It’s really bad to hear that your husband had an affair. It’s even worse to hear that it was a full-blown affair with vacations, love letters, gifts etc.
To really understand the enormity of the pain, betrayal, disbelief and the hopelessness, one has to go through it. Of course, as a therapist I’m frequently an affair witness. It’s sort of like giving birth – you can read all the books and manuals about it, but until you go through it, there’s always something words can’t convey.
A recurring theme of the “wife betrayed” is the phenomenon of devoting more time and rage directed at the mistress rather than the husband. Again and again I’ve heard the jilted woman devoting an enormous amount of time and energy to the “fucking bitch”, “the leach”, “the whore” and “the slut”.
Do I understand the anger and rage towards the mistress? I do.
Do I understand the need to use the mistress as a scapegoat; a Delilah; as a temptress of the weak man? I do.
However, what makes the process of facing reality so tough is that often, the anger against the mistress far supersedes the one against the husband!
I see women not wanting to feel the proportionate rage towards the husband (and you can substitute husband with partner, boyfriend etc.) It is safer to divert some of the rage towards the “seductress”.
It’s not completely his fault! He was raped!
I see the fear.
Fear: “If it is his fault then I have to stick to declarations I made ten years ago, when I said that if I catch him cheating I will walk out.” Or, “If it is his fault, then if I have an ounce of self-respect I should kick him out immediately and file for divorce.”
I see divorce –
Divorce: I have four single friends my age and each one of them is complaining about being single.
Divorce: I have not worked in fifteen years. I like my lifestyle. I like having my freedom without a boss I have to please.
Divorce: We’ll have to sell the house where I invested all my decorating chops that I’m so proud of. I’ll probably need to move to a condo. Our dog will have to manage without a yard!
Divorce: Who is going to want me? I am not as beautiful as I used to be. How do I know that my next partner will not do the same?
Divorce: Even if my husband betrayed me I have to admit that he is still pretty decent. He’s generous, he shows up where it counts. He’s a good dad.
I see “men are weak” –
Men are weak: He was tempted by the new secretary who had her eyes on him right from day one. After all he is a man.
Men are weak: Well, it’s his fault, but not completely. If it were not for the bitch who tried to get into his pants, we would still be this happily married couple. Show me a man who would withstand the temptation of a Barbie?
I see ‘da Bitch –
‘da Bitch: It is true, that in the last couple of years I started going to bed with sweats, and most of the time I fall asleep way before he comes to bed. But regardless, even if I were wearing sexy pajamas, I still would not be able to combat this little whore who had her design on him.
‘da bitch: I cannot believe that there are women without any morality and integrity. I cannot believe that there are women who want to take a family man away from his wife, and don’t care at all that he’s married! What’s wrong with them? Obviously they are the scum of the earth!
‘da Bitch: She waited until I was out-of-town, when I went to London to see the Royal Wedding. I did ask Joe to come with me, but he said that he has this big project at work and he cannot come. I went with one of my single friends and we had a blast. Little did I know that while I was a tourist watching one wedding, my own was unraveling!
Da bitch: Obviously she waited for the right circumstances. He was overworked, he was alone, he does not like eating alone, he was resentful that I decided to travel without him, and then she pounced. She got him when he was weak and tired, and the rest is history.
I see “it can’t be me”
It can’t be me: So you see, it’s partly his fault but it’s mostly hers. I would never do something like that. I am moral, I stick to my principles and I have integrity.
It can’t be me: It’s all because of her; and I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of leaving him.