I sometimes hear from wives who actually know the “other woman” or have to interact with her. This is a very hard situation. But it is even worse when the other woman “reveals” the affair to a circle of other people in order to enhance your pain. As a result, not only are you dealing with the affair, your husband, and her, but you are also having to deal with outsiders who really have nothing to do with the affair. This should be no one else’s business. And yet, the other woman has made it so that outsiders know.
A wife might say: “my husband told me about the affair before the other woman blurted it out to everyone. So I can’t say that I was completely thrown off guard. But no one else knew until she made her huge announcement. And I would not have told anyone. The other woman is on the same board that I am on at my child’s school. We were having a meeting and she made a ridiculous suggestion, which I shot down. I was talking only about things that pertained to the meeting, but she blurted out ‘oh, she’s just mad because I’ve been sleeping with her husband for two months.’ No one said anything. The room was dead silent. I was so mortified that I left. And I have been unable to show my face since. I drop my son off and do not walk in to school anymore. I am so embarrassed. I can’t stand the thought that everyone knows and is talking about me, my marriage, and my family. I told my husband, but since he’s already broken it off, he says there isn’t much that he can do because he does not want to talk to the other woman anyway. I have no idea what I want to do about my marriage. My husband has offered to move if I find living here to be too difficult. But I can’t do anything until the school year is over. I don’t want to disrupt my son. So that means I’m stuck with all of my acquaintances knowing what happened. I am going to quit the committee that the other woman is on. But I still will have to see her at school sometimes, as well as the other moms. I don’t know how I’m going to show my face.”
I completely understand why you are so upset. And I find the other woman’s behavior absolutely appalling. But I think it is SHE who should be mortified, not you. I do understand why you feel embarrassed. Many of us feel embarrassed, although we are innocent. You are not the one who did anything wrong. You understandably did not stick around to see how the other women at the meeting reacted, but if I had been in that room, it is the other woman who I would have judged harshly, not you. She is the one who was in such desperate need of attention that she had to bring up something which had nothing to do with the meeting and was only intended to hurt someone else. I know that it’s very easy to assume the worst and to fear that the women in the meeting are gossiping about you. But I would suspect that maybe they are gossiping about HER instead. It should not be you that can’t go out in public. You should have every right to be comfortable at your son’s school.
If it were me, I would contact the chair of the meeting or one of the women to whom you are closest. I would tell her that you are considering how best to handle the committee since obviously both you and the other woman being on it together is going to cause awkwardness and tension for all involved. I honestly think that there is a chance that they would ask the other woman to leave, since her comments were completely inappropriate. If you enjoy the committee, why should you have to leave when you didn’t do anything wrong?
I very much understand the tendency to want to hide out right now. I had this inclination also. But when you do that, you only make it harder to put two feet in front of the other, hold your head high, and continue to live your life. You are not the guilty party here. You should be able to live your normal life if you want to. Granted, some families are more comfortable moving and starting over after an affair. But if you don’t want to move, you should not have to. And if you want to stay on the committee, you should be able to. You are not the one who made the comment. You are not the one who cheated on your spouse and announced it in public. So there is no reason for you to act like the guilty party. I know it’s difficult, but I’d suggest holding your head high and continuing on with the activities that gives you back your comfortable routine. The other woman has disrupted your life enough. There is no reason to give her the power to make you feel uncomfortable at your son’s school.
by Katie Lersch