I Feel Like The Other Woman Has Won Because My Husband Continues To See Her

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from women who almost feel as if they are in a competition with the woman with whom their husband has been cheating. Sometimes, the husband has promised to end things, but it later becomes obvious that he can’t, won’t, or hasn’t. Other times, he is honest about the fact that he doesn’t want to let her go. The wife can feel as if the other woman has “one upped” her so to speak and this can make a very difficult situation that much worse.

Common comments are things like: “I know it’s stupid and I know that it isn’t healthy, but I can’t help but compare myself to the other woman. I can’t help but keep tabs on her. When I first found out that my husband was cheating with her, I emailed her and I said things that were not all nice. But I felt that she deserved them. Well, she responded by telling me that she could have my husband if she wanted him. She told me that he wasn’t in love with me and that he was only staying with me out of sense of obligation. But then she told me to ‘watch and see’ how he couldn’t stay away from her. This made me furious. I called her all sorts of unpleasant things and said that she was liar. Well, imagine how disappointed and hurt that I am to find texts of my husband’s phone indicating that he’s still in touch with her. He is still pursuing her. I am heartbroken. Of course, I am disappointed about my marriage. But I feel like she has won. I feel like she has beaten me. If she wants him, she gets to just take my husband away. I know that this is very immature and it is not good for me to think this way. But I can’t seem to stop. How do I stop this cycle and stop thinking that she won?”

This is a very common concern. Some people just can not understand why the wife would fixate on the other woman when she has so many other things to worry about. But if you have been there, you know why. You see her that is the thing which is in the way of your happiness. You see her as a reminder of your insecurities and flaws. She is almost like an open wound that you can not stop picking at.

She Hasn’t Won.  You Win When You Turn Away From Her: Can you tell that I understand this? I do. Because I have been there. But because I have been there, I know something else. Following her and keeping tabs on her and thinking about her are a road to nowhere. It will only delay your healing. It will only make you feel worse about yourself and about your situation. When healing and recovering is already so difficult, why give her this kind of power over you, especially when she has done absolutely nothing to deserve it?

Let’s break this down for a second. What has she won, really? Some other woman’s husband simply because she is a novelty? What happens when the newness wears off and he is no longer as interested? She likely won’t feel so celebratory then. And frankly, you have to wonder about a woman who seems to enjoy someone else’s pain. This shows an almost desperate need for attention and control.

I understand that you might feel as if she has won for now, but if you look at it very literally, her prize is certainly nothing to write home about. She has left destruction and lies in her wake. I doubt it’s easy for her to look in the mirror or sleep at night, despite the persona she tries so hard to portray. At the end of the day, she only has a phantom relationship built upon lies and fantasy. I don’t call that winning.  I call that being on a collision course with an unhealthy path that is moving away from integrity and grace.  That’s not winning, at least in my book.

Do you know how you’re going to feel that you won again? It’s not necessarily taking your husband back from her? It’s not feeling as if you’ve forced your husband to stop contacting her. It’s knowing that you are moving on from her and from this entire situation. It’s knowing that you are focusing on yourself and your own healing and not focusing one more moment on her and her unhealthy threats. Frankly, it will probably annoy her much more when you ignore her than when you engage with her.

Most wives know that all of this is true, but they have a hard time leaving it alone. They feel as if they need to keep tabs. I do understand this, but your main concern must be yourself. If the situation has become this unhealthy, sometimes the best that you can do is to back away for a while. This gives the husband time to realize his huge mistake. And once he does, you can then evaluate if you want to give him a chance to make this up to you. But for now, it doesn’t seem as if that is even on the horizon. You can never go wrong focusing on yourself, especially when the alternative is focusing on her. If you back away and refuse to engage, she’s only left with her own drama and dysfunction. And I’d suspect it’s not nearly as thrilling without an audience.

I promise that focusing on yourself instead of her is the much better option right now.  It took me too long to realize that, at least in the beginning of my recovery,  the only person on which I needed to focus was myself.  Once I did this, things improved on many levels. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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