Here’s another look at the people involved – this time, it’s the “other woman” – in response to my call for stories of being betrayed by a cheating partner (August 2):
Reader – “I’m the “other woman” and am with the “other man” seven years later. I expect I’ll always be despised, judged, virtually friendless. He was able to discard the “other man” stigma quickly.
“I’m an educated professional who had a perfect life of husband, children, beautiful house, cottage, until I fell for the other man.
“How? I believed the lies and felt sorry for him. He told me about sleeping on the couch, how his marriage wasn’t really a marriage, how his wife didn’t love him, and more.
“He admits now that it was mostly lies to get what he wanted (me). And I believed that someone who was such a decent well-liked guy, who also had a (seemingly) perfect life, wouldn’t pursue another woman if the marriage wasn’t over (though not legally).
“That was where I was myself. In my heart, my marriage felt over. I no longer loved my spouse. His emotional abuse and putdowns had finally knocked out any of the feelings I ever had for him. I was very lonely.
“So, when the other man started texting, flirting, paying attention to me, wanting to meet for coffee and drinks, I felt less lonely, I felt valued. And then I felt loved and I was in love. It felt impossible to walk away from him and still does.
“I’m not a heartless person. That was my downfall (empathy) and it’s ruined my life, my ex’s life (he jumped into a worse marriage than we ever had), the other man’s life, his ex’s life (who’s bitter, hanging on and obsessed with making my life miserable), and all of the children involved.
“I’ve stood by him throughout partly because I don’t know how to fix my life. And because I still love him despite his faults (honesty isn’t his forte).
“He’s a loyal friend who’s been there for me on my darkest day. I could’ve/should’ve been stronger and said, Not until you leave her.
“I believe he cheated because he didn’t have a strong connected relationship with his wife. He could do nothing right, faced constant putdowns, could never be good enough.
“The reason he cheated and left has more to do with the relationship he escaped than the one he’s in now. Ultimately, it’s the two people in the marriage who either make it or break it.
“I never thought I’d be the other woman, or would ever get divorced. But here I am.”
Ellie – It’s a perspective that’s been commonly shared by “the other woman” of a cheating husband, and often involves these same factors:
1) a woman in a seemingly-perfect marriage who buries her true feelings of unhappiness; 2) a married man who feels that his wife’s constantly critical and devaluing him; 3) a meeting point when two people married to others, feel a compelling attraction which they believe they can’t resist.
However, this story is different from those of “the other woman” who’s a true predator who finds someone else’s husband – particularly a successful one – as fair prey for that woman’s social and financial advancement.
See Tomorrow’s column: A final view, for now, of cheating and what often happens in the home when a cheater focuses on his/her affair, to the neglect of a spouse and their children.
My brother’s a widower, 45, single-parenting two children, 11 and 9. He stopped working to spend his wife’s last months together. He sold his company then and unexpectedly became wealthy.
I’m worried about his having become an overbearing father who’s fitness-obsessed.
He has a daily personal trainer, attends cross-fit and boxing sessions at a gym, swims four times weekly.
His constant involvement with his kids is also sports/fitness-based. He’s not dated these past three years.
How do I help him get back to normal life for him and his kids?
Grief finds its own “normal” for each person, until they heal. Perhaps his becoming wealthy has added heavy guilt to the loss of his wife.
Stay connected, don’t criticize his behaviour, but help him understand that the children need “down” time to absorb their loss too, not just activity that keeps them from their feelings.
Grief counselling would benefit them all, when he’s ready to accept it.
Tip of the day:
If ready to cheat and risk all, first consider changing your own part in restless unhappiness.