By: Katie Lersch: There are many common excuses or justifications that a husband will give as to what drew him to the other woman. Some men will actually try to convince their wives that the other woman was nothing special. Some will approach this in the opposite way and try to make their wives understand some of the qualities that the other woman had. A few brave men will go so far as to tell the wife that the other woman reminded him of her or was similar to the wife in some way.
A wife might share something like this: “for the longest time, I begged my husband for information about the other woman. I know it sounds crazy but I wanted to know exactly what he saw in her. At first, he would just say that this had nothing to do with her. He would insist that it was about him. Eventually though, after I asked him very directed questions, a lot of his answers made her sound a bit like me. So one day I told my husband what I was thinking – that this woman sounded like me and my husband finally said: ‘you know, she is a lot like you. Don’t take this the wrong way, but she is like you when you were younger, before you changed.’ I knew what my husband meant. When my mother died, my personality did change. Every one has noticed. Not just my husband. I sank into a depression. I’m normally a bubbly and upbeat person but some days I was very pessimistic and had a hard time getting out of bed. So I know that he means that she was like me before I turned negative. This hurts. But I’m not sure if I buy it. And I’m not sure if this is supposed to make it better. He’s trying to sell me on the fact that he was only attracted to her because she was like me. This almost makes it worse. Because I feel like he can have the old me with her. The one that he loved. The one who is easier to live with. I feel like I’m being punished for going through a rough patch in my live that wasn’t my fault.”
I can certainly understand why you feel this way. This is actually a pretty common situation. Many wives notice similarities between the other woman and themselves. Many wives will say that the other woman looks like or acts like her, only she is younger, thinner and without all of the harsh realities of a life that the younger woman could not possibly have lived. This can make it feel as if you can’t possibly compete.
But there is another way to look at this. I’m not sure if it will make you feel any better but it is true. His attraction to her is influenced by his attraction to you. It could very well indicate that he is still in love with you and that he misses what you used to have.
Think about it. I know if you had your way, you’d want for the affair never to have happened. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. But would it be worse if he cheated with someone who was your direct opposite? Because if he did, it might feel like even more of a rejection. It might make you feel like he’s physically attracted to someone who is not at all like you. If you followed down that path, you might then come to the conclusion that he prefers someone whose body type and personality is completely different. This might actually make you feel more insecure about whether he still finds you attractive.
I know that there’s no way to spin this so that it is a good thing. But if she genuinely reminded him of you, then you at least have the knowledge that his desire for you is in tact. This may not ultimately matter all that much to you. It depends on whether or not you want to save your marriage or where you want to go from here. And her reminding him of you doesn’t mean that he isn’t responsible for his actions or that he is exempt from cheating. He still made the decision to cheat. That still has to be dealt with.
I know that this seems like a big issue. And the circumstances of the affair can absolutely matter because they affect your healing. But at the end of the day, the equation is the same. There was infidelity. And you will eventually need to heal, regardless of what you decide with your marriage.
A big concern is how this affects how you see yourself. His mistake was his alone. Regardless of how she looked or who he reminded her of, you have to remind yourself that she isn’t you. No one is you. Because you are unique and you are perfect as you are. Do you have some work to do as far as your peace of mind? Sure. But don’t allow this to cause you to think that you aren’t enough. You are.
I hope this has helped some. A good therapist can take this even further. But his reasoning for the affair is not nearly as important as your path to healing. The reasons vary, but they lead us all to the same place. We’ve been dealt a blow. But we can recover. You can read more about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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