Friday, October 26, 2012

What I learned as the "other woman..."

I know, taboo topic. However, I think there are a lot of women out there with misconceptions about what it means to be "the other woman." It is a situation that is romanticized in so many television shows, movies, books, etc. There are women everyday that find themselves tempted by a taken man. For whatever reason they are drawn to him.

Maybe they feel neglected in their own relationship. It might be they truly believe they love this man. There could be a history with him that existed before he met his significant other. I am going to venture to guess that most women that actually end up being the "other woman" started out feeling it was wrong and tried to avoid feeling the way they were. Somewhere in the mess of the whole thing they find some justification... usually with the help of the man.

They aren't hurting anybody. They are both adults. He isn't happy at home. He is leaving his wife, the time just isn't right. He really loves her, not his wife. It is about the kids, he and his wife aren't happy. The two of them were meant to be. He really needs her. He is only happy with her. He and his wife never even have sex, they are basically roommates. His wife trapped him and he felt obligated to stay.

The reasons could go on forever. Each situation is unique while at the same time being no different. It is cheating and it is wrong. I did it. I wholeheartedly believed what we were doing was justified. Let me clarify and say it again. I intellectually knew it was wrong, but emotionally I believed it was justified.

That was years ago. I know now that I was wrong in my beliefs. I was wrong. We were wrong. It was wrong. And once it is done, it can't be undone. The results of those actions, the events set in motion, are out of anyone's control. It is so easy when you are caught up in the moment of lust, when you are falling for his whispered promises, and when you are under the delusion that it is love.

One of the first things I learned about being the "other woman" is that you are just that. You are the "other woman." There is nothing special about that. It isn't romantic. It is sneaking around, stolen moments (short moments), not being able to chat on the phone, and not being able to be seen in public. Most likely there are few occasions for holding hands, waking up in each others arms, sharing a meal together, or watching a movie. The significant, yes I said significant, other, she gets to do all those things. defines significant as: important; of consequence. She is the important one. To believe anything else is delusional. 

I also learned it is mostly about sex for the man. The woman may not want to admit it, accept it, whatever the case may be... but it is most likely a physical relationship that he pretties up with romantic notions. Maybe he and his wife aren't having sex. Or, maybe he just isn't get enough, likes it a different way, etc. The fact is, while it is usually about an emotional connection for the woman, it is mostly physical for the man. Ladies, this is true in a lot of monogamous relationships. Why would it be any different with your extra-marital affair? 

Something else I learned is that his promises aren't worth anything. If he is lying to his wife to be with you, he is most likely lying to you. It is easy to fill yourself with all of these reasons why he would tell you the truth and not her. Think about it. He dated her. He walked down the aisle with her. They live together. It is her he eats dinner with. Maybe they are raising a family together. They attend family gatherings together, watch their favorite shows together, and go on vacations together. He does all that while lying to her. What in the world would make him be so forthcoming with you... the "other woman." And tell me... how would you know if he wasn't telling the truth?

The most important thing I learned from being the "other woman" is that it isn't love. The fairytale you are spinning in your head about ending up together someday isn't going to happen. Spending fleeting moments together isn't love. A romp in the sack isn't love. Him going home to his wife isn't love. Love is faithfulness. Love is kind. Love is loyalty. Love is honesty. Love is integrity. Love is an action. It is not a bunch of empty words. 

When it is all said and done a relationship that begins as an affair is almost certainly doomed. There is little chance it is going to last. Even if he does leave his girlfriend or wife - how much trust are you going to have in your relationship? After the honeymoon stage is over what are you going to think when he starts coming home late? What will you suspect when he starts taking late night phone calls? Will you recognize the signs? Will you feel angry? Jealous? Sick to your stomach? 

When he doesn't leave his wife - the most likely scenario - and you are alone, what do you have? You have a broken heart, because for you it was an emotional thing. You have weeks, months, or years of memories with a man you really liked -- maybe loved! They are memories with someone's husband. You have a song that reminds you him every time you hear it. There is a movie you can't watch without thinking of him. All of the sudden there are places you can't go anymore because the memories are too painful. 

The whole experience leaves you jaded and cynical. It doesn't prepare you for a healthy relationship. It doesn't make you feel good. You don't feel good about yourself or about the pain you caused the other people involved. There is irreparable damage done... whether the truth comes out or not. 

I DO NOT subscribe to the theory, "Once a cheater, always a cheater." That is a juvenile statement in my opinion. People evolve, they mature, they grow, and if they are wise, they learn from their mistakes. When I was the "other woman" I cheated on my significant other as well. I learned my lesson. The pain I caused him, the wife, and myself was enough for me to know I would never do it again. I think if someone is unhappy enough in a relationship to cheat there is a good chance they will have fidelity issues in that relationship without counseling or some other intervention. I do not believe that every other relationship is doomed. 

I realize this post will earn me some not so glowing responses. That is okay.  I say this to those that are feeling tempted. Maybe you are currently in a situation like this. Or maybe you have been there. 

You are not alone and you can change.