I often hear of wives who feel very insecure and jealous after their husband’s affair. This jealousy is not always limited to just the other woman in the affair. To his surprise, the wife may feel jealous of many people, even if she is not jealous or envious by nature. This may be because her perception of herself (and the world around her) has been shaken by the adventure.
She might say, “I am not a jealous person by nature, but since my husband had an affair six months ago, I find that my jealous and unpleasant side comes to the fore. Unfortunately for me, the other woman is everything that I am not. . She requires a lot of maintenance and is well groomed. She dresses to the nines and is a friend of botox. I am a very casual person who wears minimal makeup. Exercise is important to me, so I stay in great shape, but I’m not someone who’s going to try to look like a runway model if I just go to the grocery store. I have a family and a job so I try to look presentable, but I have other things to worry about. However, since the adventure of my husband, I have now started to pay a lot of attention to my appearance. I notice that I have wrinkles and I am starting to develop a double chin. I tried to dress myself better, but I feel a little silly and I definitely feel uncomfortable. If I am in a tie I go to grocery store and I see a well-groomed pretty woman, then immediately I feel like her life is better than mine and I wonder if she’s the kind of woman my husband would go for if he cheated on me again. I am also jealous of women who never had children or who do not put their children first. I am embarrassed to admit this, but sometimes I feel that staying home with my children and prioritizing my children has made me less interesting to my husband and less attractive in general. I’m jealous of professional women who can’t do anything but have fun on weekends or have spa days. I would never think of doing either of those things. Lately, I’m quite jealous of anyone other than me. Sometimes I feel like a big, unattractive loser. “
I can totally identify with what you are saying. I went through the same set of feelings. I will share a few things that finally helped me over time. Right after my husband’s adventure, I felt really horrible. I became so critical of myself and had some of the same feelings about the fact that I had focused on motherhood. One day I was talking to a friend of mine who has no children and I confessed how much I envied her. Then he admitted that he envied ME because he could see how much love I had for my children and vice versa. She said she was jealous that throughout my life, I would have two other people in the world that I loved more than life itself. This was going to be true no matter what happened to my marriage or other areas of my life. My friend said that no one could ever take away my motherhood, or my love for (and for) my children. I couldn’t argue with this. Then my friend insisted that I underestimated my appearance. She said sure, she wasn’t always heavily made up, but she had a natural beauty that didn’t require heavy use of cosmetics to enhance it. I appreciated this, but didn’t always believe it.
Then a few weeks later, something very sad happened. For about 20 years, I had this ultra-competitive relationship with a friend from high school, who then went to the same college as me. This woman was so skilled and talented. We often competed for the same internships, jobs, etc. He almost always hit me. She never had children and traveled the world, which was something I really wanted to do, but knew I would never have the opportunity considering my obligations. Anyway, we had a kind of love / hate relationship. My admiration for her made me see what I didn’t have. I spent a long time envious and thinking that she had it all, until she got very sick. The point I’m trying to make is that you never know what life will bring you. Those folks at the grocery store who assume they have it all may have a sick parent at home. Or they can go to an empty house and watch television alone. Things are not always as they seem. It can always seem like someone has it better than you. But in the same way, there will always be someone worse than you.
I learned to begin to appreciate what I had. Sure, it had some wrinkles. But otherwise he was healthy. Yes, I had prioritized my kids and there were some sacrifices with that, but isn’t that true of something worthwhile? At the same time, I made some changes that increased my confidence level. I changed my hair, fixed my teeth, and enhanced my wardrobe. I gave myself permission to take better care of myself and spend some time (and living expenses) just for myself. I decided that a happier mother would mean happier children. At the same time, I was very careful to make sure that I wasn’t just chasing an idea of what I thought it should look like. I focused on what I really liked and not what I thought my husband would like. I also took some classes and finally started to dedicate myself to my own work. That way, if my marriage didn’t survive, I could be confident that it would be okay.