Discovering The Other Woman

It’s been eleven years since I found out about The Other Woman in my marriage…

On June 6, 2006, I went to my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s office to sign some documents pertaining our divorce. It had been about two weeks since we’d decided to separate, and since The Decision, all of our discussions had been productive. 
 
After our signatures were notarized, I felt relieved and excited. “Let’s have dinner to celebrate,” I suggested.
 
My husband shook his head.
 
“C’mon!” I tried again. “We signed the papers. We’re getting closer to a divorce.”
 
He shook his head again. “No, Tara. Just go.”
 
I was confused by his reaction, and started to ask, “What—“
 
And then she walked in. She was tall and thin with wavy hair. She and my husband looked at each other, and I knew.
 
Oh my God, she’s The Other Woman! 

Until that moment, I had no idea.
 
“Oh, I get it,” I said. I grabbed my purse and walked out the door, desperately trying to maintain my composure.
 
To my surprise, she followed me. “Tara, wait!” She yelled.
 
I turned around as she caught up to me in the parking lot. “What?” I hissed.
 
She introduced herself and said, “I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry about the way things turned out.”
 
“Why are you sorry?” I asked her. “Was it because of you?”
 
Her eyes widened in surprise. “N-no,” she stammered.
 
“How long have you been seeing each other?” I wanted to know.
 
“Like, two months,” she confessed.
 
It didn’t take long to construct a timeline in my head. They’d been seeing each other for two months, yet it had only been two weeks since my STBX and I had the We-Should-Separate Conversation.
 
“Yeah,” I told her with a nervous laugh. “It was you.”
 
With that, I turned and briskly completed the journey to my car, where I proceeded to crumple, my body heaving with deep, painful sobs. Up to that point, I’d been incredibly proud of the open, honest and mature way we’d handled our split.

But I was wrong. My husband was a liar and a cheater. And given the way the Other Woman had so confidently walked into his office, it was obvious that I was the last to know.

It sounds like a sad story, doesn’t it? And for a few hours, it was. But eventually I was able to separate my personal pain from the reality of the situation. The facts were:

Our marriage was over long before we admitted it.
We fought all.the.time.
When he touched me, I cringed.
I knew he’d been sad and lonely, and I didn’t care.
I hated him.

Of course he hooked up with someone else. Sure, it was a shitty thing to do, but it was understandable. We were in a shitty situation. If he found some escape/relief/happiness with Tall Girl, could I really blame him?

As time rolled by, I was actually glad my ex had someone else. The existence of Tall Girl hastened the remaining separation process as I hurried to move out (and she immediately moved in). She provided crystal clarity: there were no longer any lingering questions or guilt about the decision to end the marriage. And she gave Greg something to feel good about.

In short, she made it easier for both of us to let go.

Isn’t it funny how our perceptions can change?

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2 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh what a great outlook you have on that situation! It’s taken me some time to get passed “the other woman” thing but now that I’m so much happier, remarried, moved on, I”M SO grateful for the other woman. It’s insane how much our perspective changes when we step back and let time mend our wounds.

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