During my recovery journey, one of the most important lessons I learned is that my happiness can absolutely not be dependent on another person, whether it’s my husband, my kids, or anyone else. I gave my entire self-worth to my husband, he was my confidence. So when he cheated, I was mentally paralyzed. Nothing felt good. It was a scary place to be. Through time I discovered why I was so depressed. My happiness depended on my husband – period. He called the shots, if he acted like I wanted to, then I could smile, if not, I was depressed. Like a drug addict, I literally had to detach myself from my dependence on him, and it was not easy, but it was possible, because I did it.
Me being dependent on him was not a good thing. He had too much power over me, and to be honest, it was not fair to him for me to put my entire happiness on his actions. That was a lot of weight on a marriage. I kept trying to get him to feed me confidence through his actions after the affair, and it wasn’t working, I felt like I was getting more and more depressed by his actions. I felt like life was saying to me – stop going to him, but I did not know where else to go, except for within.
And thus I embarked on a journey to discover me. To discover how I can build myself up. It started with doing things that I like, I enjoy. Slowly but surely I started noticing something, when I did things I enjoyed, I came home a little bit more relaxed, a little bit more energetic. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the dependence on my husband to make me happy was slowly getting replaced by my own strength.
Then something else happened. I started to see my marriage clearly. You see, when your happiness is dependent on someone else, it is hard to see the situation clearly. But once you slowly start to lose that addiction, you can see your vision is not blurred by his dependence.
This was a slow process for me took almost two years for me to finally be in a place of strength from within. Yes during the process there were times where he made me cry or where I let him shake me up, and that was ok, it was all part of the process. I took small bite size action to invest in myself over time.
I think our society expects everything to move so quickly, I would get mad at myself for not recovering quick enough. Infidelity recovery is not a get rich quick scheme, it is a slow moving process. But if you focus within, you will come out of the experience with a strength that you never knew you had.
This is why I support pushing everyone to work on themselves. You should take bite size action to put yourself first weather or not you stay married or not. If you stay married, the worst that can happen is that you will be a happier wife, because you will learn how to be happy on your own, without dependence from your husband. Which means the time you spend together can be focused on rebuilding the marriage. As women we have to fuel our own strength so that we can be in a position to give to our husband, our family, friends and children. Put yourself first, focus on rebuilding your strength, bite size action everyday towards things that make you smile, trust me, you will not be disappointed.