I think it’s fair to say that almost anyone would understand that a wife who is dealing with an affair is also probably dealing with a bit of insecurity. Sure, you might hear your husband proclaiming his love for you and making claims that he wants to save your marriage and make things right. But, how do you know that you can trust in what he’s saying? How do you know that he is telling you the truth? After all, he was lying when he was cheating. So how can you be sure that he is not lying now?
And, as much as you want to believe in his flattery and in his reassurance, how do you know that he’s not just saying what he needs to say in order to make things better for everyone involved? How do you know that his claims that you’re beautiful and still desirable ring true or if he’s just saying this so that you won’t feel so awful about the affair?
Because of all of these worries, it’s very normal to feel insecure. You worry when he’s even a little late. You worry every time you hear the beep of his cell phone. You even second guess every look or gesture that you experience from him. Even when things are going well and things feel better, you ask yourself if what you’re experiencing is just an extension of wishful thinking.
This dilemma is so normal that it is more unusual for me to hear from people who claim not to experience it than from those who do. Almost every one struggles with this. And while it’s completely understandable, it can be hurtful in more ways than one.
The Numerous Ways That Insecurity Is Incredibly Destructive: First of all, it’s exhausting for you. Believe me, no one enjoys feeling so insecure. And it hurts the person experiencing it most of all. But more than that, it can hurt the very relationship that is the cause of the insecurity. Because people get tired of constantly having to reassure you. And they may be completely sincere and loving in the beginning, with loads of patience. But as time goes on, it’s just very draining to all involved.
A wife might say: “I admit it. I’m an insecure mess after my husband’s affair. The thing is: the other woman was young and beautiful. If I was a man, I would be attracted to her also. And she had trouble accepting it when my husband tried to break it off. She continued to pursue him. It was as if he – and the relationship – really meant something to her. This hurts. And it hurts to know that as far as looks and desirability go, I will never be able to compete with her. And I will always worry that either her, or someone like her, is going to come along again. Because of this, I always grill my husband. I always go along behind him on the computer. I always check his phone. He was patient with this at first. But the other night, he sat me down and he told me that I have to get over my insecurity because frankly, my being so ‘high maintenance’ as he calls it, makes him more likely to cheat in the long run. He says that I have to stop this, which hurts. I understand it in a way. But I feel as if I have a right to my insecurity. And I can’t pretend as if I don’t feel it.”
Letting The Insecurity Go For Yourself. For No One But You: I agree that the insecurity is understandable. But I also know (from experience) that it destroys everything that is important to you. And that it’s a heavy burden to carry. I’d like to suggest, as gently and as lovingly as possible, that you try to build yourself up and let down the insecurity for yourself and not for him. Because it will only benefit you to gain confidence in yourself.
I promise that this is beneficial in all sorts of ways. It frees you from so many worries and it allows to drop the exhausting process of always feeling like you are not enough. Admittedly, you don’t have her youth. You are not her. But you have so much more. You have the history and the commitment of marriage with your husband. You have life experience. And you are your wonderful, unique self.
I have learned that the key is determining what makes you uniquely you and then celebrating that without apology. No one else can possibly be you. Every one is unique. You can’t and should not compete with anyone else because it’s an impossible process. We are all unique and special in our own ways and, ideally, we are with someone who realizes that. If not, at the very least, we need to realize it for ourselves.
So yes, I strongly encourage you to let go of the insecurity and to learn to appreciate how brilliant and special you are. But not for you husband, for you.