The Other Woman: Wonder If She Realizes That He Only Chose Her Because I Chose To Leave Him. That's Right, She Is Nothing More Than a Consolation Prize!
Ah, the other woman...the interloper. By definition, an interloper is a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong. My children, my family, and friends would agree with this definition when it comes to the "other woman." My ex would presumably not agree; especially since he took the vows with her last year. Don't worry, the irony of that has not been lost on me.
So I guess if I wanted to construct an open letter to this unwanted entity it would go something like this:
There are many things that I could tell you and the majority of them would be hurtful. Not because I would hurl insults at you but because of the brutality that the truth often brings.
Oh sure, when I first discovered the affair and decided to try to reconcile, I was more than willing to hurl insults your way in the form of snarky emails. I CC'd my ex at the time to accomplish two things: 1) To let you know he was well aware and on board with the content and 2) to demonstrate that I was "fighting for my man." A most repugnant concept to me now.
Luckily I underwent the little-known surgery called Cranium Extraction from Rectum; aka head removed from ass. Both my Neurosurgeon and Proctologist worked together and fortunately the operation was a complete success! Since I was divorced shortly after that procedure, it negated the need for further contact between us.
So in this open letter format, I could tell you that it was pretty obvious to me that you had an agenda when it came to my ex-husband. That you were about as subtle as a sledgehammer at company gatherings. But given my ex's disparaging remarks about you, some of them right to your face, I didn't worry.
I could tell you that a hearty congratulations is in order because it's always good to have a goal and you achieved it! Then I could tell you what you've won just like a contestant on the Price is Right. "Tell us Bob, what has she won?"
Well to start off with, you've won a man who took vows to love, honor and be faithful to his (first) wife but ultimately failed. I'm sure he means it this time, though, so don't worry! Yes, the man you've won spent the entirety of his first marriage accusing his faithful spouse of cheating because he is compelled to project his bad behavior on everyone else, including the innocent. But I'm sure he'll be fine with someone who demonstrated she was willing to lie and cheat on her husband. Yeah, good luck with that!
I could remind you of that day that my ex dumped you so we could work on our marriage because I'm sure that never plays over and over in your head on a psychotic loop. I could also add the gratuitous reminder that the time period was three years and that he only came back to you when I asked him for a divorce. Then I could top that off with the obvious assertion that you were never his first choice; only a consolation prize.
Yes, I could say all of those things. It would be cruel but brutally true. Instead, I am going to say this one simple, unexpected thing instead: Thank You!
My marriage was horrible but I didn't realize it until I left. The rose colored glasses on this one were strong! If I'm completely honest with myself, none of my needs were being met but I chalked up any marital discord to the price of being married to someone who appeared to be a good man. He was a hard worker, a good provider and as a bonus, he didn't beat me. My standards were pretty low.
Though he never raised a finger to me, he beat me down emotionally with his words. He never valued my input unless it had a dollar amount attached to it. As long as my paycheck didn't exceed the value of his and didn't inconvenience him in any way, he was happy. Most of the time he was entitled and selfish and often times cruel. He spent money faster than it came in and was jealous of anyone who had more than him. He was so busy admiring the grass on someone else's lawn, he never watered his own.
I never would've had the courage to leave that mess without the quintessential infidelity event. Even then, I hung around for three more years of his crap because my self-esteem was decimated. Your (his and yours) actions held a magnifying glass up to him and our marriage and it was only then that my vision began to clear. It was only then that I finally believed I deserved better.
The best part? Divorce still comes with a side of guilt and shame even in these modern times. If I woke up on year 24 and decided I no longer wanted to be part of that union because I "thought I deserved better," I would not have found much support. People don't just end a long term marriage for no good reason without severe judgment.
But throw in some marital infidelity and the willingness I had to work on the marriage for three years post day of my discovery and I was golden. There is absolutely No One that doesn't get why I walked away and I've gotten nothing but good wishes and support. It's a win-win.
Every day I discover a new way that my life is infinitely more fulfilling than it once was and it never would have come about if not for your interference. I almost want to send you a Thank You card. I won't because of my children. They cannot see the beauty in this because they appreciated their in-tact family. So for them, I hold back, but for me, I feel nothing but gratitude.