Author Topic: The Other Woman  (Read 1209 times)

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DDM

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The Other Woman
« on: May 26, 2010, 03:14:28 PM »
RedRose: One of Clover's questions was .. Do you see a way to “fix” this relationship?

The only way I see to do this is to forgive and forget the past the best you can and move-on.
If they want a relationship with you they need to do the same.


RedRose you have given good advice IMO. From my perspective self-respect and forgiveness is not an either or. I know a lot of people see it that way. Somehow they equate forgiving a person's misdeed with having to give up your self respect. I don't believe that at all.  It is a conscience decision to let go of the resentment, indignation and/or anger. It is not a declaration that you deserved the offense or you accept the behaviour. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not the offending party. You can certainly let the person know you have forgiven them - or not. It doesn't really matter because it is an internal process.

I can share a story about forgiveness if you like. Over a decade ago my life was in crisis. I discovered my husband was having an affair. I was very confused, hurt, angry etc., etc. I felt that if I 'forgave' him, I would lose my self respect. It was a matter of honour. I also knew if I didn't find the will to forgive I would lose him - but I would have my self respect, right? What I really wanted was to be able to forgive him and still have respect for myself and keep my family intact. I seemed impossible but I clung to that wish and eventually I did forgive him. I remember the exact day. I woke in the morning feeling hurt and angry just like every other day for the past 2 years. I looked in the mirror and realized I was probably going to feel this way for the rest of my life. It scared me. In that moment I let it go. I wasn't angry any more. I wasn't hurting anymore. Not only did I respect myself. I was proud. I was empowered.

Fast forward 10 years, I get an invite on Facebook from the other woman. She had seen a response I had made to another family member and thought it was written to her. She meekly said she was sorry for all that had happened. I told her I had actually forgiven her years ago (which I did). I wish I had let her know before. It meant a lot to her - but it was something I did for myself, not her. 



Offline luise.volta

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Re: The Other Woman
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2010, 09:47:24 AM »
I think I need to split this thread and call it "The Other Woman." Hope that's OK.

It seems to me that "Other Women" come in all shapes and varieties. When one invaded my former marriage, I wasn't unaware of it for THREE YEARS! Can you believe that? I was working a lot of over time and my husband hated his job...so I attributed our distancing to other causes...never even considering betrayal.

He came to a personal crossroad and choose me...told her it was over and confessed. I tried to get beyond it but I found that, for me at least, trust did not follow forgiveness. The forgiveness was easy. I loved him, saw where I had let him down and knew we were both human. However trust was gone, as in dead. Once I got that, I ended the marriage.

We are still good friends. He married the "other woman" after waiting a year for me to change my mind. My son (who blamed him for everything) stood up for him because he had been such a marvelous step-father. I married Val and the four of us hang out sometimes. They are invited to all of my family "dos." I consider his wife a friend. He, (me "ex"), has had two heart attacks and lives in his television set. 30 years later, his wife is terribly unhappy, as in lonely, and once asked me, only half-joking, if I wanted him back. They couldn't agree on retirement...she wanted to move to an active senior community and he wanted to build a home on acreage he inherited. Neither will give in and so they are both miserable. I suggested they build the house together with an agreement to live there five years and then she could be the one to pick the senior community. That was ten years ago and if they had done that, they would have both gotten what they wanted. (He didn't need to live there indefinitely, he just wanted the experience of building, (contracting), a home of his own.)

I have spoken many times of the depth and quality of my Val. Did I get ripped off? I don't think so.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

DDM

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Re: The Other Woman
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2010, 11:13:33 AM »
I wasn't trying to start a new topic just wanted to share my thoughts on forgiveness. I agree it is much harder to rebuild trust than to forgive. That goes for all relationships, not just marriages. I consider myself extreme lucky to have been able to work through everything with my husband. The thing is forgiveness does not erase the past or mean things go back to the way they were. You can forgive someone and choose to never have any relationship with them. It really comes down to a personal decision to end the anger and the need for restitution. One only has to look at victims of horrendous crimes who in the process of their own healing have forgiven their perpetrator. Did they do that to make the perp feel better, let them off the hook - no. Forgiveness is something you give your self.

As I said, I don't really want to have a discussion about 'the other woman'. I don't share that with many people out of respect for my husband. 

cremebrulee

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Re: The Other Woman
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 11:35:55 AM »
DDM wonderful story and so true...
same thing happened with my DIL...and it was before we talked on the phone and resolved things...it came on gradually....but the anger, hurt and loss was gone...and it happened b/c I stopped thinking about myself and my feelings, but considering her...and realized, my mind was blowing things out of porportion, only to find out when we talked how ridiculous I had been for assuming she hated me and was doing things to drive a wedge between our relationship, I had perceived her and her actions all wrong...

it was such a relief...like a huge weight lifted, so there is much more then words can express for forgiveness....

big hugs

and wishing everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend

willingtohelp

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Re: The Other Woman
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 02:06:37 PM »
I think you make a good point about forgiveness.  It's made me think about something that I'm going to try to expain...when you DH cheated and you forgave him, I'm going to guess he had stopped having the affair.  That is, he wasn't still seeing her and you were continuing to forgive him for his infidelity day after day.  Or in the case of Luise, you divorced which ended the act of infidelity, and you forgave him for the past incidences.  Once we ceased contact with my ILs, I was able to being to forgive them for the things they'd done.  That's why I don't even really think about the fact that I was pushed down anymore.  I've released that.  The ones that I've had more trouble releasing are the ones that are, in some ways, still going on.  Their constant desire to be a third wheel in our relationship.  I hear about it from well meaning relatives (who have dialed it back after being told that DH and I don't want to discuss unhappy topics during happy times).  MIL and FIL are still trying to get information on us and get relatives to pass on "advice" for them.  So I can't really forgive them for something they haven't stopped doing and for something they show no remorse for doing.  All I can do is back away to minimize the effect their actions have on me.  If we reopen the relationship, even if we put everything from the past in the past, I worry my ILs have an almost pathological need to direct our lives.  Which will just lead to new things to have to do the forgiveness dance for, and more times of deciding if I go along with their "advice" and move my spice cabinet, take my dog to x groomer, whatever or do what I'd prefer to do and listen to their arguing when I explain to them why we're not or when they see that we haven't done what they "suggested". 

Part of me feels like there is a solution out there because we now live pretty far from them, so how much can they really attach themselves to us.  But another part of me worries that the answer will still be "a lot".  And I don't know if it's crueler not to try or to try and end up right back where we started but with them and my DD having had some type of relationship.  In an ideal world, when we said to them that we needed to have a little space, they would have graciously given that to us, and we would all still be in contact.  But in reality, when we said that, they reacted by claiming that we didn't love them and trying to attach themselves to us even more. I guess if this was an easy fix, I wouldn't be on  message board trying to find a solution,

cremebrulee

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Re: The Other Woman
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 06:26:31 PM »
no, it is not an easy fix...we cannot change people, nor can we tell them how to think and feel...it is unfortunate that your in-laws are like this...if only they were able to free themselves from the need to depend on others for happiness...sad, so sad to be like that, without any concept or clue of the feelings and needs of others...I mean, did you ever once stop to think about that...I have...many times as I've read many threads on the forums...first I think, God, how can that be, how can people be so unaware, then pity wells up from within, and then thankfulness...and I praise God for the childhood and foster mother I had...oh yes, I have faults, many...many of which I to will never be able to change, however....it is so good to know that I can let go...am able to live alone and not be lonely, and to have met the angles along the way that I've been privileged to know, who helped guide me along the way...and all of a sudden I feel so rich...so wealthy...in this little world of mine...


willingtohelp

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Re: The Other Woman
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 06:43:58 PM »
Yaknow Creme, you hit on a point that always gets me.  I don't want them to be alone.  If I had to play a psychiatrist, I'd say that my FIL is constantly in need of attention and reassuance, which my MIL provides, but the cost is that she has no one to give her any attention.  Her children gave that to her.  And without her children, she's not just alone, but she has a husband who constantly blames her when things go wrong and expects her to celebrate him when he doesn't celebrate her (eg he won an award, she made a dinner and got him a cake, he made little "jokes" all night about how it would have been perfect if she's gotten x as an appetizer.  She won a bigger award.  He was too busy to attend her ceremony).  I actually feel a lot of pity for her.  In some ways, I think my husband is so awesome as a spouse because he saw how his dad acts towards his mom and swore never to be like that.  If there was a way to just bring her to our home without him, I think that we could make it work, because she'd lose the drain on her energy and become less clingy.  But there's no real way to do that, and it's in no way my business how they choose to live their lives or what marital dynamics work for them.  But that's the dynamic I see if it gives anyone else a suggestion on how to make things work.