Repairing Self-Worth After Infidelity

Being the victim of infidelity can be incredibly damaging to one’s ego and self worth. Once learning your partner committed infidelity, it’s common to have an array of negative thoughts and questions swimming in your head: “Am I not attractive?”, “Was I not good enough?”, “Am I boring in bed?”, “Why did something so terrible happen?” “What does the affair partner possess that I don’t?” These are all common questions that may pop into your head.  We may begin to question your self-worth, often thinking that the infidelity could have been avoided if you were simply good enough.  Regardless of the reason someone cheats, no matter how much you may understand it wasn’t about you, and it was about your partner, it’s inevitable that the emotional pain and the shame of not being enough for your partner would hit you at your core. 

            Furthermore, it is important to remember that relationships are an investment.  We dedicate time, trust, feelings, and much more into our romantic partners; therefore, it can feel devastating to have them cheat.  Losing that investment simply hurts.  Following this, we regularly try to find clarity regarding this pain, often at the cost of self-blame.  Therefore, as you go through the difficult process of grieving and analyzing, make time to preserve and repair your self-worth.  Doing this will combat potential, maladaptive beliefs from forming.  Common examples of these include, “I’m unlovable”, “I’m damaged”, and “I’m undesirable”.  Remember, recovering from infidelity includes the permission to be happy.  Preserving your self-worth honors this by emphasizing what makes you great, not what makes you terrible.  With all of that being said, here are ways to maintain a healthy self-image.

 

Spirituality

Turning to or reconnecting with your spiritual/religious side is a great way to help you get back to you who you are at your core.  Whether it’s attending services, or simply reciting a prayer or psalm that helps you recharge and reflect on the good in you; these are powerful and effective ways repair and practice self-care.  However, religion/spirituality isn’t for everyone.  For those in that camp, where do you feel the most connected to yourself, or to something that is bigger than you?  Practicing an instrument, hiking in nature, and creating art are all easy, common examples.

Find a New Hobby

Working towards a goal and learning a new skill not only serves as a great distraction, but it can challenge you, highlight new skills you possess, and hopefully in the end remind you of your strengths and achievements and capabilities. 

Exercise

There is a strong connection between mental health and physical health.  Improving your exterior might just make you feel better in your interior.  Plus, working out releases endorphins, giving you an added happiness in your day.

Volunteer 

Helping others just may help yourself.  Many people tend to feel better knowing that they contributed to positive change.  Also, volunteering events are often social, which deters self-induced isolation.

Journal 

When recovering from infidelity, it’s very easy to get caught in our head.  These thoughts and feelings can even feel overwhelming.  Fortunately, writing those emotions and beliefs tend to alleviate some of that tension.

Therapy

It helps to have an impartial person process your feelings with you.  You can safely explore certain, hard emotions while having the security of a validating, trained professional. 

Music

Music can be a great emotional outlet.  It has the ability to describe what we’re going through in a way that writing or talking simply can’t.  Additionally, if you practice an instrument, it only adds to your sense of accomplishment.

Throw A Party/Get-together

It’s easy to socially withdraw after something as disheartening as infidelity.  However, surrounding ourselves with loved ones tends to be more therapeutic.  To rekindle your self-esteem, try throwing a party comprised of your close friends and family.  The size nor type of party isn’t necessarily important, but rather the positive consequences of hosting one.  Ultimately, creating a get-together shows that you can still have fun, while also showcasing that there are people who think you are amazing.

Stay Connected With Friends and Family

It is important to keep busy and engaged with the people who know, love, and appreciate you.  Also, maybe these relationships were a little ignored/or less cared for when you were busy in a relationship?  Now is the time to rebuild and reinvest in those people.

Create a Dating Profile

After you’ve done the other tips, you may have the self-confidence to create a dating profile.  If you do, know that you do not have to act on anything.  Simply linger and hang in the experience of seeing profiles, receiving messages, and obtaining interest from other peers.  Then, once you feel ready, act on it.

            As you have probably noticed, all of the above ideas have one thing in common.  They are all for and about you.  These tips emphasize the importance of taking the time to focus on you.  During your recovery from infidelity, take that time to focus on yourself.  Reinvest in your hobbies, or form new ones.  Join that class that you’ve been thinking about, or finally finish that project you’ve been working on.  Not only do hobbies make for great distractions, they can improve one’s mood.  After all, increasing one’s skill in a specific craft is an effective way to repair a damaged self-image. 

Additional Tips

  • Join an adult education class
  • Travel somewhere new
  • Explore your town or city’s night life
  • If you are religious, reconnect with your faith
  • Visit nearby family members
  • Create a thought journal regarding your journey
  • Spend more time at your gym
  • Engage in volunteer work
  • Work towards a goal, like running a half-marathon
  • Go to a concert
  • Regaining the ability to do what you lost in the relationship

 

Recovering from infidelity can be a long, difficult process.  At its worst, the pain may even seem endless.  However, life does get better.  Good eventually overtakes the bad, which becomes easier to see by taking certain actions.  Creating a dating profile, organizing social events, and engaging in hobbies are great ways to get out of your head, while reminding yourself of your positive qualities.  With all of that said, go ahead and see how well these tips work for you!

by Melvin Tillman, MA


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