I can already see the look of judgment on your face. If you're anything like me, you would picture the other woman in a certain way. On the outside, she's a seductress, with trim hips and hourglass body. She wears red lipstick and her hair is perfectly done. On the inside, she is destructive, heartless and obviously evil and calculating. She is definitely on the prowl to destroy families in her path and does not care who she hurts along the way. How can a woman do such a thing, I hear you say. After all, she is the nurturer, the carer of the family. The man, well... that's a man, isn't it.
Let me start off by saying, I did not start out having an ambition of being the other woman. I am far from sexy; I don't have a great figure, my lipstick is usually rushed and often on my teeth, and corrected on my school run. My clothes are decent and casual, and I save my more fancy clothes for occasional nights out with the girls. I have stretch marks, which are clearly visible, and my hair does need the regular dye job. I'm just a mum, looking to be the best I can be for my children and myself.
I am definitely not a calculating person; I'd be lucky if I can balance my chequebook. I was not looking for an affair, let alone with a married person and I definitely did not pick him and decide intentionally to destroy a family. I am educated and have a stable career so it's not like I was looking for financial or social gains in doing what I embarked on doing.
When I met first him, I was intrigued. Here was this smart guy, good looking plus intelligent. We connected as friends, at first. We found out we had much in common, including a love of books and trivia. We both had kids and we exchanged stories. Granted, his children were older and had gone through different life experiences, it was nice to meet a kindred soul who I connected with in so many ways.
Like a river, our conversations would meander through funny quotes and work anecdotes and slowly there was some innocent flirting. Maybe a wink on chat, or a hug. It seemed so natural; both of us did not realize how or where it started. I knew he was married but he was unhappy. I had my own share of emotional baggage and we started talking on a more personal level.
We are honest with each other, more honest I suppose than with our partners but it seems to work. I'd like to think, being around each other makes us more in touch with our emotions and better people, and it makes me feel content and comfortable.
Your look of judgment has now turned to disgust, I can imagine. What about his wife, I hear you say... What about the children in his life? How would they feel if they knew? Well... I am sure they know, at least his wife knows but chooses not to acknowledge it. But again, if he's happy and no one is getting hurt by this. At least, not right now.
You go into something like this, with full knowledge. This is why I don't understand why some women say they did not know how they become adulterers. Our decisions in life are made consciously, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. And part of life is to accept responsibility for our actions. So, if you are doing something like this, be prepared to deal with it accordingly.
My advice is to develop other interests. Do not spend all your time fantasying about what could have been because that is a slippery slope. If you start imagining the white fence and the lawns and the life you and that partner will share, then you are in for a rude awakening. It may not happen and you have to tell yourself you are ok with that.
Also, don't be afraid to tell your close friends (even the ones who use your story for inspiration). You will need a support system to pull you through the bad days. But if they love you, they will stick by you because they know they want you to be happy.
Stop thinking in black and white, everything is grey, especially in this situation. No, not 50 shade of grey. You cannot tell yourself you're at fault because he's cheating too. Just because you're the other woman, it doesn't make you a bad person, it's just a tough situation to be in.
This may be counter-intuitive but be empathetic to the other woman in his life – his wife. You have to understand her position too, what she is going through. After all, she was there for him before you were and it is important to understand. I know it sounds confusing, but don't vilify her. There was a reason he strayed and it was not because of what you look like. Trust me, you provided a place where he could feel safe. And they do have issues. You could try and help him work through those issues if you feel they do have a chance.
Now, back to my situation. What am I going to do? Am I going to continue to be the 'other woman' forever? Probably not... I know, that we will have to figure things out but I rather take things as they come. Things are good now, I have a friend who I can talk things out with and knows and understands me. He knows we can communicate freely and he won't be judged so we are in no hurry to put a label on things.
Life throws many hurdles and challenges but there are good moments too. So why not enjoy when you can. How often in life do we get a chance of truly being happy? Once in a while, there is a spark and wouldn't you want to hold on to that and enjoy it as it burns through. We, as humans try and define things because it helps us make sense of it. But sometimes, you cannot define where your journey takes you. To find happiness in such a miserable world is rare and you got to take your chance when you can. As they say, "The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most of every day".