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.