Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"Getting Away with It": How Our Desire for Revenge Gets in the Way of Our Healing

If there's one roadblock on the path to healing that trips up pretty much all of us, it's that the Other Woman often, to our eyes, "gets away with it."
"She gets to walk away with no impact on her life," one of us wrote.
"There's no accountability," bemoaned another.
"I'm here in pieces and on her Facebook page are photos of her laughing and showing off a new ring and having fun," raged another.
Ah, the lament of the truly wronged. We not only want karma to hit her hard, we want a front-row seat for it. We want to witness her misery. To relish her pain.

It's a normal impulse. We're hard-wired to want fairness. Ever listened to a five-year-old who's been cheated out of her share of birthday cake? The outrage! The sense of injustice! So it's not at all surprising that when we feel someone has helped herself to something (or someone!) that is ours, we scream for our pound of flesh.
And, yeah, there might be some satisfaction over discovering that her husband tossed her out. Or she lost her job. Or her children hate her guts. Or that she was just diagnosed with cancer. Or got a DUI. But, if you're anything like me, you over-estimated the satisfaction you thought you'd feel from seeing the karma bus run her over. And under-estimated the pain that still sat like an elephant on your heart.
What's more, surely the one overwhelming lesson we can take from a partner's betrayal is that life isn't fair.
I watched the OW get fired, though she negotiated a hefty severance package thanks to my husband's desire to make her go quietly. ("Money earned on her back," I was heard to mutter). But even knowing she felt humiliated and disappointed at losing a job she liked didn't really change anything. Getting fired was the logical consequence for someone who spent more time at her job looking for men to screw than clients to sign so, in that sense, she didn't "get away with it." Her pain didn't make mine any more bearable. It simply kept me hooked into her life, connected to her by bitterness.
Besides, a few years later, I heard she had found a new job, gotten married and was pregnant. So much for payback.
By then, however, I was able to respond in a way I couldn't have imagined closer to D-Day. I was able to hope she'd done some real reckoning with her choices and was able to be a good wife, a good mother. I knew her own parents had sucked and I hoped she was able to create a better home than the one she'd been raised in.
That ability to offer up even the teensiest bit of compassion for her was a big part of my own healing. By letting go of my focus on her and her life, I was free to focus on me and how the hell I was going to get through this agony. Besides, her life was a mess. Had always been. And that's the thing with so many of these Other Woman. There are exceptions to the train-wreck OWs that populate our lives, sure. But, c'mon, people who get involved with married men are, almost by definition, people who lack healthy boundaries, a moral compass, and self-respect. While we may not see them pay for their transgressions, they pretty much write their own endings. And they're rarely "happily ever after."
So no matter how much it looks like they "got away with it", know this: If they are capable of the smallest bit of self-examination, they didn't get away with a thing. They know exactly what they did and the deception and pain they helped create is something they will live with for the rest of their lives. Those who are incapable or unwilling to take responsibility for the role they played? They can play all the moral gymnastics they want to convince themselves – and others – that they weren't the ones who did anything wrong. ("I wasn't the one who made any vows"; "We didn't intend to hurt anyone." "It just happened." "We're free to love who we want" and blah blah bullshit blah). But those who go through life without any regard or respect for anyone's feelings but their own will inevitably live lives that are small and sad and lonely.
Most of us won't get that front-row seat for the OW's pain. We' won't be there for their 3 a.m. moments of reckoning when the weight of their choices sits on our chests.
All we can do is focus on our own healing. Trust in our own strength. And continue to be guided by our own integrity. There's no shortcut through the pain of betrayal. But refusing to remain hooked into the messy lives of these OW will ensure that our own path toward healing has fewer roadblocks.

49 comments:

  1. My husband’s OW, who was my very dear friend, actually is doing quite well. She enjoyed the admiration and attention of my WH for years, then had the ego boost of two men fighting for her. She got her husband’s forgiveness, the new life across the country, the new house, the very high standard of living (H is an anesthesiologist), she got the affair baby my husband so lovingly gave her, her friends (many were mine, too) all still really love her, she is lovingly accepted back into her religious community, and she feels she has “repented” of her wrongs so I daresay she has no problem looking at herself in the mirror everyday. Her children love her, they don’t know about the affair as they were too young to really notice anything amiss. She is beautiful and healthy. She loves her life and loves her family (it says so on Facebook). A mutual friend has told me that OW told her that she, OW is so much happier now than she was during the affair, so much more at peace. Well, yay for her. I can’t think of one thing that she suffers in connection with her affair with my H. She has no idea of the depth of my pain, how she blew up my life, and how devastatingly hard it has been for me these past years to even smile because I am in so much pain. She has not had to suffer seeing that, either. I know, this reeks of bitterness. And I know that my husband is the cause of the other half, even more than half, of the pain I feel now. I hold them both responsible for my betrayal. I know if it hadn’t been her, it would’ve been some other woman. But she made the decision to say yes to him, and to continue in the ultimate deception as she continued in friendship with me. WH and I are working things out, painfully slow at times. But today, my anger/pain is about her. I have been getting better at cutting thoughts of her out of my mind. It’s just one of those days where I am too weary to try very hard at it.

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    1. You and me both! I had a close friend who had an affair with my partner and they now live together. For years she had financial help from me and other members of her extended family because her family were bordering on being bankrupt. Added to this when the affair broke and they moved in together, my now ex took me to court for custody rights (although I never stopped him from seeing our child!). The courts granted more than 50% custody to him because of the hours that I work. So not only was I betrayed by him and her but they now get to be with my child more than I do. Apparently, they have said I should be grateful that my child is so well looked after when she is with them and that I am now free to look for another relationship! I should be happy I am told! Finally, I forgot to mention that she is a 'Christian' who goes to church every week and believes in the second coming!!
      My response, is not one of bitterness but one of anger. The situation is disgusting on so many levels. I am left not only to deal with the betrayal of these two but also have to pick up the pieces of mine and my child's life that was blown apart. With all of that to process how do you begin to heal. The answer is you do not you adjust and adapt to the horror that was inflicted upon you. You learn to live with it.

      www.infidelityhurts.com

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    2. Anon73, I suspect someone like your husband's OW is incapable of anything even approaching a true reckoning for what she did. Somehow, she wasn't equipped with a moral compass and seems in no hurry to have one installed. So while her life might look glossy and pretty on the outside, I suspect, if you scratch the surface, that's all there is. If she had any true sense of what she's done, she wouldn't be able to blithely report that she's "so much happier now". She hasn't a clue of the pain she's caused and she doesn't want to trouble herself with finding out. She's empty and kinda stupid. Good riddance to her and her shiny family.
      But you...you want more than that. And hallelujah for that. You want a life that's meaningful. I'm glad you're mostly able to put her out of mind. It will get easier. You might still feel a pang now and again when you're reminded of her. But I hope you're surrounded now with people who don't look past that sort of behaviour, who base their friendships on loyalty and integrity.
      You'll never really know what her life is like. And you likely won't be around to witness any pain she does have in her life. All you can do is remain focussed on your life and life it to the best of your ability. Think of the OW like a cancerous tumour you've had removed.

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    3. Mumstar1969,
      I am so sorry for everything you've gone through. These people are toxic. Not only do they blow up your life, they want you to THANK THEM FOR IT??? Seriously??? That's some messed up thinking.
      However...you're right in that the best you can do is absorb this new reality and create the best life you can for yourself. Stand in your own integrity and don't let them poison your worldview. Life is long...and you've got many years to discover that you're so much better off without them taking up space in your heart.

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  2. Thank you Elle. A few thoughts come to mind. Yes, I went through that "hating the OW/revenge mode for a short time" - wishing and saying aloud to my h that I want her to be run over by a car ... and the only reason I didn't truly wish for that is because she is a mother. He asked, "why don't you want me to be run over by a car?" I: "because I can see your pain ... feel your pain, your remorse" - (I too had seen her on FB posing with her new beau). Now, I know her life cannot be good - she's been divorced three times and broke up with that new beau. And being the OW? What an awful existence - being tossed aside for the man's true love - his wife and family - again and again. As Elle pointed out - obviously no self esteem.
    Interestingly, when I first read this title I thought you were referring to the wandering spouse. We have touched on that here too. The betrayed spouse thinking if she forgives or even accepts - then her h has "gotten away with it." I certainly have felt that way at times..'
    I mentioned a friend of mine who was married to a serial cheater for 27 years (she left him years ago.). Well, her mom and dad, in their 80's, had infidelity in their marriage- he had an affair with a co-worker ... and ... to "get even" ... she had an affair with a door to door salesman. I'm not saying it was the right thing to do; it is simply an intriguing back story to this elderly couple who do everything together and have been married for sixty plus years!

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    1. Melissa,
      A friend of mine's son cheated on his fiancée who found out. She responded by cheating on him with another guy to "show him how it feels." And then, the playing field levelled, they got married. My friend thought this made perfect sense. I think it sounds like insanity. However, we each get to hoe our own row, I guess.

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  3. I think we're are on a wireless connection! My H said yesterday, I know you hate the OW but that only makes you bitter inside. He's right about that one. This is a great post Elle. I'm sending an SOS wireless connection to betrayed warriors. I may want to keep on killing him. I'm 30 months out. Things have been getting better. Last night we were watching TV about a policeman interviewed a mistress. She was being a jerk like in real life. I asked my husband I know you gave her $500 but did you slip her a hundred here or there? He said no but she hinted about more money. Then he jumps up and says how selfish I am, I only think about myself. This behavior is unusual so I'm thinking he is lying. I look up checks in the middle of the night with even amounts from his business account. The next morning I called the bank and asked whose name was on the check? Oh shit, you already guessed! The OW name. Yep, $300, $450 and a dental bill for $687. He said I forgot but now that you said it, all I remember is the $300 but if her name is on the check I guess I wrote it. He is still lying to me. I'm devastated again. I mean I thought we were past this. He admitted he minimized the facts. I ask him to read anything on the net about helping a betrayed spouse. He did and admitted the TT part and not coming to full disclosure made him sick about himself after he read the article about what it does to the betrayed. I went through all the lies he told me like I was reading off a list in my head. Examples - it was 18 months, no it was 2.5 years - it was just a necklace, no a watch too but that wasn't jewelry, the last sex was in Sept, no I got a BJ in Nov. The list goes on as well as the reason. It seems he only tells the truth if he gets caught. I have an appointment so I have to leave. I tell him he is his worst enemy and I'm devastated. When I come back he says nothing to me except worthless conversations like the Cubs are ahead by a hit or what do you want to watch on TV? No sorry, no nothing. We sat in the last couples therapy and he flat out said there was nothing else. He flat out said he doesn't lie anymore. I can't kiss him or say anything to him. I feel like I just don't care anymore. I'm so tired of this. So sad. He is like a sphinx now. I don't know what to do. Anybody else go through this? What the hell is happening? Duped again? I was just starting to trust him.

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    1. Llp I'm 3 years out and just found out he has been back with the ow for 3 months or so I had my inclines and I was bloody right. Obviously on the crazy train again heartbroken etc etc prob worse this time around. He's been out of the house for 4 weeks now at this moment in time he ain't getting back in. This time he's hurt alot more people including my 12 yr old son who found out so I explained everything to him needless to say my 12 yr old said ' why did you give him another chance' and he's not getting back in this house' very very sad indeed. He's such an idiot had everything and more and risked everything for what.

      He says he doesn't know why he has done this again and that he can't live without me and kids. Well pig shit this is my choice now I have been in the dark till now, I never chose to be involved in their love triangle but now I know I opt out.

      I fucking hate this woman she has no kids or husband so walks away unscathed whilst leaving destruction in her path. I wish her dead to be honest don't give a shit about her midst here nursing another broken heart and looking after my 2 children.

      I still believe people can change of course I do but I'm not convinced I'm gonna stick around to see it.

      Llp we believe that there is no more lies to unfold but sometimes I wonder if they can tell the truth ESP in my case one lie turns into a thousand. I hope you continue to work through this difficult time and that you get through the other side.

      I'll keep you informed how I get on. Lots of love ladies

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    2. Lots of love to both of you as you deal with the heartbreak of continued betrayal. What is wrong with these men?? Being given a second chance is the most generous gift we can offer. And they blow it! They don't deserve either of you...

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    3. Here is an update. I had a therapy session on Saturday morning on the holiday. Yes, I was in bad shape. She said I'm too black and white. There is a lot of gray in this situation. She said you can have boundaries and boundaries are not "one and done" but it is ok if they change. It isn't about my self esteem if I change a boundary. She said, yes what he did is terrible because I still healing. She said he doesn't realize how much he hurts me. Wow she recognized I'm still healing, I still have wounds she said. Then she said, "you fell in love with a selfish asshole. You say he is fun, good companion, thoughtful, helpful and cares deeply about you. You need to decide if you can live with him as a selfish asshole. He avoids." We are having a couple session tomorrow to talk about HIS problems.

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    4. Wow LLP, don't you love a straight-talking shrink? She sounds fabulous. You're in good hands.

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  4. Elle,
    Thanks for your blog. It helps me a lot.

    I hate the OW so much. I wish I could forget that she exists. I think about her almost the whole day. It is a nightmare. She was a coworker from my husband when we lived in Mexico (we lived there 2 years and they were lovers around 4 months) and she was pretending to be my friend. She was always so nice to me and to our kids. So I was double tricked. But one good thing is that when I found the emails and the messages they exchanged I realized that he really used her and that feels really good to know that. He lied to her a lot. But anyways, I wish I could have hit her very strong, but I only found out they had an affair really late when we were already back in Germany and I could not do anything with "my hands" except to call her and tell her somethings.
    I could have "destroyed" her with the things I found in his email. I have them saved with me just in case. I have videos and pictures of her naked, masturbating herself etc. really disgusting, but I'm not an evil person and that's why I have never done anything against her. I really believe that her life is already punishing her. She is 40 years old and alone, she can not have kids anymore as she had a miscarriage 10 years ago and they had to remove her uterus. When she was a kid her father left her mother and since then she haven't seen him. She submit herself to have an affair with a married man who she knew very well the wife and kids. But of course I have the thoughts that she is raped or that somebody shaved her hair completely etc. but I think that it is normal. It is much easier to forgive somebody if you see the person suffering.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I think you're right. It is easier to forgive someone when we see them suffering because it seems as though they are paying some price for what they've done.
      I hope you'll take steps to stop thinking about the OW all day. Giving her that much space in your brain is only hurting you. Focus on your own healing. See if you can picture a big red STOP sign in place of her. Be gentle with yourself and take care of yourself. She was just a convenient distraction. Nothing more.

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  5. Thank you for this. This post spoke to me on so many levels. I was betrayed not only by my husband but by a mutual friend which made it that much harder to deal with the anger and emotions that went along with all of this. Reading your line, "But, c'mon, people who get involved with married men are, almost by definition, people who lack healthy boundaries, a moral compass, and self-respect" hit home with me. You are right. The other woman in my case CLEARLY had no healthy boundaries or moral guidelines. And in some weird way it at least made me feel better about myself in all this. So many times we blame ourselves (even when we know deep down this wasn't our fault). But reading this made me realize, I'm better than this. I could never do something like that to a friend and think that it was right. She made some truly stupid choices and now she has to live with the fallout from that. She's always lived her life this way...searching to be rescued. Unfortunately the person she picked probably needs to be rescued as well. I've often thought, "Wow, she gets to blow up my life and then just carry on like nothing else happened" and that's a hard thought to reconcile. Reading this article made me realize that even thought I don't see the actual fallout from her actions as we obviously aren't friends anymore - that she is definitely hurting and probably realizes how stupid all this was and is dealing with the pain in her own way. Letting some of that anger go and focusing on my healing, my strength and MY INTEGRITY is key. Thank you for allowing me to reflect on all this in a different way this morning. I can't say that there won't be days where I do want to strangle her, but at least today I'm trying to find some peace in all this.

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    1. I'm glad you were able to recognize that you are the victor in this simply because you haven't compromised your value system. Unless she's learned from this, she'll likely continue to make stupid choices in the hopes that she'll get what she's after, if she even knows what she's after. But that's not your problem.
      You will find peace if you can stay focussed on yourself and your healing. It's a long road but you'll get there.

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  6. Oh how I wish there was an OW to hate and focus on however my H is a sex addict whose OW are prostitutes and porn. He has been off porn for almost a year and the last prostitute visit I know of was a week after our anniversary in 2014. I still feel overwhelmed with emotion and crushed by the betrayal caused by his early childhood sexual experiences and exposure to porn, not to mention his now deceased narcissistic mother's neediness. He is sorry, he feels remorse, he has improved his life and I am desperately trying to improve mine. Knowing that sex/porn addiction is a lifelong chronic condition I am still not sure if I am willing to spend the rest of my life feeling afraid of the next "event". I am 65 and we have been legally married 37 years although I told him the other day that as far as I am concerned we have only been a real "couple" 11 months, since the day he disclosed and maintained his faithful behavior. I really, really cannot see myself staying in our marriage if he relapses. The choice to stay is mine and I grapple with that every single day. I am so fearful of feeling hopeful about his future but there is no crystal ball to consult. It is just so hard and I would like a chance to feel safe in a relationship again. It saddens me so much to think that I may live the rest of my life feeling like this. It sucks. Signed, Beach Girl

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    1. Beach Girl,
      I've been in your shoes (flip flops? barefeet?). My husband was (is?) also a sex addict and I couldn't imagine living my life in fear of another slip. However, there have been none. Not unlike my mother who, when she died ten years ago, had been sober for more than quarter century.
      In my husband's case, he had come to a point where he was so disgusted with himself that he never wants to go down that path again. It might happen, I suppose. None of us can predict our future. But I can tell you that, right now, we are in a really great place in our marriage. More open than ever before, and able to address issues before they become unhealthy/secretive.
      It really depends on your husband's desire to heal from his sex addiction and how far he's willing to go to ensure he doesn't go down that path again.

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    2. Elle, thank you so much for sharing that piece of information about your husband. My husband confirms over and over again that he never wants to go down that road again. He believes his life would be over and he knows he would lose everything we have built. We are mostly in a wonderful place. I love him and he loves me. We have a wonderful family, not perfect but pretty great overall. We have built so much together including a healthy and rewarding sex life. Who knew at 65 that sex/intimacy and love could feel so good? I am so grateful to hear that your husband has been faithful. Mine is on the right path. Thank you for your time and energy in this blog. It is such a lifesaver. I am still in counseling but he is not. He has been faithful in his mindfulness training skills (for addiction) and our yoga and just simply living a cleaner life.

      Would you be willing to share how long he has been in recovery?
      Beach girl

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  7. Ahhhh. This post gets me in the gut! The OW is something I still really struggle with. I have feelings of hate towards her (I think it must be hate because I have never felt this way about any other person in my life). I have so so much anger towards her and I am also afraid of her. We had such a looong period of backsliding and my H working to emotionally end things with her and I am often still afraid that if she called he would emotionally attend to her and leave me to cry alone.

    I know she has had a lot of serious difficulties and in many ways is a hurt person. So I know she is far from having a "perfect" life ..... But I still harbor so much anger and fear.... I would love for her to just disappear from the planet.

    God, there are so many aspects to the post affair world (or hellscape depending on how I feel) no wonder they say it take 5 years to heal.

    Love and support to all
    Becky

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    1. Becky,
      I don't know how far out you are but I suspect your sense that your husband still has one toe still in his affair is fuelling your anger/hatred. It's a horrible feeling to imagine that he's still got feelings for her. Assuming neither of you is too far out from D-day, I suspect that will change. Time tends to give us a clarity that we lack in the early days, an ability to really look at the experience for what it was. But it will take him willing to look hard at it, to really examine what he was doing and why he was doing it and recognize the price paid by YOU for his cheating.
      As for the OW, she'll likely carry on doing stupid things and blowing things up around her. Far too often, people don't learn. They should have to wear a bell around their neck, like a cow, to warn people they're in the vicinity.

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    2. Elle, now I have another great visual! Lol! Thank you 😊

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  8. At over a year out I cannot say I think about the ow too much anymore. It was hard for a period of time and I think it was my way of coping with the idea of it was their fault and not my husband's, I do blame them they were both aggressive. The one pushed him for four years for his cell phone number knowing he was married with kids the entire time. So she was relentless. As things came out I realized these women could be anyone, he has no idea about anything In their lives. He does not know if they have parents or anything much about them. The ow and him are to blame but in the end it is his fault. He promised and took vows with me. These women make me angry, sad, resentful that there are women that do this. Just the same as him if you are broken there are a million other options besides having an affair.

    I wish there really was karma and maybe there is. I do not believe we ever know what anyone else's life is like. Even the closest people we might not know. I would guess that no one would ever think that my husband cheated on me. Even during his affairs we had a better relationship than any of our friends. And I have never been one to broadcast problems or discontent. I always talked to him and never complained to my friends. At times I wish for them or someone close to them to be hurt as bad as they did by having these affairs with my husband. Other times I think I hope they never do this again and regret it. I do wonder what I would do if I ran into the one that lives nearby. I know I would not go off on her but I run through that in my head. I know I will always be true to myself though and will not lower down to their level.

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    1. Hopeful 30,
      I'm not so sure it's karma as the logical consequences of making stupid life choices. People with poor enough boundaries (or poor enough esteem or so little regard/respect for other) are likely to keep creating situations in which people get hurt, including them.
      It's why it's so crucial, if our partners want us to give them a second chance, that they show us they're willing to root out the reasons why they cheated. It's not enough to say they won't do it again. They need to understand WHY they did it this time...and take steps to ensure they won't repeat the same stupid mistakes.

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  9. For me, it wasn't so much the OW "getting away with it" as it was how I felt that my husband was. Because I didn't divorce his ass and take him to the cleaners. Because I chose to stay and try to save my marriage. I felt like, he gets to cheat and then he still gets to keep me. How unfair is that? I've never been with anyone but him, and he wastes almost 13 years of my life on his porn addiction while neglecting our relationship, and then tops it off by cheating? That bastard should have to live the rest of his life alone and humiliated by everyone!

    Except, I know that wouldn't make me feel better in the long run. And I know he really isn't getting away with anything. Almost two years later, and he says he still can barely look at himself in the mirror, even just to shave. He has to live with the guilt when he sees me crying, and knows he's the one who did that to me. When our son started having behavioural problems because of the tension in our home (while we did our best to keep it private, kids pick up on stuff), my husband has to live with the fact that he betrayed his own child, not just his wife.

    As much as I'm hurting, I have no guilt. I did nothing wrong. I still have my integrity. I wouldn't trade places with him for anything.

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    1. Gee,
      My husband didn't "get away" with anything. Every day of his life, he knows what he did, not only to me but to our kids, even if they'll never know. He risked our health, our finances, our future, our security. That's on him. And I give him credit for spending every day to NOT be that guy any more.

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    2. The "getting away with it" sword is one I have stabbed the man in my life with many times. One thing that I haven't seen mentioned too often is the potential for these women to have reported something to police when they believed they had been spurned. The betrayal in my scenario (beyond a fulltime porn addiction, secret trips for lap dances and...sigh...a fleshlite) was a one night stand. He admits that the beastie begged to see him again (he was away on a course) and when he refused it was VERY aggravated. I still occasionally battle over the fact that someone so willing to risk safety by returning to a virtual strangers room for sex, to plead that they go condom free and then ask that someone elses husband say "I love you" during your sleazy romp--that someone has issues. I contemplate what the world would have looked like if the beastie had decided to report he had raped her. I KNOW this is bordering on sadistic pain shopping because it didn't happen--but of course when all the possibilities (including STDs, divorce, broken hearted children) didn't seem to be worth consideration I was/am a bit awestruck that a cop wouldn't consider that consequence. I asked the man in my life if he feels like he got away with it--or got a pass and he always responds the same way: that every minute we spend as a family, every hug, birthday card, board game...all of it is like the Universe whispering in his ear "you did THOSE things to these people". He acknowledges he should have been cut out of our lives like a disease, but being permitted to remain and looking at 4 out of 5 of his victims every day can be agonizing simply because they see him as Dad and believe him to be something he wasn't. Now, however, he says he lives every minute to be their vision of him. I have never harmed anyone in the way he has harmed me, but I have certainly experienced guilt and regret...I wouldn't want to confront those feelings in the face of the unconditional love of a child or the broken heart of a spouse. I think NO ONE in this equation gets away with anything. OW are typically discarded to the rubbish heap. We spend years--or maybe forever shuffling the inventory around in our hearts and minds. Children may experience the turmoil of divorce with full knowledge or the turmoil of reconcilliation wondering WTF is up with Mom and Dad. The one who decided us into this destruction--well in my home he often refers to himself as Oppenheimer...and I become aware that he has gotten away with nothing.

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  10. This is a tough one. I am much more angry at my H than at the OW, but I do think about her entirely too much.

    I had the unfortunate experience of catching my H betraying me a second time with her 10 months after D-Day (which was 4 months after their 3 week sexual affair ended). She had gotten in contact because her life was falling apart and she needed her "best friend". It''s true, he probably was that for her.,.she's a sex addict with rapid cycling bipolar disorder among other things, so she can't maintain friendships or relationships of any kind. She really spun out of control when he ended the affair...lost 20 lbs she couldn't afford, went off the rails with her promiscuity, and ended up eventually losing her job. He felt like he was the cause of her current situation and wanted to "help" her. So he lied to me for about a month before I found out. He helped her get her medications (she lost her license after a DUI), fixed things for her and basically was a shoulder for her to lean on.

    He loved her as a friend before the affair and says that, while he hated what she did (she lied and said she was being abused by her fiancé in order to keep ahold of my H after he ended the sex and kept him terrified for her life for months afterward), he knows she's a damaged person who can't control her illnesses, so he still felt a "brotherly" love for her and was afraid of what she'd do to cope with how bad her life had gotten. So he lied to me. He chose her pain over mine as far as I'm concerned. And even after I found out and he promised to end contact again, he snuck and saw her and spoke to her. He felt like her owed HER something for "ruining her life"!?!?!!

    I've seen her texts, she appears to be desperately in love with him, thinks he could have been the one to save her from herself, and she's absolutely devastated that they're not together. She truly believed that if they reconnected, he'd eventually realize that he wanted her and leave me. He's the best man she's ever met (how nice of her to assist in taking a good man and making him a liar and a cheater, but that's what she does) and she will love him for the rest of her life, according to her.

    My H and I are trying to work things out. I'm not having an easy time of it. He's proven that he has serious boundary issues when it comes to this woman and his savior complex is a problem.

    But as for her? She's a miserable person who alienates everyone she ever cares about. She was sexually abused by her father as a child. She is jobless and highly intelligent enough that it pains her. I don't think she's ever gotten off Scott free in her life. And now she's broken hearted once again because my H has refused her.

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    1. Dana,
      This woman is poison. I'm sorry for all the pain she's in but by "helping" her, your husband is really just feeding his own ego and not allowing her to accept the consequences for her mistakes. He's not being a "friend" at all.
      With time and therapy, I hope, he comes to see that she's a toxic person who fed something unhealthy in him, the same way a drug makes us feel good...until it ruins our life.

      Delete
    2. You are so right, Elle, and he knew it too. He just thought he could help her move on with her life (she was talking about returning to her former state across the country) and be the wonderful friend and hero she had built him up as. I think he had a need to "fix" what she convinced him he had done to her life and got sucked right back in to all of her drama. He sees now that she was was just using him again. She'd get angry any time he didn't act exactly as she wanted and flipped out this past time when he told her he wasn't interested in having a life with her. He rebuffed her sexual advances this time around and somehow made himself believe that as long as things weren't sexual or romantic in his part, what he was doing was somehow "okay", even though he had to lie to me to do it.

      He now recognizes that she's toxic and that he has to set aside the friendship he thought they had prior to the affair and see her for who she truly is and the damage he did to me while he allowed her back into his life. He does seem to understand that he made things worse for her by "helping" her, because she became very demanding and emotional again pretty quickly. They've not had contact for a couple of months at this point and his head seems to be out of his ass, but he's a long way from forgiven and he knows how precarious our marriage is because he has done this.

      I've admitted before that I'm not one of those wives who thought she had a blissful marriage, in fact, I knew that I was the biggest problem in mine (prior to his affair) but I never believed that he was capable of so much lying and deceit. And it eviscerates me that I spent 10 months after D-Day working hard on rebuilding a marriage that I had a hand in crumbling only to have him betray me again.

      Delete
  11. I shared this with my h and I thought our discussion was going well but I'm pretty sure he took some of what I was saying wrong and we talked too much and ended the night stressed but he held me in his arms until I fell asleep. I had no tears and yet he was very defensive of the ow my opinion of her and how I have so much pity for her and how like me he can't truly hate another human. So we spent today not even mentioning the struggle but packing for our four retreat to our lake house. This evening he apologized for us having a bad day and my saying I think he took what I said wrong but then he reminds me it's just one day and let's have a better one today. I think he also thought like Melissa that I felt like he got away with something and I think that's why our discussion went south. Baby steps...one day at a time...

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    1. Baby steps indeed. Though I must say Theresa, your husband sounds uncommonly level-headed and able to connect with you on this stuff, even if you don't always agree.

      Delete
    2. Elle
      For the most part he is a level headed man who deals with me the way I need him to except when it comes to the ow. From what I've learned he treated her pretty shitty from about two months into the affair and he tried to be level headed with her and failed miserably at getting her to leave him alone because she knew his biggest fear was me finding out but even when I did he spent six months trying to get crazy to stop being crazy and it took the judge two visits and we're just barely two months past her last trip to see the judge! I'm tired of giving her my thoughts and for the most part they are not the first thing I think of but a trigger still brings me to my knees and my h does the best he can to soothe my pain. I just wish she would focus her attention on someone besides my h!

      Delete
  12. I think Elle summed it up when she stated previously "They have nothing we want" Each and every one of us have integrity and although at first it drops us to the floor somehow we emerge stronger than we ever knew we could be. Unfortunately we and our families are collateral damage. For those who choose to stay like me it is something that will remain with us for the rest of our lives, but we get to decide how it will be going forward. We grow to know ourselves better, no doubt about it. Life certainly is not fair. Somehow I just can not help but separate the OW's from us REAL WOMEN. I strongly support real women but not other women. Women who have no self esteem or self respect, who sleep with men they barely know whether married, in a commmited relationship, or even single strangers..I do not and never will support them. Never...

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    1. Sammyg,
      "Nothing we want" for sure. I've never met an "Other Woman" who was anyone I'd want to be or, for that matter, be friends with. They're self-absorbed, entitled and, usually, not very interesting.

      Delete
  13. My crazy story is, after finding all the e-mails on line to his MW (main whore, literally) I knew he never told her about me. They were all written in another language, so I could only scan for key words and names, mine was no where. when i confronted him, with LOUD words, fists and his laptop over my head and demanded he say good bye now, to her or me, he said good bye to her and we deleted her e-mail. That's when he told me she had no idea he was married, that I was described as a "women he saw now and then" good god.

    I felt so BAD for her being duped like this too, because she was so young (my guess from the simplicity of her writing) and she thought he was such a BIG shot, i tried to recover her email to tell her how sorry I was that he was such a dick. Luckily, I was unsuccessful.

    The only reason I believe he was telling the truth is,There were others who were strictly online online contacts that were as bad as cheating, honest to god, THOSE letters/texts, e-mail and IM's ALONE were quite enough. There was also One old "friend"(whore) he was hitting on, one other old friend he was trying to contact and another woman (yes, another whore!) he had met in person and he was embarrassingly pursuing. Not ONE person knew I even existed. Not one knew what he actually did for a living, not ONE. He created a parallel universe that could only be created with lots of time and space apart from any and all of them.

    So I felt bad for the MW but not for long.

    a real life whore, I don't care what is written anywhere CANNOT be a well adjusted human being--nice? of course--that's their job. Good liar? you bet--that's also their job. Looks good? well, i try not to think about it but that's their job too. But my H added to HER hell by putting up such a convincing lie, which won't help her trust anyone in the future. He was amazing on paper and such an ass in real life.

    I was able to let her go fairly quickly and focused on the BULLshit with him and with life that I would never ever put up with.

    It's still trying at times. No backslides but some internet searches still send me over the edge.

    I think if I ever met this woman I would still be ok, but if HE ever met this woman again, I would NOT be ok with him, and I don't think he would walk away ok or unscathed, in fact I don't think he would even be able to walk at all. and THAT is an understatement.

    I cannot imagine the pain that an OW who knows you exist would bring. It makes me sick to my stomach. I feel for you, i feel effing horrible and wonder why we're not all in jail, half the time.

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    1. The fact that we're not all wearing orange jumpsuits is a testament to our ability to be in the most excruciating pain but to not inflict that pain (literally or figuratively) on these Other Women. Let's hear it for our willpower!! We're amazing.

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  14. This is an excruciatingly difficult topic for me. I get this intellectually, but still -- I hate her. (Or hers in my case.)

    Like some other wives here, I feel like I got no closure, no confrontation, no nothing. They were secretly in his life on a daily basis for almost 4 years for after work drinks and "friendship" and sexting and car sex and the thrill of lies and secrets and being the cool kids. I learned about them on DDay, and then they were gone. Poof. What do I do with that?

    I know, I know... I wouldn't want to be them. But still. I want them to know that I know that. I want them to acknowledge their miserable loser existence to me, to the world. There would be some satisfaction in a Scarlet A.

    Some days I think I resist the temptation to go full out orange-jumpsuit crazy because I don't want to jeopardize my H's career and thereby my children's security. Other days I think it is because I have dignity. Plus I don't want to go to Hell. Or maybe I'm just a coward.

    They suck at life and I hate them.

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    1. Sal,
      I've been orange-jumpsuit crazy. I got into my husband's car on Christmas Day 2006 (two weeks post D-Day) and drove to the area the OW (whom he worked with) lived. I drove around sobbing, hoping to see her or spot her car and figure out her address. I was going to knock on her door and scream at her. I was going to make her face me and what she'd done.
      I never did find her place, thankfully. She didn't care about me. And all the screaming in the world wasn't going to change that. She cared about herself and what she thought should have been hers. I was in HER way, not the other way around. And we think we can "convince" them to see it our way. But they won't. They'll just chalk up our husband's affair to the "crazy" wife. "Who wouldn't cheat on a nut like that?" they'll think.
      So...best thing to do is starve them of attention, which is like oxygen for most of them. To suddenly be dropped, to not have the texts or calls or requests for after-dinner drinks...that's what being dumped feels like. They might care or they might not. That's none of your concern. But the best thing you can do is just focus on you and let time take care of the anger and hatred. If you don't feed it, it will wither too.

      Delete
    2. Sal--in my case, the man in my life was drunk and doesn't even remember the beastie's name. I have wasted DAYS scouring facebook for people who match her description in her small town....I must admit I want to walk up to her, call her a C, U, next tuesday and somehow feel that will close the trapdoor to her slimy place in the world. Would it help? I don't know--but I also don't care she wanted to disrupt the family of my four children and for that I could (and would) happily confront her. Then I would chuckle on the drive home about how lucky she is I may have judged her, but I didn't hasten her final judgement day with my trusty garden spade. You can bring a whore to water but you cannot make her think.

      Delete
  15. Believe it or not, I don't hate the other women. They didnt know my husband was married with 2 young kids. One of the women still doesn't know. I'm not sure it would have mattered if she did know at the time. What matters is he Is married and HE knew that.

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  16. For me, moving on from getting riled up about the OW and obsessing has been to put as much focus on myself and my own growth and care. This has also helped me deal with my husbands shortcomings around affair recovery and reconciliation. As my personal therapist keeps reminding me, dont get up in his/her business (but I do get to put up boundaries when their business interferes with mine). I am lucky because the OW has stayed away from our lives--except her accepting a gig at my son's school fundraiser (not sure what I should do there), but that is another story. I have worked to accept that I can't determine what others do, think, or feel as long as I stick to my own values--and for the most part it has released me from my obsession with her and with him. And while I believe that karma is that the energy and caring one puts out in the world will fill their your own life, she may end up with lucky breaks despite her failings as a human being. I only have energy for my own life.
    I know I am making it sound easy. But I liken it to the efforts that my H has put in to deal with his addictive behavior. It is hard and it takes real commitment. No slacking off. Recognizing that my weakness is to take focus of myself and get "high" off my anger and self righteousness--I have to daily practice self care and self reflection and recognize when I lose that focus.

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    Replies
    1. MBS,
      You're so dang smart!! Thank you for making clear what we should all do.

      Delete
  17. This is interesting reading. Since making the decision to end my marriage, I have lost all interest in the other woman.

    Now I'm fully focused on myself and my kids. I am terrified, but excited about what the future will bring. Knowing I've finally made a decision and have a way forward has put everything else Ito perspective.

    The other woman? She wasn't special, she wasn't love. She was just available at the right time. And it is the past, and it doesn't matter any more.

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    1. Piper,
      That's interesting to hear. I know of some women who remain obsessed -- as if the OW "wins" if the marriage dissolves. I'm glad you're able to recognize that she was convenient. Nothing more.
      And I'm glad you're feeling some excitement about what's next in your life. I'm excited for you.

      Delete
  18. My H went back to his first girlfriend after 30yrs marriage. It was short lived as the affair happened o er emails and a week long business trip. He doesn't know why he did it except he felt he had to contact her... We're 1+ out of d-day and although he's not in contact with her, he keeps on "exploring" her whereabouts in social media. He explains he wants to be here because he loves me and she was a fantasy, but will never forget her because she's a part of him... I find it hard to be in a relationship with a third person in it. From Mia

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    1. Mia,
      You can't be in a committed relationship when one partner is emotionally invested in someone else. Whether he's staying in touch with her in real life or virtually, he's remaining invested in her. And that is a threat to your marriage and completely disrespectful to you.
      Give me a break with the "always be a part of me" stuff. He's pining for some long ago version of himself.
      But that's something HE needs to figure out -- why he was willing to risk his marriage for someone who he claims he doesn't want.
      In the meantime, you need to set some really clear boundaries. If he wants you to even consider giving him a second chance, he needs to completely cut off any and all contact -- which includes social media stalking -- and recommit himself to his marriage by seeking therapy and coming to some understanding of what the hell he was thinking.
      In the meantime, you should really consider whether you want to give him a second chance. He's hurt you deeply and seems unwilling or unable to take responsibility for that and support you in your healing. He can say he loves you...but how does he show that to you?

      Delete
  19. My biggest problem with the OW plural, is that they knew all of my problems and weaknesses (thanks to my wonderful husband) and felt no sympathy for me or my children. His first sweet whore actually had the nerve to tell me about HER problems and rocky marriage, I guess in an attempt to make ME feel sorry for HER, when I called her for answers, I of course had little sympathy for her plight and shared some of his observations about her, her child and her lack of physical attributes, and her attitude changed completely. At least she spoke to me. His other whore has never had the guts to talk with me. I have been the victim of narcissistic abuse. Much of what I am now struggling with is the result of YEARS of gas lighting, manipulation, and downright cruelty. I think that when she wont speak to me,and when he won't contact her husband, it feels like another form of denial on their part. She went to the HR department in the office they worked in together, when I tried to call her for answers, my husband tells me that he was honest with his boss about his affair with her when called in to talk about it. I guess I have to take his word that, that happened. He has lied to me so much! I was painted as the crazy wife who was picking on her for no reason. My husband mo longer works there. I hate her, and all the other woman he has confessed to having EAs with. They, and so many others like them do not care that he is married.I just keep remembering, conversations, timeframes, events that are ruined with the knowledge of his behavior. I now fantasize about calling each of their husbands to tell them about their involvement with my husband. I recently had a horrible fight with him to try to understand his horrible behavior towards me. Many woman on the site struggle with infidelity, but is cruelty also something that you have experienced? He doesn't want to discuss or think about his past behavior, all he ends up saying is that he was a sick motherfucker. But he does not feel that way towards me now. I struggle with rage on a daily basis. I recall, ( now that I know about his affairs) intentional cruelty and disrespectful behavior towards me for years. He once joked when I had gone with him to the empty office on a weekend that I should pee on her( the whores) chair in order to mark my territory, because he knew I couldn't stand her and had said as much,( didn't know about the affair then) but now that is more than a "dumb joke" as he tries to now say. There are tons of conversations that he intentionally tried to make me feel anxious, jealous, and feel small and useless. I pointed out that fact and actually had to give gut wrenching accounts to hammer home my points. I highlighted that fact that he was doing everything he wanted (drugs, whores/ coworkers / "friends") and obviously getting away with it. But he could not resist the urge to rub my face in it and be cruel. There is no other explanation for his behavior other than the fact that he enjoyed my pain. Good new though, the very afternoon that I found out about his first whore, he appreciated me, valued me and our children, and forgave ME for everything he was holding against me. Sweet right? Please tell me if any of you share in these experiences! I am so fucked up right now

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  20. One month out from D-day. Found out he has been having affair with our next door neighbor for over a year until we moved. He started back up with her about a year ago. There was about a one year break in between but they were in contact and had ' lunch as friends' . I found his text messages and knew immediately who she was. My husband admitted it and told me about the first portion years ago. I am devastated to say the least... The text messages were in his iPad that I had just bought him for Father's Day. He was off texting from his phone and had no idea about iMessage. I know that I could probably backup the iPad from the cloud and maybe see all the messages. Should I do it? It's eating me alive knowing I can but I worry that I will implode if I read what was really said.

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    1. lesliearchibald,
      You know he cheated. I'm not sure the details will be helpful in any way except to add salt to an already deep painful wound.
      You can't unsee the messages. You might want to copy them, put them somewhere and decide later. I'm a firm advocate in betrayed wives deciding how much information they want and that cheaters need to offer full disclosure. That said, it's the broad strokes we need: who, how long, how serious, etc. The details can be torturous and don't really change anything except cause us more pain.

      Delete

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