How to Deal With the Other, “Other” Woman.
In my time with husband I have sinned a whopper of a sin. I am talking a triple-decker sin with cheese, bacon, and all the unhealthy trappings that lead to cholesterol damnation. I have been jealous of his female best friend. I’m talking full blown plotting imaginary scenarios that I can somehow cast her as a succubus in his mind, and me, the innocent/not to so innocent tragic heroin that they both dare to destroy emotionally in their attempt just to simply hangout, play some video games, or grab a latte. I know…not best look, people. I didn’t say I was proud of this behavior.
So, I decided to sit down and come to terms with why I acted this way.
The leopard clad elephant in the room is, of course, my father’s mistress, and the damage I believed that she did to our family, and most of all, my mother. I have wrote about her in my creative nonfiction essays many times. I believe my indignation towards other women in my husband’s life stems from watching my mother deal with the fact that the man she loved, beyond any sense of logic, decided that, just because she didn’t have the capacity to have sex for a few months, after a very high risk hysterectomy, gave him the right to step out and search for, what my students affectionately call, “a side chick.” For a long time, all I could see was this “other woman” side of the equation. I looked at her as some trashy harpy snatching him away to purposefully hurt me and my mother. This has now changed due to years of therapy, reflection, and my sudden, yet unreasonably delayed realization that she was just as much his victim as we were.
To think of all the lies he told her and all the times he had to hide her from his mother and other disapproving catholic relatives. I remember one time, he threw her out, of what she thought was, at the time, their house, just because I was coming up to Jersey to visit. Mind you, I had known about her for years, but that didn’t matter to him. I can now imagine her feeling used and tossed aside, like some dirty and broken sex toy.
Now, I am not saying that this woman was a saint. She went out of her way to embarrass my mother at my grandmother’s funeral, introducing herself loudly to everyone that she was my father’s girlfriend, while my mother was just a few pews down. Then, the day after his suicide, she emptied all his bank accounts. My mother believed she did it out of desperation because she was worried she wouldn’t get anything in the will, which she did by the by. And my mother never pressed charges for that ghoulish act.
My mother tried to tell me for years that she had stopped being angry at his mistress, but I wasn’t willing to actually hear her or accept that. But now, I realize she was right not be. My father told so many lies, especially towards the end of his life, that nobody knew the truth, including him. After his death, a few of his nastier fibs jingled and rolled out of his coffin. He was telling her, and people in her inner circle, that my mother was a nagging hurricane of destruction that yelled and fought with my father every chance she could. Now if anyone truly knows my mother, they know this is false. When she gets upset she retracts into herself like a sad sea whelk. She won’t talk, yell, and if truly dismayed or enraged, she’ll stop eating. In fact, it was common for her not to talk to him or even take his calls, if she was upset. Meanwhile, he would tell my mother that he only trusted her, and he didn’t trust anyone, his mistress included, when the IRS came knocking at his door and sent him frantically knocking at Death’s.
So, I now know I must do two things: First, apologize to my husband’s female friend for years of unjust resentment. Second, I must apologize to my husband. Because he is not my father, and that was where the problem truly slept in my psyche.