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The Allure of Being the Other Woman


I have never understood how anyone could date someone who is married. How in the world could any woman ever be ok with being "the other woman"? Why would someone think that God would bring them someone who is already married? How could anyone ever be ok being the homewrecker?

Then I was her. 

I didn't mean to be, and I definitely didn't act on it in any way. He wasn't married, but he was in a committed relationship. The experience left an indelible mark on me, and I had a paradigm shift concerning "the other woman."

Let's back up six years to when "Bennett" and I were dating. I had met him right after my divorce was final, and he was a breath of fresh air. In all the ways my husband had failed me, Bennett encouraged me and held me up. We instantly connected, and we dated for nearly a year. We eventually broke up because he wasn't interested in ever being a step-dad. As a single mom of a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old at the time, I couldn't see a future for us. I loved him dearly, but we had to break up. I wanted a husband, and he didn't want an insta-family. 

Bennett and I kept in touch over the years—mainly texts wishing each other a "Merry Christmas" or a "Hope everything is well with you." A Navy veteran, he always received a "Happy Veterans Day" text from me, and 2019 was no exception. 

Going through divorce #2 at the time, I allowed our conversations to get flirty. I was lonely, and I missed talking to a man. I missed a man telling me I was beautiful. It got to the point that he asked me out. Even though I was still legally married, I justified it to myself that I'm literally just waiting for the court date, and we would just be going out as friends. So I accepted. 

Prior to our meeting up, I got curious as to what Bennett had been up to the past few years, so I creeped on his Facebook page. I started scrolling and clicking, and there was one name that kept popping up—a woman's name. She was commenting and liking every one of his posts. She was beautiful and seemingly happy. I clicked on her profile, and there it was. Posts all about her and Bennett. "Our favorite restaurant," "Our favorite activity," "Our spot." It was clear in her mind that Bennett and she were in a relationship. 

My next response surprised me, though. I thought about how he was willing to put his relationship on the line for me. Isn't that the height of romantic felicity? A man who is willing sacrifice everything for you. It's what every little girl dreams of in her knight in shining armor—to be chosen over all others. A sense of power came over me. I knew that after all of these years, I still had a hold on him. A thrill of excitement consumed me. He still would choose me over her, and I was still in his heart. Then another aspect of my newfound power occurred to me: that I could ruin his relationship if I wanted. I could send her a screenshot of our texts and expose him. I had him in my grips, and there was nothing he could do about it. What an emotional power-trip I was on.

All of these feelings came as a surprise to me. How could I enjoy the possibility of being "the other woman"? I know the devastation of being cheated on, yet here I was on the other side. I ended up asking Bennett if he had a girlfriend. No response. The next day, I told him that his lack of a response was all the confirmation I needed that he was in a relationship. I told him exactly what I thought of his behavior, and that it was unacceptable. I never heard a response from him. Ever.

My own unexpected response to the relationship revelation pulled me deep into a cave of introspection. Why had I felt so powerful? Why did it make me feel validated? Why did it make me feel like he was choosing me over her? When I can step back from it, it's all fake. None of this made me truly powerful, truly validated or truly chosen.

We have to not only know where our true power and validation comes from, but we have to believe it in our hearts. Our true power comes from above-—not from a man "choosing me" over his wife or girlfriend. I am a powerful person because I know who I am and Whose I am. I am a child of God, and I am an heir and co-heir with Christ Jesus to the throne of grace.

I am powerful because I can manage my emotions and draw boundaries. I can delineate where my responsibility begins and ends and where your responsibility begins and ends. I am validated because God says I am a treasure. Of course, it is always so nice to have a human being tell us how lovely we are. Some of us crave that from the depths of our souls, but it's a need that can only truly be met by the Lord. But we must be rooted and grounded in the Word of God, so that when the wrong people tickle our ears, we won't fall for their smooth words.

This short-lived "text affair" with Bennett gave me new perspective into the mind of the "other woman." It also showed me how easy it would be to fall into an affair and be the "other woman" if I wasn't so sure of who I am.







Comments

  1. Lindsey, not that you need this affirmation, but I am very proud of you! Being the ex-wife of a man who cheated on me numerous times and is now with the woman, I am almost positive, he was seeing before we divorced, I applaud your morals and boundaries. I almost fell into something a couple months ago with a charming rancher who was "separated" from his wife for years and told me they lived in separate states. I was at first okay with talking to him because he gave me all sorts of excuses as to why he was "free" to be in another relationship. But when I searched my heart and what my faith tells me is right, I found out that I was not okay with being the "other woman" until he got an official divorce (which he assured me was just a paperwork detail, insert eye roll here). So I made it clear that I could wait for him (with no contact in the interim) but if he wanted to date/be in a relationship with me his divorce needed to be final. He told me he had enough friends and I have not heard from his since. Part of this I chalk up to me not paying close enough attention to his online profile (he did mark down that he was separated), but also being duped into the "I've been separated for years and the divorce is just a formality" excuse. I'm not entering into complicated/possibly deceitful relationships. I deserve much better and I never want to be the unwitting "other woman." I know the pain of being on the other side of that all too well. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

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    1. It definitely showed me how easily we can fall into that trap if we aren't sure of who we are. Satan is so sneaky, and he knew I was feeling down at the time. So a "confidence booster" is what I needed at the time. I'm glad you were able to see this rancher's true intentions before your heart was involved! It's not always easy to say goodbye to someone who makes us feel good (temporarily) about ourselves!

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  2. So what do you do when your wife is talking to another man whose is “just a friend”, but everything suggests otherwise?

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    Replies
    1. That is so hard! I think that would entail an entirely new blog post. I encourage you to pray for discernment and for the Lord to lead you in what your next steps should be. I definitely think you should have an open and honest conversation with her about how it isn't appropriate to have a friend of the opposite gender when you're married. Blessings and prayers to you.

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