What I Learned from My Ex-husbands 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.