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Confidence

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 DawGxl (original poster new member #31050) posted at 9:44 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

I have always been a very confidant person… my whole life. I’m not especially good looking or anything and I have always had very much a dad bod… but still I have always had a confidence ever since I was young. With my wife cheating on me… my confidence was destroyed and has really never returned.
I have never thought of myself as ugly or had negative thoughts of how I look. But… my wife cheated on me with someone who was very fit and athletic.. and I don’t know, every mean thing anyone ever said to me from middle school to that moment that I had always easily brushed off suddenly became true.

Also… and for whatever reason I feel especially shameful admitting this… I have found that my mental state almost seems completely tied to my wife wanting to sleep with me. If there is ever a day that she is unable to.. even perfectly legit reasons like she’s preparing for work tomorrow, it’s been a long day, that time of the month…. I fall into an awful deep deep depression. Almost like all of my self worth stems on if she wants me physically or not. I was NEVER like this before the affair.
Their time together… there was never a day that he called her out of the blue to meet at a hotel and she say no or say she’s busy or she has too much to do. She always dropped everything and went. Even one time leaving me with 3 small kids while I had food poisoning to go spend the day with him. Even us planning a date night (before I knew of the affair) and she stopped by his place to sleep with him on the way to our outing. She never had a reason to tell him no… and I think that’s why when I hear no it just burns and tears me apart even more.

I don’t know… we’ve done the couples counseling and that’s been real positive… but I may just need some counseling for myself. I feel like such a shadow of who I was.

Me: BH: 42
Her: WS: 39
Together: 21 years total
Married: 15 years
D Day: 1/18/11
Kids: 18, 14, 12, 10

I am desperate for help. I don't know how long I'm going to make it.

posts: 15   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2011
id 8741297
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Beachwalker ( member #70472) posted at 10:21 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Dawgxl: I am so sorry to hear your story. I know how you feel and it is very demoralizing. I am going to say a few things which may not make sense to you right now, but they are true. It may take a while for them to sink in, but never forget them.

Her cheating is a reflection of her moral character and had nothing to do with you - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! You repeat that over and over until that comes into your mind from out of nowhere all the time. She went to be with him when you were ill and left the children with you! REALLY?! That's low and selfish!

She had sex with the OM (Other Man) then went on a date with you. Really?! She doesn't mind rubbing your face in her actions. This is her character.

But look at who you are: You have remained faithful and took care of the kids. See the difference?

It is good you are in counseling together, but to be honest, it may be too early for both of you to be in counseling together. I suggest what you are thinking -- get into IC (Individual Counseling), both you and your wife. You have different needs right now. Couples counseling is for those who wish to save their marriage, and although right now you want to save your marriage, your emotions are raw and the pain is still fresh. You need to heal before making that choice, and it is just that. It is a choice as to whether you stay in your marriage or not. R (reconciliation) is what most people go to this stage of the game, right after finding out. But, your WW (Wayward Wife) has just been found out and she may be playing a game with you. She may be doing whatever you want her to do just to keep you satisfied so you don't D (divorce) her and let everyone know what she's been doing.

You need to become Sherlock Holmes, now. You need to find out information on your own. Don't ask her. Is this other guy married? Are there other men? Is this the first time?

Don't belittle her actions. What she did was the worst thing a spouse can do to another. The pain goes very deep. It is very real. My heart goes out to you, brother. I am glad you are here. Keep posting, give us more information. The more you tell us, the more we can help. I am going to stop for now, but others will come along with better advice. We are here for you!

posts: 297   ·   registered: May. 4th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8741303
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:50 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

I’m so sorry your self esteem is tied to what your wife thinks and not what you think.

Do you have a hobby or sport you excel at?

Do you have a talent you enjoy?

Do you cook well or like a sport activity or like to read a particular type of book?

The point is it doesn’t matter how your wife feels about that part of your life. It matters only what you think.

Please don’t let your wife influence your self esteem. Or how you view yourself.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 7:50 PM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12110   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8741321
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src9043 ( member #75367) posted at 2:31 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Typical advice given to someone who has been cheated on is for that person to focus on themselves, both physically and emotionally. This sounds especially applicable in your case. The very short description of your WW's affair is especially degrading. I see that you have three children but do not sacrifice your well-being in order to maintain the family unit. As you have indicated, you should undergo separate counseling in order to regain your self-esteem.

Full disclosure: I am a hard liner when it comes to cheating. I learned the hard way. I rug swept and paid for that mistake years later. Your wife just didn't have an affair, you were the second fiddle during that time. I suppose that is usually the case but your two examples set my blood boiling. It looks like it does that to you.

So, I don't know how far along you are from D Day, the length of the affair, whether it was her first time, how it was discovered and how it ended. So, my advice on whether to bother with Reconciliation would not be right. I don't think you are even asking for an opinion on whether to R. It sounds like that decision has been made. Your WW should have gone NC with her AP by now. That means quitting her job if he was a co-worker.

But don't fear change and don't allow her disrespect to be accepted under any circumstances. Never trust her ever again. Be the best version of yourself and any more bullshit should be met swiftly with the termination of the marriage. As best you can, protect yourself financially if the necessity to leave becomes apparent. Consult with an attorney on how to do that. Good luck to you. I am so sorry you are going to have to live with this crap for the foreseeable future. But stay strong and do not come across as needy, especially when it comes to sex.

posts: 634   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8741329
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 5:13 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

I don’t know… we’ve done the couples counseling and that’s been real positive… but I may just need some counseling for myself. I feel like such a shadow of who I was.

I don't think that could hurt. There's no way you're going to emotionally survive long term in your marriage if your self-esteem is dependent on your fWW's sex drive. It's not too early to be dealing with perimenopause and when the real thing comes along, who know what's going to happen. She doesn't, I can guarantee you that. Women are not men. We've got one-twentieth of the testosterone you've got. Estrogen and progesterone are up and down monthly, and that's not accounting for exhaustion or depression or whatever else life might bring. All things considered, a woman's libido is a really delicate engine. And I'm sorry, that probably feels like pouring salt in the wound when you're surviving your fWW's sexual affair, but the chemical reward to the brain which fuels an illicit relationship exists in both men and women.

Even one time leaving me with 3 small kids while I had food poisoning to go spend the day with him. Even us planning a date night (before I knew of the affair) and she stopped by his place to sleep with him on the way to our outing.

It sounds like you haven't really processed all the hurts which a WS's affair will naturally cause. We've all got items like that, examples of the awful way we were victimized which manifest as triggers. My fWH actually fucked an OW on my birthday, then came home with a plate of gross store-bought cheesecake and a card which read, "Hope you find your happy place." rolleyes I was so triggered by that date that I couldn't bear to look at it on a calendar, and of course, any digital clock will show my birth date twice a day and it always seemed like that's the moment I happened to glance at the time. And celebrate my birthday? He wasn't even allowed to mention my birthday or I'd fall into a nasty depression and stay there for two days. That changed with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) though. Well, that and the time I've spent reinvesting in ME. I don't go to anyone for self-esteem anymore. I'm my own best friend in that department.

All in all, yeah.. I do think maybe some IC could help. You might also try a book called The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson. It's really geared toward people who have split, but out of everything I've read after dday, this was the one title which helped my the most. It can really get you started making that investment in yourself, and that's been key for me.


(italics)

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 5:38 AM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

BW: 2004(online EAs),
2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 38 years;
in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5637   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8741346
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 5:21 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

It's been 11 years since DDay and you're still having a hard time. You might want to consider divorce. I know that's not the advice you're looking for, but really, most of your feelings of pain and low self-esteem come directly from her affair. Who wouldn't be destroyed by their partner going to a hotel with the AP on what is supposed to be your romantic date night? That is awful and not an easy thing to get past.

My WW did similar things, I later learned, such as sexting women while we were on a family vacation, etc. I endured a few different Ddays and then finally I couldn't bring myself to sleep with him anymore. Kind of the opposite of your problem. I just couldn't, really didn't want to, after the way he had repeatedly treated me. And that led him to leave me, no great loss because I'd fallen out of love with him by then. For me, sexual attractiveness is closely tied to personality. If a man is a cheater, mean, rude, a player, etc., I am not at all interested in sleeping with him, no matter what he looks like.

One more reason I recommend you consider divorce (aside from your signature, which shows you're really hurting), is that once you divorce and start dating, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised by how many women will show interest in you, and that will raise your confidence. As a middle aged man, you'll have the advantage on the dating scene. Middle aged women have learned to be less superficial, because many of us have also been cheated on, etc. A good, single middle-aged man is hard to find and in high demand. We're mostly not looking for Brad Pitt. He's very cute, but he's a cheater, so thanks but no thanks.

[This message edited by morningglory at 5:34 AM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

posts: 348   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8741348
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 5:33 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

This made me sad. I understand how you feel. I can only say that life can throw us curveballs, the type that dramatically change us. It doesn't always throw people curveballs, and that can make us feel pretty bitter. It can seem like other people just sail along through life. But many people face debilitating, life-changing trauma--injuries, violence, unexpected loss, illness, and betrayal. And you are forever changed by the experience.

But that doesn't mean you can't recover and find peace again or even reach new realizations and inner strength. The potential for new heights is endless if we choose to make it a goal.

My newfound height was the inner strength and resilience that I honestly did not know I had. Surviving and thriving gave me a confidence that I did not have before. The sexual confidence is not necessarily what it was before, but that is for several reasons. I mean, I'm not as young as I used to be. But I have gained confidence in other areas of my life and in other parts of my personality. I can have down moments, but overall, I feel I have come out of this much more confident than I was before.

I would just suggest that you work in IC on yourself as a self and find that love of yourself again. It may look different than the kind you had before, it may come from a different place and celebrate other parts, or you may connect with your old sexual self-confidence again when you adjust your thinking a little. The possibilities are endless. But I believe we can all agree that we feel about ourselves the way we decide we feel about ourselves. It's Us vs. Us. Our beliefs are not decided for us by other people. We have to do what is necessary to make peace inside ourselves so that we can like who we are. IC is great for that.

I really do not recommend external validation as your method for confidence or self-esteem. Giving away your power never works out for long.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 5:36 AM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5555   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8741349
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 5:35 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

...the chemical reward to the brain which fuels an illicit relationship exists in both men and women.

I just want to expound on that point a little. It's so important to understand that cheating is about the cheater. They do it for their own reasons. It's not about us or about being less attractive or less anything than an AP. Hell, Beyonce got cheated on. Sandra Bullock got cheated on. Dennis Quaid. Robert Pattinson. Rich, talented, gorgeous people in all walks of life get cheated on. It doesn't even have to be a bad marriage. Cheaters sometimes cheat when they haven't got a single complaint in their relationship. And all that, because... CHEATING IS ABOUT THE CHEATER.

Spend some time online researching the chemical reaction involved in sex and romance. Try key words like: "cuddle hormones, oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, infidelity, pair-bonding". There are lots of things which can open a cheater up to the possibility of cheating; the need for external validation and entitlement would be examples. But once the cheater starts getting the chemical payoff, yeah.. they'll move mountains to keep it coming. You're wondering how your fWW could have been callous enough to leave you home sick and watching the kids while she met her AP? It's got nothing to do with you or what you have to offer as a man. You were basically dealing with a junkie who needed a fix. If she'd gone out for cocaine because she was strung out and didn't think she could live without it, you wouldn't be self-immolating in emotional terms. But it's essentially the same thing. There's nothing in cocaine which makes you high. It works by causing your body to release those feel-good chemicals.

Anyway, I do think it helps to step back and take a clinical look at what makes affairs tick. It's not going to make what she did okay, but it will help you to stop feeling like it was somehow because of you.

BW: 2004(online EAs),
2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 38 years;
in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5637   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8741350
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:38 PM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Bro, Your d-day was less than a month after mine, and you joined SI less than 3 weeks before I did. You're a lot younger than me, though.

Loss of confidence goes with being betrayed. It's a you problem. The cure is to accept and celebrate that you're loving, lovable, capable, and enough. That's where self-esteem comes from, not from someone wanting to have sex with you.

I think you're right that a good IC can help, and I urge you to look for one - and keep looking until you find one. The search may be difficult, because demand is high, but you owe it to yourself to get help.

I doubt that D will help you now - you'll still have lousy self-esteem, if you D, and that the biggest problem that faces you. Once you start to get your self-esteem back, you'll find some clarity about what you want to do with your M.

It looks like you've basically rug-swept up to now. As long as you're both alive and sentient, it's never too late to address issues in an M, and it's never too late to address one's own issues. You'll be glad you did.

*****

morningglory, what do you mean by 'WW'? That's the standard SI abbreviation for 'Wayward Wife', but that doesn't seem to be the way you use the term. BTW, in addition to 'WW", most of us use 'WS' for 'wayward spouse' and 'WH' for 'wayward husband'.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:40 PM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27290   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8741384
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DogGoneIt ( new member #79698) posted at 7:05 PM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

I hear you DawGxl. Nothing cuts to the core like betrayal. I was having some health issues, recovering from a car accident. My wife was sneaking off after work while I was at physical therapy. Makes me want to puke.

I got a lot out of Straight Talk For The Desperate Husband by Steve Horsmon. One of my goals to recovery was getting my swagger back. I had it before, I could get it back. I went to "work" on myself. I revisited things I did when I was single, got healthy, dusted off the surfboard, tried new things. More importantly had to wrestle with questions of what do with the rest of my life. If I don't like where I'm at then it's on me.

I eventually was able to see the affair for what it was, two broken people using each other.

It's been 11 years so I'm guessing you've been putting the marriage above yourself. I believe marriage requires two healthy people, then coming together. Not the other way around.

[This message edited by DogGoneIt at 7:57 PM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

BH mid 40sDDay March 2019Reconciling

posts: 7   ·   registered: Dec. 21st, 2021
id 8741400
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 2:37 AM on Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

I say it didn't impact my self confidence, but I also dropped about 50 lbs and have been lifting heavy and getting fit.

He was younger but not any fitter than I was at the time. Who knows if it's not my subconscious motivating me to lift like I used to in high school. Maybe it's because I can't play sport due an injury.

A bit of a mystery.

Anyway. I guess what I'm saying is, do try therapy, and maybe also get fit.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1946   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8741488
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