How Are You Supposed To React When You See Your Husband’s Mistress?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are either considering confronting the other woman or mistress or suspect that she is going to confront them. Sometimes, the other woman has been calling or sending emails and the wife isn’t sure how she should react if this woman came knocking on her front door. As much as many wives might crave or fantasize about this meeting, it almost never goes as you planned and actually looking at her right in the face can sometimes leave you frozen.

I heard from a wife who said: “the other day I was at our school’s football game buying my daughter a snack when I saw the woman my husband had an affair with. I just recently found out when my husband came clean to me and begged for my forgiveness. I know of this woman because our children go to the same school. I saw her at the concession stand and, because I had no idea how I should react, I pretended that I didn’t see her. But I know she saw me because after I left with my snacks. I looked over my shoulder and she was following me. I just hurried and sat with my husband and then possessively grabbed his arm. But I didn’t even tell him about seeing her. Later, I wondered if I handled this incorrectly. Should I have confronted her? Should I have said something or yelled at her to stop following me? How are you supposed to act when you see the other woman or the mistress? What is the best way to handle this?”

My Opinion On How A Wife Should Act When She Sees The Mistress Or Other Woman: Before I get into this particular situation, I have to clarify that often the correspondence that I get about this can be divided in two categories. Sometimes, the husband is still cheating and the wife sees the woman while the affair is still going on. Other times, the affair has ended and the wife is trying to save her marriage.

I have to concede that it’s probably much harder to remain quiet and passive if the affair is still going on. I know that it’s very tempting to tell her, in not kind terms, that you know exactly who she is and that her relationship with your husband must end immediately or else. I absolutely understand your need to do this. However, I would caution you never to put yourself in a situation that could turn out badly or get out of control. If you must say something, do so very quickly and then remove yourself from the situation. The last thing that you want to do is to get in any type of lengthy or emotional exchange, especially one where she’s letting you know that she is even more determined than ever to hang onto your husband. If you must say something, give a quick statement that you know who she is and that the relationship must stop. Keep walking, don’t engage. Be the bigger person.  And never have any type of exchange in front of your children.

Frankly, sometimes an icy stare delivered with your head held high and followed by a smirk is much more effective than any words you could say because this is going to just cause her to wonder what you know that she doesn’t. And you’re not losing control or being negatively affected by her is going to drive her crazy. But if you lose control and raise your voice and begin to have watery eyes, then she knows she has won, or has at least caused you to lose your cool.

Conversely, if the affair is over, you don’t want her to know that you are still worried about her. Personally, I think that the wife in the above example handled the situation adequately. Walking away is, in my opinion, better than allowing her to get a rise out of you, making a scene in front of your kids, and engaging in an exchange that is beneath you. The wife wondered what she should do when she sees the woman again, as she was bound to happen at various school events. As I said, I think the blank or cold stare followed by a knowing glance or a smirk is pretty effective. If the wife felt that she absolutely had to talk to this woman, it should be a time where it’s not in front of the kids and in front of other families. And, frankly, ignoring her is the better alternative (at least in my opinion and experience) than a nasty confrontation that doesn’t really solve anything.

So if I had to answer the question “how should you react when you see your husband’s mistress” I would say that this would depend on whether or not the affair was over. With that said, losing your tempter or allowing her to get under your skin gives her the upper hand.  It makes her think that you’re upset because she is still a threat and it can actually bring her a lot of satisfaction sometimes, which is the last thing you want.

In fact, if you think about it, the most hurtful thing that you could probably do is to make her feel as if she’s not even a concern for you anymore. You want her to feel like the insignificant and fleeting issue that she will turn out to be. But, if you get all flustered, or upset, or even angry, she will likely know that this isn’t the case. Instead, if you can at all manage it, hold your head high, continue on with whatever you were doing, and give her a powerful glance if you must to let her know that your interaction was no accident. But don’t do something that you will regret or engage when there is truly no reason to do so. Healing after an affair means moving on and the more you engage with or interact with her, the more this delays your progress.

I thought about the other woman way too much after my husband’s affair. And, frankly, it wasn’t until I was able to take my focus off of her that I was able to make progress.  We did eventually save our marriage after his affair, but only after I focused on us rather than her.  If it helps, you can read the whole personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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