Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest Post: Facing the OW on Facebook

by Tabatha

I've had a long-standing issue with Facebook's Friend Suggester. It has outed me to people I had tried to discreetly unfriend; drawn the attention of people I'd rather not give access to my profile; resulted in a couple of stalkers: and now...?

Now it wants me to be friends with my husband's OW. Because we have six friends in common.

Please try to imagine the anxiety, anger, stress, despair, and disgust that accompanies opening my home page because I just MIGHT have to see her obscene smiling face.  My fight-or-flight response is so easily triggered, and at six months pregnant, I'm not sure that's a great place to be in.

Yes, I know I can block her – and my husband (or rather, I on my husband's profile) has blocked her. But this girl, this 24-year-old with three children by three different fathers, thinks she can talk about my husband's and my relationship to mutual acquaintances. On the internet. And my masochistic curiosity is too much for me to ignore. I like to know what she thinks she knows about us, about how she became a part of our marriage, about why we're trying to work it out and why he hasn't spoken to her in months. I like to know the lies straight from her mouth, instead of second-hand via someone's Wall.

But there's also a whole other side to why I won't block her, other than wanting her to see we have friends in common, letting her see my face in my picture, smiling with my husband, enjoying our children together – something she is no longer a party to.  Her third child, a boy, is in her profile picture, concieved while she and my husband were at least emotionally involved, possibly physically, and at the time our first child, our son, was born.  My husband denies that her child could be his; however, he previously denied they were involved, that it was physical, and how long it went on, so I don't really let his denial bear any weight.

No, I find myself staring at the picture sometimes, blown up in Photoshop where I don't have to see her blurry face – but the face of her son.  And I look for traces of my son in his infancy in that baby's face, because at this point I can't bear to be blindsided one more time by one more catastrophe. If she's going to come knocking on our door, claiming my husband is her third baby daddy, I want to be ready for it. I want to see it coming. And if it ends up that she wants child support and the courts can prove that her baby is indeed my husband's, I want to be ready for that fight.

Because I will fight for custody of that child. Because any child of my husband's is a child of mine, and if she wants him, and by proxy us, to be responsible for that child, then we will be, one thousand percent.

I would rather have people look at me like I'm crazy for having three children without a month's span of time between births and pregnancies than have to deal with her for the rest of our lives.

So I stare at his picture, wonder what he's like, if he truly bears resemblance to my husband or if I'm just imagining something not there, looking so hard I hallucinate, pain shopping because it's been so long since my life wasn't unbearably painful that I'm not sure where to go from here. Because, in the end, he could be my son.

And that keeps me from blocking her, because I don't want to miss the signs – or the opportunity – to know what lies ahead of me and my family on our road to healing.


  1. wow, that has got to be hard! I admire your strength and your courage!
    I would chalk it up to the kid isnt your husbands. I believe this goof would already be knocking on your door trying to get your man!
    What I would do is, close all your facebook accounts and leave her in the dark.
    I understand from other ow, that the "not knowing" hurts more. When they cant see into your relationship and are totally shut out, it kills them inside!!! They want to know badly!
    There is no need for you to show her anything about your life now, she didnt matter to your husband during this affair, and even less now!

    Close the accounts...leave her where she belongs, outside of your life, not being able to look in!!!

  2. Oh my dear...Facebook has it's advantages. I found out who she was and through Facebook, was able to put a face with the name. Then, through Facebook, I was able to vent and warn others about this "town bike". Facebook help me get the OW out of my life and when I was finally ready, I deleted all the post and released her, not my husband mind you, he's still on the hook for torturing me with the nasty, disgusting piece but her I was able to cut lose.

  3. I too found the OW through facebook, put a face to her, trawled through her photos, even the ones of her on holiday in India, with just her bikini bottoms on laid on a beach.
    She is 10 years older than me, with a body that has gone south, and boobs that look like cat flaps.
    Even when dressed she looked old. It made me feel better, I messaged her and told her who I was, that I thought she was disgusting for what she put me and my kids through, that she nearly ruined my marriage, but in the end, she wasn't important enough in his life to leave me for, and she was just some sad sorry old hag who had been played.
    After that I blocked her, so she could not find me on facebook, I felt better for venting, and seeing her, not some woman from my vivid imagination.
    I have moved on, my husband is devastated still at the damage he did, at the upset he caused, the weight I lost.
    He is trying hard, being loving and attentive, but it's going to be a long time before he ever wins my trust.

  4. I am new to all of this, having just found out about month ago. But I knew the married other woman and was shocked to realize that through Facebook, she could see so much of our lives. She was never my friend in any way including Facebook - duh. But I blocked her from seeing me or my husband at least on Facebook. The thought of her seeing my boys and hearing about their adventures and growth. Yuck.

  5. Tabitha, reading this I felt almost as though you wee writing about me. :( My husband also may have fathered a child. He too has her blocked on fb, but I can't do it. 5 mths from Dday and 2 mths after the birth of this baby, I find myself obsessing over her profile pictures of him....since that's all I can see, which drives me even more nutty. Some look like him, some don't. Some look like my son, some don't. And I've wondered too if I'm hallucinating. There are rumored to be two other alleged fathers after all. She claims it's his though she hasn't come after him legally.....yet. Even so, my husband is very insistent that he will never have anything to do with this baby regardless of anything that comes proven. I think it's destroying me further and ultimately keeping me from being able to begin the healing process because I feel the need to know if it's his or not, but he won't take the step to find out. He says he doesn't want to "poke a quiet hornets nest". So I continue to obsess. It's heartbreaking and I sometimes wish that even though fb is my main form of contact for many of my friends and family, being we live so far away, that I had the nerve to delete my profile and put myself out of this misery. But as long as this child might be his, there's no way I could do it.

    1. Emily,

      I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It's tough enough dealing with infidelity but wondering if your husband is the father of a child makes an awful situation worse.
      There's an expression around her, though... "pain shopping". It refers to the tendency that so many of us have to exacerbate our own pain by dwelling on the Other Woman, talking about the affair long beyond the point of catharsis, and so on. It's hard to define...but most of us know on some level when we're doing it.
      And I wonder if that's what you're doing to yourself. I think your husband, in this case, is wise to not "poke the hornet's nest". If he's the father...and if she wants any support from him, then she'll let you know. Until then, it's really not your problem. Your problem is dealing with the pain of the infidelity and, if you're staying with your husband, moving your marriage forward into healthier territory.
      I can imagine your need for closure. But I suspect you won't get it through Facebook. For one thing, babies look a lot alike. For another, even my own kids (they're mine! I have to stretch marks to prove it!) don't look at all like me. And even if you do deduce that the child is your husband's, if the OW doesn't plan to make a point of it, what is to be gained by you knowing?
      My advice is to focus on your own child/children and on your own healing to be the most emotionally present mom you can.
      Un-friend this woman immediately. It'll be hard, like any habit, to give up. But you really must give it up for your own well-being. And your family's.

      Good luck,

  6. Elle, thank you so much for your words. I came across this log a couple days ago and have literally spent it reading everything. I'm not friends with her on fb, never have been. Which is why I can only see her profile pic. I, in turn, have my own profile on tight lockdown to keep her out. She was a co-worker of his. She pined after him for 2 years until he finally broke. He used her for sex and money....the snowblower in my garage he "won from a company drawing" was a birthday present from her. The Xbox my kids play with was a gift from her. Need I go on? Oye. She was in love with him, he despised her, but because he was a workaholic, I was truly suffering from emotional neglect at home.....I'm sure you can put the rest together. Not only that, but I run a home-based MLM business. He got her involved. My business is about helping people better their health and finances....helping people better their lives. And this is what was going on behind my back. All the while I was trying to help her build her business and getting nowhere with her because she wouldn't respond....duh.....she was attempting to steal my husband, my children's father.

    The biggest heartbreaker of all, and this is why I can't stop obsessing about that baby, is that my youngest was a very traumatic birth and in the middle of it all I chose to get my tubes tied. I regretted it by the next day and have had to come to terms with the fact that we wouldn't have any more babies over the last 5 years. Just when I had finally come to terms with it I learn that someone else is naming him as the father of her unborn baby. I don't want this kid coming after us down the road, I don't want my kids to be confronted by him when they are older. I want this to all go away. If its NOT his, we can move forward. Until then I feel very stuck.

    I've been seeing a very good therapist bi-weekly and we've been seeing her together on the opposite weeks. She recently diagnosed me with Acute Adjustment Disorder. Seems to run along the same lines as PTSD. The anxiety and depression I've been sentenced with over this have been absolutely destructive.

    I'm so happy to have found this blog, although there Re some posts I can't get through yet without bawling my eyes out, I hope to eventually be able to take all your great advise here. Look for more comments from me, if nothing else, finally having someone who truly understands is priceless. I really haven't been able to talk to anyone. :)

    1. Oh Emily, you've certainly been through hell. (Though, on the upside, you have a new snowblower and XBox! Kidding. I tend to use humor a lot!)
      I appreciate the irony of your business...all while your husband and this woman are involved. In my case, I was working on a fundraiser to help African children orphaned by AIDS, as well as my work on environmental issues...all while my husband was, ahem, busy.
      I can't imagine the pain of dealing with an inability to have more children...and then wondering if your husband is the father of her child.
      I think it's important, however, to suss out what you can't control (whether the child is, in fact, his) and what you can (your thoughts around whether the child is or is not his). I'm sure your therapist is helping with this. It can seem impossible to control our thoughts when we're beaten down by so much emotional pain. But it seems the only way out.
      It might sound trite but have you considered simple "thought-stop" methods? Like an elastic band around your wrist that you give a good "snap" when you find your mind going down that dark path? I used to picture a big STOP sign when my mind would drift to thought of my husband and her having sex. It actually worked, which kinda surprised me. It seemed too simple. Took some time, but still.
      I, too, am glad you found this blog. I created it with the idea of a community of support to help each other heal. I felt unbearably lonely in the wake of D-Day. I had few people to talk to (and hated to think they were sick of hearing me), feared people's judgement. What's more, unless you've gone through this, you really can't imagine how it feels. Makes me feel less crazy when I commiserate with others who've been where I've been.
      So yes, please do comment as often as you want/need. Every voice brings something new to the conversation and might help others who read your thoughts.
      This will get better – it really will. But certainly your heart and soul have been through the wringer.


    2. Thank you! I need to try he rubber band. That's the other thing I REALLY struggle with....the mind movies. I have always had an overactive imagination. And of course, it took "pain shopping" to find out I was a victim of the "trickle truth". He confessed, but he confessed to a one night stand....I uncovered a 6 mth affair and gifts. I was just reading your post about pain shopping. I still can't stop, I hate it. But I keep getting blindsided with more and more hits and at this point my walls are up so insanely high, its like I want to see it coming before I get hit again. I want to be prepared. Kind of like with the baby, I want to decide myself if I think it's his or not before I'm blindsided with a positive DNA test. A negative one would be a huge blessing....there are, after all, two other men they worked with that she is rumored to have been with around the same time.

      I'm going to be in therapy for a really really long time...I have a feeling. :/

    3. It sounds like a big part of the issue for you is the fear that there's still worse to come. I remember that fear well and it's all-encompassing. I think you need to trust that you know everything you need to know -- and YOU get to decide what that is. Your husband needs to answer all your questions, no matter how uncomfortable it makes him, no matter how much he thinks you don't need to know.
      And then you need to get clear on what you really do need to know. At a certain point, hopefully you'll recognize that you are just "pain shopping" and that nothing he's telling you is actually helping. But until that point, it's crucial for you to feel as if there are no more secrets. NOTHING that will blindside you later. And he needs to understand that this is the only way you can move forward and feel safe. Post-betrayal is post-trauma. And making your world feel safe again is a necessary part of that.
      If it turns out the baby is his and, at some point, the woman comes after him for support/whatever...if you already feel as if you've rebuilt your marriage and your own sense of self, you're more likely to feel that this is something you can handle. I'm convinced that secrets are toxic to relationships. The more open you can both be about everything, the less power the situation will hold over you.
      Does that make sense?




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