Friday, July 14, 2017

The Lie of the Sisterhood

"If we do not transform our pain, we will always transmit it – to our partner, our spouse, our children, our friends, our coworkers, our "enemies." Usually we project it outward and blame someone else for causing our pain."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation

Some call it the "law of the sisterhood". Others refer to it as "girl code". What it stipulates is that we don't go after each other's husbands or boyfriends. What it stipulates is essentially a sort of moral high ground, in which we respect each other's relationships, no matter how cute we think their significant other is, or how much he flirts with us.
But sometimes this sisterhood feels like we're the only ones in it. I sometimes think it's the lie of the sisterhood.
My 19-year-old discovered that this week when she learned that a close friend had hooked up with an ex-boyfriend. Now the rules get a bit fuzzy with exes, at least for some people. And I've gently reminded my daughter that she was well and truly done with this guy. That, she tells me, is not the point. What hurts her more than the two of them hooking up, she insists, is that her friend did it behind her back.
And so, my dejected daughter insists, she's wiping her hands of this friend.
And I'm (mostly) keeping my mouth shut.
But here's the thing: While I don't condone her friend's behaviour (if we're being sneaky about something, that's generally our first clue that we know it's hurtful to someone and we don't want to deal with the consequences), I can empathize. This girl has had a miserable childhood with a truly appalling mother and her series of equally appalling boyfriends. This girl gets into relationships with guys who treat her badly. She craves attention, no matter where it comes from. And so, with this ex of my daughter's, she was willing to gamble her friendship for the short-term thrill of his attention.
Does that make it okay? No. And she's lost (at least for the time being) my daughter's friendship. As my heavy-hearted child noted, once someone has broken your trust, you never quite look at the them the same way again.
Tell me about it, I want to say. But I bite my tongue.
Hurt people hurt people, we often say on this site.
Father Richard Rohr says that if we don't transform our pain, we will transmit it. Those of us here were the collateral damage of that transmission.
But when we can recognize that, it helps us shake off any responsibility we might feel for how people treat us. It helps us realize that their pain is for them to deal with, that we cannot and should not be blamed, including by ourselves.
My daughter's black-and-white view of the world might soften as she ages – my own certainly did (though I remain an adherent to the law of the sisterhood). But she has reminded me what it looks like when we hold hurt people accountable for the pain they transmit. It looks like self-respect.

57 comments:

  1. Carol, the FirstJuly 14, 2017 at 5:51 PM

    How many of us, at one time or another after being betrayed, ask how a woman could do this (knowingly inflict such pain upon us) to another woman? I mentally throw up my hands!

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    1. I can't count how many times I've started a question to my husband with "What kind of woman...". At this point I alternate between recognizing how messed up the OW must be and thinking she's just a pathetic POS. I want to find compassion for her but, if the capacity for that is there, it's still buried under some other feeling or feelings. My therapist has been telling me since very early on that finding forgiveness for her is the "gold standard" and that she wants me to get to the point where the OW just doesn't matter to me. I get that her actions weren't about me, neither were my husbsnd's. I forgive my husband because of his desire to be forgiven and all the work he does to earn it. If the OW feels true remorse, I'll never know. If she is working hard to be a better person, I'll never know, if she's ever really held accountable for what she's done, I'll never know. For some reason the not knowing doesn't sit well with me. For some reason, the OW and the pain she caused me, do still matter to me. I wish I knew why.

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    2. Carol, the FirstJuly 16, 2017 at 8:57 AM

      Dear Dandelion, I WAS a therapist (No longer practicing) & I finally forgave her. I still hate what she knowingly did. I have 2 sayings hanging in my home office yet that helps me every day. "Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart" & this one directed to the OW "I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn't sorry and accept an apology I never received". Think of forgiveness like that and you will probably achieve it eventually. For you, not for her.
      Good luck & much love, Carol, the First

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    3. "What kind of woman..." indeed. A broken one, for sure.
      I don't know if I've "forgiven" the other woman but I've certainly, long ago, given up caring where she is, what she's doing and with whom. I just don't care.

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    4. Carol, the First - those quotes - WOW. Those touched at the core of what I was needing right now. Isn't amazing how sometimes you read exactly what you need at a certain time? I am just over a year out from DD - husband had long term EA with coworker and my situation is they still work together. Too long to go into here why that is still the case, but it's hard. I considered her a "family friend" - not like she and I were close, but I knew her for a lot of years and ran into her at many things, all while husband tried to convince me they were just friends, best friends. DDay was a long time coming. Anyway - after DDay, I was the one who sent the "end it" e-mail to her before they saw each other at work. Long story short, her note back to me was less than apologetic. A few days later after she "thought about things" and decided to tell her husband (what exactly she told him, I do not know) but she wanted to reach out to me and my husband told her not to. At the time, he felt he was protecting me and he told me right away that he told her not to reach out to me - but it has always bothered me. And now here we are one year later, they still work together, as far as I am told and as far as I can tell from how dh and I are doing (we've been in therapy) and from what I can see when "checking" - it appears to be all business. But it still hurts...it hurts they work together, but some days her lack of apology to me is what really hurts. I need to let that go - it's effecting so much of my life, me holding out for an apology from her that will likely never come.

      At this point, I am feeling like I am holding on to too much of the past that it's preventing me from moving forward. Everything my husband says I look at it as a lie, instead of looking at it as the truth. Does that make sense? Some days I am so worn out from trying to hard to keep us moving in the forward direction together that I think I am staying stuck. Hard to describe....but my best friend who went through this in her first marriage (and left it) but she has known me since age 13...she says (and my therapist, too) that while they can see I am hurt and trying to heal, if I am not careful I will sabotage everything I am trying to build and my self fulfilling prophecy of pushing my husband away (maybe back to her) will come true. It's so hard to manage it all sometimes!

      Thanks to all for sharing and for the support. (Hugs)

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    5. Thanks, Carol and Elle. I hope to get there one day.

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  2. Hi Elle
    Your daughter was right to cut off that friendship. That friendship is a one way friendship if this girl is troubled.

    I can go right down the line of women to whom I have wasted hours on with my friendship. It was all take and no give. Just one more thing I can add to my list of life's regrets These friendships took a lot of my time which took away from my primary relationship and relationships with my family. One of those friends was actually an AP of my husbands 35 years ago!!

    Indeed no. The point is not the guy. It is the friendship code and this girl showed your daughter she doesn't give a crap about your daughter by doing this. This girl will only get worse I dare say. You should be happy she is smart enough to cut that friendship right now. I hope she never looks back on her. She's poison. I'm with your daughter. Smart girl. Wish I'd have been that smart at 19.

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    1. TH,
      You're right. And my daughter sees it clearly. I admire that conviction. She's sad. She thought this girl was a true-blue friend. But she's really clear, too, that this girl made a choice. That, damaged or not, she had the information that what she was considering would damage a friendship. And she did it anyway. As my daughter said to me just last night, "I know she'll regret losing my friendship. And that makes me sad. But it was a choice she made."

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  3. Thank you for this....I am a huge fan of Richard Rohr and his message...I even sent him a letter after I first found out about my husbands affair and he wrote me back personally

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    1. That's amazing. I find that his words somehow manage to open my heart a little bit more, or make me look at things differently.

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  4. Dandelion-- I hear you. I wish I could have had a convo with the OW. And now it will never happen because she died last month. She's not even burried or cremated. Her family donated her body to science and now she's lying in a slab in some freezer being dissected but by bit. Seems apropos to me.

    Her family listed how appreciative they were of the docs who gave her 3 more years after diagnosis. Seems to me they should be thanking ME for not killing her 6 years ago!!

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  5. I'm sorry if my post offended anyone. I know it sounded harsh.

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    1. Carol, the FirstJuly 16, 2017 at 3:06 PM

      No offence here, TryingHard. You have merely written what most of us feel about the OW. Besides, they are your feelings and you are entitled to feel them. This might very well be the only place you are comfortable enough to express them. Luck and Love to you, Carol, the First

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    2. TH, no offense here. I think it's far better to get your feelings out in words than to hold them in. I know I've spent way too many years repressing mine. That could be why actually acknowledging my anger feels so foreign and uncomfortable to me.
      What Steam said below is so right. I have compassion for the OW in my case's family. I just can't extend it to her yet.

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    3. Not at all! I like it when the ladies on here can be honest. I would secretly cheer if something bad happened to COW. I won't be the one to harm her, but karma can have her and I won't feel bad for not feeling bad!

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    4. If we can't share our ugliest thoughts here, where can we? I was almost ashamed about the terrible things I thought and felt when the OW's child was run over by a truck and almost died (which I suspect partially due to her stupid, immaturity and self absorbed parenting). He is a beautiful child who now disabled and it is terribly sad. But the metaphor of being run over by a truck resonated for me and I thought about all kinds of terrible things to say to her in her pain. I struggled with that alot. But down deep, as a mother who still holds on to the mother code, I know her tragedy is far worse and am sad for her and her family. I just wish she was a believer in the code of protection that our community of parents shared and didn't try to chuck my family under the proverbial truck. And while all sympathy in our community rightly rushed to her, I am glad that there is a little corner of the world here that is on my side and cares more about my pain.

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  6. Thanks ladies. Lol yes they actually got six years and not 3 thanks to my self restraint!!!

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  7. Oh my gosh TH, not harsh at all. I don't wish the pain of her death on her family (i don't remember if they knew) but, Maybe in death she can eventually take away someone's pain instead of inflicting it.

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  8. I'm still working on this in regards to his cow! She was/is a very broken woman and she truly lost everything because of the choices she made 'to love a married man'! She apologized to me is what she told my h in a text, but she doesn't feel sorry about her love for him. I'm not sure what she meant by that but I could care less about her and the love that she's lost! I'm finally concentrating on the love I have found and plan on growing it deeper! I'm still a work in progress!

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  9. Steam--yes her family knew. They are all low life's. several marriages, addictions, children out of wedlock. They are like characters in that show Shameless!! A lot of them treated her terribly and now she's dead they all feel guilty as if mother Theresa had died. So weird. I really don't give a darn about any of them. I find creeps like this pretty amazing they survive at all. I guess they don't. OW was only 54!!!

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  10. Very wise daughter you have there Elle!

    The COW has a post on her pinterst how she is a 'girl's girl'. Oh yes, come to my house, let me feed you a lavish meal, let me take you out to dinner and pay for your meal then you invite my H to have sex with you when I'm pregnant with our 2nd child. Yes, poster child for 'girl's girl'. We really need a board called "Bull $h!t"!

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    1. My exact situation too! ��

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  11. The COW has a tattoo of my husband's name on her wrist supposedly her gesture of true love. She still has it!!! Doesn't hide or cover it up. Urghhh fucking psychotic whore!!! Guess I'm still a little aggravated about that. Elle said long ago it's not a gesture of love but now a reminder of her mistakes everyday true that.

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  12. This has nothing to do with this particular post but I came across this blog today and I am in desperate need of advice. Or someone to listen to me. Or...something. I found out Friday. Found things on his phone and confronted him. He admitted to lying to me our entire 13 year relationship (almost 11 years of marriage). If you had asked me on Thursday if this was something he would do, I would have bet the house that he would never, ever do anything of the sort.

    I was dead wrong.

    And now, I don't know what to do. The pain I feel is more than I could ever have imagined. I can barely breathe, eating is next to impossible, and I feel like I am drowning. Getting out of bed is hard, which is a problem since I have five young kids who need me. The thing is, I am not angry. Yet. I am fairly certain it will come, I think I am stuck in shock mode right now. Is that normal? And where do I go from here? I know nobody really knows the answer to that last question, but I have to ask.

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    1. Anonymous,
      We have all been there. I was in shock for weeks. The anger did come but at first, it was simply survival. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, could barely function. I had three young kids and they are the only reason I got out of bed.
      In the short term, think of this as triage. You need to focus on you, on keeping yourself safe and sane. Eat what you can (toast, smoothies, soup, whatever you can keep down). Sleep when you can. I relied on an over-the-counter sleep aid in the short term in order to fall asleep. Avoid alcohol, drugs or any behaviour that can get you into trouble (gambling, over-shopping, etc.) Be gentle with yourself. This is a huge shock and the pain can feel overwhelming. But I promise you, the day will come when this is a bad memory. You will get through this.
      In the meantime, I would encourage you to find a therapist who can help you process the pain of betrayal. It's excruciating, as you know.
      You can deal with whether or not you want to rebuild your marriage (it's possible, assuming both partners are willing to work hard and your husband is willing to do the incredibly hard work of figuring out why he's made such an awful choice) after you're through the shock. My husband had cheated for our entire relationship, completely unbeknownst to me. I felt like a fool. This summer, we celebrate our 21st anniversary and he's been "clean" for 11 years since I found out.
      The women on this site are incredible -- warm, compassionate and so supportive. Every one of us knows the pain of betrayal and is moving through it. We're here to help you too.

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    2. Hi Anon,
      I was you exactly 4 years ago. I can't believe it was that long ago. We are here for you. And I found everything Elle says, along with many wise voices her, as a life boat when I thought I would drown so I hope you use this site.
      I am here and stronger and better. Just remember that you have the capacity to get there too. Even when you think you won't make it, remember those of us who have and know that you will too. Just hang in there and look after yourself. Look after yourself as if you were nursing a sick child back to health. Be your own best friend right now.

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    3. anonymous,
      I could have written your post on the days after I found out too. I felt the exact same way. I lost so much weight and found it hard just to keep taking my next breath. With extreme self care (I let so many things go!), therapy, and time I am now feeling good. Really good. Like better than before I found out. The weight of what my H was doing affected me even when I didn't know about it! Now I'm more "me" than I've ever been. There is support here. The kind that tells you how to keep breathing and growing, not the kind that judges you for your choices about how to handle your marriage. That is so valuable!! Sending you hugs and hoping you stick around and follow Elle's excellent advice about taking care of yourself. One of the things that has helped me most as soon as I could sleep and breath was exercise. I started slow and did not look at is as punishment for myself at all. It was one of the ways to treat myself kindly and helped with the anxiety I felt (when my heart was racing, it felt better to hit the road running so my heartbeat seemed normal. I didn't like it racing when I was just sitting there.)

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  13. The girl code. Indeed. I love this post because it touches on my situation, which I've mentioned here before. The OW in my case was my next door neighbor and friend. The four of us hung out often with our kids and had a great time. I've chosen to stay in our community which makes run ins with her more likely. It's horrible. I ran into her at a store two months ago and was immediately filled with rage. I called her a stupid whore. And she unleashed. "It's been two years!" She spat at me. "Get a grip. See a shrink."

    I asked her then if the socks she was buying were for her husband or someone else's. She rolled her eyes at me. No shame.


    This showed me the true nature of her character, which then brought me full circle to the anger I have for my husband. How could he have gone anywhere near that disgusting whore? And she is a highly visable community member. Again, no shame. I get the psychology around it. She's trying to find worth in her worthless self. Accolades. Appreciation. Piece of shit.

    I don't have empathy for her. Her dad cheated and then returned to the family. Her brother is 20 years younger than her. She was obviously unhappy with her own marriage. And I heard she cheated on him before. All of this shows her damaged, trashy self. But that doesn't excuse her bringing her shit show into my life and house and family. I hope she suffers daily.

    I also love the part you mention here about remembering my own pain. Jesus, I could barely function when this hit. I had to live next to that bitch!! For 6 months until we moved. Excruciating. And again, it brought me full circle to anger at my husband. How, HOW, could he have put me through this? And her? How did she not think of her husband and kids, or me, while sneaking around to fuck in my basement?

    It's better now. Time has helped. Moving was necessary and helps with healing. I read Anonymous' post with sadness. And hope. She can find women here who will listen and offer words of advice and healing. Sometimes I comment. Sometimes I just read and know I'm not alone. Thanks, Elle!

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  14. I recently had a breakthrough about one of the OW that belongs here. I was continuing to be puzzled about why one of them in particular bothered me so much. Why I held on to so much anger toward her in particular. After much therapy and reflection, I came to realize that each OW had come to represent different traits for me. One was drunk, one was trashy, one was very young, and one was mean/shallow. In actuality, they were all likely trashy, drunk and mean (only one was in her 20's), but it was the one I attributed meanness/shallowness to that kept me mad the longest. That is because it's so much more closely tied to my values than the other traits. I'm mature,sophisticated and sober enough, but those aren't the really important things about me. The core of me is kind. Subscribes to the "sister code". Is a good friend always. Under anger is always pain. Under this anger was the pain that my H did not see or care about the core of me when he made his choice. He "traded me in" (in the moment) for her and therefore didn't value the main thing I have to offer the world. It simply stings more. Some of this pain is like tumor removal. Once it's cut out and examined from all sides, it's no longer part of your body at least. I don't feel as angry now about her.

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    1. Wow, Ann! Thank you for sharing that. It resonates. During many tear-filled conversations, I've told my husband that by choosing "her" he trampled all over the traits I thought he valued in me, the things I took pride in. Honesty, kindness, compassion, loyalty.., There are so many other things but those are at the core of who I am. She has shown herself to be none of those things, yet he chose her. And even though we've discussed the fact that she could have been anyone, it still hurts. So yes, under my anger is most definitely pain. I need to recognize that it's unlikely he would have found someone loyal and compassionate who was willing to destroy a family for cheap sex. I need fully separate their actions from my worth, but it's still a struggle.

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  15. To: Anonymous July 17, 2017...

    Good Morning, so very happy you found us to get advice and share your pain. I start most mornings with a cup of coffee and read on here. I did not find the site until probably 9 months after DDay, so I’m glad you found this so fast. You will find comfort here. At this point I’m sure you are trying to get any amount of information so that you can cope and feel connected to SOMETHING. I felt that same way. Nobody ever had a reason to do this google search to investigate prior to DDay.

    Yes, you definitely are in shock. I don’t think I even cried for days. I was in shock, shook like crazy (like I was cold) and was thrusted into my first of many panic attacks. Never ever had one in my life, so I had no clue what was happening to my body. I wanted to die. My heart hurt so bad, so very bad. For the most part, I never experienced much pain up until this day. The only equivalent I can think of would be a death and I haven’t lost my parents or sibling. I would not wish this pain on anyone.

    I’m so very sorry with what you are going through. Like Elle and MBS stated, we are here and proof that although painful and hard, you will survive. I’m now 28 months out and although each betrayed wife on here has a different timeline, our steps and stories along the way will help you. Do reach out to a therapist or someone to confide in. You are a wife with a broken heart, but you are also a mom and need to be there for them. Scoop them up and cuddle and hold them close to ease your pain daily. My H and I decided to work things out and we did 30 second hugs once a day. Not much talking during the hug. I found it to be a good method to release my stress and pain. There are no words for this pain. The simple hug enabled us to find each other on a daily basis and be unified.

    Besides the shock and loss of appetite that you are experiencing, I also lost sleep for a good year and went the bathroom all the time resulting in extreme weight loss. Many on here also lost hair. Stress and anxiety work in silent mode and at times you don’t see things happening. I went into a mode where I just needed to hear that I mattered. Why would he do this to me and break my heart. Why? I was kind hearted, honest, patient and took good care of myself and our entire family. I worked many hours, yet I was the rock for all. I was the shit! What the hell? All I could think of is what did I do wrong?

    I now know, this wasn’t about me. I did nothing wrong and neither did you. About the only thing I can say now is I did too much. I did too much for everyone for our 17 years of marriage and lost myself along the way. Dday was undoubtedly the worst day of my life, yet also a reset day for me to find myself again. I’ve learned so much about myself over the last 2+ years. I was strong before and even stronger now, but in a different way. I care more about me than ever before and I know that no matter what, I will be okay.. even if I'm alone.

    Exercise is helpful. Even if you don’t normally enjoy exercise, try and push yourself to get in the mode of caring for your body. I started yoga and also found a classical stretch tv program that relaxed my soul. Prior to Dday, when I was all about taking care of the kids and him, I never fit in the time to take care of myself. I was a runner in college, but due to a bad knee, now I walk. I walked and walked the dog with my ear buds the first summer. I counted steps and to me it was stepping out of my black hole. I fell into a deep dark hole and I was going to get out of it and see daylight.

    Take care, reach out again and know you are surrounded with love today. We got your back, your front and your fragile heart. xo

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  16. What kind of woman indeed. And after she knows I found out and after he ended the affair she wants him to remain friends with her. Llooooool. I honestly don't know to laugh or cry. What kind of woman. She's even shocked that they can't be friends.

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    1. Sounds like my husband's whore. Upset they can't be friends - cry me a river and fuck off! LOL

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  17. My cow assumed that they could remain friends after I found it. She was shocked that we said NO!

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  18. I can't understand anger towards the OW. You say girl code but where is the girl code in respect to you and the OW. Put the blame where it should be and surely this is the partner who has cheated and lied?

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I'm curious where, in my post, you saw anger toward the OW. And I would also point you to 98% of the posts on this site which does exactly what you suggest -- place blame on the partner who cheated and lied. This post specifically refers to a situation in which it's a (female) friend who's part of the betrayal.
      However, I gather you're speaking in a broader sense about betrayed wives who are angry at OW? In that case, everything TryingHard says below is true. Being angry at the OW doesn't preclude being angry at our partner. There's plenty of anger to go around when we discover that two people made the choice to participate in the deception and the betrayal of someone who hadn't a clue. Of course we're angry when we're sitting in the STD clinic awaiting the news of whether we've contracted one. Of course we're angry when our phone fills with vitriolic texts from a newly exposed OW. Angry that someone participated in hurting another person.
      Your few sentences read as though you've a) never been cheated on and/or b) have been an OW. Otherwise, why comment?
      To be honest, Anonymous, I never anticipated the agony I felt after betrayal. I had always assumed I kick the offender out, wipe my hands of him and move on. NOTHING prepared for the fall-on-your-knees agony of it. Most of us say the same thing on this site. It affects you in ways you never imagined. And it affects the whole family in ways we never imagined.
      And yet our culture treats infidelity as 'meh'. Everybody does it. Well, those with integrity do not. Those of us who choose to stay with a partner who cheated do so with the expectation that our partners will reckon with what they did and never do it again. I hope that OW do the same reckoning. Then, perhaps, we'll begin to have a girl code that's worth something.

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    2. How can you say there is no anger towards the OW!
      Below tryinghard proves my point! And above Emma says the cow! And that's two examples that are just easily available to point out with out trying.
      Tryme above calls the OW a disgusting whore and a piece of sh*t and hopes the OW suffers daily!
      There is so much anger towards the OW and I feel this is misplaced. Like if the OW wasn't alive then the partner wouldn't have cheated!
      I don't believe that, if a partner is going to cheat they will cheat.
      I feel this site judges the OW and I honestly believe that we put preconceived ideas and personas on to the OW.
      And for the record I have been the wife who was cheated on and the gf who was cheated on. And now I'm the divorced wife!
      If the OW is single then how is she doing something wrong if she is with your partner! Your partner made promises to you etc so it's them that are to blame or are in the wrong.
      And I honestly believe if you are not sleeping with your partner then someone else is.
      So please don't prejudge me from a simple question or different point of view, don't tell me about the agony you felt or the fall on your knees agony as if I don't know what you are talking about, nothing prepared me for the feeling I felt when walking into my house we shared but I had moved out of to give him space and seeing the boxes piled up ready for storage. I had no idea he had decided to pack his stuff and move out! I saw those boxes and the empty house and I had to sit down and put my fist in my mouth to stop myself from screaming as I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and my world broke.
      But that feeling was because of him and not because some OW distracted him or forced him to cheat.
      And pls don't take anything I say against you at all. I just wanted to point out another side
      And thank you for taking the time to respond.
      I just don't like girls against girls

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    3. Anonymous - The blame is on the husband - his decision his choice, but when the OW knew and in my case, actually went after him and deliberately tried to get him to leave me, she shares the blame as well. He could have said no, I know that. But what girl code is she living by to purposely try and connive her way in when she knew we were having problems? Sorry, she is a whore and my husband showed his lack of integrity. There's plenty of hate to go around....

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    4. Anonymous,
      I'm sorry you're part of this club. And of course, there's another side. But to dismiss the anger that many feel towards the OW isn't helpful or particularly fair. We each respond to betrayal in our own way. I don't know a single woman who has posted on this site who exclusively blames the OW. But in many many cases, the OW has specifically targeted the wife with taunts, lies, stalking and incredible cruelty. And, in many cases, the OW specifically targeted a married man, which, as far as I'm concerned, moves her completely out of any sisterhood.
      Of course, it's incumbent on the person who made the vows to us to hold true to those vows. And, as I said, no-one (to my knowledge) lets their husband off the hook. But our anger towards our spouse (generally masking the incredible hurt and fear we feel) needs to be transformed if we're to remain in the marriage. The anger we feel toward the OW...does not. It is a "safe" place to direct the fury we feel that we are going through this at all. At no point do we advocate DOING anything with that anger. But we're entitled to feel it. And frankly, many women here (including me) were able to move past that anger to a sort of pity/empathy where we can acknowledge that the OW has her own problems and, in my case, a life I certainly wouldn't want. But that takes time. And healing.
      Kudos to you for being able to emotionally absolve the OW in your case from any connection to the pain you felt from your husband's choices. And if you're encouraging us to take the same path as you, I think you might have worded your original post in a way that makes room for a bit more compassion for those of us who aren't where you are (and may never be). We often say on this site that we each get to walk our own path toward healing, and that includes room to allow each other to respond to the OW in whatever way feels right for us. Do I think a constant fury toward the OW is necessarily healthy? Nope. But I do think there are frequently circumstances that make the likelihood that someone can see the OW as anything other than malicious and cruel almost impossible.

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    5. I sincerely apologise if you feel I dismissed anyone's feelings towards the OW as that was not my intention. And of course everyone's situation is different. I'm merely saying if the OW is a normal person and doesn't go psycho etc etc then I feel the blame should be put where it is. but I also believe your partner chose to bring said OW into your relationship and I still believe no matter how she acts it's still his fault. So if she goes psycho then he is still to blame. I have compassion for any woman who gets hurt by a man no matter if that man is someone else's husband.

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    6. It's time to put this thread to rest. We work hard to make space for every response to infidelity but the key is that even when we disagree, we do so in a way that respects each of our experiences. There is no "right" way to respond to such pain except one that honors ourselves and each other.

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  19. Sorry Anon but when another woman fucks your husband, you need STD tests, your bank account is suddenly less than, children wonder where is daddy it is NOT the victim aka BS who is breaking the mythical girl code and obviously there is NO girl code. The OW is bereft of any girl code. At that point all bets and the gloves come off. Do you blame banks for getting robbed? It’s called fucking integrity!!! Something OWs have none of. That answer your question??

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    1. I'm sorry if I upset you, it was not my intention. I don't quite get your analogy of the bank. If your husband sleeps with someone who has stds then again it's his fault. If your bank account is suddenly less it's his fault. If your children are asking where daddy is it's still his fault.
      I'm sorry you went through that
      I wish you strength and happiness

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  20. Hi Anon— make no mistake in two counts. Yes i blames my h 100%. Yes he was the one who lied, broke his promise etc. oh hell yeah i was infinitely madder at him than his AP. And he got the message loud and ckear

    Also make no mistake that I’m pissed at the OW too for the low life immoral bitch she is/was. She’s dead!! Do you honestly believe i am so stupid to think that just because she’s dead he can’t kick a trash can and find 100 more just like her?? Please!! You’re flattering yourself thinking you have the answers and we are wrong to hate the OW. Actually i hate all immoral people alike. Not just those who fuck my husvand or my husband fucked but any and all immoral people who destroy families.

    Hating and blaming the OW does not preclude or replace the anger and blame I have for my h. Quite the contrary even. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Not the same thing.

    And i dont buy what you’re selling. Bye Felicia

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    1. Felicia,
      My sincere apologies I have upset you and I'm not sure what I said that came across like I have all the answers as I definitely don't. I merely added another point of view, I'm not selling anything.
      I apologise and I hope you are okay.

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  21. Anonymous
    My h had tried desperately to end his affair after the first two months with her but she became a manipulative and desperate woman after she destroyed her marriage to have her affair with my h. That said she saw as I moved my clothes and dog into our home and still she pursued him with her blackmail of telling me until he just couldn’t take it anymore and he told her to do what ever she had to do to just leave us alone. She wouldn’t/couldn’t until harassment charges were brought. I went through many emotions in regards to the cow. I call her that because she’s delusional. I’m in the space now that she is a nothing to me but her actions caused me ptsd and my h has had to endure many more months of the fall out from the way she chose to treat me. I only have pity for that person as she literally ended up with nothing. She is/was a licensed therapist that knew exactly what she was doing and how wrong it was. That’s why many of my posts have such anger towards her. Yes he made the choice to begin that relationship but she failed to respect his feelings in the end of that relationship. Just as she disrespected me from the moment she knew he was married! Both shared the guilt but only my h chose to make changes to respect me and our marriage by changing his behavior.

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    1. I think that's a crucial point, Theresa. If OW actually took any steps to acknowledge the pain they've participated in creating, I suspect the response of many here would be different. But, except in rare circumstances, that doesn't happen. Far more often, the OW lashes out.

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    2. Theresa,
      How awful and I'm sorry, as I said everyone has their own situation and you certainly deserve your anger as what she has done to you is definitely wrong and she has no girl code. I was more meaning in respect to just the affair and being angry at ow for that or blaming the ow.
      I apologise if i offended as that was not my intention. I hope you are okay

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    3. Anonymous
      You didn’t offend nor do you need to apologize for your opinion, however, that said, his cow never understood how she was wrong in any part of this shitfest because she felt entitled and thought that I was weak and would just walk no run away from my marriage because as she thought ‘why would you want a fake marriage ‘? Talk about weak...she had no clue that her relationship was all fantasy...his and hers!

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  22. Anon--No apologies necessary. And I am really sorry you think your comments upset me. I actually find your comments quite amusing and got a good laugh out of them so no worries there dearie. I hope you are ok too.

    You have a right to your opinion and so do we. Good for you that you found peace with your H's OW. It sounds like she was quite a lovely woman. Good on you for recognizing that. Sounds like the three of you have hashed things out and your marriage is on the right track.

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  23. Oh I'm very happily divorced, I decided I was worth more than being cheated on or a husband who disappeared for ages and couldn't face anything real or serious. I never met the OW or even found out who she was. Why bother, she means nothing to me, finding out everything about the OW won't help, we will compare ourselves to them, we will beat ourselves up when you are already knocked by being cheated on by the person you thought was the closest thing to you etc. Sure if she had been a friend etc then I would have addressed it and what ever relationship I had with her. I decided what my self worth was and it was more than being treated that way.
    We didn't have children so the decision had no consequences past me and him. We could pass in the street and I don't have to say hello because we now have no connection, I do say hello because I can hold my head up high and know I'm the better person and have no feelings either war towards him. So please understand that helped and i admire women who see the bigger picture and put their children first or just can move past it. They are bigger people than me to beagle to forgive etc
    So laugh away, seems more insulting to be laughed at but then I would rather that than insult or hurt anyone
    So believe me I have no idea if the OW is a lovely woman or not, and there was no three people in my marriage or my divorce. So no 3 hashing out needed!

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    1. That's wonderful. I'm glad you got a happily ever after. And thank-you for acknowledging that those of us whose lives include children (and sometimes co-owned businesses, etc., that make leaving not very tidy) have other considerations in mind when we make our choices. We each have to walk our own path. And I can assure you I'm not laughing at you. I feel nothing but sympathy for anyone who finds herself here because it means we've dealt with the agony of betrayal.

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  24. Anon— i am so happy to hear that you are happily divorced. Personally i know very few happily divorced people. It seems they dump the cheater but never fixed their own picker and generally end up in the same messy boat only with a different crew. I’m certain you have fixed your own picker. At least i hope so. But it seems counter intuitive to me that if one is happily divorced they still read blogs like this and even take the time to comment.

    This blog supports women who try to make their present marriages work for a multitude of reasons and not just for the children. There’s a really good blog out there that supports those like you who choose to dump the cheater and supposedly gain a life. Google that term and you will find her. She’s really quite brilliant and her followers are quite supportive. I like reading her posts but i never comment and i certainly don’t feel the need to expose my own success story to those people. It’s really apples and oranges with regards to points of view and life experiences. Had i choose to throw the bum out that’s where i would hang.

    Very sorry if i upset you. Wasn’t my intention. I hope you’re ok. Happy Holidays to you Anon

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    1. Apples and oranges is my assessment also. Absolutely there are OW who make stupid mistakes. It's the intentionally malicious ones that I think a lot of us struggle to deal with. It's hard to take the high road if the OW is waiting at every turn to thumb her nose at you.
      And perhaps Anonymous will take your advice and seek out the other site, though she's welcome here if she chooses. There are plenty of people here who have chosen also to leave their marriages (or had that choice made for them) and they are as welcome as anyone else.

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  25. You make a great point Elle. I really feel sorry for the women who dint know the guy is married. And once they find out they are married they dump them immediately. Certainly i believe people can be duped. Heck we were duped! I think it’s great when a BS chooses divorce and moves on to Meh with regards to the ex and the OW. That’s the sign of a very healthy mind. Shit happens. There’s so many variables we all take into consideration in our choices and judgement.

    And certainly the OW with whom i have experience deserves every bit if my ire. Pretty sure had she been in my shoes she’d have hated me too. Heck she did hate me and i did nothing to her. I don’t need a happily divorced person to tell me I’m wrong. She has no clue what my life is or anyone else’s.

    Regardless i enjoy reading other people’s POV but i also have a good nose for BS 😊

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  26. I’m chiming in late here but once a woman breaks the sister code she needs to work her way back in. She doesn’t get to stroll back in while badmouthing and backstabbing without learning a thing. Husbands are the same way- break Your vows? Get to work working on the marriage or get out.

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