What If The Other Woman Just Can’t Move On?

By: Katie Lersch: It’s my opinion that the best case scenario after an affair is for the two people in the relationship to go their separate ways. If it is the husband who cheated, then I believe that it’s best to cut off all contact with the other woman so that no person has any idea how the other is faring. This isn’t always what happens though. Sometimes, the other person in the affair has a hard time letting go. And this makes it difficult for every one involved. And, it’s not always the husband who keeps tabs on the other woman. Sometimes it is the wife.

I might hear from a faithful wife who says: “I know that it is mostly a mistake to begin a relationship with the woman who cheated with your husband. This was never my intention to be honest. Initially, I just wanted to talk to her to get closure. But she wasn’t the ogre that I thought she would be. She had real feelings for my husband. And she actually is a nice person who is going through a hard time. The problem is that it appears that she can not let go. I know that it’s weird, but she confides in me. She says that she pulls out photos of my husband and that she has memories. She says that she knows she needs to turn the corner, but she can not. She says that she doesn’t even want to end her relationship with me, as silly as this might sound. I know that this isn’t the ideal thing, but I feel like I want to help her move on, but how can I do this when I have my own problems?”

In contrast, you might hear a husband say: “when I broke things off with the other woman, I was as clear as I could possibly be. I told her that I didn’t want any contact as I needed to make my wife my priority. She can not seem to accept this. She says she knows that the affair is wrong but that she just can not turn away from me. She will send me texts and say that she knows that I’m not going to write back, but she just needed for me to know that she is thinking about me. She sends me emails to tell me how much she misses me. I feel badly about this, but my wife said no contact. How do I make her let go?”

My answer to both husband and wife in this situation would be the same. You can’t “make” her do anything, especially when it comes to her emotions, over which she doesn’t have control. She will likely let go once she has worked through the issues and once enough time has passed. It is the same for anyone who has been deeply involved in a relationship that ends. Sometimes, it is difficult. Sometimes, we are slow to let go. But eventually, we do because we must move on with our lives. Or, we meet someone else. Or we get tired of feeling so badly all of the time.

Most of us move on at our own pace and when we are ready. You can not hurry this process for the other woman, but that does not mean that you have to be involved in it. Frankly, the longer you encourage any relationship, the harder it is going to be to let go.

The wife could try a conversation with the other woman like: “you know that you aren’t at all what I expected. I truly do wish you well and I’m very sorry that this happened to all of us. But I need to focus on my marriage. And I can’t fully do that while we are still in contact. You need to place your focus on yourself and start moving away from this relationship. You can’t fully do that while we are still in touch. I wish you well but I can’t continue on this way.”

Hopefully, this will make it clear to her and she will do exactly as you have asked. If she doesn’t, you may need to block her from your email and phone until it’s very clear to her.

I know that this is a hard situation. And I know that it’s painful for all parties.  Of course you don’t wish for anyone to feel pain.  But you have to focus on yourself also.  And, her moving on is not something that you should worry about more than you worry about your own issues. You have enough on your plate right now and your focus should be on your own life.

I would suspect that in time, every one will move on. But the process is cleaner and quicker if both parties cease the contact. Yes, this means that you won’t know if she has moved on or not. But that really is how it should be. Keeping in contact just makes it more difficult on every one involved.

And quite frankly, from all of the correspondence that I get, I’ve never had an “other woman” tell me that years after the fact, she still hasn’t moved on.  Most people pick up the pieces eventually. Most people move on eventually simply because they must. I know that it doesn’t seem this way right now. But focus on yourself and on your own marriage. And let her worry about herself. People are resilient and she will eventually realize there’s nothing in the relationship to keep her there.

It is admirable to care about others.  But in times like these, you have to place the focus on what is most important – and that is you.  Especially when focusing on her may impede your ability to save your marriage.  If it helps, you can read about my own recovery after the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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