How does the other woman feel when the husband goes back to his wife?
It is very common for me to hear from women who are still very concerned about the woman their husband cheated on them with. They are often fully aware that they shouldn’t be thinking or worrying about her, but that is easier said than done. Sometimes thoughts just pop into your head before you can help yourself, and this can be true even if your husband has broken up.
I heard from one wife who said, “My husband got very romantically involved with his assistant. They got so serious that he moved out of our house to move in with her. I guess he thought he was in love with her. And I assume she was just as serious with him. Well, after living with her for about three months, my husband called me and asked if he could come home. He said that he realized that the relationship had no future and that he was so sorry for putting jeopardized his marriage to me. Because of my kids and because I missed him like crazy, I went along with it. He told me the other woman abruptly quit her job. He said he didn’t give her any details and she has no idea where she is now or what he’s doing. He said he doesn’t know how he feels about the situation and he keeps insisting this is none of his business anymore. I know he’s still at home because I saw his car there the other night with the lights on The thing I just keep wondering what he’s thinking. There are times when I don’t care about his feelings because he obviously knew my husband was married. And there are other moments where I almost feel sorry for her because I read her letters to my husband and I know that she was very involved and thought that they were going to have a future together. My husband doesn’t want me to talk to her. But I can’t turn off my curiosity. Should he try to talk to her to see how he feels about her?”
I may sound insensitive when I say this, but my answer to this question is a resounding no. I don’t think you have any obligation to find out his feelings. And I don’t think it’s in your best interest to do so. I can’t think of any scenario where having this dialog would be a good idea. Although I understand the curiosity. But I think you should distract yourself until the urge passes. I will outline why I believe this below.
The other woman’s feelings vary depending on many different factors: Many wives ask me how the other woman is feeling in general when the affair is over. I wish I could give you a concrete answer, but I can’t. Feelings and reaction vary greatly depending on the woman’s personality and circumstances. I hear from some women who really regret the affair and are almost relieved when it was over because they felt so guilty, had marriages or families of their own, or never meant to hurt anyone. And then there are other women who get angry when the relationship ends and have a hard time accepting that it’s over. There are others who are sad and grieve when it is over because they really had some hope or some belief that the husband was going to leave his wife forever.
Your specific reaction often depends on a combination of your personality, the intensity of the relationship, and your perception of the future of the relationship. Some women go into an affair knowing that nothing will ever come of it. They are just looking for a distraction or an outlet and they really don’t want the husband to leave his wife. Others imagine themselves married to the husband eventually. And these are going to be the women who will have the strongest reactions.
He had no way of knowing what category this other woman fell into. The wife herself seemed to think that she was seriously interested in the relationship. And if this is true, then she was probably more likely to feel sadness or anger. And this is unfortunate. But she knew that her husband was a married man when she began a romantic relationship with him. Therefore, she had to know that there was some risk that things would not end well.
Follow the instincts that tell you that your attention should be on your own family: Almost without fail, wives who ask me questions about the other woman instinctively know that their time is better spent worrying about things or people other than this woman. They know this in their minds, but it is very difficult to get their hearts to follow. I probably don’t need to tell you that your instincts are correct. You already know this. The more you focus on the other woman, the less time you have for yourself and the more power you give her.
I suspect many of us worry about her out of fear. We suppose that if we know how he feels, this will give us an indication of whether or not he is still a threat. But here’s the thing. The best way to neutralize her as a threat is to strengthen your marriage so you don’t have to worry. This is a much better plan for trying to gauge how she’s doing when the best strategy is to let her go and hope she moves on.