Friday, October 18, 2013

Things I Wish I Could Say to the Other Woman

*The following piece was inspired by several recent articles that I've read by women who have proudly had affairs with married men. Although I am lucky enough to have a faithful husband, I've been cheated on in the past (wrote a whole book about it) and infidelity has touched the lives of several women very dear to me. I wrote this to give those women, the ones who did nothing wrong, a voice.*

I’m not slut-shaming you. We women should revel in our sexuality. We should love sex and live passionately, sensually. We should celebrate our bodies and all the miraculous things they can do and feel and we should be proud, but what you did isn’t a celebration of your sexual freedom and it’s nothing to be proud of. You aren’t liberated. You are degraded. I say this not of the wild abandon with which you enjoyed my husband, doing all the things I’m sure he told you I refused to, but because of the selfishness with which you did them. 

I know that you suffer. If you were healthy and happy, you wouldn’t pursue relationships with unavailable men. This comes from a place of pain. I have compassion for that sorrow and I know your emptiness and longing. How do you think I felt when he wasn’t home and when I knew he was lying to me about where he was going?

Look, sleeping with a married man isn’t going to fix you. Your time with him, his compliments, those things are a temporary balm to make you forget how badly you feel about yourself. You think you are special because he chose you over me and over his family, and this gives you proof for a little while that you are lovable and worthy, but what about when he leaves and you’re waiting for him to call or text you again? How do you feel then waiting for your next fix?

What you’re feeling with him is an illusion. It’s a trick. It’s a high. His affections are a drug and you’re a junkie mainlining male attention. Lust is a powerful liar. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun while it lasts. Trust me, I know. I remember how it felt when I first met him too.

Real love though? That’s a whole different story. It’s not based on deceit. It can’t be because love can’t thrive where negativity festers so a relationship built on lies and hiding can never blossom. When you act like that, you’re living in darkness. Love needs light. Love is honest, it’s vulnerable, it’s out in the open.

Building a life with someone over time, overcoming hardship, reaching goals together – that’s what real love is. You just can’t come in and steal what you think is my ready-made perfect life. It doesn’t work that way. You have to build your own and put in all the same hard work and effort that I did.

You think you want my life? You say you want what I have? Oh really? You want a man who cheats? Because that’s what you’d be getting.

But you’re special, you think. He wouldn’t do that to you. Possibly, but unlikely and even so, what you’d be getting with him is a man who lacks character. I’m sure you like to imagine that you are so irresistible that he was powerless to keep his hands off of you and that your charms, your beauty, your wit or whatever is what led him astray. No. He led himself astray. This had nothing to do with your otherworldly sexiness. It happened because he has no integrity, no self-control, no regard for the consequences of his actions and it happened because he is selfish. We, yes, both of us, deserve better than that. 

You might say, “If it wasn’t me, he would’ve done it with someone else,” and you know, you’re right, but that doesn’t excuse you from your actions and your choices. You are better than that. We women need to stand up for our sisters and when he hits on you, don’t give in. Refuse and say “I’m not going to do that to another woman.” What if we all did that? If we all had the courage and the strength to say no and to wait for the kind of man who’d truly respect us and love us faithfully, like, really love us? It would be so hard to do. I understand that because it feels so good in that moment when he wants you, but the high is fleeting and then you’ll inevitably crash. Doing the right thing is always more difficult and so is delaying the immediate rush of gratification that comes with your clandestine encounters, but I swear to you, it’s worth it, and once you do it, you will understand what real, lasting empowerment truly is. And that’s a million times better than some guy telling you how hot you make him.

Crying about how much you love him doesn’t mean you really did. You didn’t really love him. True love means wanting the other person to live their greatest life and to fulfill their greatest potential whether or not you get to be with them. If you loved him, you wouldn’t want him to live a life of lies. You’d want him to be healthy and your dysfunctional relationship is anything but.

Maybe you didn’t think of this and maybe you didn’t want to, but the times you were with him were times stolen from his family. The money he spent on you was money robbed from his children. Men don’t just cheat on their wives. They betray their entire families. So once again, when you say you love him, if you really did, you’d love his children as if they were your own. So why then would you want to hurt them?

I bet he told you he was unhappy with me. Perhaps he listed all my faults and transgressions, made himself a martyr saying he couldn’t leave me because of the children or because of finances. First of all, all cheaters say that. Don’t fall for it. And second? There are two sides to every story. How about you live with him as long as I have and then maybe you’ll understand why I’m such a bitch. In fact, I bet you have a lot more in common with me than you do with him.

What you did is like a disease. It’s a sickness and your symptoms are contagious. The worthlessness, the blaming, the feelings of being unloved and ugly, the loneliness? You’ve passed it on to me now, but I know how to heal and I can help you, so that together, as women, we can rise above this. The cure is standing tall, succeeding, ripping back those curtains of pain and negativity and letting the light flood in to our lives. It’s living with confidence and integrity, making choices for ourselves that are in the best interest of others too. It’s doing the right thing when faced with temptation.

It’s everything that he isn’t.

If you enjoy my writing, please check out my book Amateur Night at the Bubblegum Kittikat, available in paperback and kindle on Amazon, on Nook and iBooks or visit my facebook author page and give me a like!


Mrs. Qball said...

Man, I wish I could print this off and mail it to my ex's new wife....but I would add at the end.."Thanks for favor..I am SO much better off now!

April A. said...

Hah! Thank you for putting it all together, because when cheated it is hard to stand up for oneself. When my hubby said a stripper told him "You are not like other guys" I told him "That's her JOB to get money out of you! She says it to everyone." It's a stripper secret I learned after reading Amateur Night at the Bubblegum Kittikat!

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

I do wonder how many women will receive a print-out of this. You said it all. Thanks for writing it. My daughter and I were watching a TV show in which a husband cheated on the wife with a young woman and the wife went ballistic on the mistress and immediately started trying to patch things up with the husband. My daughter said, "I don't know why she's taking all her anger out on the girlfriend, she didn't do anything wrong. She's not married, she can sleep with whoever she wants, she's not cheating on anyone." I told her that it's just plain wrong to sleep with a married man. End of story. It's just not something women of character do. And you are cheating on someone, your fellow women. And while it does seem unfair that the husband doesn't get the same wrath, if a woman decides she's going to stay married, she needs to start trying to save that relationship. There's no relationship to save with the mistress. I wish I could more eloquently express what I mean.

Kevin said...

I remembered your Wide Lawns blog from many years ago and am sad to see it's not available. Some stories were truly original, like the guy who was all happy to get the new bentley convertible until he found out someone else had a lower number and got it first. Is there any way I can read it? I thought you were going to make a book of it or something.

Anonymous said...

I think maybe there is too much blame for the other woman and not enough for the husband. He is the one breaking the vows and the trust put in him. I remember when a friend's boyfriend cheated on her. She focused so much anger on the other woman, and she excused him of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Of course because the husband is soooo perfect. Like all fake marriages. Why would a husband cheat if he was happy with his wife? No one except the wives lose when husbands have affairs. Mistresses can move on the long term damage that a husband who you took vows with and have children with with remain deeply scarred with you and your children. It depends on if you value icing more than cake and incidentally being married has nothing to do with love. Most people marry for so many other reasons. This is written by some bitter wife badly burned!

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