Submitted by Delaine
Recently, I sat with my emotionally devastated friend Maddie who had just discovered her husband was having an affair. Why? When? How? Now what? her brain raced to answer, as she felt her family dream falling to the ground in slow motion.
But it didn’t take long for her to start doing what most of us women do when affairs are exposed: she wondered, Is she prettier than me? Skinnier? Sexier? What does she have that I obviously don’t ?
As I sat comforting my friend, I totally understood her looking glass; for when I found out about my ex-husband’s infidelities, I did the same thing: compared myself to his mistress. And when I saw his lover with my own two eyes, I was shocked at how different-looking she was to me: volumptuous, dark-eyed and complexioned, with a style of dress that I thought spelled ‘skank.’ Nonetheless, I could literally feel myself deflate – her beauty, charisma, and inviting curves far superseded mine…
Ladies, we’re only only human so it’s natural for us, in any kind of love triangle, to compare ourselves physically to the ‘competition.’ Why wouldn’t we when our society has well taught us that so much of our worth correlates to our beauty/thinness/youthfulness?
But I’m here to remind you of a couple of important things – points that perhaps a girlfriend or two have said to you but you couldn’t take in. Cause getting caught up in the ‘comparisons’ is self-defeating and destructive. And I don’t want to see you stuck there indefinitely.
1) His affair is not about YOU lacking anything – beauty, smarts, perky boobs, whatever. He’s the one lacking. Too often us women’s tendency is to point the finger back at ourselves and blame/find flaws in ourselves when an affair is exposed. No matter how physically imperfect you may deem yourself to be, no matter how many ways you see yourself as the Imperfect Wife, he and he alone chose to have the affair. Don’t take responsibility for his lack of integrity nor his inability to communicate his ‘unhappiness.’ His affair was HIS choice.
2) Whether your husband chose a younger ’knockout’ to play with, or if she’s overweight, plain-looking, and truly nothing extraordinary, her looks are not what threw him or kept him in her bed – it’s the high of some ‘feeling’ he wanted to feel. Maybe it was to feel like a stud, to feel younger, to have a thrill, to feel the rush of seek and conquer, who knows. (There’s a good chance he doesn’t even know the ‘why’ cause he’s dreadfully un-self-aware and swept away in lust). My point is that his affair is NOT about her being superbly incredible whereas you are not, it’s about him filling a void inside himself.
3) Further to point #2: Whatever this ‘feeling’ is that your husband has when he’s with her (he may even mistake it for love), there’s a good chance it will burn out… and so will their relationship.
I have three close girlfriends whose husbands left them for other women – all men claimed their mistresses were “soul mates.” Every single one of theses relationships eventually ended and for one main reason: the ‘feeling’ died. Why wouldn’t it? No more adrenaline rush of sneaking around…she gets sick of picking up after him…he realizes she doesn’t want to have sex three times a night like before…You get the picture: it’s reality.
But hold on – before you start thinking this means you should sit back and wait for him to come to his senses, let me add – all these men went on to cheat again. Unless your husband is a strong man, the kind who knows how to do the inner work infidelity requires of a perpetrator, he most probably won’t change; he’ll replace
So please, please, please, don’t lie in bed at night putting yourself down, thinking you deserved to have been betrayed cause you didn’t measure up to ‘her.’ Seriously, think about this – even the smartest, most successful and beautiful women in the world get cheated on (Sandra Bullock immediately comes to mind). So don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked or obsessed with the other woman – now is the time to surround yourself with the support system you need – and assess the value of the number one culprit in the drama: your husband.
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