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In the Hot Seat: The Home Wrecker

In the Hot Seat: The Home Wrecker

Although we hate drama when it affects our own lives, most of us have a weakness for movies and stories about scandalous affairs. We can’t get enough of cheating spouses and cat fights between a dutiful wife and the home wrecker.

You may know couples (or former couples) who have endured affairs. As much as you hate to see people hurt, it’s hard to resist the pull of the story behind the scandal.

We usually hear from the party that was most injured in all of this–the person who got cheated on. It’s less common to hear the home wrecker’s side of the story. It’s time to recognize that these stories have more than two sides.

We’ve compiled testimonies from women who have been labelled as mistresses to give you some insight in to what it feels like to be in their position and why they do the things that they do. We’ve kept their responses anonymous so that they could avoid inflicting more damage on themselves or others.

People don’t necessarily go out of their way to be the “other woman”

Lifehack: What’s the story behind being a mistress?

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Anonymous: I was just a regular gal, but I was always a bit of a tomboy. I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty, and I worked in a male-dominated field. I was around guys all the time, but most of the time things stayed professional. We all had work to do, and I just happened to be working with men.

I became friends with many of my coworkers. I definitely didn’t intend to harm anyone’s relationship. One guy, in particular, started confiding in me about the problems he was having in his relationship. What started out as platonic turned into something that wasn’t.

Lifehack: Why did the relationship start, and why did you feel that it was OK to continue it?

Anonymous: I think there was a base-line of attraction there, but you don’t necessarily start a relationship with everyone you’re attracted to. That attraction, plus an underlying friendship and common interests, plus an unhappy marriage was the perfect storm for us.

I felt guilty about what was happening, but he also convinced me that his marriage was basically over. He said they hadn’t slept together in over a year, they had nothing in common, and they fought all the time. He was going to break up with her anyway, but he was just waiting for the right time.

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By that point, I had developed feelings for him. I didn’t feel like I was destroying the marriage because–according to him–it was already broken.

Lifehack: Do your friends and family know about the affair that you were a part of?

Anonymous: My friends and family don’t discuss it with me, but I’m sure they have their suspicions. He was my “best friend,” and then he just disappeared. I never felt more alone than after I ended that relationship. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.

My husband does know about what happened. One thing I learned from all of this is that you have to be 100% honest with your partner. That means owning your past. He doesn’t hang it over my head. He knows I’m not proud of what happened, and we both agree that that behavior would be a deal-breaker for us.

Lifehack: What is the biggest mistake you made as a third party?

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Anonymous: I always knew that it was morally wrong to do what I did. If you told me that I was going to be somebody’s mistress a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I think the biggest mistake I made was that I believed the lies coming out of my ex’s mouth. When he told me he was planning to end it with his wife, I thought meant that it was over between them. When it was time for him to take legal action to dissolve his marriage, he had all these excuses. I realized that if I meant as much to him as he said I did, and if he was truly over his wife, this wouldn’t have been a hard decision.

I wasted so much time on someone who didn’t care, and I regret that I hurt another woman through my actions.

Lifehack: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s on the verge of becoming the other woman?

Anonymous: There’s really no good outcome for this situation. He may tell you that he loves you and wants to be with you, but if that was the case, you wouldn’t be the other woman. He’s probably going to string you along for as long as he can. He keeps up appearances and lives life with his family, and he also gets the physical and emotional comfort that you can offer. From his perspective, there’s no need for anything to change.

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Even if he breaks it off with his wife in the middle of your affair, your relationship started with a lie. How will you be able to trust that he won’t cheat on you in a few years when all the excitement has worn off?

The biggest piece of advice I could give is that you need to respect yourself. Realize that you are worthy of real love. You don’t have to hide true love. You don’t have to come in second. Be with someone who’s willing to put you first.

Lifehack: What’s one thing you want everyone reading to know about your situation?

Anonymous: I’m not some monster who woke up one morning and decided I wanted to ruin someone’s relationship. I’m a normal person who got sucked into a bad situation. I’m not trying to cast blame on anyone else–I know I messed up. The hard line that I had drawn between right and wrong got blurry. I was made to believe a lot of things that simply weren’t true.

Before I ended up in this situation, I would have judged the “other woman” harshly. Now I know that you shouldn’t judge someone unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

There you have it

You’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. The home wrecker isn’t always a scantily-clad vixen dead-set on stealing your man. The truth behind these scandals is often way more complicated than what we see on TV.

Featured photo credit: Rhys A./ Flickr via flickr.com

More by this author

Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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