Yesterday I began a two-part post on why it is important to have friendships outside of your marriage based on advice I shared with a friend last December after finding out her husband had been unfaithful. She shared her pain with me and then asked me two very important questions as she was trying to deal with the reality of her situation. Part one of this topic addressed the first question she asked me, and today I will address part two. I have changed their names to protect their identities and privacy. Here we go….

How
does one get over feeling like when the other goes out that the one
going
out doesn’t love or care for the other as much?

Relationships
that revolve solely around each other with little to no outside interaction
with others are unhealthy and emotionally dangerous. The challenge people
face in these types of relationships is that they do not allow themselves the time
and space away from each other in order to appreciate each other more. When disagreements
and frustrations arise, there are no outlets to turn to to vent frustrations
and seek advice. And when and if one party suddenly takes up interests outside
of the relationship, that leaves the other person feeling abandoned, suspicious
and lost. Their mind becomes playground to a host of insecurities and oftentimes
repeated arguments become common because the person left behind is usually
the one asking a lot of accusatory questions, placing blame and trying to smother
the other person with false affection in fear of being abandoned completely for
their new “interests”.

When
it comes to feelings of abandonment and suspicion when your spouse takes up new
interests, it is important to first evaluate your value of self worth. Your
spouse’s new interests may be genuine and completely innocent, or they could be
the cover up for a secret that could damage your marriage. Either way, how you feel
about yourself can make or break the situation.

If
you are someone who has a strong sense of self and who values and indulges in “me”
time away from your spouse and kids, then your partner taking in new interests
that don’t always include you, or hanging with friends occasionally wouldn’t be
intimidating in the least. After all, spa days and shopping with your
girlfriends are equivalent
to a day of golf or buffalo wings and beer at the local sports bar with friends
after work for your husband.

However,
if you are a woman who has lost touch with who she is and who doesn’t know
how to enjoy and appreciate life unless your husband is involved and feels inadequate
on numerous levels, before you wonder if your husband has stopped loving
you, you have to ask when did you stop loving yourself?

Time
and time again, stories of women across the globe tell of how love eluded them for
years and it wasn’t until they learned how to fall in love with themselves, did
the door
open and external love came rushing in.

As
women it is in our nature to nurture and comfort everyone around us, neglecting ourselves
because we feel it is our duty to take care of everything and everyone else first.
However, it is the duty we are truly called to the most that we neglect, and
that is
the duty of self-care.

Before
there was him, there was just you. Before it was “we”, it was
“me”. Even now in
the stillness of your mind there is only you. Loving you and putting you first
does not
mean neglecting your loved ones. Loving yourself could be as easy as looking you
in the mirror daily and saying “I love you” and truly mean it.
Putting you first could
mean that for an hour each afternoon, or even once a week, you require your children
to retreat to their rooms for quiet time so that you can indulge in a relaxing hot
bath before you begin dinner, homework and bedtime routines. This simple act of escape
can calm you and help move you through the rest of your night feeling more balanced,
centered and patient.

How
do you get over these negative feelings and move into a place of inner comfort and
security that sustains you and helps you appreciate you?

1.
Get in touch with who you were before you met your husband. Recall things you
used to like to do, places you liked to go, hobbies you enjoyed and the friends
you had. What did you believe in? How did you envision yourself as a married
woman? Are you living that vision? If not, what is different and how far is it
from the life you pictured years ago?

2.
Assess who you are now. You are more than just a chauffeur, cook, maid, nurse,
secretary and sex partner. Leaving all of the titles behind, who are you as a
woman? Are you being who you were meant to be?

3.
Step into who you are meant to be. Decide based on who you were before you met
your husband and who you are now, who you will be from this point forward.

4.
Create interests and opportunities that do not involve your husband. This doesn’t
mean go out and create a new life, but it does mean “getting a life”.
Start getting regular manicures, go out to lunch with girlfriends or create a girls
night and go to dinner and a chick flick. Enjoy reading? Join a book club. Like
scrapbooking? Get involved with a scrapper group. Fancy the ballet? Take up an
adult ballet course. Seek out and enjoy those things that are of interest to
you.

5.
Fall in love with you. If you haven’t done it lately, undress to your birthday suit
and check yourself out in the mirror. Really stand there and take you in. Look
at you from every angle and observe every line, curve, scar, roll, discoloration,
lopsided or even missing boob, bunion, wide nose, stained teeth, graying hair,
everything, WITHOUT JUDGMENT. Just observe. Once you’ve taken everything in, to
those parts of you that you normally don’t like, place your hand over that body
part, scar, or whatever it is, look in the mirror and say “Thighs (or
whatever the appropriate part), I love you. I love you and appreciate you just
as you are.” Do this for every part of your body that isn’t pleasing to
you. Once you’ve completed that step, stand and look at you in the eye and say
“I love you YOUR NAME. I love you just the way you are”. Keep
repeating it until you believe it. And from that point forward make it a habit
each and everyday to tell yourself just how much you love yourself.

6.
Make a spiritual connection. Turn inward and connect with your source of infinite
power. God, Allah, Creator, Universe, Yahweh – whatever and however you choose
to address your higher source is perfect. Know that there is an ever loving
power that supports and guides you and only desires your greatest good. All you
have to do is ask for help. Getting in touch with your spirituality brings
calm, peace and a knowing sense that no matter what, all is well.

Once
you can get back in touch with you are and who you are meant to be, regardless
to what your spouse does you will always have the love of self. This isn’t to
suggest that if in fact your husband’s affections towards you have changed and your
marriage dissolves that it will not hurt or be challenging. Do expect it to
hurt, and
do expect it to be emotionally difficult. But do also expect that because you
were able
to get back in touch with the essence of you, those things that you love and enjoy
will still be there to fulfill you as you transition into this new phase of
your life.

After reading my response to her, here is what she had to say:

“Hi
Kitara!

Thanks
so much for answering my questions. You really put a lot of thought
into them and they made me think to the point of tears. Your answers
were right on point and it’s almost like God is speaking through
you to me. Michael and I have only been married for 5 years but yet
Brenda is just now really grasping and learning what a marriage is, shouldn’t
be what should take place with me and what shouldn’t. Getting self
books now that I feel should have been read before I entered into such
a spiritual bond. Allowing God to minister in this marriage now when
he should have been here all along. I’m happy that I’m learning now,
but if I would have known then what I know now I feel like it could
have saved me a lot of heart ache. The
trials and tribulations that I am going through will only make me stronger
in the end. While going through the trials you feel as though there
is not a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel so lost and confused
at times. Almost like a walking zombie, but I will soon get
out of that and I will be fine.”

Now a year later, I am happy to share that Brenda and Michael are still together, happy and working on their marriage as a team. She admits to having “down moments” when she remembers the pain she experienced last year, but she is renewed by the joint commitment they both now have to making their marriage last.

And that brings me to my next and final point. I was involved in an online discussion this morning over at LifeTwo.com and it was on the topic of a woman who has decided to leave her marriage. I responded yesterday with some comments and questions and another reader replied back this morning stating that I gave “bad” advice. I didn’t take offense to it, but instead responded by saying:

“My advice is just that – advice – doesn’t make it right or wrong
depending on who’s reading it and their take on things, it just is.
Take what works and dump the rest, and if none of it works, that’s
great too!

At the end of the day, people are going to do what they feel is in
their best interest regardless to the advice that is thrown their way.
I don’t have all the answers, in this case I may not have any. I just
come from a place of trying to help. My prayer each day is that I can
help a minimum of one person in some way. If I missed something, then
perhaps this isn’t the person I was meant to help and that just means
there’s someone else out there waiting for my help. Could be a smile, a
kind word, or helping someone a little shorter than me reach an item on
a tall shelf at the grocery store. However I am meant to help, my goal
is to do it with love and kindness. I won’t always get it right, but I
will always keep trying.”

I shared that to say this ladies, my objective is to help. If you can get just one tiny nugget from all of the many things that I share on this site, then I’ve done my job. Take what you need and leave the rest as it may be useful to someone else. Take care!

In Celebration,
Signature