To get a better perspective, imagine your situation in reverse. Suppose you were the unfaithful one having various affairs with other men, and that your husband put up with that kind of behavior for ten years. What would you think about your husband? Would you have any respect for him?
I think that the answer is “no.”
A person has more respect for someone who shows a strong sense of self-respect. To gain self-respect, it’s important to learn to set boundaries and to make decisions based on what is healthy for you rather than on wishful thinking. Ultimately, you need the courage to face your fear of life without him.
Unfortunately, your longing to stay with someone who does not treat you in a reciprocal, loving way, with respect and compassion, will not change him into someone who will love, respect, and cherish you. Staying with someone who repeatedly has affairs will only drain away any self-respect and joie de vivre you have left.
The best way to avoid having to endure such hurtful behavior from someone is not to put up with it. Ask yourself what has kept you tied to him for so long. It sounds as though it is the hope that things will improve together with a fear of moving on by yourself.
Do not be afraid to live alone. When you start choosing people and activities that enhance your life and your well-being, your strength and self-empowerment will grow. You will be amazed at what might turn up in your life. Let go of your fear, set some suitable boundaries and be prepared to walk away.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD