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?
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.
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?
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.
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