An affair can drain anyone of whatever confidence they possess. Am I not pretty enough? Am I not smart enough? Am I not witty, sexy, kind, loving, dedicated, hard-working and joyful enough to stay faithful to? We are our own worst enemy, and believe me, I haven’t been shooting blanks at the mirror.
I think it’s only natural to compare yourself to the other woman in your husband’s life. It may not be healthy, but it is natural. In my case, the other woman (Evil Bitch) was pretty, young, funny and also just happened to be psychotic. I’ll eventually tell how she earned my little pet-name, but for now, just trust me on this. Of course, for six months Husband only saw the pretty, young and funny side of her. Yep, for six months she was looking a whole lot better than his wife.
One of the most heart-breaking things I’ve ever had to hear was Husband telling me that he’d fantasized about EB. Because of my illness, we didn’t have a heck of a lot going on in the bedroom. So, he was imagining a sex life with her. They spoke quite a bit about sexual frustration. Enough that EB said they really “bonded” over this subject. That hasn’t done much for my confidence, as you could imagine.
For the first few months after the exposure, I tore myself apart daily. The illness has done quite a number on my appearance. I used to be considered pretty. Now, I’ve lost a lot of weight and have collagen degeneration. This means saggy. My thick, blonde hair now falls out by the handful. The bags under my eyes would require a check-in at the airport. You get the idea. The illness also did a number on my personality. I’ve grown so tired of never knowing what the day will hold. I could be fine through my routine, or I could end up in the emergency room. It is a hard way to live, and it takes its toll. Needless to say, I’m not exactly the same life-loving woman I was a few years ago. So, I beat myself up. I’m NOT good enough. I’m NOT sexy (again, saggy), or smart (memory loss) or joyful (scared every day). I’m NOT worthy of Husband’s admiration. No wonder his head was turned. Eventually, I grew tired of this.
I decided that I didn’t let him down; he let me down. I had no choice in getting sick, but he did have a choice in whether or not to have a relationship outside of his marriage. I shouldn’t be embarrassed about the woman I’ve become, but he should be embarrassed about the man he’s become. And he is. I don’t think I’d ever be able to respect him again if he wasn’t.
None of us are perfect. Humans have flaws. We get sick and we get old. We have bad days, months and even years. Yet overall, I’m okay with who I am. I am surrounded by people who love, respect and value me. Even Husband sees my worth now. It’s a shame he didn’t see it for six months, but it’s even a bigger shame that I didn’t see it for awhile. I suppose there will always be a part of me that wants to compare myself to EB, but in the end, I know that I bring a lot to the table. A hell of a lot more than someone putting their time and energy into breaking up a marriage! I have chosen to crawl out of the self-deprecating muck, and plant my flag on higher ground. And you know what? The view is lovely.