Thursday, June 10, 2010

When the Other Woman (Sorta) Attacks

Just when I think mankind can't sink any lower, I'm given evidence that it's slipped another notch...or two.

The most recent for me (though it's old news by gossip mag standards) was a letter that Jesse James' alleged second mistress faxed to Sandra Bullock, offering up the usual blend of self-absorption, oblique apology and high-school "can't-we-be-friends-now" offer of resolution.

It's surprisingly common. Way back when I was coping with the breakup of me and my first serious boyfriend (and he was sleeping with my former best friend – FBF), I received a letter from FBF filled with recriminations, blame-shifting and spelling mistakes. I was incredulous. I was the injured party, I sputtered. She (and he) had hurt me!

Well...maybe. But that's only in the grown-up world where people accept responsibility for their actions and choices. Certainly not in the fantasy world of "but-we-couldn't-help-ourselves-we-were-meant-for-each-other" cheating.

BWC Member Erica found out about her husband's affair when the Other Woman sent her an e-mail outlining their relationship and adding that Erica's husband thought his wife was a "bitch". Ouch! And did I mention that Erica was nine months pregnant at the time of this little letter-bomb? I honestly can't hazard a guess why someone would want to hurt another in such a profound way. I imagine it goes back to the truth of "hurt people hurt people".

But while you can't stop some wacked-out OW from contacting you (though if it's consistent, you might want to seek legal advice), you can control your own actions in response to it.

1) For starters, DO NOT ENGAGE. These women (see Exhibit A, letter to Sandra Bullock) are generally attention-hounds. They love the drama. The spotlight. Take it away and watch them wither. They might ramp it up in the short-term...but they'll eventually make a mess elsewhere in their lives that will pull their attention away from you. In the meantime, put the focus back on you and your healing...where it belongs.

2) Don't step on their crazy train. The reason these women are involved with a married man at all is often because their low self-esteem is matched only by their competitive drive to "win". Oh yeah – and they're crazy. Remember Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction? Keep that bunny boiling image in mind any time you're tempted to retaliate, threaten or respond in any way that doesn't sound like: "Please don't contact me again."

 3) If you're trying to put your marriage back together, your husband must also cease and desist re. any contact with the Other Woman. A carefully worded, emotionless "no contact" letter should be sent by registered mail, insisting that the relationship was a mistake for both of them and that there will be no contact from this date forward. No reminiscing. No "last good-byes". Just No Contact from this day forward. Then he needs to honor that, even if the OW doesn't.

As for any invitation from the OW that you become friends? Bonded over mutual heartbreak courtesy of the man you both love? With friends like that, who needs enemies?


  1. Don't trust them, either! The 2 OW had no problem telling me EVERYTHING (along with forwarding his emails and texts and photos) after I contacted them to find out if they'd been with my husband (I am the one that uncovered his cheating, he did not confess to me). They both played the victim (we didn't know, he said he was divorced), but, after acting like we bonded over our betratal by him, they turned around and contacted him telling him I contacted them and told them everything about us. It backfired! I have discovered a third OW in the last couple of days......I just commented on her "status" about her friend connection with him that "he's married". She commented back, saying, he's a bastard, she knew he was a snake, don't tell me, you're his wife? That was all I needed to know. I don't want to read anymore of his emails and texts! And I don't want to know like the first one reported, that they were f**king their brains out. Like my husband said afterwards, they are trying to hurt ME because I was the OW to them............he actually made sense, though I hate to admit it, the dumbass!

  2. Your husband, in his rather back-assward way, is right. These women are threatened by you...and in many cases, want the life that you, at least seem to have. And, as I noted in my post, they get off on drama and attention. Don't give them either. It's hard, I know. But "feeding" the drama only keeps it alive. Starve it and it'll die.
    I'm so sorry you're going through this. What is your husband saying re. all these OW? How many are there? What are you doing for support?
    It can feel like a boxing match. Every time you get up from a sucker punch, you're knocked back down.
    Please find support for yourself and take care of your self. And stay away from the drama-seeking mistresses!

  3. I have been reading this blog....I have purchased and am reading After the Affair and I just went to my first therapist appt. yesterday.......I know of the 3 so far and I'm pretty sure there's at least one more. We separated 2 times in the last 2 years for just a couple of months each time (for other reasons), but this is when this behavior started up. Yes, I am on a very "hilly" rollercoaster right now. Once day I'm ok, and the next a trigger hits me and I'm in agony. We are still together and both have voiced that we want to fix things......but it sure is hard! I found out about the initial affair a month ago and about the 3 OW a few days ago. Yes, I'm going to stop my internet detective work.....the therapist says you know of at least 3. You know he's cheated. There's no point of knowing how many or the details of them. Don't keeping punishing yourself.

    Funny thing, OW #2 messaged me through Facebook the day after I found out about #3 and asked how I was doing and if he had come clean with me. I didn't answer her back!

    Thanks for your wonderful blog! It helps me get through each day!

  4. P.S. I'm amazed at these women for not looking him up to make sure he's legit. In my state we have a wonderful website where you can access the court system and see if people are divorced, have criminal records, etc. And on a second note......I was kind of thinking that part of this behavior is from him having a mid-life crisis (he will be 50 this year), but I would have thought he would have sought out younger women. Instead, all 3 of these women are a year or 2 older than me (I am 47)! I guess he figured women at this age will fall for him a lot easier and believe his lies because they probably feel there's not many men out there wanting someone of their age! Anyway, I did get a little satisfaction out of the 1st longer term OW......he found out like a week or 2 later after finding out that she'd been sleeping around while she was with him! And she was "shopping" around on dating sites.

  5. Good. I'm glad to hear you're taking good care of yourself. Buckle up, cause it is a wild ride...but making sure you have someone (therapist) to keep your head clear is critical.
    And kudos to you for ignoring the OW. I would insist on (if you haven't already) NO CONTACT between your husband and any of the OW. But I think that's something you need to respect to. Stay away from them and refuse all contact.
    Hang in there. And I'm so glad to hear the blog is helping you. It's the blog I wish existed when I had just found out...and, in fact, knowing it's helping other people helps me enormously.

  6. My husbands ow called me out of the blue, after he ended a 2 month fling while we were having marriage problems.
    She was woman who gave him attention when I didnt and he fell for it. She told him she can have sex without committment, yeah right!
    I never knew she existed and we reconcilled. In the mean time, she was harassing him because he ended it.
    She fell in love with him and wasnt going to let him go!
    She called me, told me how "he couldnt get enough of her" and that they had a "great vacation at the beach (one day?? she calls that a vacation???)and how he doesnt love me anymore.

    She told him, she called me because "if she is going to be hurting , so am I!" It took 6 months of ignoring her, before she disappeared.
    The truth is, he did get enough of her! He realized he made as mistake and ended it and has been the perfect husband to me in every single way!
    I have never felt so loved an appreciated by him or any man!
    We are going on 2years and since D day, he has been transparent and repentant and our marriage is beautiful...finally!
    Meanwhile, shes still a 40 something, desperate bar trash, who still cant find a man who wants her except for an occassional bj or sex!

    I know it kills her that we ignored her, because all she wants is attention! This article is sooo true!

    1. Thank u so much for this post. I am 6 months post d day. My husbands ow was a work colleague. They were friends for over a year. She was married with a child but clearly not happy. She was to move out of state in 6 months & also offered him commitment free sex. He figured it was no strings attached because she was married & moving, even though I always told him the women I knew always want a relationship. He was thinking like a man & not a woman. Sure enough after a few months she started pressuring him to leave me & his 2 kids & move with her. Then she said she's getting a divorce. He begged her not to (maybe she didn't realize this was an exit affair for her) but she said she was and started pressuring him even more. He said in the end they fought more than anything else.

      I'm so glad it sounds like ur husband kind of went thru the same thing & is now a model husband, because I feel the same about mine; although sometimes I'm nervous that it's just an act. When I ask him how does he know he won't do it again he says he learned his lesson; there's no such thing as no strings attached, she turned into a witch, he feels she manipulated him (although he says of course what he did was wrong), & what he got himself into was a huge mess & not what he thought it was going to be.

      Maybe there is hope for us like it sounds like has been for u.


  7. when they contact the wife, it only shows a wife how hurt and desperate they really have become!

    Sandra handled this with the utmost class and grace. She is a beautiful woman on the inside and outside.

    As for that faxed letter to her from that trash.... would you expect anything less from these classless females????
    What they dont realize is, THEY ARE THE FOOL ALONG WITH THE CHEATING ASSHOLE! Not ever the wife, who believed in and trusted her husband.

  8. I am trying very hard not to fall into temptation of contacting the three OWs of my husband. I want to for all the wrong reasons and one right reason. The wrong reasons...we all know what they are.. the right one - I have HPV 16 or 18 or both and I am pretty sure that he hasn't told them. There is no way to know if I got it from them or if they get it from me as this virus can hang around for years undetected and then one day it can surface and cause cancer.. So I want to tell them so that they can get their pap tests regularly. Is that reasonable?
    - Janice

  9. Hi Janice,
    I think that's quite reasonable and I'm sure we would all want to know if there were associated health issues that we could address.
    However, beware getting sucked into any drama by these women. I often think that many (sorry for the generalization but hey, if the shoe fits...) OW thrive on drama or they likely wouldn't be involved with a married man. So they can frequently ramp up the incriminations, taunts, whatever. Be brief, stick to the facts and get the hell away. :)

  10. I say dont tell them. Its what they deserve for screwing a married man. Yeah it seems cruel, but did they give a shit about you?
    Do you think they would tell you if the tables were turned/
    Let the whores pay the price of lying and cheating with married men!

  11. I agree with you...NOT our problem any longer. At least WE the wives, can walk away with our dignity. Let them suffer "down there"..It will never compare to our emotional pain. You can't run away from Karma. It will find you!

  12. I found out about the OW via text msg in early morning hours of July 8th. The OW is texting me today and I know is trying to hurt me, but #$%^@...not sure how much more I can take. Any advice? My WH seems to be very remorseful and I think is telling me the truth. She asked him via text msg how much he told me and his reply was "everything". This text was deleted and was recovered he would not have ever known I would see it. I am just sick to my hard to function, work, sleep, eat, take care of our's so all consuming. -Shelli

  13. Shelli,

    I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It's no wonder you're finding it hard to function. You're in crisis. But remember, when you're in hell...keep going.The only way out is through.
    In the meantime, both you and your husband need NO CONTACT with this OW. If he hasn't already done so, he needs to send her a letter that insists that he is committed to you and his family and that she is, under no circumstances, to contact him or you. No tearful good-byes, no "one more meeting", no letting down easy.
    Over, done, NO CONTACT. His responsibility is to protect you from any more pain and if he has to hurt her to do that, then that's the price paid.
    And you need to have no contact yourself. You can't expect her to respect a no contact request if you yourself don't.
    Hang in there. This will get better with time and, given your husband's remorse and (hopefully) truthful disclosure, your marriage can heal. It takes time and lot of reassurance, honesty and examination. But the day will come when this isn't your first thought in the morning, nor your last at night – when it simply becomes part of your history.
    Glad you found us. Feel free to ask questions or simply post your story...we can all learn from each other and support each other.

  14. In my circumstances of life, I am the other woman. I have been involved with a married man for many months and have since left the state and discontinued all contact. I am only in the beginning stages of healing myself- but I am very torn that his wife does not know. I, although already began the process of destroying their family, am truly seeking the forgiveness of this woman. The husband has contacted me multiple times and my answer has always been no. In the clearest most non-vindictive motive ever, I want to write a letter asking this woman for her forgiveness. Any advice?

    1. My response was too long so I've included it as a new post. Go to I've called it Second Letter to the Other Woman.


    2. I'm having a hard time staying away from not basically torturing her. She's a sick, sick person, the OW. But she has standing in her small midwestern community--very different from my super progressive coastal suburb, where more or less anything goes. I have hard evidence-- I could easily get her fired or disciplined at her job with a Catholic hospital for the proof of on the job texting by the zillions of hours etc. (which I actually don't want to do). But emailing nasty-grams? totally fun, at the moment. It sends her into a hysterical panic--she does get very threatening and aggressive, but it's a joke, b/c I have so much evidence and adultery is a felony in her state.... in my sich, they connected on Facebook, had sex at a HS reunion (how original!) one night when she invited him to her room, and then a year-long emotional affair via texting. The appalling part is the way the texting was interwoven into our family life-- my husb would leave the family dinner table to send her a text--ewww.
      Now that he's 'woken up' he realizes she's the kind of person he really can't stand. But he has psych issues that need serious work, he lies--a lot-- and was extremely vulnerable to her come ons. So, in their famous words from the hotel room " they just couldn't help themselves". I feel the saime way-- just can't seem to help it--how do I keep myself from poking her with a stick, as it were? I know where her kids are, the whole deal. I figure, my kid--who is really an adult-- is suffering, why not share the pain around? why should she get off Scot-free?

      Rational brain says, this is not good. Having-fun-with-kicking-while-down brains says, "Fun!" (I think he led her to believe shed have a life with him down the road.)

      thoughts? you all are so awesome, and I am new here.

  15. Please do not spit up in the sky.. cuz it can fall down on your own faces!! I see so much hate and bad comments. I was the wife once. I was the ow once too. This is not something we are looking for. Not all of us have low self esteem. Some of us really fall, just once in our lives in this mistake.. I was thinking of talking to the wife not because i want attention, but because I really wanted to quit. During a long time, I thought it was best to walk away and never say anything. But, I really wanted to come clean, I wanted to make this girl see that this guy was never gonna end his bad behaviour. Actually I see many of you have husbands who have cheated not only one but many times and you are actually defending them?? I would have divorced right away! I divorced my husband for very different reasons than infidelity. But stop the hate. I was the kind of woman that always said I'd never date a married man.. well karma hit me in the face, I fell with a guy for many years after my divorce. I foolishly thought he would leave his wife cuz yes they talk crap about them. The thing is not easy, you guys are no one to judge. Just pray you never fall into that kind of situation. These things happen without you even noticing. Innocent talks, then common situations, then other things. I walked away of him many times, he would seek the way to find me. It is sad to see that you think you are better people than others, not all of us who have fallen in that mistake are trash, many of us have truly fallen in love, believing.. and we hurt too. I've been on both ends so I can really say that this kind of guys deserve none of them: not the wife, not the ow. They deserve to be alone. Wives, why would you take back a guy like that??? Once a cheater, always a cheater. Thanks God I was able to walk away from him gracefully. I wasn't the one behind him.

  16. in my case the OW was my own sister! actually 2 sisters! and you know what they are claiming? they were sexually abused by him!! i not only lost my husband in this traumatic way, but my entire family has turned on me, painting me as an enabler of abuse. I have been through hell and back. Emotionally now a year and a half later I am at peace, though very alone with no husband or family.

    1. Anonymous,
      I am so so sorry for what you've been through. It sounds as if your family has some serious boundary issues (at the least!). I'm glad you've found peace in all this. I hope you've found a counsellor to help you learn to recognize a healthy relationship when it appears. Those of us who've grown up in dysfunction and married into dysfunction often don't have a clue what healthy even looks like, which makes it almost impossible to create in our own lives.



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