Trying to be perfect....and failing miserably.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-2005
Trying to be perfect....and failing miserably.
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 5:48pm

This is my 2nd marriage and we've been married for a year. I'm currently 13 weeks pregnant with our first child(we each have 2 kids from previous marriages) My last marriage failed due to my ex cheating and so I guess I try to go overboard with my current husband. I put a TON of pressure on myself to do EVERYTHING and be happy about it because I'm terrified of him cheating on me or leaving. When we first started dating he was newly divorced and he slept with his ex wife. We were not a couple at the time but just been on a few dates but it still hangs in the back of my mind, eating at me all the time and I spend a ton of time obsessing and worrying about him leaving me for her.

I do EVERYTHING around the house, even down to cutting the grass, on top of caring for our kids(2 of which are not in school) and working a part time job 30 hr week job. His ex was extremely lazy and so I make sure I do everything so the only thing he has to do is work and come home. I feel like I'm burdening him if I ask him to do anything. I also obsess about my appearance and workout an hour a day(even still now that I'm pregnant) and make sure to do my hair and makeup everyday. This pregnancy is eating away at me because I'm terrified to gain weight because I'm scared he will no longer want to be intimate with me. I leave sweet things for him all the time to remind him how important he is to me and how much I love him. It's a constant worry if he's late or goes to the store without me that he's cheating.

When I was divorced two of my ex's best friends hit on me and another married man I had known for years did as well. It offended and disgusted me. These men had wives and families of their own but it seemed it wasn't enough. Of course I shot them all down and cut contact with them. My husband's friends had been helping me sell the house and fixing things in it since when we divorced my ex moved to another state. I never came on to them, just regular  talk. These women trusted their husbands with me and yet all the men were thinking was getting in my pants. It was gross and feeds my fear even more.

I feel like men expect perfection.....a sweet girl in front of everyone who is an amazing cook, wife, housekeeper, mother, etc. Who has the time to workout everday and keep up her appearance and also time to make sure their kids are top of their class. Who is always in the mood for sex and never turns down an advance, and who is basically a prostitute in the bedroom. I can't keep up with this pressure I've placed on myself. I've talked to my husband about it and he of course says he has no issues helping out and doesn't expect anything from me except to love him but I feel like he's lying. If I was lazy and gained 50+ lbs and let the house go a little bit I would feel like he'd be looking for a way out. I just feel like a complete failure, especially on days where I don't have time for something, whether it be a workout, or to help my daughter a little extra with her schoolwork. With this baby coming soon I know I'm going to be pushing myself even harder, especially to keep up with the housework and losing the weight and  since we cannot be intimate for 6+ weeks I'm going to be terrified of him looking elsewhere.

My husband is an amazing man and goes out of his way everyday to make me feel special and loved. I want to be one of those women who trusts their husbands completely and knows that the last thing on their mind but I don't think I ever will be. I would NEVER cheat on my husband, not in a million years. I love him more than I've ever loved anyone but I worry that men's feelings aren't as concrete. It didn't take much for my ex to slip up and it didn't take anyhting for those firneds of his to hit on me (and who knows if they've tried this with other women and succeded!) Please help me. I've tried therapy, not much help.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 2:56pm

First with the positive.  Your DH obviously loves and cares for you.  And, you clearly see that you are putting the pressure on yourself, and that it is not coming from your DH.  So, that fact that you can see all of this is a good thing.

Now, what to do about it.  You can see clearly your behavior is hurting yourself for the sake of someone else.  That is co-dependancy at its finest.

You mentioned you have already tried T.  My thoughts would be to either find another T, or try a support group like Codependents Annonymous, or somethign like that.  I don't know what your belief system is, but we have to learn that we can't get out "good enough" from people, places or things.  I am in AA, and I have to get my good enough from God, or a Higher Power.  Some people who don't believe, may tell you that you have to get the strength from within your self.  However you look at it, it can't come from your DH.

You are in fear.  Period.  And fear makes us do crazy things.  I understand where you are.  I totally get it.  

It took me a long time to work through some similar issues.  Second DH helped me through issues with xH, then I had isssues with second DH, we got divorced, then I had issues to work through with current SO from second xH.  My second xH was a meth addict, and my poor SO couldn't get up and go to the bathroom at night without me jumping up, thinking he was leaving.  

My SO was still legally married when we got together, so I know how that all goes, too.  

You really need to cut yourself some slack before you really do go crazy.  With hormones and potential post-partum depression, this stress is not good for you, or the baby.  

I have been with SO 7 years now.  It takes time.  Keep talking to your DH and find some kind of outside help to get your through this.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 8:39am

Hi Mandah--


(((((((hugs)))))) to you!

Serenity posted a good post :)

I would agree you've got the double whammy of history of cheating by exH to deal with, and the hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy to distort everything even more for you!  I have to give you credit---I'm simply exhausted reading all that you are doing!

Unfortunately, you will exhaust yourself with all of this sooner or later also.....and still no guarantees re: husband (or anyone else) behavior either.............

I completely agree with finding a counselor to help you work through this insecurity,( before your current method---doing it all/and perfectly yet!) wears you to a frazzle.........(as you know, with a newborn, it's difficult enough to merely stay awake when you need to!!.........much less continue in role as model wife/mother/woman....!)

........and I would say the counselor(s) you tried before probably werent a good fit for you, or not that great of counselors.  You would probably benefit from some sort of supportive group program, even, as your thoughts/issues are VERY common.....

 QUOTE: It's a constant worry if he's late or goes to the store without me that he's cheating.

That's a terrible thing to have to live with continually........and it would be a shame to let that ruin your current marriage----

I also think/agree that being able to TALK with your husband re: your feelings is important, and a good counselor should be able to help you two talk together .......


Welcome!  Others who have posted here have had similar issues dealing with exes who cheated, and worrying about it in future/current relationships, so I hope some of them see this and post to you (this board has had computer glitches for quite awhile, and very slow postings lately....hopefully things will change soon!)

Hope to hear more from you soon---

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 11:03am

Please get  back to therapy because you are heading for a nervous breakdown the way you are going.  First of all, no one can possibly be perfect and do everything themselves--it just isn't possible and the pressure you are putting on yourself (as you said, your DH isn't asking for you to be like this) is impossible to live up to.  Imagine if you were doing something like this to one of your kids--you expected the child to get A+ in every class, never to disobey you, to be a star athlete or get the lead in the school play, etc., or you wouldn't love that child any more--if you look at it that way, doesn't it sound crazy to you and you say "well I'd never do that."  Well your DH doesn't expect that either.  First of all, you are setting back women's causes to the dark ages with doing all the housework--in the 50's housewife days, at least they didn't work outside the house on top of that.  There is no working mother on earth who doesn't expect her DH to lift a finger around the house--that's completely unreasonable.  On top of that you are goig to have a baby and will need extra rest & it's going to take extra time to take care of the baby--you need your DH to start doing things around the house NOW.  He is not going to cheat on you because he has to mow the lawn--if you see this in writing, do you understand how ridiculous this sounds?

the thing is that people have affairs not usually because of something their spouse is doing or not donig (except maybe in cases where their marriage is really horrible and they are looking for an excuse to leave) but because of something that is wrong with them.  If you look at movie star or celebrity marriage, how many people cheat on someone who everyone else in the world would want to be with?  One I can think of right now is Christie Brinkley's last DH cheated on her with a teenager--this is one of the most beautiful women in the world, she's rich, she seems nice, they have enough money to hire people to do their chores--how many men would like to be married to her?  But her exDH cheated basically cause he was a creep.  And if your DH is not the type to cheat, then he wouldn't cheat no matter if you got fat & lazy.  I was married to an emotionally abusive mentally ill man who was making my life miserable but I never thought about cheating, basically because I just wouldn't do that.

Also, there is still no guarantee that is you are Ms. perfect that everything will go accd. to plan.  when I was married to 1st DH, I tried never to complain and let him do whatever he wanted, like go out without me a lot, leaving me to take care of the kids at home--it wasn't cheating, it was playing baseball and going to the movies--basically he acted like an irresponsible kid!  Guess what?  He still ended up wanting a divorce.  So being a martyr really didn't help.  I think your current behavior is more likely to get on your DH's nerves because he probably knows you are suspicious of his every move & if he's not doing anything wrong, it's going to aggravate him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2004
Sat, 02-23-2013 - 3:19pm

Nothing will help until you realise that you are no longer married to your ex. 

Your husband is getting judge by what your exhusband wanted, did and needed, not what he wants or need.  You need to talk to him, open minded and ask him to  help you to let go.  You say that you feel that men  wants  perfection but have your husband is a man, not all of them and have you asked him what he wants?

Your still  trying to fix what went wrong in the first marriage, you are still trying to mend the first marriage and  that is why you are failing.

Honestly , love is lovely but no one is ready for a second marriage until  they let the first one go and you didnt and if you keep treating and acting like your current husband is a cheater, he will be come one in the end in  a weird way  to please you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 4:53pm


I totally agree with Serenity, Lorena and Music.  My exh cheated and our marriage ended.  I am now remarried to a wonderful man and I know that not everyone cheats. I know I would not cheat, my brothers never cheated, my father never cheated and I could list many men in my life who have not or would not cheat.

 I learned a lot going though the betrayal.  One of the most important things I learned about myself--I can live through and thrive after even with the pain of betrayal!  You can too and you have.  The only one you have contol over is yourself.  I also know that if, heaven forbid, I had to face betrayal again I would be out the door so fast my H's head would spin!  I learned I can take care of myself and that I am worthy and deserve to be loved and cherished.  So are you. You are strong!  You can't 'make' someone love you or be faithful to you.  They have to do it themselves. Let go of the fear and enjoy your life.  If they aren't capable of being faithful and loving then they are not worth my time, IMHO.  So I just don't worry about it.  

All the pressure you put on yourself is not healthy.  From what you write it sounds like your H is a nice guy.  I think most good guys WANT to do things around the house!  They love their families and their wives and it would feel really great to be wanted and needed.  My suggestion--sit down with your H and tell him you are feeling overwhelmed and would like to come up with a plan to share the household chores.  Especially with the baby coming. He might have some really good ideas.  Give him the opportunity to help. kwim?

No one is perfect and wonder woman is only in the movies!

take care,


Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 03-03-2013 - 4:55pm


The others here have given you great advice. Here's mine:

1)Stop trying to 'measure up' so some herculian standard of womanhood. Music is correct when she says you're headed for a nervous breakdown. No one expects as much of you as YOU do. You need to give yourself permission to be yourself, not superwoman.

2)Asking your husband to do his share of the chores, i.e. cutting the grass,etc. isn't a sign of you being lazy. In fact, shame on him for letting you do it all and not pitching in! You need to sit him down and say, "I need YOUR help."

3)Ditto to sex. Reserve the right to say no occasionally. It makes him appreciate you more and also respect your body more. I love my husband very much, but I reserve the right to say no and I expect him to accept this without having to apologize. Heck, sometimes he's not in the mood and I have to take the cold shower! LOL!

4)The pigs your friends were married to that came onto you? Very common when a woman is separated or divorced from her spouse. They all assume you are "desparate" for sex and will take the opportunity to screw a woman who is dumb enough to mistake that as legitimate interest.  Again, they were pigs, and you did the right thing by calling a spade a spade. What you have to do is stop letting this continue to be a source of concern for you. Ditto for your Ex having sex with his ex-wife: very common! It's part of the process of coming apart, and, it's not surprising given that two people who were married for any length of time find it easy to go to bed. You're lucky he didn't get her pregnant one more time.

5)Go back to therapy. Every time someone says "it didn't work" I believe it's because you're getting what you need and you simply don't want to look into the mirror and accept the truth. How do I know that? Because I've been there, too. It's hard. Do it any way.

Good luck.