My mother was the habitual other woman, cheating with countless married men. She saw herself as part of a highly charged romantic fantasy; it was a thrill, a high she could not resist. Laughingly, she'd describe how she understood those husbands in an unique way, after all, they were choosing to be with her over their wives.
Typically, the cheating men were her bosses. (That daily tingle, making up reasons to meet behind closed doors, barely touching as you pass in the hall, and those business trip rendezvous.) They were men that held some level of power that turned her on. As the years went on, her affairs became increasingly more pathetic, the names and faces changed, but it was the same relationship repetitiously, always with an exciting beginning, an emotionally frustrating middle, and a sad, bitter end.
My mother was never the romantic figure she characterized herself; she was a diagnosed narcissist. Her level of emotional manipulation and sense of entitlement was staggering and her only success in life was finding men who mirrored her in their shallowness, heartlessness, and total selfishness. Like my mother, those men caused tremendous pain in many lives with little regret.
In spite of bearing witness to the constant upheaval my mother's affairs caused, I found myself in a relationship with a married man, once. I was 18 and he was in his forties; my boss, a long time married husband and father. (I know, disgusting.) My only excuses were that I was very young, stupid, and had a poor role model in my mother. When this man began talking about leaving his family to be with me, I ran as fast as I could the opposite direction. I wish I could say it was some lightening strike of morality, but it was the prospect of spending my days with this old man, with all of his problems, that gave me claustrophobia.
I had tremendous regret for that sordid episode in my life and after I married, I thought about the wife of the man I had the affair with, someone I may have felt jealous of back then, but understood all too well now. The truth was, he was not someone to romanticize about. His drinking, his poor decisions had put his family through one ordeal after another. In a similar situation during my own marriage, I knew his wife had been lonely, and to the say the least, exhausted, all the while her husband was off escaping reality with other women. Like me, she was a co-dependent to an awe-inspiring emotional manipulator.
Wives of cheating husbands know, and the resulting turmoil of not wanting to know, is a daily attack on their spirit. It's a wound, picked at over and over again, every time a wife sees, feels or knows their husband are lying about cheating, and lying about lying. My husband was so skilled in his intense and thorough attention to me, it numbed me into belief of the unbelievable. If I pressed too hard about his activities, his go-to-response was that I was crazy. (Incidentally, the same words my mother used towards me when I confronted her with any truth.)
And what about the selfish, but selfless women who cheat with married men? They are in a bizarre state of denial as well. If a man really didn't want to be married, then why is he? If a man wanted his wife to leave him, why does he nervously check his watch or his phone and why all the precautions he takes while sneaking around? These women have shamelessly listened in on those husbands calling home. I know now that while I was talking nightly with my husband, when he was working 300 miles away, he was sitting or lying next to her, (the figment of my imagination he'd insisted). When I realized that he shared intimate details about our life with her, it devastated me; I literally became physically sick with disgust.
A man that lies to one woman, lies to all women, and for that matter, is deceitful in every aspect of his life. A lack of integrity in one area of a person's life, extends to every area of their life-their job, their finances, their relationships with families and friends. I have never known a man who ended up with the other woman who felt happier losing his family. My attorney told me during our first meeting, that men always describe losing their wives and families as the most devastating, regretful occurrence in their lives emotionally, mentally, and certainly financially. They may move on, but they never stop regretting it.
When I finally had enough and kicked my husband out, he was with a person he'd had an affair with off and on for years, but he was fooling around with other women too. And for that matter, this woman and all of the women he'd had affairs with, had other men in their lives whether boyfriends or husbands. (Yes, I immediately went to the gynecologist and asked for every test on the long list of communicable sexual transmitted disease list.) Cheaters have no honor and feel entirely justified in their cheating; the reasoning is usually some excuse relating to their spouse's failure to be exciting or interesting enough. In reality, it's all based on them and their insecurity. Just to be clear, my husband bored the shit out of me for years, but I hung in there because I thought that was what commitment meant.
I never cheated on my husband, from the moment he had asked me to be with him and only him, 30 years ago. During my most bitter phrase, I was angry with myself about many things, including wishing Ihad cheated on him. (God, knows, with him gone so much, I could of had a hundred affairs.) Now, more sensibly, my only regret is not divorcing him years ago. I spent far too many years, and shed far too many tears, listening to the constant lies, his loud protestations of love and enduring commitment to me. I would tell any woman, if you think it might be true, it probably is and decide sooner than later what you want to do about it. Life is very short.
Men who cheat are lying dogs, but women who cheat with married men are nothing more than snakes, slithering along, waiting for the next target. No doubt their prey are the men who are always ready, looking, and willing for the strike. All the women my husband slept with during our marriage could fill a small auditorium; how unique or special does that make any one of them? Not very. How special is the current one, not special in any way. When people tell me he's doing the same thing to her, I laugh. He's getting pretty old to be the office skirt-chaser. And her, she's getting too old to think of herself as anything but a consolation prize. Since she has the same reputation as him as a cheater and a liar, she's probably looking for the next target for her bottomless pit of entitlement, as is he. Hisssssssss.
Are you a victim of cheating?
photo credit: paval hadzinski via photopin cc