By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when you are a wife and your husband is having an affair, all you can think about is whether or not he is going to choose you and your marriage. This can be true even if you are unsure if you want the same thing.
However, once he does chose you, that’s when you can begin to wonder what is happening with her. Quite understandably, many wives initially don’t really care what she is feeling as long as she is doing it outside of every one else’s life and marriage. But there is often a good deal of curiousity about what is going on with her.
A wife might say: “when I first found out about my husband’s affair, I had a very strong, and a very scary, reaction. I kiced him out of our home and I told him that I never wanted to see his face again. Of course, he went right to the other woman’s place. And because I would not talk to him, he stayed with her for a while. One day, he came by my work and begged me to have lunch. I promised ten minutes of coffee. He looked awful and seemed so broken. A few weeks later, he asked me for coffee again. We had plenty of coffees before I would agree to lunch. I was very wary of him. But gradually, we have made progress. My husband wants to save our marriage. I told him I can’t give him any guarantees. He told me that even so, he is going to break it off with the other woman. He said that even without any promises, he wanted to give our marriage the best chance possible. He is living with his sister. And he is going to counseling on his own. The other woman actually left a letter in my mail box. I tore it up and I never looked at it. I didn’t think much about her in the beginning. But now I find myself wondering what she is thinking and feeling. I wonder how it feels to have a married man come stay with you after his wife kicks him out and then watch as leaves because he is willing to live with his sister just to have a small chance at getting his wife back. How must this make her feel. How does the other woman really feel when the husband chooses his wife?”
Well, if there is one thing that I have learned from writing these articles, it is that there is no one personality or reaction of the other woman, just as there is no set personality or reaction of the wife. There are many common feelings or reactions though. And I will list some of them below.
Relief: Believe it or not, it could have been emotionally taxing for the other woman when the husband came to her home. Considering that he was very obviously pining for his wife, it’s likely he wasn’t his charming and loving best while at her home. So she may have suspected that he wasn’t happy or was struggling with the loss of his marriage. Because of that, when he left her house and went to his sister’s for a chance at his marriage, this may just have been an extention of what she already knew. And it might be a relief not to have to live with the drama and suspense anymore.
Plus many “other women” feel a lot of tension from the suspense of wondering how this is all going to play out. When the wife doesn’t know, the other woman can spend a lot of time wondering what the outcome is going to be and running possible scenarios through her mind. But when she finally knows for sure, this can release some of the tension. And to her surprise, she might feel like she can finally breathe again.
Anger And Feeling Used: Sure, she may have known that she was with a married man and he may have even have made it clear that he had no intentions of leaving his wife. But, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t hope that one day things would be different. If she didn’t, it isn’t likely that she would not have opened her home and her heart to him.
So while she may have always known that this day might come, when it does, it can hurt. It can make her feel like he was only using her all along – as if all he wanted was the release and the ego boost. And now, while the husband may well end up with his wife and will one day carry on as if nothing ever happened, she is left picking up the pieces. Now, she has no one. She is the one left behind.
Understandably, this can leave her feeling very angry and taken advantage of. There can be a good deal of resentment. I’ve had other women tell me things like: “those two deserve each other. I hope that they make each other miserable for years and years.” Of course, it makes her feel better to think this way. It hurts more to know that it is possible that the married couple will go to counseling, get it together, have a stronger marriage, and be blissfully happy once they recover while she is left with the anger, the bitterness, and the hurt.
Indifference: Of course, they are some “other women” who just shrug this off. Some of them have had more than one affair and they have been through this before. They know that someone else will come along in due time and they figure that you win some and you lose some.
But no matter what the other woman is feeling, this shouldn’t matter to a wife more than what she herself is feeling. What really matters is your bottom line – your feelings, your family, your recovery. Let her go. Wish her ill or wish her well. But wish whatever and then turn your attention away from her. The more you think of her, the more you ruminate. And the more you ruminate, the more this delays your healing. The best scenario here is that everyone is able to move on with their lives.
Like every normal wife dealing with this, I did worry and wonder about the other woman from time to time. But I knew that this was a dead end road. And I wanted to take a road that actually lead me somewhere that I wanted to go. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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