iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2012
Sun, 08-12-2012 - 12:35pm

I still have yet to figure out the answers to the hard questions - how I could let myself have an A, why I had it, etc, but one thing I have ruled out is that it did not have to do with low self-esteem.  From things i've read and conversations i've heard from people who have never had an A, I think a common belief is that people who engage in A's have very low self-esteem, and I guess i'm wondering what people's opinions are on this? 

For me personally, though I think i've always had a pretty healthy self-esteem, I think my self-esteem was actually the healthiest it has ever been when I started my A (I had lost 35 pounds in the year and a half prior, was exercising regularly, felt good about my body and my health, at a good place with my job, etc).  So, I do think there's a possibility that my A could have been related to self-esteem, but b/c it was high (and maybe I was feeling more confident than normally am and was more willing to engage in risky behaviors?  Still figuring this all out ;-)  Of course, since my A has ended,(especially after having a D-day) I'm battling with self-esteem issues for the first time in my life - how I could have done this, hurt so many people, the aftermath of how things were left with me and xAP, etc.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2005
In reply to: somedaytp
Sun, 08-12-2012 - 1:03pm

Afternoon somedaytp :smileyhappy:

I know, in my case, it was definitely a self-esteem issue.  

I new JAM when I was a geeky teen and probably still saw myself as that geeky teen when he became interested enough 30 years later to turn his attention my way.  I know he was interested way back when because he use to come to my window to see me.  He was 3 years older (me 15...him 18), and his buddies would have razzed him to death if he had ever expressed interest back then.

Anyhoo, the fact that the cutest boy in the neighbor expressed an interest in me (30 years later and after a failed marriage from which he was not yet divorced and now involved in a 2-year LTR) was exciting and a boost.  And unfortunately, that teenage girl was running the show because I was then a 45-year-old adult...and I behaved like an immature teenager.  And then all the difficulty ending tapped into my separation and abandonment issues...what a mess I was...mostly as a result of my adoption.

Self-esteem is not always the issue, for sure.  Only our therapist knows for  Okay, you have to be my age to know that reference for a play on words.  

But we do know that if we want to reduce our self-esteem to nothing, have an affair.  It may start off as a boost, but it ultimately strips us.

You're doing well.  Keep trying to figure things we do so, things start to fall into place.  It's like we are an onion, peeling off layer by layer...definitely crying along the way, but isn't there a sweet heart in the middle?


Clarity...who made that all about her.

Community Leader
Registered: 05-23-2003
In reply to: somedaytp
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 11:41am
Hi someday,

I think that self-esteem is different from self-confidence.

I look at self-esteem as...having nothing really to do with our outsides, and everything to do with our insides.

I look at self-esteem as how much we value ourselves. How much we like ourselves. How we feel about our own self-worth.

Not as a reflection of what anyone else thinks - or because of our outsides - but comfortable we are with our real selves, and what sort of acceptance level we have with that.

You look good, you have a nice body, you're great at your job, you keep a nice home, you're a good cook, you have a great fashion sense - all of those things are nice, but they are all external. And while all of those things can give you a great deal of confidence as you are out in the world - I'm not sure that they are really an accurate measuring stick of self-esteem. Self-confidence, sure. Ego, yes. But I don't think they can really be used to measure how much we really value ourselves, how much we really care for ourselves, how much we really like ourselves.

Do you base your value on how pretty you are? Do you base it on how competent you are at work? Do you base it on how well you cook? Those things can help us feel good about ourselves, to be sure. But, is that all there is to it?

I believe that yes, people who engage in an affair have issues with their self-esteem. Again, because I believe that self-esteem is about valuing yourself, and loving yourself - and if you do value yourself and love yourself, you wouldn't be able to engage in something that is so self-destructive.

Does that make sense?




iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2009
In reply to: mia_2005
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 10:56am
I agree that not everyone that enters into an affair is suffering from self esteem issues.  However, I believe that people that can actively participate in affairs absolutely lack in self-esteem.
I have never been overly confident with my looks, but always very confident and comfortable in my personality - my intent, my integrity, my morality, my energy.
I read a lot on these boards (usually from the BS side) that one should never try to find happiness or pleasure at the expense of another's pain.  I just don't agree with this concept when it comes to matters of the heart. 
At any point in our lives when we've been involved with someone, couldn't it be said that we were doing it at the expense of someone else's pain if there was someone else in the world who wanted the person we were with? 
I also don't believe that marriage automatically means a lifetime commitment.  People change.  Feelings change.  Relationships change.  No one should be held to a contract of love.
But I DO believe that everyone is entitled to honesty even when the truth will cause pain, and especially when it comes to relationships.  I don't think anyone should be made a fool of.  I don't think anyone should be left in the dark about their own life.
And while I was strong enough to stick to these beliefs when it came to my own marriage, I didn't hold xMM to the same requirements and, instead, contributed to all I was against.  The longer I stayed involved in my A (which started out with honest intentions), the more I loathed myself.  It was the first time in my life that I truly questioned my self-worth.  So, while I had no self-esteem issues going in, being in killed it. 
I believe that low self-esteem is a result of what we internalize based on our actions (knowing we're not behaving like a *good person*).  I believe insecurity is different than low self-esteem.  I think insecurity comes from external things -like thinking (or being told or made to feel by others) that we're not attractive enough, not educated enough, not successful enough, not brave enough - etc.  I think that people often use insecurities as an excuse to behave badly, and that manifests in low self-esteem - and of course, low self esteem causes us to believe in and magnify our insecurities.   It's cyclical, but only because we allow it to be.   That's my take.  
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2012
In reply to: somedaytp
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 6:53pm
Someday, I know of a woman who was married to her husband for over 20-something years. They have children, the youngest in grade school. About 2 years ago, my friends and I started noticing that this woman was losing a lot of weight and started dressing really nice. She looks really good for being in her mid-40’s. Unfortunately, this woman is also having an affair with a married man. The husband found out, left and took their young children with him.

When you look at her, you could say that she exudes confidence and has a HUGE ego. She KNOWS she’s beautiful and has a great body and has a lot to offer. But, when you REALLY look at her and watch how she interacts with men, it’s pretty obvious that she’s out there looking for validation from them, which makes me think she doesn’t really value herself that much.

Like Kim says, self-confidence is a little different from self-esteem. To me, confidence can be faked around other people. It’s the moments when you’re comfortable with your own reflection while still rocking the flannel pjs, no-makeup-hair-in-a-scrunchie look that define self-esteem.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2011
In reply to: somedaytp
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 8:30pm
' l
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2005
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 9:55pm

Hey Mia

Sure, I guess as long as both soon-to-be-wed partners are on the same page about that marriage not automatically meaning a lifetime commitment thang, then all will be well in marryland...'til it's not.

I agree that no one should be held to a contract of love...if one partner feels they have changed, their feelings have changed or that the relationship has changed, then divorce...or open marriage are the two options...again, as long as both partners are in on the same page and a secret unilateral decision to break the contract is not being made..

>I read a lot on these boards (usually from the BS side) that one should never try to find happiness or pleasure at the expense of another's pain.  I just don't agree with this concept when it comes to matters of the heart. At any point in our lives when we've been involved with someone, couldn't it be said that we were doing it at the expense of someone else's pain if there was someone else in the world who wanted the person we were with?>  don't know why the font became so big

I dunno, Mia...I think you're reaching here...but I suppose any further discussion would be better done on the debate board.  I just don't see how a single gal or guy competing with another for someone's love...and on the same scale as being an interloper and competing against a wife and a family.  

I believe to, that in regards to matters of the heart, we should tread even more carefully...otherwise, we might just as well be animals in the wild.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2011
In reply to: daisy4now
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 10:02pm

Hi L 3_13,

This is so interesting. I wonder if we have various levels of confidence and esteem depending on who we are allowing to judge us, even if it is ourselves? I have stacks of self-confidence in most situations, but most of those are arm's length interactions, and more about what I do rather than who I am. My self -esteem, if I had to choose, is higher with DH - because i know being who I am is good enough, scrunchies, PJs, grandma, whadeva....with xAP, I never had (felt) that security and therefore went over the top to make sure not a toenail was out of place. It was not that he necessarily cared, but I felt that I had to be perfect to maybe be good enough for his attention, in my own mind. There's a lesson there somewhere!


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2005
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 10:56pm

Hi Daisy

Perhaps the lesson..and I'm just typing that security with one's self in front of another develops over time.  Over time, once our spouse or anyone sees the good, bad and ugly...and still loves us...that contributes to our sense of self-esteem...confidence that we will still be loved.

We never get that in an affair because we never get there in an affair.  I suppose some long-term affair havers or those who just don't care what anyone thinks don't run into that. But most of us put our best foot/or toenail forward...every time we met with an affair partner...never allowing them the opportunity see and then love the good, bad and ugly us. 

Yet, when I hear about how we can talk about everything and anything to an affair partner and/or how sexually more open and free we were, I'm thinking perhaps that's because we don't really fear the opinion of this new person in our life...what we do fear the most is the rejection from the person whose opinion matters to us the most...our spouse.  Ironic, ain't it.


Community Leader
Registered: 05-23-2003
Tue, 08-21-2012 - 9:03pm
Not to be disagreeable or anything - just another POV...


>>But most of us put our best foot/or toenail forward...every time we met with an affair partner...never allowing them the opportunity see and then love the good, bad and ugly us. <<

By choosing to engage in an affair at all, we're absolutely putting our worst foot forward, aren't we?

Regardless of whether we come plucked, waxed, perfumed, sexied up - regardless of the outside wrapping - we're showing that we're willing to lie, to cheat, to betray, to hurt others, without much care or concern for that.

We *are* showing the bad and the ugly. The very worst and the most ugly things that we're capable of - those are all on full display every time we sneak a phone call, an email, a meet-up.

Yes? No?




iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2005
Tue, 08-21-2012 - 9:26pm

I was just making a point in a different context..and yes, failed to I have mentioned....numerous time before... that we think we are putting our best foot forward when in fact we are putting our worst foot forward.

Okay, Ms. sloppy-puppy kisses giver? :smileywink: