Over the course of the last year, I have read several blogs written by women who were the “Other Woman”.  If you’ve followed me for the last year or so, you’ll know that I was one.  I’ve wanted to write, wanted to respond, but I know that some of my ex-MM’s relations still read my blog, and don’t want anything I say to be misinterpreted by them.  I hestitated to post this, but I feel I must speak my mind.

I spoke with my ex-MM the other day.  It was a nice conversation.  He’s doing well.  He’s in a relationship – he and his wife actually did get divorced.

When you are the OW, you are consumed and enflamed by your own feelings.   As I read what these other women are thinking and feeling, I can feel the pain that they are going through.  I remember conversations with my ex-MM that sound exactly like the ones they are having with theirs, after their affair was discovered.  I remember thinking, in the heat and darkness of my broken heart, “How could he have turned on me like this?  How could he have said those things and then gone back to her?  Was it all just lies?”  After the affair, every OW thinks that it was all just lies, all those sweet words he said to her, all those promises never to hurt her, never to leave her.  Maybe those words are lies for some MMs.  But not for all.

The words OWs use to describe their affairs are similar in every account.  The actions are similar.  Texting dozens of times a day.   Calls when alone and in transit.  Stolen moments meeting in various places.  Soul-level conversations that go on for hours.  The things the two of you feel together are magical.  You are soulmates.  You’ve never felt so intimate with someone on every possible level.  The sex is spectacular, magnificent, breathtaking, otherworldly.  You both feel that way.  You practically read each other’s thoughts – sometimes, you actually do.

Truly, you are both feeling these feelings.  But when the shit hits the fan, women can sometimes prove to be stronger than men.  I think, when it comes down to making that choice – which, let’s face it, for most men means losing everything – EVERYTHING – they have worked for, and their comfortable lifestyle – they panic and become paralyzed at the same time.  Their heart wants one thing, but their brain wants another.  Men are so much more used to acting on a rational than an emotional level that they are, unbelievably, able to put the emotional part aside.  They are able to lock those feelings of being truly alive with someone back up into a box in their souls and put away the key, and try to make their semi-dead life tolerable again, so no one in their immediate surroundings is making them uncomfortable and they are not faced with the daunting prospect of trying to rebuild their lives at a stage of life where they should be thinking of retiring in ten or fifteen years.

Women seem to be able to fight through it and come out the other side – often alone, sometimes with their MM, but rarely remaining in a stale, convenient marriage for the sake of keeping the peace.  We cannot acquiesce to a living death.  It seems some men can.

I never thought my ex-MM was horrible (well, maybe once or twice in the throes of the endings.)  I always saw the conflict within him, the agony and guilt he was feeling on so many levels.  It would have been easy to just focus on my own pain, but I couldn’t do that – I knew how real his pain was. I knew that ending it was just as painful for him as it was for me.  Just because we weren’t talking doesn’t mean I didn’t feel his pain.

In my case, our affair was a jumping-off point.  I discovered that I needed his support to take the leap away from my own bad marriage.  I came out of it alone, but it worked.  Perhaps he needed something similar, as he got divorced as well. 

While I struggle with visions of my future, which right now is particularly bleak due to money stuff, I would not go back to my old life.  My marriage was literally killing me slowly.  I am happier now.  My daughter is happier now.  And my ex-husband and I are actually getting along better than we have in years.

I regret the pain that all of us experienced due to our affair.  It certainly wasn’t planned, though it feels as if it was perhaps destiny.   I loved my guy madly, truly, deeply.  I will NEVER be the OW again.  The whole experience has taught me (again) that sometimes the only way out is through.  That doesn’t mean that it’s easy – it just is what it is.