Meaning, many people who’ve undergone a marital breakdown internalize their partner’s betrayal—taking on the blame, shame, and loads of other negative (and unmerited) emotions.
As you may have guessed, your self-esteem can take a huge hit. You may even feel as though a part of you is broken. But you’re not broken, and you can recover your sense of self-worth. Here’s how.
1. Accept That It Had Little to Do with You
After discovering your partner’s actions, your go-to response was probably to ask why this happened. More importantly, you might have asked yourself what was so wrong with you that was so right about the “other” person.
Here’s the thing about your partner’s affair: it wasn’t about you.
Rather, it was a decision that other people made without consulting you. Consider that even many highly attractive and successful people get cheated on every day—Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, etc.
Remember, there is no single finger pointing at you. And although you may have behaviors or attitudes that irritate your partner, you’re not innately flawed, deserving of such pain.
2. Give Yourself Space for Self-Expression
Embracing self-expression during the aftermath of an affair can be completely life-changing.
Of course, self-expression means different things to different people. For example, you might burn sentimental items from your relationship in a kind of grieving ceremony. Or perhaps you’ll dive into a beloved expression of art, such as painting, songwriting, or dancing.
Keep in mind that plenty of betrayed partners have painted, crooned, or danced out their feelings. We see and hear the proof of these artistic expressions every day.
Whatever your outlet, be sure to use it. Expressing yourself through a meaningful avenue bolsters your confidence in an unrivaled way.
3. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal might sound somewhat juvenile. However, journaling is far more than a “Dear Diary” sort of endeavor.
Rather, journaling helps you to regulate and self-validate your emotions. It also clues you in to your emotional triggers. Knowing your patterns and the things that set you off will help you to focus your recovery efforts on those areas.
Self-esteem is partly about feeling empowered. Unsurprisingly, the more power you feel over your own emotions, the stronger your self-esteem becomes. Mostly, because the major driver in journaling is a “know thyself” approach.
4. Quiet the “If Only” Thoughts
Recovering your self-esteem after an affair also frequently means addressing your own thoughts. Let’s face it, you’re at your most vulnerable after a betrayal. With thoughts whirling and emotions in overdrive, it’s easy to take a wrong left turn in your own mind.
Usually, these wrong turns lead you to a never-ending chorus of “if only.” If only you could cook better or were more attractive or made more money or were thinner, your partner wouldn’t have been tempted to have an affair.
Sure, maybe you do want to learn to cook better, beef up your self-care, or ask for a raise at work. If so, you’re in a crowded boat because most of us are there, too. It’s okay, really!
Unfortunately, these doubtful thoughts only spur on more doubtful thoughts—and they devalue who you truly are. Quieting them will allow your self-esteem to recover more fully.
5. Make an Epic “You” List
Simply said, some days everything is going well and some days feel like the worst day of your life.. Experiencing an affair is undoubtedly one of the latter. There are probably lyrics that say it much better, but the point is that every day you are YOU.
No matter what you face, you manage to come out on the other side in one piece. Why?
There must be some grit to you because you’re a relentless, rebounding champ to have faced a cheating partner and still want to read this particular post. So, remind yourself every day of all the gifts and talents that make up YOU.
Take it a step further and write down all the ways you are amazing. Go deep, and jot down every nitty-gritty reason that you are valuable. You may not feel 10-feet tall and bullet-proof yet, but your mind and body will soon catch up. Let it happen.
To find out more about relationship counseling, click here. For more support as you recover your self-esteem after an affair, please contact me today for a free consultation. I would like to support you on your journey of recovery.