A Letter to the Other Woman

room key Stacy Bauer

One of the most difficult things I struggled with when I was cheated on, was understanding the why. We had just come back from a romantic holiday throughout Europe and a friend’s wedding in Napa Valley. Our relationship was filled with happiness so I thought, and it appeared that we reached a new level of closeness and connection.

Perhaps I was blind. Perhaps he wanted to sabotage what we had. Perhaps it was the alcohol. I will never truly understand why. I’ve learned that what happened had nothing to do with me – and everything to do with him. But while he is 99% to blame for what happened, there is also the other 1% – the other woman.

In this particular case, the girl was a previous coworker of mine. When I found out, I felt anger towards her. But, through time that rage has turned into empathy. I’m pretty sure that healthy women who have a strong sense of self worth typically don’t share their body with men who don’t respect them. I don’t know her story or what happened to her in her past for her choose to do that. I can’t imagine it’s from a place of love and confidence though.

With infidelity, it is always about the person who is in the committed relationship. But the other person is by no means just an innocent bystander of the situation. It takes one person to decide that cheating is worth the thrill of the moment and the other person to decide to get involved with a taken man/woman.

Were we born monogamous creatures? No. However, we (many in society) have chosen to commit to monogamy. And the gift of being a human being is that we have the ability to make choices to give in to our animal instincts or not. The aftermath of cheating is an ugly one, and usually, never worth it.

Here is the letter I wrote to her after I found out what happened…

Dear XX,
I have now heard the entire story of what happened that evening with you and X, and I’m not only beyond hurt, but disappointed. No, not because we have a close friendship, but because I believe there is a moral code between all women, one that we were born with. As much as we may try to silence it, make excuses to ignore it, or take substances to numb it – it’s still there.

My relationship has now come to an end. My family hurts. X has hit rock bottom. His family hurts. There have been so many tears and pain from not only us, but the people in our lives that love us. I want you to know, that your actions have had ripple effects, and has caused a lot of pain to good people.

I’m not blaming you – what happened would have occurred one day sooner or later in some form or another. But you do have a responsibility as a dignified human being. I am writing this to you not because I hate you, but because I hope, that in the future, if the moment presents itself where there is a taken man, no matter how happy or unhappy he is, how sober or intoxicated he is, you remember the power you have to be a part of destroying someones life, or not.

I know you are a good person, and never had intentions of causing harm. But your decisions define you. I hope, for the sake of other women and their families, that you make a better one next time.

Amy

 

Photo credit: Stacy Bauer

15 Comments

  • Reply December 14, 2012

    Kay

    Hi Amy,

    My heart goes out to you. As someone who has experienced infidelity, I know the emotional and sometimes physical toll it can take.

    The woman in this case actually had sex with my fiance in our bed. Both of them were involved with other people. He blamed it all on her, saying that she made the first move by kissing him at work. Then she ‘dragged’ him to her place and invited herself over to the home we shared. Apparently, she told him if he left me, she would leave her guy, but he didn’t. Just continued sneaking around. When I suspected and asked him, he said it was nothing, just a friendship. But I did my own investigation and left…but I’m sure, knowing his character, that he told her and everyone that he gave it all up for her.

    He told me I don’t know what it’s like for a man when a woman is all over him. He asked if I could imagine telling someone to do something ( sexually) and to have them just do it? I am by no means a prude, but I respect myself, and no one will tell me to do anything I’m not comfortable with. He claims she has certain proclivities that he likes, so I’m sure he’s found his match.

    When I suspended my own pain to ask him what about the pain that her guy must be going through, he asked me, “You want him to win?” She would give him ‘his time’, but when it was her guy’s time, he couldn’t handle it. If she went out to lunch with someone else, (not him or her guy) would make a big fuss to his friends who knew what was going on. The old saying came to mind, “If they can do it with you, they can do it to you.”

    I lost all respect for him, that he couldn’t put himself in someone else’s shoes. Then he and his boys started disparaging her guy, saying that he was ugly and the like. It always amazes me that people could hate on someone who never did anything to them. A man could tell another woman something about his partner and vice versa, and they would jump on it and start this smear campaign…to justify their actions.

    In addition, I lost about 30lbs in the process and he said, ” You should thank me.” My doctors tell me that my kidneys were damaged due to the spikes my blood pressure took. I guess I should thank him for that too.

    What I think hurt the most was the fact that he was going around telling people, including his work ( whenever he got in trouble for being excessively absent – he would leave work to meet her at her place or a hotel, or to go on dates) that we were having problems…setting the stage as it were, when nothing of the sort was the case. I’m sure I got blamed for all manner of things without my knowing. But that’s okay. I know that truth will out , and Karma will have her day without me doing or saying anything.

    Then after all of that and so much more, he had the nerve/balls/audacity to ask me to give us another try. Wow. I would have to really hate myself to go back there. My friends and family were upset because I left and never took anything or asked for any of the proceeds when he sold the house. I’m not fighting anyone for anything. Let them have it. Besides, he’ ll probably need the money to support his coke habit (as I came to discover after the fact).

    Anyway, I told her I forgive her and that they have my blessings. I sold the ring, moved away and am working on healing my body and spirit, and finally reaching my full and true potential.

    • Reply March 1, 2014

      Sylvia

      How are you doing now, Kay?
      I had to respond because I could have written your post- our stories are almost identical.
      What have you done with your life?

  • Reply December 15, 2012

    Cassy

    Oh my gosh, your post is so timely. I just found out my boyfriend’s(I mean ex) 2-year-old secret love child. And yes, I was thinking we were soul mates and all that. Still sort of confused about the whole ordeal, I began to take much of the blame because I moved almost out-of-state to be close to my parents after graduating from college and had the great idea a long distance relationship would work. After much prayer and sobbing tears, I finally rebounded. In the end I decided to forgive him and remain his friend to my surprise this is what he wanted as well because he didn’t like that I lived so far away.

    What I learned throught the drama is sometimes in love you get hurt, really hurt, and it really sucks to get your heartbroken and have to experience the embarrassment of having to tell all your friends and family, however sometimes it happens for a reason and to the best of women to wake you up to what’s really going on underneath in your relationship. I know I didn’t deserve it, but hey that’s life for you, always throwing you a curve ball however, its how we grow to become strong women of character.

    I think a woman is being a little naive if she think’s it couldn’t happen to her, take me for example, I thought my Mr. Right was a sweet quite gentleman the never to stray type and I had him wrapped around my little fingers boy was I wrong. You see, temptation is everywhere so sometimes you need to check in from time to with your man time(not in an insecure type of way please), especially when things are good, so you won’t get blindsided — though that might be impossible, it’s worth a try because a girl’s intuition sometime will kick in and start to take over.

    The truth of the matter is it happens sometimes more than we would like to admit, but in the end it’s how you get through it because you must and you will. I really think that a lot of men self sabotage their relationships because they don’t actually think they would get caught or maybe it’s an insecurity of sorts like having trouble with the idea of sleeping with one woman for the rest of their lives.

  • Reply December 16, 2012

    Willow

    The sad thing is, there will always be women (and men) like that out there. My sister-in-law was telling me that her friend’s sister was involved with the sister’s husband…her own brother-in-law. We have to pity people like these, because they truly are hurt and lost creatures. Like Amy said, healthy individuals with a strong sense of self worth will not behave like that. They don’t realize that the type of energy they put out will come back to them multiplied…however long it takes. Life truly does move in a circle.

    We should also be grateful that people like this help us see our exes for who they truly are, and also help us avoid being perpetrators of that kind of behaviour. And think about it: would you want that type of person as a father/mother to your children? I’ve heard a quote recently “Be thankful for what you’ve escaped.” One preacher also said that we should be aware of the energy of the people in our lives, for it will affect us too.

    Sometimes we are broken in order to emerge better human beings who are stronger and wiser. Often we are not living up to our true potential, and maybe the universe has other plans for us. We also become more resilient in dealing with other difficulties in life. And yes, what hurts us, also hurts our family and friends, and that can make forgiveness difficult. But forgive we must…not for them, but for us. If I happen to think of my ex, I send thoughts of forgiveness, love and light his way, and let it go. The world can certainly use more love and forgiveness. That’s the type of energy I want representing me out there. I still hurt sometimes, but I see and embrace the big picture. I believe there’s a saying that goes “An evil done, clings to the doer.” The opposite must naturally be true.Therefore, let kindness and love be your default way of living, and that is what you’ll get back.

  • Reply December 17, 2012

    Chloe

    “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.”

    Thank you very much for your post, and to everybody for their thoughtful responses and sharing their experiences. Knowing other people experience this pain doesn’t necessarily make it better, since I’m sad for everyone else, but seeing how other people coped is very helpful.

    My ex and I had a very tumultuous relationship around the end due in part to distance. Throughout everything he assured me that no matter what happened, he still wasn’t with other women as he would never hurt me and knew that I would never hurt him. I think although I knew at my core that this was total garbage, I held onto it, thinking that when the distance would end, we would be okay. I gave my heart to someone who constantly reassured me we would be fine.

    Little things never added up, but I never had legitimate reason to believe anything was wrong. Then one day a girl that I knew from work approached me in a pub and told me that she couldn’t hold in that her friend had been sleeping with my boyfriend on random drunken occasions, although this girl knew very well that I was in the picture. He denied it up and down until finally he let out that not only had he been sleeping with this girl, and several others, but he also had a new barely legal girlfriend. Upon finding out, she wrote me an email telling me that she was glad I had finally found out and that she knew about me all along but he reassured her that I was soon to be out of the picture. That day was the last day him and I spoke, and the hurtful thing is that I’m not sure if he ever looked back.

    8 months later, I still get sad from time to time thinking about it and I still have those days that I hear the wrong song and cry. I no longer compare myself to his girlfriend, and I no longer hope to hear news about them. I feel pity for this girl, because I have a hard time believing that he changed over night and treats her any better than he treated me. While I understand that people cheat for many different reasons, I now accept that I wasn’t one of them. I will never understand how someone can break another person down so much, and still sleep at night.

    At the end of the day, I have to remember the old what goes around comes around, karma speech that everyone gave me. But I also know that I’ve become a stronger person from this. I started running to clear my head, and now I’m signed up for an ironman triathalon. Each and every day I feel better, and I treat people with more kindness. I know that someday when I’m ready, I’ll find someone I can appreciate and they will be with the best version of me, because I’ve learned thats the only thing I want to offer to this world.

    • Amy
      Reply December 17, 2012

      Amy

      Thank you for sharing Chloe. I think this is a subject not a lot of people talk about openly, because there is so much shame surrounding infidelity. It’s an almost immediate reaction to doubt and blame yourself after being cheated on.

      What I’ve learned is this. When someone who chooses to commit to a monogamous relationship cheats, it’s not because of you or something you did or didn’t do. It’s not because you are lacking in any way. It is because they have chosen to escape a problem instead of dealing with it. Whether that problem is within the self, or he/she was not happy with the relationship – a band-aid approach was taken instead of doing the real hard work that it takes to get to the root of it. Some may say that the root is that men aren’t born monogamous. Can’t say I disagree, but human beings can choose to evolve past animal instincts and they can also choose to break up with someone instead of betraying a commitment. A commitment which, if roles were reversed, and they were the ones cheated on, would hurt just as badly.

      I remember thinking how my ex “got away with it”. That after shattering my heart, he was able to just move on without having to take any accountability for what he had just done. But I’m quite certain that those initial issues that caused him to engage in destructive behaviour have not dissipated. That takes a lot of hard work, the courage to be vulnerable, the intent to heal childhood wounds, and getting real honest with the self. A journey to evolving that most people choose not to take because it is too damn uncomfortable and inconvenient.

      He may have “moved on” to another person, however those issues haven’t disappeared. They may have gone in to hiding, but sooner or later, in some shape or form, they will surface again.

      It’s been 15 months since my breakup, and I spent an entire year focused on healing. Looking back, I can say that I’m thankful it happened. He was not my fit, and he was not the person I was meant to be with. The hardship and suffering that came with dealing with betrayal provided me with an opportunity to deal with deep childhood wounds I never dealt with, and I am now healthier than I have ever been.

      I know, without a doubt, that the next person I attract into my life will reflect the health level that I am at now, a level I would have never reached if I didn’t fall down first.

      It gets better Chloe. I promise. Have faith that this is all a part of a bigger plan. =)

  • Reply January 5, 2013

    tammy

    I am currently in the situation where i was persued by this married man said he had an eye on me for awhile. came to the same work place because of me i was in a relationship for awhile and the married man and i became very close to the point of missing him all the time other people got involved telling me how he felt, he came to me one day and said i want to be with you , the way i felt and the connection between us was undeniable. I had to leave because it was ruining my relationship. He told me he was madly deeply in love with me and cant live without me i was his soulmate said if he looses me he looses everything, tears and everything dont give up on us, he wanted a life with me him his kids and a house, i fell hard for these words and then it became physical and he told me if it did become physical it would make the decision that much more forsure because he wasnt the guy who had sex with some one and just takes off well guess what he did a 360 i should of known butiwas taken with emotion and the words now he doesnt know what he is going to do or what is going to happen, he doesnt know the future.but he loves me though! but because of fear and security and being with out his kids is too great i am not saying this is right thing you shouldnt leave your kids and wife unless u cant
    make it work alot stay for the financial and the kids it happens all the time. I am not this person who does this I am hurt ashamed and feel like an idiot and a fool because i fell for the wrong person and i couldnt see past the words and passion to see what kind of toll this
    has taken on me i left a great guy for something i thought would be truly out of this world and now i am left with guilt low self worth and pain with no one but myself. this has been the lowest point of my life and trying to forgive myself for falling victum to loving someone i shouldn’t of. i wish i would of read these articles and listen to the pyshcic that told me he would never leave . I think the worst part is the feeling of being used he says he never used me his feelings were real and he always told me the truth and says i should just go back try to make it work.that i will always be the one he desires and wants and his heart will always be with me,the question why should he take me back and how can i without the guilt. I feel so alone and lost hard life lesson and maybe i did deserve it but what about him he gets his life still.

  • Reply March 8, 2013

    Ana

    No matter how long you are in a relationship you should always work on it every day, it is work but it is what it takes. I do not agree that the cheater is 99% guilty and the other person that cheated with your partner 1%, sorry but the poor soul that was cheated at one point is somehow a little bit guilty , there are red flags a long the way and they are ignore because is easier and less painfull to pretend that everything is ok and hope that everything will be o.k.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Kat

    I would love to copy that letter word for word. I had my ex of 5 years (someone whom I wore a promise ring with as well as he did for those 5 years and talked marriage) cheat on me with a friend I was in the process of moving in with. I left for home to see my family, and received a break up text message from him a day later. I found out 2 weeks after I got back, knowing who and what had happened but was angered by the fact he couldn’t own up to his actions. She became nasty to me, very unsympathetic to what she had done, and him, cut me off completely with no apology just pure spite from the both of them. Thankfully I am now in a better place, it’s been over a year, but I still to this day have to face her because she is a friend of a very good mutual friend, she will still not look me in the eye or apologize all the pain she caused. Very well said, and I would have loved to have read that during my painful time. Sorry to hear your similar story, no one ever deserves to be disrespected to that degree.

  • Reply October 9, 2013

    Kitkat

    I work around men all the time (I do skilled labor in a shipyard) and I have had instances where married/taken men try to flirt with me. Most of my co-workers don’t, because they’ve seen me start out in the yard and they see me as a daughter, little sister or a cousin.

    However, those who get called up to work here from other shipyards don’t view me that way. Hence I get hit on by taken men. I had a guy tell me:”If I weren’t married I’ll totally go after you.”

    My best answer to that is, “If you weren’t married, you will have a different view of the female gender and you won’t go for a girl like me. I’ll be considered boring in your eyes.”

    When they work with me, in their minds, they make comparisons between me and their wives. And they’ll say:”My wife won’t do this for me, my wife can’t handle this, my wife won’t ever think about this.” Etc… the list goes on. And they just mainly want to hear my answer. It’s tempting, to let them hear what they want to hear. Hey… I’m still single and I have a desire to be wanted and loved but NOT by a married man.

    The best solution is to break their heart at the earliest stage possible. Put a wet blanket over the fire. I made the choice to never let the feelings grow because it will cost me my career and I will lose all respect from my male co-workers that took me years to build.

    I’ve told men:
    “I won’t look after your children but your lady can.”
    “I won’t sleep with you but your lady will.”
    “I won’t put up with your crap but your lady will.”
    “I will beat yo ass but your lady won’t.”
    “I won’t cook for you but your lady will.”
    “I won’t do your laundry but your lady will.”
    “I work with men all the time and I know how you men think so don’t even try starting that s**t with me.”

    Respect. That’s all there is to it. Respect yourself and others around you, and you won’t be in a relationship like this.

    • Amy C
      Reply October 9, 2013

      Amy C

      Kitkat – thank you for sharing.

    • Reply September 23, 2014

      Katie

      I too, have been in this situation, my fiance cheated on me with another woman shortly after the passing of his daughter, she was born with a serious heart condition and only 8weeks later, she was taken from him. From that moment he was never the same, and he found comfort in the arms of someone else. I have stayed strong and told myself things will get better but the ‘bit of fun’ he had intended on is now turned into alot more than i think he had expected and they are now in somewhat of a relationship. I still live with him and stand by him. To this day i still ask myself why the hell i am puttting myself through it all. I have my reasons and anyone who doubts me isnt worth my time. bottom line, i still feel exactly how i felt about him from the moment we first met. I cant and do not hate him for any of this. I could sit here and give all my other reasons but i wont because i know why i stand by him and shouldnt have to explain myself to others who query my decision.
      The one thing that i will never understand is why the other woman continues to cling to him knowing that he hasnt yet after over a year, left me and full committed to their relationship. She still seems to think that he will change and will only be with her. I have tried to explain that if he hasnt done things he said he would and if he hasnt ‘changed’ the way he said he would in the beginning that her chances of these things actually happening are almost non existant.. she just cant seem to understand that while he is getting the best of both worlds he isnt ever going to ‘change’ let alone choose between us. I have moved into my own room in the house and given him his space.. which now is crowded by her majority of the time. YES, it does hurt alot, YES its the hardest thing i have had to do, YES its going to kill me if ive put myself through all of this crap to in the end not be with him. But its a chance im willing to take to be with the man i love. See while shes there, she is the one who gets to see what its really like to be with someone who is unfaithful. She gets to be the one who calls n calls late at night when ge hasnt come home only to get no reply, shes the one who he will be argueing with when he eventually comes home at 4am with lies and guilt written all over his face. She is alot younger than him and I and already she has started to crack, simply by having this false belief that he will commit to her n her only, sorry but if he were going to do that, the day he started seeing her, he would have called off our relationship then and there and I would have moved out and they would be living happily ever after. By me still being here and with him she should clearly be able to see this is never going to be a reality. At the end of the day I know my man, jnside n out and i read him like a book. Dont try and change someone after you meet them just because u no longer accept a certain part of them. Embrace it, make the best of it and love them for who they are not for who you want to make them be.and in all honesty If there were more women out there like KITKAT the world would be a better place. oh and if more women learned that they could get a mans attention without opening their legs it would save alot of unecessary heartache and pain for so many couples. Bein able to hold a conversation and showing that you have a brain and arent afraid to show a man how smart you are is much more respectful than showing a man what you have between your legs. Thats where you instantly lose respect from him and your respect for yourself.

  • Reply June 22, 2015

    Moxie

    Recently I found out my boyfriend of 5 years has fathered a child with another woman. Her and I have talked briefly the day I found out and I didnt get the full story I wanted. Apart of me doesnt want to know all the dirty details because I am 5 months pregnant with our first child together. The moment I found out I said I wouldn’t be with him anymore but we talked about it all day and I told him how it made me feel. I still consider him my best friend because of this “bubble” we lived in. I should’ve known better than to believe that there is nothing perfect in this world. I dont know if its too soon to forgive him but I just want my best friend back. Is it wrong that I ask him to lose all contact with this woman for the sake of our future?

  • Reply March 4, 2016

    Sue

    A letter worth circulating. Not condescending but revealing to the other woman her own power and influence on others. Mich more constructive than calling her trash and worthless whore which she is not. U also didnt assign martyred sainthood on a golden platform to yourself. Well done and powerful yet constructive for all

Leave a Reply