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Posted by on Jun 7, 2011 in break up, cheating, communication, divorce, marriage, marriage trouble, sex | 24 comments

What I Learned from My Ex-husband’s Mistress

In another lifetime ago, as many of my readers know, I was married to a man that never stopped dating.   Let’s just say he had more then one affair.  Many of them were one nighters or little flings.  One was a full blown relationship on the side.  When I found out about this relationship, we agreed to get counseling.  I agreed to stay.  He agreed to call it off.  However, it didn’t take long before all signs pointed to the fact that he was still seeing her.  We’ll call her Kelly.

One of the signs that something was going on was the hangup phone calls that kept coming to the house in the evening.  One evening when I was home alone there had been a series of them over a couple of hours and finally I picked up the phone and immediately said, “Kelly, I know it’s you.”  There was a long empty silence and then she replied.

“I am having a really bad day.  I just want to talk to him.”  She was crying.
“Well, then you can talk to me.”  I replied.  “Let’s go get a drink.”

And that’s how I began a conversation that changed the way I saw my life, the other woman, and women in general.   Kelly and I sat in the back of a very dark bar and faced each other woman to woman over the strongest drinks in town.  What we both learned was that neither of us could trust him.   That might seem obvious given the situation but at the time it wasn’t.  We also came to understand we were more alike then different.

Kelly had been told our marriage was over and he was only staying long enough to work through counseling related to how we were going to manage the separation regarding our son.  She had been told our marriage was mostly over long before they met.  We had a mostly “open” relationship.  However, I was still very jealous.  She had been told I was cold, angry, and abusive.  She also believed I knew about the affair all along and knew he intended to move in with her when our separation was complete.   She had also been told I was dangerous and unstable and well worth avoiding at all costs because he didn’t know what I was capable of.

I had been told he didn’t have feelings for her.  He never did.   It “happened on accident” and he was afraid for me and our son because she was stalking him.  I’d been told he’d actually had to tell his boss what happened because she was showing up at his work place and it was getting scary.  I had been told he’d cut off contact and thought about getting a restraining order except he didn’t want to put our family through any humiliation in court getting one.

Truth of the matter was she was showing up at work because she would pick him up there on his lunch break and go to a hotel at least two or three times a week.  I learned that they’d actually been together the day before.  As we sat there together we both realized that he probably wasn’t really working late that evening, and he obviously wasn’t with either of us…

I found out he’d taken her to our home.  He’d introduced her to our three year old son behind my back.  She spent time with him and his friends.  She’d also met some of his family.   She’d even stayed nights at our place while I was out of town visiting my family.  She had every reason to believe she was going to be the next in line for the closet where my cloths were hanging, which she’d looked at and even tried some of them on.  I felt like I’d been violated in the most profound way.

What I learned about Kelly was that she wasn’t the evil horrible person I’d taken comfort in believing she was.  She was a woman, in love with a man, believing his bullshit just like me.   Although on one hand she knew in her gut she was the other woman, it was easy for her to paint that picture as being the “next” woman.   She was devastated by my version of reality and we were both devastated by the shared revelation of his version of reality.  What comes around goes around.   Generally speaking a man who cheats on his wife will cheat on his girl friend.  Like Kelly and I figured out that night he was in fact cheating on both of us, with someone else.

I’d like to report that Kelly cut off all contact with him immediately and that I filed for divorce the next day.  However, neither of those things happened.  She did however quit seeing him very shortly thereafter and was so hurt by their relationship that she started dating women.  Obviously a divorce did happen.  However, in all honesty it wasn’t soon enough.

In my practice I’ve worked with the other woman.  She’s often frail, afraid, and lonely, if not entirely desperate.  My words of wisdom to the “other woman” are always the same, you can’t trust a man who’s still sleeping in a house with his wife.  That’s not trust worthy behavior.  He will break your heart.  Statistics show that is an inevitable eventuality.

I’ve obviously also worked with the broken hearted wife, hating on the vicious other woman and my words of wisdom to her are also always the same.  Take up your issues with your husband.  Focus your anger on the man who’s actually made a life long commitment to you.  Stop making up stories about who you think she is.   You’re probably not right and it’s a waste of time anyway.

That said, I would like to invite women to start being more kind, more respectful, and even more loving to each other.   There’s not a single reason in the world that justifies the hurt it causes to engage in any sort of relationship with a man who is married, despite what he says.  Occasionally the other woman doesn’t know he’s married initially.  However, in the recent political scandal it’s hard to imagine that the women involved didn’t know the Congressman was married when they were tweeting away or having phone sex.  In one of the pictures he tweeted there were family pictures in the background.

There is a lot of focus on the asshole men in these situations.  However, my curiosity always lands on the women.   In Wienergate it appears these women were just play things that didn’t have much attachment to him either.  However, they were women who saw fit to ignore the fact that he was married.  They were women willing to violate another woman’s life and family.  They were women who were careless and thoughtless AND even as I write that I remind myself I don’t really know.  I don’t really know what this man told them about his marriage and his wife.

I guess what I’m saying is simple.  As women let’s be gentle, and careful with each other.  Let’s take the time to check facts, know the deal, go to drinks, and have the hard conversations with one another.  Let’s get real and be loving.  There really is no shortage of men and no man is worth that kind of hurt and humiliation.



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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of How to Escape from Relationship Hell, The Passion Plan, and Body Love Boot Camp. She is also co-founder of Good Vibe Coach Academy, specializing in LOA Coach Training. To get Lisa's FREE Audio, "How to Talk to a Man" click here.



24 Comments

  1. This is a wonderful an honest post. In the past couple years I released my anger at “the other woman”. She was someone who ran in some of my circles and I wasted so much time being angry at her instead of being angry at the person I should have been angry at. And truthfully, if I’d been angry at the right person I would have had to take a better look in the mirror and realize I wasn’t fully loving me. Hating her was easier than admitting I was being treated like dirt.

    A few months ago we were at the same bar and someone who didn’t know we knew each other introduced us. Her first words were, “She doesn’t like me.” I had let go of that anger long before that night, but I had no idea it was bothering her so much. I went on to say I had let that go years ago. For the first time I think we saw each other woman to woman.

  2. FINALLY! A kindred spirit! I have NEVER understood why a man or woman who has been betrayed would focus all of their pain and anger on the third party. Even after I was betrayed myself. It made no sense to hate her and wish her a horrible fate…the “other woman” didn’t make any promises or vows to me; the “other woman” didn’t disrespect and make a fool of me; the “other woman” didn’t willfully and thoughtlessly destroy my family and fundamentally alter my children’s psyches; as a matter of fact, the “other woman” did exactly what I would expect her to do, so why would I give her any more than a passing thought (other than to feel a sad kinship). She was just as blind to his charm as I was.

    Thanks, Lisa, for putting that message out to the masses – it should be something we teach our children (I know I have).

  3. I Hate His/Her Ex is a book for anyone having difficulty coming to terms with their partner’s past relationships – brilliant read! Available on Amazon or most bookstores – Kindle or paperback!

  4. I understand these remarks intellectually but disagree that the Other Woman/Other Man does not contribute to the betrayal. My ex committed many infidelities and finally married a long-term ‘girlfriend’ 6 weeks after our divorce was final. We spoke once after they married and when I said to her, “You know you were not his only one” she replied, “I know.” Her tone revealed a bit of her internal struggle with knowing what he really is – a man who at one point brought her to our home for an encounter when I was caring for a dying parent – and what she wants him to be. She is telling herself a story that the ‘real’ problem was me (and his two other ex-wives) and now that he has settled down with his soul mate, it will all be okay, like an Etta James song. So, understanding the vulnerability of her hope that she is living her dream, I actually feel sorry for her. I know what that feels like and I know how much it hurts when its over. I don’t wish ill will on her at all. At the same time, she cannot say she did not know what he is capable of or about.

  5. I hear you Lizzie. My ex-husband married one of his mistresses. He is now her ex-husband too. She and I have talked since and she’s said over and over, she never believed he’d treat her the way he treated me. I suppose she needed to believe that at the time.

  6. I know there’s always two sides to a story but help me please. I have been in-love with this man for years. I had his son and he had a crush on my best friend back then, but she didn’t pay him any attention, so we started messing around and I got pregnant. I was going through a lot with abusive situations in my home with my own family and already. When I found out I was pregnant 5 months with his son I decided not to tell him, she had finally let him in her life and with all the problems I had I left and decided not to let anyone know.

    Well their relationship lasted 7 years I didn’t know till now, that he was never happy.

    Honestly he was also known to be a player and that is another reason why I thought he wasn’t ready.

    Well my mom decided to tell his family about my son 18 years later and we talked.

    He approached me as a woman not a mom and started telling me how un-happy he was and how she didn’t trust him and how there really wasn’t a connection between them other than the kids and that she always asked him if he was only there for them.

    Well about two months of phone conversations and some convincing in his part since we are both married, now me separated and my husband know everything and his entire family and friends know about us, she’s the only one in the dark and pregnant again I don’t know what to do.

    My husband says he will kill himself and him is I finalize our separation. I had told my husband for years I wanted counseling and I was tired and that there would be a time I walk away and just shut my emotions and be done.

    Well with HIM back in my life without me looking for him this made it easier to say, that there’s a reason why all this happened and it’s meant to ne.

    You see he use to say the woman who has my first child I will marry and take care of always, his wife knew this and told everyone I’m going to do just that and she did. So I can see why there’s problems, but she was young 19yrs old and I’m thinking she loved him.

    The family knows about us because she saw some calls, he got caught and she asked him if I was stalking him. She started telling everyone that his brother wanted us together and even lied and made it up to make me look horrible. You see I think because of her trust issues she has totally blocked my son from getting to know him. She demanded a dna and I asked my son to and he didn’t want to. He looks 100% like him when he was his age. He asked me to do this for her to stop arguing. She was telling everyone horrible things, that i was a liar so on and on. Even though I didn’t tell him. My mother did this without my consent. I was not looking for him un-less my son asked me to.

    Well, here I am now 19 years later, separated sort of, n-love with same man and as his mistress for 11 months now. Please know nothing happened between us until months after my son was tested positive. She tried hidding that fact but forgot his brother and sister in law were friends from the past and they had questions wondered why i left so abruptly and so on, so the truth came out.

    She didn’t want the family to know about son, months went by and his older brother was upset and told the grandparents about him thinking his brother had no guts, but my son now knew about them and he needed to feel welcomed and not care sbout her since she was an adult.

    Well it’s a mess, he says he loves me but could never leave his kids, and I could never make him or ask him too.

    What can i do? It’s not the normal affair.

  7. You’re right, it’s not the normal affair, but it is an affair non-the-less.

    Unfortunately, these things are rarely black and white. However, what we know about affairs, statistically, is that men rarely leave their wives, and even when they do, it’s rarely a happy ending for the mistress.

    I’m so sorry you’ve gone through all this. It’s a lot of years of heart ache. However, at the end of the day we’re all responsible for our own happiness. So, I wish you luck finding yours, with or without this man.

  8. This was a great article. Most people never get a chance to experience something like that. The “other woman” is usually a mystery – or so we think. It’s interesting that you had more in common with her than not. I’m guessing that’s usually the case.

  9. You’re right Analisa. I do think we often have more in common with the other woman than we want to think. Bottom line, we’re all women, looking for love. Sometimes the other woman is aware of what’s really going on. However, I think in most cases, the other woman thinks the man is unhappy in his marriage and will end up happily ever after with her.

    Both women are getting screwed.

  10. To be ex-husband and I are in middle of divorce. On and off again affairs throughout our 10 year marriage. He announced he has found a rich woman (he doesn’t necessarily love her – wants her money) and he’s divorcing me to pursue her wealth.

    After a month of grieving, friends have convinced me to let him go. So her is what SHE will get (he’s already moved in with her) – per divorce decree HE gets …. 18k IRS tax bill that’s fully in his name (I never filed jointly for legal reasons). 15k Cadillac bill he was stupid enough to buy a month ago to impress HER. 11k SUV bill for MY auto. 2k walmart bill (my card but used for his personal purposes) – $700 home depot bill. $500 HIS credit card bill.

    In total – He takes on 52k in DEBT!!! (Yes – $52,000).

    And – our house is in foreclosure with refi denied. And you can also have the SECOND woman he sees on top of you when you are out of town on business.

    I’m slowly beginning to smile. As the other woman – you deserve EVERYTHING you get. No pity! As the stbx – I intend to have the last laugh.

    Oh – and Ill be out of debt in 10 month. My total debt from all this – 5k. He’s ALL YOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But then, I’m sure you discussed ALL of this when you were having your “affair.”

  11. You are weak and pathetic. Am I supposed to be impressed by your so called enlightenment? “Kelly” IS a slut. I don’t have any sympathy for women who have such little respect for themselves that they stay with a cheating husband/ boyfriend. You’re husband cheated on you because you let him. Get some self confidence.

  12. Gia, I love that you come from a place of such confidence and “strength”. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Thanks for sharing Lisa. My sister is going through an affair in her marriage. I am going to forward this article to her. I appreciate your honesty.

  14. I do think it’s interesting how many times we vilify the other woman and excuse the man all together. Love really can be blind. I suppose a woman in that situation needs to remember, that’s not what love really is.

  15. I love this post! Thanks for being so honest about your story. I can’t say I’m going through the exact same thing, but it’s similar. It’s so nice to hear someone talk about it who survived it all.

  16. My husband had an 9 month affair that ended in August. I found out about it in October. Let’s not be to understanding to the other woman. This woman new he was married and that he love his wife and was not going to leave me. She was on a mission to get him to leave for her. Always dressing Hooker style, being needy and acting like swallowing was he favorite thing to do! But like most Mistress’s they start to complain that they are kept hidden and start to push and he ended it. I ran into her at a restaurant and thank her for helping with getting me that nice anniversary ring last month. Also letting her know that there was no lack of sex at home. She processed to call my husband three times that night demanding an apology first thing the next day for me being rude to her in front of her friends. After the last call at 1:30a.m. I knew she was laying in bed alone and you bet I was happy to let her know how it felt when my husband did not come home. Then she call my husband at work and I have to say he really showed his love for me. He told her that I was his wife and I had the right to feel and say what I wanted to her. She still kept asking him if he was happy, very happy and he said yes I am. So please don’t try to act like we are all just sisters here. Some of these Mistress deserve what they get.

  17. Everything you saying makes sense but if this mistress has bothered you for the duration of the affair which was 5years just as long as we’ve been married then I’m sorry to say I’m nt so keen on being all 2 nice with her,she’s made me know that he’s her man and I don’t even want to mention all she’s done but she’s filth in my eyes,she knew about my children,she knew he was not going to leave and now then she got pregnant and now she’s all I don’t want him anymore but my family is ruined,and his got a love child and I cannot deal with it!

  18. I get that, and it sounds like you’re right. She was clearly a bitch. However, I’ve got to ask. I’m wondering where your husbands responsibility in all this is??? He’s the one who made a commitment to you.

  19. If she was bothering you for the duration of your 5 year marriage, does that mean you knew about the affair all along?

  20. Without being cliche – it takes two to tango. Loved where you got in your own level of permission to see that we all make choices and there are consequences of our choices (whether we like them or not). I was fascinated by Gia’s response… maybe she has not YET encountered the situation. I believe the ‘unwritten’ contract that binds two people together is rarely renewed as the years go by and people evolve (for the good and the bad). I really do applaud you for how you were able to see that she (Kelly) wasn’t really the only big problem. It takes courage and self awareness to have the hard conversations with ourselves little alone with “the other woman”. Kudos to you Lisa – you are a woman who runs it!

    Please let me know if you would ever like to be a guest expert contributor to our emag (you have my email address)

  21. Thank you Fiona! I think it is a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but you have to live through to truly understand.

  22. To Gia — are you kidding me? to your comment: “your husband cheated on you because you let him” are you seriously kidding me!? You don’t know what you are talking about. No one deserves to be cheated on. And, no one brings it on themselves. Cheaters make their own decisions.

  23. I agree. It’s really easy to judge from the outside looking in. In fact, I used to do that, until I was on the inside of it and couldn’t see out.

  24. Great article! Unfortunately I have to admit, I’ve been on both sides of this issue. I’ve been the other woman and the woman scorned, and I will say something that will make some people very uncomfortable, and probably angry. Neither one of those places is easier. Yes it’s devastating to have your husband stray. It’s equally devastating to fall in love with a man who will never really be yours.

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