Q&A Will I Ever Feel Special Again?

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Question: 

I am 17 months out, and still really struggling with not feeling special. My husband's affair was mostly superficial but fully sexual: he desired his affair partner, shared his body, and had secrets. We have both done a lot of work and he is very empathetic and compassionate, taking full responsibility and doing whatever I need to help me heal. He tells me daily he thinks I am beautiful and sexy but I know he felt that way about her too. I see God’s work in us both, our emotional intimacy is the closest it has ever been for which I am grateful. But I still feel ugly and undesirable. He brought me to many social occasions with her and her family, and I saw her attractiveness first hand. When we got married I felt confident he would never look at anyone else. I thought we were a team - that I was unique, special. Now I know I am neither of those. Even in our intimate moments I consider that he wanted to do all of this with his affair partner, and though I am the one he is intimate with now, how does that make me special? Will I ever feel special again? Does this come back? Was I foolish to believe I was the only one who could turn him on? Am I just shallow or unrealistic? Did I just buy into a fairy tale? I can’t imagine living the rest of my life feeling ugly and second rate to my own husband.

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will I ever feel special

I met you at EMS weekend and you truly are a beautiful woman - so kind and you have so much to offer. I pray you see yourself as others see you and that your husband will be committed fully and know how to treat you as special.

Ugh. I understand those

Ugh. I understand those feelings. I’ve been hyper obsessed with the AP off and on in the 4 months since disclosure. He cut all contact with her that day, didn’t discuss it with her or say goodbye, just one sentence: “I’m telling my wife everything.” Then deleted and blocked all means of contact.
Finally the other day I said, “Wait a second! Here he is with me working his rear off to make things right, telling me he loves me and is sorry multiple times a day, angry with himself for acting so foolishly and weeping in sorrow, and relieved he didn’t lose me. Why am I thinking about her????”
I do know that she sure as heck must be thinking about me with feelings of abandonment, self-deprecation and unworthiness, feeling unloved and unwanted; she was selfishly used and unceremoniously dumped because he loved me, his lifelong partner.
I’m the most special person in his life.