Can The Other Woman Make The Husband Hate His Wife?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who feel sure that the other woman has “poisoned” her husband’s mind and turned his thoughts and feelings against her. In fact, some wives feel that this strategy of the other woman’s has been so successful that the husband now hates his wife – all because of her.

A typical comment in this situation would be something like: “my husband met the other woman at work. She has the same career position as him. I could tell that he respected how smart she was and that he respected her opinion. I never thought that he would cross the line though. When I first met her, she would make snide little comments about my choosing to stay home with my kids instead of having a career. She’d say things like: ‘wow. It must be really nice to be able to just watch TV with your kids all day while the rest of us toil away at our jobs.’ I figured that she was resentful that she didn’t have a spouse who would allow her to take on this role. So I ignored it. One day, I was meeting my husband at his office and I overheard her saying: ‘I’m not sure how you stand it. I don’t think that I could support another human being while they sat on their bottom all day at home. And I’m not sure that I could respect myself if I did that. I would get so annoyed knowing that I’m dealing with angry clients all day while she’s at home watching talk shows. And frankly, she should forego the talk shows and hit the gym. I’m not sure how you can be romantic with someone that big. I saw your wedding picture. She’s put on a lot of weight since then.’ My husband didn’t really respond at that time. But now that the affair is out in the open, he has become very critical of me. He says the same thing this woman says – that I stay home, do nothing, and put on weight so that I’m unattractive. It’s like he hates me now. Honestly, I think that the other woman has completely changed the way that my own husband thinks of me. But when I told my sister about this, she says that someone else can’t change your spouse’s feelings for you. She said he must have had hatred there all along. Is this true?”

I can’t answer this from the perspective of a cheating man. And my opinion is definitely biased because I have dealt with this also. But I do think that the other woman can most certainly influence your husband’s thinking. When my own husband had an affair, it came out later that he felt pressured to be the breadwinner in our home and to take a very high pressure job that he had never aspired to in the first place. This might have contributed to why he felt some sense of freedom with the other woman (who had a menial job and somewhat low expectations.) But, my husband remembered things very differently from the way that I did. In actuality, I begged him not to take the high pressure job. I said that I would rather have lived on less but had more family time. He didn’t remember it that way, of course. The other woman represented a lack of responsibility.

In truth, this couple could have decided TOGETHER that the wife would stay at home for the sake of her children. Anyone who has stayed home with children knows that it is a sacrifice. It is not something that you do to get out of working or because you want to be lazy. The husband likely knew this, but he was not thinking clearly because he was trying to find ways to justify his behavior whether he realized it or not. And one way to do this was to see his wife as someone who didn’t deserve his loyalty and fidelity, even though this was clearly not true.

So how do you handle this? First of all, sometimes you just have to accept that it may take a while before he comes back to reality. As his fascination with the other woman decreases, his sense of reality should increase. In the meantime, I wouldn’t engage with him or allow this to make you fight and only make things worse. I would try to calmly respond with something like: “I really hope that you don’t mean what you are saying because not only is it incredibly insensitive and cruel, but it is just not true. You know that we both decided that I would stay home. I miss working sometimes. I’m not just sitting on my rear. I’m parenting our children. I’m putting their needs above my own. Can you say the same? I am hoping that once you are thinking normally again, you will realize just how wrong you are and will apologize. Until then, I don’t want to hear any more about this. We certainly have bigger problems than our careers. You’ve been unfaithful to me. And you’re allowing someone who you have only known for a few months to cloud your thinking about me, who you have known and been committed to for years. It doesn’t make a lot of sense and it shows just where your priorities are. Whatever problems we have, you can make your own judgements without needing to borrow hers. If you have legitimate concerns about our marriage, I will listen to them. But what you are giving me right now are not legitimate concerns.  You are questioning my character, which is ridiculous. You know me better than this.”

I can’t promise that he will immediately apologize. But it might me him think. And frankly, this is just my opinion, but I doubt very much that he hates you. It’s likely that he really hates his own behavior and so he is trying desperately to justify it. And one easy and quick way to do that is to make you out to be horribly flawed so that he might not be so horrible for betraying you. After all, if he saw you as the woman who was selflessly sacrificing for the sake of his children, he might have a much harder time looking in the mirror and continuing on with his behavior.

I know that this isn’t easy.  But don’t let her opinions of your cloud your opinions about yourself.  You know who you are.  Hold your head high and realize that, five years from now, she will not matter to you and to your outcome.  If you’d like to read more about how I handled this, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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