t blame yourself.
Are you blaming yourself for your partner cheating? Are you feeling like if you were just nicer, or prettier, or more successful, they wouldn’t have cheated? Do you believe that your perceived deficiencies are why your partner was unfaithful?
I can promise you, here and now – you are not at fault for your partner cheating. There are two people in every relationship and, yes, there are often issues that arise between them but that doesn’t mean that people are given a license to cheat.
In a healthy relationship, issues are addressed and put to bed before they become bigger than life.
That being said, you are in the same troubled relationship with your spouse and you didn’t cheat. You were strong enough to keep your vows even as your relationship foundered.
If anything, you are the one who should hold their head high because you acted with integrity instead of cowardice. They did not.
#2 – Face it head on.
Many people who have been cheated on struggle to face what happened head on.
Sometimes they don’t confront their partners, worried that if they do they will get a confirmation that they really don’t want to hear. Sometimes, once they do receive said confirmation, they don’t address it any further, hoping that if they just ignore it it will go away. Sometimes, they don’t tell their friends or family because they are so embarrassed and they hold what happened and their emotions inside.
It is important that, if you are feeling insecure after your spouse cheated, you face it head on. That you talk directly to your partner about what happened, why and how. To ask the questions that you need to ask and process the answers in way that will help you deal with it.
It is also important that you share what has happened with someone you trust. I am not telling you to broadcast what happened to the neighborhood but confiding in a friend or family member will give you a sounding board on which to process.
If you can’t face this directly you will keep all your anger and hurt and fear inside. Any chance of fixing things with your spouse will be impossible because the issue isn’t being addressed. The knowledge that your spouse cheated and that you did nothing to address it will eat you up inside, making you feel more insecure every day.
A strong person who faces adversity head on is not an insecure person. Quite the opposite, indeed.
#3 – Soul search.
In the same way that I suggest that you face what happened head on with your partner, so I encourage you to dig deep and do some soul searching about how you got to this place. How your marriage got to a place where your partner cheated.
When my ex cheated on me, I was devastated. While I don’t blame myself for his cheating, in retrospect I have realized that I helped create the petri dish in which my partner’s infidelity developed.
I was contemptuous of him, always questioning why he did or didn’t do things. We lived apart often, because of work or the kids. We never had sex. I was always in charge. Etc.
None of these things made him feel loved or respected and eventually he met someone who make him feel both. And he left.
In my current relationship I have worked hard to not create an atmosphere where my partner would look elsewhere for love or affection. I work hard to communicate instead of being passive aggressive and treating my guy with contempt. I make sure we have sex and that the power in the relationship is even.
It’s not always easy because old habits are hard to break, but doing so has kept our relationship strong and infidelity proof.
So, take some time and do some soul searching. Are you happy with who you are in your relationship? Would doing some work on yourself help you be a better partner (in this relationship or in the next)? Is the life that you are living honestly what you want it to be? Knowing more about yourself will help you stop feeling insecure after your spouse cheated.
#4 – Take care of yourself.
For many of us, when we learn that a partner cheated, we sink into a very dark place.
Because we have been betrayed by the person who was closest to us, our ability to function in the world can be compromised. And when that happens, the healthy behaviors that we might have practiced in the past can be sabotaged.
Tell me the truth – has your time since you discovered that your partner cheated been filled with exercise and salads or ice cream and binge watching TV? If you answered the second, you are not alone. I have personally spent a lot of time on the couch mourning a betrayal.
It is important that, to stop feeling insecure after your partner cheated, you take care of yourself. That you get exercise, eat well and sleep. That you spend time with people who love you. That you do things in the world that give you joy. That you dig into your job so that you can hold your head up at work well done.
Eating ice cream, sleepless nights and stalking your partner’s lover on Instagram will only cause you pain. Which will lead to more ice cream, weight gain and a plummeting self-esteem.
So, get yourself out there. Take walks with your friends, eat food that makes your body feel strong and spend time with people who know how awesome you are.
The best revenge is being happy and healthy in spite of what your loser partner did.
#5 – Don’t settle.
Are you considering staying with your person after they cheated? Are you worried about the kids or your community or your finances or what your parents might think? Are you staying with your spouse for any reason other than the fact that you love them and truly want things to work out?
If the answer to my question is the first and not the second then I would encourage you to think hard before you make this decision. This is the rest of your life that you are talking about. And life is short and being happy is important.
Imagine waking up every day, for the rest of your life, next to the person you haven’t forgiven and no longer love. Imagine Christmas mornings and weddings and anniversaries spent next to someone you don’t respect. Imagine sitting across from them at a dinner table and making small talk.
Now imagine waking up every day for the rest of your life with someone you love and respect. Imagine Christmases and weddings and anniversaries with someone you can trust. Imagine sitting across from them at a dinner table and feeling a rush of love.
How amazing would that be?
Being in a relationship with someone we love and trust, and who loves and trusts us back, is an excellent way to boost our self-esteem. Seeing how wonderful we are in the eyes of another lifts us up in a way nothing else can.
So, think carefully before you decide next steps. You deserve to be happy and you are the only one who can make that happen. Don’t settle!
Working to stop feeling insecure after your spouse cheated can be very difficult. You have been betrayed and there is nothing worse in a relationship.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to rebuild your self-esteem after your spouse cheats. First and foremost, don’t blame yourself. You didn’t cheat. Face the infidelity head on instead of burying it deep. Take good care of yourself. Do some soul searching about what you want in life and in relationships and don’t settle. Never settle.
This is a horribly difficult time for you but you can get through it intact and move forward to live the life you want. I promise.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.