It has taken me a while to get to this place, but I must say that I am happy to have arrived. I totally feel sorry for the other woman, the one who was the final straw in our marriage, and the one who he now calls wife. I feel sorry for her because, you see, whether she believes it or not I have been there, living with a cheater I couldn’t trust.
Cheaters Gonna Cheat
When I first met my ex I was 19, quite attractive, and in the military where the ratio of attractive women to men is something like 1:100, or it was then. I was looking forward to my new life as an adult on my own, looking forward to traveling because I was scheduled to be stationed in Germany after my schooling, and looking forward to leaving my mistakes in the past.
The first night I got to my new duty station I met him. It was late, I was exhausted, and I walked into the dayroom to get a drink out of the machine. I noticed one, lone couple in the room – she sitting in his lap nuzzling his neck and licking his ear while he watched the television. When he heard me come into the room he turned his head slowly toward me, his gaze starting at my feet, working up to the top of my head, and then resting on my breasts. He finally looked up to see my stone cold death stare and he grinned.
Understand, the entire time this was going on his girlfriend was grinding in his lap.
My first impression should have been the one I stuck with. What a self-involved, arrogant son-of-a-bitch.
The Glove Has Been Thrown Down
Do you remember how in some movies the knight would toss down his glove to signal the issuance of a challenge?
When I gave him my usually oh-so-successful icy look it was the equivalent of issuing him a challenge. Had I smiled and seemed even slightly interested he would have never looked at me again. Hollywood would have us believe that being pursued is desirable but often in real life it is just a narcissist getting high on what he sees as a challenge to be overcome.
I did everything to stay away from him. If he sat by me I moved. I called him names. I was sarcastic, one of my family’s most valued characteristics – we are incredibly good at sarcasm. I even poured an entire can of Sprite on his head to cool him off.
Nothing deterred him from his goal – me. He informed me that he was not at all looking for a relationship, he just wanted to talk.
He seemed to know what to say, to know what to do to soften that well hidden, romantic girly-girl in me. He finally broke me down and we began to date. In a time and place when sex was pretty freely given I was surprised that he was not physically affectionate very often but he blamed it on his military bearing and I didn’t know then what I know now.
Narcissists have their own agenda.
Narcissists Share Everything – Sort Of
It seemed like he understood so much about me. I shared freely about myself, my past, my fears, hopes, and dreams. He did the same.
He told me about his ex-girlfriend (not the one I had seen that first night), who he had hung out with in high school. He told me about how they had broken up over and over again, how she had hurt him, and how he was healing.
He even told me how much I was helping him heal. I was so impressed that he was able to share those deep emotions and so giddy that I was actually helping him get over her that I did not stop to examine the uneasy feeling I kept getting.
Silly me. I didn’t realize that half of what he was sharing was lies and he was only sharing the truth to a depth he could control. While I was letting him into the bottom of my soul his had a false bottom.
It was part of the game.
Marriage Is the Beginning of the End for a Narcissist
So we were married. Interestingly enough he cheated at his bachelor party but I didn’t find out until after the wedding. Nothing like seeing a half-dollar sized hickey on your groom’s body that you didn’t put there.
Of course he had an explanation –and it certainly wasn’t his fault. Although I should have annulled it right there I didn’t.
During the course of the next two years he cheated more than once. I can’t remember how many times honestly, and I probably don’t even know how many times. It was never-ever his fault by the way. In fact (surprise, surprise) it was most often mine.
Things seemed to settle down and then in year seven he cheated again. This was big, he couldn’t decide if he wanted her or me and told me he would just live with me and date her until he decided. He also said he had kissed her but never had sex with her. Somehow reason won out and I told him he had to decide immediately on one or the other – and I really didn’t care whether he’d had sex with her or not.
I just think that an emotional affair is as bad as a physical one – and maybe even more of a betrayal.
He chose me and we went on. I don’t have any knowledge of him cheating until the very end but at this point I can’t say for sure. I don’t even really care.
Sex, which had never been the normal do-it-like-bunnies newlywed sex, dwindled until there were six week, and even longer, gaps between our times together. I felt unattractive and undesirable and, looking back, I was aging badly and really becoming unattractive, too.
We went to counseling on two separate occasions. I suspect neither counselor was experienced in narcissism. The second counseling seemed to fix the problem. We were having much more frequent sex, even making out in the car, and I thought we were over the hump. We had been married nearly 30 years and I was in it for the long haul.
Enter, the Other Woman
Let’s cut to the chase and just let me say that I found pages and pages of sexting and pretty steamy emails between his high school girlfriend and himself. Keep in mind, the man was 50 years old. High school was a long time ago. There is nothing like knowing your husband has been sitting in front of the computer reading personal porn from his girlfriend before he comes upstairs to you to really make your ego deflate to a black hole of self-loathing.
He even laughed in one of the emails and mentioned how I was desperate for those kinds of emails from him but they were all for her. He signed the letters, Always, [the narcissist].
I was furious for a lot of reasons, but the big one was he had signed his cards to me, Always and forever [the narcissist]. When I confronted him he informed me that (are you ready for this fine example of narcissistic logic?) Always and Forever was much better than just Always.
Predictably he let me know that he was having trouble deciding between the two of us and wanted time to decide. I pretty much helped him decide right then.
They have made it sound very romantic to their friends and family. They spun it like high school lovers find each other again after 30 years! It sounds sweet and lovely but they failed to mention she was married and so was he… and he left six kids and a wife without looking back or concerning himself with how they would fare.
That’s just not as sweet and romantic, is it?
So, Why Do I Feel Sorry for the Other Woman?
Well, because I have a great, peaceful life with a husband that loves me and puts my needs on par with his own. He also happens to find me attractive, thank you very much. My work is going well, I will be on a family vacation on a cruise ship when you read this, and life is just all kinds of good.
She has my ex-husband (no take backs!!), who she is basically supporting, and who is no-doubt still a narcissist whether he has revealed that yet or not. He cheated on her in high school as I recall, he cheated on the girl he was seeing before me, and he cheated on me. At some point he won’t be able to blame me for every bad thing that happens in his life and he will have to find a new martyr. She is the trophy wife now – how long is that going to last? You see, I have been where she is but her future is my past.
Does she really think that he is going to be so different with her?
Yeah, she probably does. And, honestly? He might be. I hope so because, no matter how willing she was overlook the fact that he had a wife when she was messaging him about having him take cherries out of her hoo-hah, I still think that any woman deserves better than what he has given women in the past. I really do hope it works for her.
But forgive me if I grin for a moment when it doesn’t. You know what they say about karma, right?
See, you aren’t alone in your experiences. If you need somewhere to vent, to share, and to get empathy join First Wives World today.