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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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