Being The Other Woman
Almost half of all married men, and slightly fewer married women, admit to having had at least one affair. Amongst those in long term relationships the percentage of those who admit to having strayed at least once is even higher. As this tends not to be something that is too cheerfully admitted to I suspect the real figure may scare the most hardened realist.
lmost half of all married men, and slightly fewer married women, admit to having had at least one affair. Amongst those in long term relationships the percentage of those who admit to having strayed at least once is even higher. As this tends not to be something that is too cheerfully admitted to I suspect the real figure may scare the most hardened realist.
I have often heard an “Other Woman” say “But I don’t know anyone else who has done this, no-one in my family has, and none of my friends have either.” Well, they are very much mistaken. Chances are they know plenty of people who have had, and quite a few who are having, an affair. It’s just not something people tell everyone around them.
If the statistics are even remotely accurate we can look at any group of people, anywhere (with the possible exception of a monastery), and roughly half of them will have had an affair at some stage in the lives.
Scary, isn’t it? And, at the same time, somewhat reassuring, because however alone we may feel at times with our situation, we are, in fact, not alone at all. We are many. Many more than society as a whole wishes to accept.
There are books about “how to be” just about everything under the sun, but for the woman who more or less unexpectedly finds herself in the situation where she has assumed a role that is rarely spoken about in polite company, there is little help except "Don't do it."
Now this is not particularly helpful when one is in emotional turmoil because things have gone past the point where "Don't go there, it will end in tears, most likely yours" is of any help at all.
This book is not intended to entice nice girls to don a short skirt, slap on the mascara and go on the hunt for a defenseless married man to drag kicking and screaming back to her lair.
It is absolutely not intended to be a “how to become a mistress” book either. Instead it is meant to be a book that will help those who are already finding themselves in this situation to survive doing the least harm to everyone involved, including themselves.
Those who may expect a step-by-step guide on “how to make one’s lover leave his wife” will be disappointed I’m afraid.
Chapter - 21 -
Don’t even think about it !
Hand on heart: If you are having an affair and would quite like it to be a little more than “just that” you have probably thought about how it would be if he left her. And once you allow your thoughts to travel that far you may also have toyed with the thought what would happen if his wife found out about you.
You may even have touched on the purely hypothetical possibility of helping things along a little. As long as you did not go any further than that such thoughts are a little disturbing, but no harm has been done. Don’t, however, seriously contemplate actually doing anything along those lines.
If you don’t take anything else in this book to heart: This bit is absolutely vitally important if you want to spend the rest of your life looking at yourself in the mirror with a shred of genuine self respect.
You must never, under any circumstances, force the issue and tread loose an avalanche of disaster which, once moving, can not be controlled or directed, and will completely mess up the life of everyone in its path.
In fact you have to take my word for it that it will not and can not and absolute never will have an outcome you could possibly want.
There are four possible outcomes to doing such a thing
1) His wife goes ballistic, kicks him out, and you end up with him. (This is, surprisingly, by far the least likely outcome of “D-day.”)
2) His wife declares war on you and won’t dream of giving him up, gives him hell instead and he crawls back under the marital duvet and would rather jump off a bridge than go anywhere near you ever again.
3) Either of the above, and after a while, if and when the dust has settled, he and you resume your affair. But the trust is broken between the two of you.
4) His wife and him split up or stay together, but you will no longer feature in their lives because he won’t have anything what-so-ever to do with a woman who acts like that.
Whichever way it goes, you will lose out. If you can’t bear to let things carry on as they are then you have to draw a line and split up with him. But don’t try to change matters by wreaking havoc in such a manner.
If he decides that he can no longer live a lie, and that he wants to spend his life with you and not with his wife, then it is up to him to bring about the changes necessary to make that happen. If he does not want to do that, or can’t bring himself to take that step, then you have the choice to leave things as they are or walk away.
Forcing the issue is not an option, it is not your place to do so and you will not achieve your dream of long term happiness with the man you love by doing so. Just believe me. It is not going to work out the way you would want to.
Apart from the fact that forcing his hand will not endear you to him in 99.9% of all cases; you will most likely not achieve your goal anyway. Yes, you may end up with him that way if his wife kicks him out, dirty socks et al, but do you really want to end up with him by default?
At times the need and dream of “having him” to yourself at long last can be overwhelming. But a relationship wants to be built on a mutual desire and decision to be together, “mutual” being the operative word here….
Quite apart from the fact that his wife will probably decide to fight for him, and not be even dreaming of letting you have him, do you really think you can be happy when you have to wonder if he had ever left the safe harbor of his marriage under his own steam if you had not forced matters?
Chapter - 22 -
His wife and family….
Are none of your business!
However tempting it may be, as his mistress you should stay away from his “other” life.
This is imperative for two vital reasons: The first and most important is that you should stay as far away from them as possible for their sake. No wife deserves her husband’s mistress loitering around the corner, stalking her in the supermarket or driving slowly past her home at night. She may not know about it, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable.
Watching his children come out of school from across the street is not the act of a loving woman who wants to be close to the man she adores, it is borderline psychotic. Stay away!
Of course you also risk your own peace of mind if you let yourself get too interested.
If you accept that he has a life of which you are no part, and never will be, and then file that part away in one drawer of your mind that remains firmly shut at all times you stand a much better chance of them affecting you as little as it possible under the circumstances.
You don’t really want to know what his wife looks like, how she moves, speaks, cooks, or, god forbid, makes love to him. You don’t really want to know what their garden looks like, how they have decorated the toilet or what beautiful flower arrangements she puts on the table. Let these images invade your mind too much and you’ll drive yourself crazy!
If you can make her that shadowy vague persona that has a bearing on your life by being his wife, but who does not directly affect you, it is more likely that you manage to live with yourself and what you are doing in the long run.
In the cold light of day she is nothing to do with you. Unless she is a friend (in which case – shame on you) you do not really owe her anything, you are not the one who is breaking the promises made to her, you are not the one lying to her or cheating on her. She is his wife and therefore his responsibility, the only responsibility you have is to ensure that she does not find out about you because of something you do.
Don’t look at photos of her, don’t ask about her, and if he mentions her tell him you don’t want to hear anything about it. Chances are that what he tells you about his wife will be a heavily edited version of the truth by definition anyway, so why subject yourself to it? You are not a masochist!
You might say (with some justification) that pretending his wife does not exist is nothing more than a cheap coping mechanism, but you are in a situation where any coping mechanism is a good coping mechanism provided you don’t actually delude yourself into really thinking that somehow she doesn’t exist. It is one thing to avoid thoughts, facts and images which will serve no purpose other than to give you sleepless nights, and quite another to live in cloud-cuckoo-land. As in so many other respects of having an affair the balance to be struck is your responsibility.
So, accept that he has a wife and that the roles are divided up in the age-old way of adultery – her – the wife, nothing to do with you – and you, the mistress, nothing to do with her as long as she doesn’t find out about you.
If, of course, she DOES find out about you you’ll be facing the reality of her sooner than you’d planned in one way or the other, but that is a bridge you can cross if ever you come to it.
I suppose the one advantage of at least knowing what she looks like is so you can avoid opening the door to her should she pitch up on your doorstep one day with steam coming out of her ears.
Should you be unlucky enough to have to encounter her more or less frequently because you and her have common friends, or because she accompanies her husband to business functions you also have to attend, your situation gets considerably more complicated.
You can no longer pretend she doesn’t exist in your life, and if you are unlucky you have to watch them together as a couple.
You should avoid situations like this if you can, for your own sake as well as much as anything else, because she is probably no fool. Unless you are an accomplished actress she may, if she has any sensitivity at all, notice that you are behaving somewhat oddly around her. Underestimate a wife’s ability to pick up vibes, from her husband or from you, at your peril.
Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to spend time with them because circumstances beyond your control force you to do so, keep any direct contact between the three of you to a minimum without making it too obvious. Being seen to avoid someone can be as much of a give-away as following them around like a lovesick puppy. I recently watched two people who had always greeted each other with a broad smile and a peck on the cheek suddenly behave as if they barely know each other. They had started having an affair. If it was that clear to me then it will be clear to others too, so beware!
So if he is, for example, a colleague and you are both at the same business occasion, greet him like you would any other colleague and then make your excuses with a smile and find someone you really have to speak to. Don’t stare at them over dinner, but don’t avoid him like the plague either. It’s a difficult balancing act and once you have mastered this bit you truly are entering the advanced levels of “Being The Other Woman!”
There is only one situation where you actually must pay close attention to his wife, and that is when she has found out about you and comes to confront you.
This is, of course, a nightmare scenario you will have done your level best to avoid ever happening.
First of all, do not enter into an argument with her. You will not win this, as she has the moral high-ground by definition! You have wronged her, not the other way round, and she has every right in the world to be very, very angry with you.
Don’t give her any excuses. “But it just happened” will calm her down no more than “We could not help ourselves.” There is no explanation, no reasoning, really nothing what-so-ever you can say that will make any difference to her. Blaming him may temporarily deflect her anger but isn’t the solution either.
Horrible as it is, the only thing you can really do in this most unpleasant of all possible scenarios is to let her have her say, she deserves it! Obviously you don’t have to let her go over the top, and you should protect yourself in the unlikely event that she might get physical, but when you started an affair with her husband you must have known that this situation could, one day, arise. Bear it with whatever dignity you can muster, and if it makes her feel better to call you every name under the sun then just take it on the chin….
Don’t enter into a discussion with her, and whatever you do, don’t volunteer any details of your affair or reasons why you think he was cheating on her in the first place. You may believe that his marriage was really bad, or over in all but name before he even met you. You may have been led to believe that she is cold, or doesn’t understand him (yes, that old chestnut), but you can not possibly say these things to her without putting yourself into an even more indefensible position than you are in already.
Really the only thing you should say to her is “Please discuss this with your husband.” No more.
Once you have been found out and you have been confronted about it by her (poor you…) it would be a wise idea to let things calm down. What happens next is now out of your hands to a very large degree, don’t throw fuel into the fire by calling him or getting in touch with him, he will get in touch with you when he can. If he doesn’t you know that your affair has come to an abrupt (and at least temporary) end.
Surprisingly maybe, affairs tend to not die after the first or even often the second time they are discovered. Usually a period of silence follows the initial shock, then the wayward husband tends to start contacting his Other Woman again, and more often than not the affair starts all over again.
However, generally things are never quite the same again. Everyone involved is on their toes, the wife is more suspicious, the husband more nervous, and The Other Woman catches herself wondering if it’s all worth it more and more frequently.