I was deeply angry at you, the first one. You, who had joined us on double dates along with your own husband. You, who knew I had just had a baby. How I truly hope that your husband doesn’t do the same to you just weeks after having a baby. I can tell you from experience that this will do a number on your self esteem, and that’s the last thing you need while covered in spit-up during your sleepless newborn nights.
I was angry that you weren’t the friend to him you were supposed to be. People make mistakes, yes, but a good friend would not stand by while someone she cares for risks his family, nor would she participate. You were not his friend; you were just a lonely woman, hurting from the infidelity your own husband introduced into your marriage years earlier.
I was angry with you because I was not a faceless wife whom you didn’t know. You knew me. We’d talked and even laughed together over dinners. You knew exactly who was going to get hurt in this process, and it didn’t matter to you.
I was angry with you because it was the only way to survive the healing and changing that I hoped to see in my husband.
When I called to tell you I forgave you, I almost threw up when you said you’d respect my wishes to never contact him again. Had you only respected our family in the first place…
But then, he did it again. The boundaries we’d put up to keep you out didn’t matter in the end because physical boundaries weren’t the problem. The brokenness of my husband couldn’t be fixed by changing jobs, blocking your phone number, or any other logical change. His brokenness included insecurities that eventually led him to another woman. Again.
The truth is, likely both of you are not bad people, and this time I realize that my anger was mostly misdirected. For that, I’m sorry. Though I’ve never met the second woman, I assume she’s just a lonely girl who liked the attention she was getting. I won’t waste my time or energy being angry with people who weren’t responsible for the vows that were made. That’s on him. People all make mistakes; I understand that.
But I also understand that we are all worth so much more than being cheated on. And I know you feel that, too, because if this happened to your sister or your best friend, you’d be angry for her. You’d want to cuss that man out until you lost your voice because what he did to her was wrong. Why do we need to know the woman who was hurt to be angry about it? What happened to “sisterhood”?
What if, instead of saying that the best thing to do is to “follow your heart,” we all stood up for each other? What if, instead of justifying cheating with a married man, you slapped that man’s face for what he was proposing you do together and shamed him for belittling another woman—your sister—with his actions? Because for those times that our men won’t stand up for the promises they’ve made, for the love of everything good, why won’t we stand up for each other? If feminism is alive and well at all, can we please stand up for respect, the right we all deserve most?
I could go on and on about how cheating is bad, about how it’s his actions that matter most, but at the heart of it all, I truly wish we all cared for each other a bit more. Because, to me at least, the sisterhood goes far beyond standing up for our each other when we’re treated wrong by a man. What about when we treat each other poorly?
When a friend is putting down another mama because of a personal choice on parenting, couldn’t we steer the conversation to a happier place or note that everyone does things differently?
When you see a mother struggling at Target, instead of just feeling happy that it’s not you or comforted that you’re not the only one who has those moments, why not go a step further, smile at her, walk over to her, tell her she’s doing a great job, or help her out a bit?
We’re so busy taking care of ourselves that we forget about others, which is where this whole problem in my life began. People thought of themselves before thinking of the other people in the situation. If we all changed our focus to those around us, I dare to say it’s almost guaranteed that our own hearts would change and the world would literally become a better place, even if just a smidge at a time. Be the sisterhood. We all need it throughout our lives, so let’s be it for those needing it right now.
To you, his first other woman, I will cheer you on—from afar of course. I know you’re a mom now, and I know it’s hard, and I’m not sure if you’ve ever really dealt with the feelings that led you to a place where it wasn’t about the others affected by your choices. But I do hope that those around you will lift you up, cheer you on, be the sisterhood for you. Because no matter where you are, who you’ve been, or what you’ve done, everyone needs support and friendship. Everyone needs sisterhood, even the other woman. Maybe you need it most of all.
Such bravery shared. A sisterhood that is so silent, thank you.
The strength you had to write such eloquent words was far stronger than any action taken by the two parties that hurt you.
Your words will help others who’ve been through this, but also those broken souls who are considering making such choices that end up causing more harm in the long run.
I get wanting to feel wanted, needed, appreciated, but those who are seeking “love” in the arms of those who aren’t truly available, only end up crushing someone else on their attempted journey to their own self-improvement.
To the author of this article, I say well done, my friend. Well done.
What a brave and beautiful post. The world needs more women like you in it! I’d be proud to call you a friend!
Such truth in your words. I found out a few months ago that my husband had an affair and I knew the woman. Although they were friends/co-workers we also were “family friends” who had dinners together, spent weekends together, even went on a vacation together. I ask myself that same question, how could she treat another woman like that? Aren’t we supposed to be a sisterhood that stands up for one another? I know now, as does my husband, that the affair was about his brokenness and not about her at all, but I am having such a hard time getting to that place of forgiving her. Your article is one more thing that helps me see things in a way that pushes me more in that direction. Thank you. And from one sister to another….I wish you peace in your continued journey.
I’m happy you have found peace. Cheating is awful. Although I’ve never experienced this I know it causes so much pain. People love to blame the wife when her husband cheats. But that is so unfair and untrue. Cheaters are broken people looking for someone to fill the big hole in their heart that was there probably before they ever got married. Sadly no person can or should ever fill it. I have learned from my 40 years on this earth is a person who isn’t truly happy with him/herself will always look for external things to make them happy, whether it’s material things or another person. They want others to make them happy and when that doesn’t work (because it can’t no matter how great the other person is) they’ll look for someone/something else. A self-respecting person doesn’t cheat on their spouse who loves them, supports them, knows everything about them, and shares a family together. Instead of seeing a broken man, a woman who cheats with a married man feels flattered and believes she has something his wife doesn’t have because she’s sadly blinded by her own deep insecurities and desperation for love or attention. Thank you for sharing this, and I wish you only the best.
I love you, brave sister.
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