Undermining Yourself? Part 2

When we undermine ourselves, we end up being angry at ourselves for not doing what we said we would. It launches us into anger and, at times, a temporary self-hatred. Time after time betrayed spouses will feel an even greater sense of anger towards themselves as they feel like their unfaithful spouse is deceiving them yet again.  

The fact is you don’t know what you don’t know. You’ll need help to know whether or not it is safe to reengage with your spouse. Quite honestly, sometimes it’s great and much needed to be vulnerable or even physically intimate with your spouse even while in crisis, yet in other situations, it’s one of the worst things you can do. You’ll need a trail guide for sure.

Timing and context to the particulars of your situation is everything.

For example: If your unfaithful spouse is pursuing sexual reconnection, but is showing no signs of ending it with the affair partner and no signs of doing any recovery work, reengaging with them sexually is a colossal mistake. They will typically not feel any urgency to end things with their affair partner or their dysfunction, nor will they feel any urgency to seek out help. Attempting to woo them back in this situation will prove heartbreaking to the betrayed spouse as they are not engaged in your relationship. In this case, you would be undermining yourself as well as any urgency within the unfaithful spouse to seek out change or help.

Alternatively, if your spouse is truly working towards recovery and showing significant signs of dedication to recovery work and getting help, reconnecting sexually could be a great exercise in reestablishing intimacy and reconnection. If the betrayed spouse is emotionally ready, it may prove to be a very rewarding and mutually fulfilling experience, and may help the unfaithful spouse understand that there is hope. Sexual intimacy is about reestablishing connection and intimacy within your marriage. Undermining yourself in some ways comes from not knowing what is in your spouse’s heart. When you are afraid of undermining yourself, many times it’s due to unhealed and perhaps even untapped emotions and wounds internally. When tapped into, those wounds produce an incredible amount of anger and hostility which usually are secondary emotions. The primary emotion tends to be hurt and violation. We rage to protect ourselves and to fight back. In this situation and trauma, who wouldn’t?

What we really need is healing for the pain and the hurt we feel inside. If an unfaithful is unwilling to participate in the healing of their betrayed spouse as well as themselves, the betrayed spouse may need to consider pulling away and not allowing yourself to be vulnerable any longer. Without an effort to establish safety, you may be undermining not only yourself, but the entire process of recovery for your marriage. Remember the goal is progress, not perfection, and even the smallest of victories count. Every recovery will have a two-steps-forward-one-step-back feeling to it sometimes, but the goal is just to keep working towards those forward steps.

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