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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 editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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