i stumbled across this movie earlier this year and i wasn’t prepared for how much of it resonated or how it would make me feel. or rather, how much it set off some reflective moments.
for those that leave me anonymous notes or messages, yes. i get it. i am the other woman. i am cheating on my husband. he, a serial cheater, is cheating on his bride (as he calls her). judge me if you must. trust me. i get it. believe it or not, i was “the wife”. i still am the wife, but one with a different perspective and filters born from experience. i was the self-righteous and judgmental one, the one that swore i would kick my husband to the curb if he ever cheated on me, the one that would judge others very harshly if they were the cheater or even worse, pass judgment on the cheated on spouse (regardless of gender) if they chose to stay in the marriage. and then i discovered darling husbands first affair. 4-months after our marriage. actually, i didn’t discover it, as much as it was thrust upon me.
we had been married 4-months, and he was away on a guys weekend skiing up in whistler b.c. i checked the mail and was surprised to find a box addressed to me, but wrapped in wedding gift wrap. and the gift? copies of emails between my husband and a co-worker over the course of the year before we were married. and of course a letter from her to me; telling me that she was sending me the proof of their relationship in the hopes that i would do the “honorable” thing and let him leave the marriage to find true happiness with her. that she felt sorry for me, marrying someone i knew wasn’t in love with me or attracted to me. i remember throwing up and trembling as i read each and every email and wondered how in the hell did i miss all of the signs? were there signs? as soon as he called me to say good-night and heard my voice he knew something was wrong. i told him what i received and he hung up. 4 hours later he walked through the front door and we decided to try. to figure out what went wrong and whether or not we could survive this. we did. for 7 years, we went to counseling, we worked together, yes, all three of us and we moved on. or so i thought.
even after that transgression, i was still the self righteous wife. only my closest friend knew of the affair, not even my family. i was even more indignant when i heard, read or learned of other’s infidelities. i was outspoken when talking about kicking a cheating spouse out. and then the bottom fell out of my world. by then we had a small toddler, a daughter that was born a preemie and a fighter from her first breath. and clearly, the apple of my darling husband’s eye. we were a little family, we were both working in career’s we enjoyed and i was 4-years in at a company i had found my calling and my home. i was on fire and thriving and i had a great partnership with darling husband. or so i thought.
i missed the signs, and there were plenty, that i wasn’t home enough. that i wasn’t co-parenting enough. that i wasn’t paying enough attention to us or him. of course i can say that in hindsight but i digress. he fell in love. this time it was love. it wasn’t just sex with a colleague. he made plans, they made plans. plans that included my young child, our young child a blended family. and suddenly, gone was the self righteous bitch of a woman in her place was this person with a different filter and perspective. a woman that not only wasn’t ready to kick her husband to the curb, but was ready to fight to keep the marriage together. which started with me admitting to my part in his unhappiness and seeking counseling to understand my own issues. i blamed her, rudy, the other woman for all of it. i called her all of the usual names; slut, whore, home wrecker, cunt you name it, i am sure i said it. of course, it didn’t help that she was a single gal.
we put together a parenting plan, we found him a 2-bedroom apartment so that our daughter would have her own room in both homes. all that was left to do was to have the mediator file the paperwork. i was devastated. i was angry. i was exhausted. and then he couldn’t do it. he couldn’t go through with it. he didn’t want to do it to our daughter. he gave up his shot at happiness because he felt it was the right thing to do. at the time, i was ecstatic. i was willing to overlook the fact that darling husband was staying because of our child and not because of us. i believed it would be enough.
flash forward 9-years. i was wrong. we are stronger in many ways, good companions. we now have two kids and our daughter will be headed off to college. i don’t know if it’s age or that space in time during one’s mid-life where suddenly i realized that my body is my body and i am indeed a sexual being. that my husbands open and vocal dissatisfaction with my body type, plus size, and his own preference for very petite and slender women is his own issue. not mine. and i realized that i likely stopped my darling husband from being truly happy. by being with someone he really loved and was attracted to…
after years and months of dialogue, discussion and tears, so many tears, of asking darling husband to meet me half-way. to attend counseling together. to find a way to change the way things were-all to which he politely refused. i decided to seek the physical intimacy and sexual satisfaction outside of my marriage. not with the intent of ending my relationship but as a way to stay in it.
yes. i know what i am. i know what i am. i am a wife. i am *the* wife. i am the other woman. i am me.
I am also the other woman. lately I’ve been with this man who I’m very sure to be in close with. and to think selfishly that he’s also in close with me. it makes it so hard to let go. I’ve always been the mistress that never asks for anything in return. I’ve always been the mistress that knows her place, knows that it was never going to be because he has someone that he loves the most and that someone wasn’t me. I said to him once that he didn’t love me enough for us to work. and one day he asked me what I would do if I were in his shoes. the choices were: to keep doing what we’re doing and hide it from the world. to be with me openly and only. or to give up to destiny. I was never happier to know I was one of the choices.. being in this position that is truly too good to be true. all this doesn’t change the fact that I’m the other woman..
what an honest and very real human way to feel though. and yes, you are right, you and I are both “other women”, but we’re not alone. not justifying where we are at, but trying to understand the journey. thank you for such a personal note and observation. I appreciate it.
I recently went through the same type of betrayal, only my personality did not allow me to stay! I applaud your decision to stay. Just as it takes a strong woman to leave, it takes a strong woman to stay. Don’t let it bruise your self esteem. My experience taught me a lesson that would prove profitable. This is the lesson: Some people are just never truly happy, it’s very much internal. Trust me when I tell you, if you were a skinny woman he’d want a BBW. Some people are never satisfied. It’s just human nature to want what you don’t have. However, this is your marriage and if you have college-age children, there’s no way in hell I would start over! It’s too hard out here alone. You keep your marriage! It’s nobody’s business that he cheated on you or that you’re cheating on him, unless you feel the need to share it. Which I would never divulge that type of information to family and friends. It’ll only make things worse.
As for you: You go girl! I applaud you for finding yourself some intimacy and some happiness. Everybody deserves to feel desired and wanted! Everybody deserves that touch that makes humans thrive. Kudos on finding a way to get what “YOU” need without demolishing all that you have helped to build!
thank you for taking the time to read the post, more importantly, thank you for the thoughtful response. I truly appreciate it. ~xo
One thing I’ve learned through my blog is that I am not alone. Wrapped up in this affair, I felt like no one else had ever walked this road before; I take great comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Thank you for your blog!
indeed it’s comforting and humbling. and thank you for your blog and for sharing your journey…
One thing I have discovered is that there is an ocean of difference between an explanation and an excuse. A lot of people feel that by explaining it, you are attempting to excuse it. In reality, all you’re talking about is an explanation.
I am frequently in search of an explanation for some things that I do…and often need to talk to others to find that explanation. But, as you say, regardless of the explanation, the choice and the responsibility are ultimately mine.
I hear what you are saying, but unfortunately, no amount of ink justifies having an affair. ESPECIALLY after you experienced it from the other side. You may not be saying that’s what you’re doing — justifying yourself. But that IS how it reads and one of the things that drives Betrayeds crazy. You make a good case for leaving your marriage, but you cannot blame others — not even your husband — for your behavior and decisions. You need to own it. I doubt he would be impressed that you have to have sex with someone else to stay in the marriage. Seriously.
thank you for the comment. as i have said all along. i don’t place blame anywhere else except for squarely on my shoulders. truly. thank you again for reading.
I know all of that all too well. That movie hit me too. The other thing that hit me was Mimi Alfords book, “Once Upon A Secret” on her affair with President Kennedy. A lot of her feelings, I felt. Even when she realized she was waiting around to be his seconds…. GREAT book, fast read, you should pick it up and let me know what you think…
i hadn’t heard of it. i’m a voracious reader and always looking for a new book. THANK YOU! i hope all is well your way…