Nothing irks me like the phrase ‘home wrecker’ does; mostly because it suggests that the infidelity and act of ‘home wrecking’ in question was somehow one sided. Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a relationship – monogamous or otherwise – I can’t exactly do it alone; the phrase ‘it takes two to tango’ comes to mind.
This notion seems glaringly obvious, yet we continue to blame the ‘other woman’ wherever an affair is concerned. Whether it’s the villain character on EastEnders, that women from spin class or Angelina Jolie – the ‘other woman’ gets all the flack whilst a nation of Brad Pitt’s continue winning Academy awards and getting off Scott free.
Of course being cheated on is the ultimate betrayal – you’re heartbroken, humiliated and hurt and will – understandably – want to lash out at the person who made you feel this way.
The direction of the anger towards the ‘other woman’ and the ‘other woman’ alone, though, fails to register in my brain as acceptable. The ‘other woman’ is no stranger to shrieks of ‘how could you do this’ and ‘do you have no morals’ whilst her partner in crime is often on the receiving end of much tamer abuse – and this is ludicrous.
After all, unless this woman is your best friend, the only one who has actively hurt you is him. The only one who has betrayed your trust is him. The only one who has been lying to your face day after day is him.
It’s certainly easier to hate a stranger than it is to hate the person you trusted most in the world – I get that – but we need to do the female population a favour and cut the other woman some slack.
Not only does she deserve it, but you do too; and here’s why:
You have more in common than you think…
Here’s the crux of the situation, you’ve both fallen for the same douche. He has in essence played you both and you’ve both fallen for his spiel. Long term affairs are never just about the sex; the other woman is just as emotionally involved with your man as you are, if not more. She’s willing to come second, keep her relationship a dirty little secret and steal any moments she can just to get her fix.
Sure, he hasn’t met her parents or been her plus one to weddings, but the fact of the matter is she fell for him too. She was taken in by his charm, she laughed at his cheesy jokes and she swallowed his lies – just like you did.
She’s second best – and she knows it
Yes, maybe he took her for the odd drink or date – but who did he come home to? Who did he make breakfast in bed for the very next day and post about it on Instagram? She had to see that.
Yes, he’s lied to you and been unfaithful, but she wasn’t even worth lying to. She’s just a tiny, immaterial part of his life with you – the irrelevant side dish to accompany you, his main meal – and she knows it.
You might want to hurt her but, rest assured, she’s hurting already.
If it wasn’t her, it would have been someone else
If your significant other has been having an affair, chances he would have done so, whether he’d met her or not; if it wasn’t her, it would have been someone else – she’s merely the symbol for all the other woman it could have been.
And how many might there have been? You can’t be sure she’s not just one in a long line of representatives for his profoundly deep rooted issues. Yes, they’re his issues – don’t make them her problem.
Don’t kick her while she’s already down
You’re in the power position. You’re the loveable Sienna Miller and she’s the skanky nanny who cheapened herself with someone else’s boyfriend. Whilst you’ll have your friends, family and even outsiders' undivided support, she’ll undoubtedly be stigmatised, alienated and stuck with a rather unfortunate reputation.
Everyone’s heart will go out to you. They’ll dispute the fact she even has a heart.
It’s not worth your descent into bitterness
I was once told ‘to be wronged is nothing, unless you choose to remember it’ – and this saying has stuck with me. Essentially, holding a grudge against her will only prolong your own pain.
We’ve all (hopefully) grown out of the ‘mean girl’ mentality we harboured in year 9, along with our school uniform…
Getting your friends together to ridicule her, pointing out her flaws on social media or her distasteful choice of profile picture isn’t going to make you feel any better.
This situation is undignified enough as it is, don’t sacrifice your dignity further by being a bully.
It lets him off the hook
Any anger you take out on her will take away from the anger you have left for him. Being angry isn’t good for the soul – so save yours for the one person who really deserves to bear the brunt. (I.e. The cheating, lying scoundrel who conned not just you, but the so-called ‘home-wrecker too).
Feature image credit: Estrada Anton/Shutterstock