Waterloo Region Record

I was the ‘other woman’ and now I’m miserable

- ELLIE Advice Columnist

Here’s another look at the people involved — this time, it’s the “other woman” — in response to my call for stories of being betrayed by a cheating partner (August 2):

“I’m the ‘other woman’ and am with the ‘other man’ seven years later. I expect I’ll always be despised, judged, virtually friendless. He was able to discard the ‘other man’ stigma quickly.

“I’m an educated profession­al who had a perfect life of husband, children, beautiful house, cottage — until I fell for the other man.

“How? I believed the lies and felt sorry for him. He told me about sleeping on the couch, how his marriage wasn’t really a marriage, how his wife didn’t love him and more.

“He admits now that it was mostly lies to get what he wanted (me). And I believed that someone who was such a decent well-liked guy, who also had a (seemingly) perfect life, wouldn’t pursue another woman if the marriage wasn’t over (though not legally).

“That was where I was myself. In my heart, my marriage felt over. I no longer loved my spouse. His emotional abuse and put-downs had finally knocked out any of the feelings I ever had for him. I was very lonely.

“So, when the other man started texting, flirting, paying attention to me, wanting to meet for coffee and drinks, I felt less lonely, I felt valued. And then I felt loved and I was in love. It felt impossible to walk away and still does.

“I’m not a heartless person. That was my downfall (empathy), and it’s ruined my life, my ex’s life (he jumped into a worse marriage than we ever had), the other man’s life, his ex’s life (who’s bitter, hanging on and obsessed with making my life miserable) and all of the children involved.

“I’ve stood by him throughout partly because I don’t know how to fix my life. And because I still love him, despite his faults (honesty isn’t his forte).

“He’s a loyal friend who’s been there for me on my darkest day. I could’ve/ should’ve been stronger and said, ‘Not until you leave her.’

“I believe he cheated because he didn’t have a strong, connected relationsh­ip with his wife. He could do nothing right, faced constant put-downs, could never be good enough.

“The reason he cheated and left has more to do with the relationsh­ip he escaped than the one he’s in now. Ultimately, it’s the two people in the marriage who either make it or break it.

Ellie: It’s a perspectiv­e that’s been commonly shared by “the other woman” of a cheating husband and often involves these same factors:

1) a woman in a seemingly-perfect marriage who buries her true feelings of unhappines­s; 2) a married man who feels that his wife’s constantly critical and devaluing him; 3) a meeting point when two people married to others feel a compelling attraction, which they believe they can’t resist.

However, this story is different from those of “the other woman” who’s a true predator, who finds someone else’s husband — particular­ly a successful one — as fair prey for that woman’s social and financial advancemen­t.

See Tomorrow’s column: A final view, for now, of cheating and what often happens in the home when a cheater focuses on their affair, to the neglect of a spouse and their children.

Ellie’s tip of the day:

If ready to cheat and risk all, first consider changing your own part in restless unhappines­s.

Ellie Tesher is an advice columnist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationsh­ip questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

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