My Mom Says The Other Woman Never Wins. Is This True?

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very normal for a wife to have a lot of questions about the other woman.  In fact, some of us get almost fixated on her, thinking that she has some miraculous and magical qualities that we don’t have.  People can tell us that any woman who would accept a relationship with a married man must have something wrong with her, but we can have our doubts about this.

A wife might explain: “the woman who my husband had an affair with is prettier than me.  I’m not trying to put myself down.  I am just being realistic. She also has a high paying job with my husband’s company.  When I found out about the affair, I expected for my husband to be full of apologies.  He wasn’t. He casually said that he would move out.  He says that he’s not going to move in with the other woman, but that certainly doesn’t mean that he is not going to see more of her now that he has his freedom.  I feel like the other woman has won everything that is important to me.  And now she sits with my husband, a good job and a seemingly charmed life.  My mother says that I am wrong about this.  She says that in the end, the other woman never really wins.  And then she told me something that shocked me.  She said that when she was a young woman, she was actually the other woman. And she says that it has always haunted her – not because the relationship didn’t work out.  But because she knows that she unleashed a lot of pain on an innocent person and this had made her ashamed and affected her whole life. She said that she never thinks about the other man anymore.  But she thinks about the wife and the family that she hurt all of the time. I understand that my mother is telling me the truth as she sees it.  But my mother is a very caring individual.  And there’s no guarantee that the other woman has as much integrity as my mom.   She may be sitting on her high horse and not caring about the pain that she has caused.  Could this be true?  Is my mom right?  Is it true that the other woman never really wins?”

Well, I honestly think that it is a matter of perspective.  I do sometimes hear from the “other woman.” Many of these women do express remorse – especially once the affair is over (and statistically, the chances are good that it will be eventually.)  And many of them have regret and sorrow.  Many of them say they wish that things had been different and that they had met the man before he was married.  Many of them do have the sense that this scenario can not possibly end well.

And frankly, she will always know how she met this man.  She will always know that he betrayed a woman that he was committed to in order to be with her. Therefore, she is always going to be worried that he will do the same to her one day.  And, if she is being honest, she may think less of herself and of the other man because of it.  She may wonder why, of all of the single men in the world, she has to choose the one who is already married.  She has to wonder why she couldn’t walk away when she knew that he was taken.  And this may weigh heavily on her.

I understand why you are concerned about this.  The mental image of her being all smug and superior while you are hurting this way can be more to bear.  But I can tell you that the mental picture that you have in your head isn’t always the truth.  She could just as easily be hurting also.

However, as much as I understand why you have serious concerns about what she is feeling and how she may ultimately end up, I truly do want to stress that your real concern should be with yourself.  As wives struggling with infidelity, we so often worry more about the other woman than about ourselves – and the result of this often is that we don’t recover as soon as we otherwise could have.

I know that it is a challenge, but I’d encourage you to try to turn your attention back to yourself every time you think of her.  Because in the grand scheme of things, how or what she is doing in five years from now won’t affect your life very much.  But how you are doing five years from now means everything.

My preferred strategy with this is to try to trust that the universe is just.  I do believe in karma and I do believe that we reap what we sow.  And if I believe in this, then I must trust that, in the end, she will get what is coming to her without my having to lift a finger or even think about it.  And when I trust in this, then this means that she is no longer my business.  And I don’t mean that in the literal sense.  She inserted herself in my life, which makes her hard to ignore.  But I have a choice. And I can chose to trust that universal laws will take care of what is just so that I don’t waste my energy on this – freeing me up to focus on myself.

I do understand why you need to believe that she will come to regret her actions.  But what is more important is your own actions and how they bring about your healing.  Because her not winning or feeling regret doesn’t really affect your bottom line.  What affects your bottom line is your moving forward.  You delay  your own healing when your concern is about her instead of about you.

I used to play little mind games with myself when it came to the other woman. Every time I thought about her, I’d try to do something nice for myself.  I might remind myself of my good attributes or even just go for a walk.  This way, I diverted my attention away from negative things and I was making progress, even if the steps were small.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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