I am the other woman. I ended the extramarital affair nearly 5 years ago. His wife contacted me today and knows. I can't take back the pain I caused, but I want to do the most loving thing I can for her and for their marriage now. I need your advice.
After I ended the extramarital affair with my former boss years ago, I bought your book and devoured it trying to understand what I did to her and their family. I beat myself up over it. I don't speak to him anymore so I don't know how she found out or if it's just on suspicion. I wanted to tell her a couple of years ago but he begged me not too. I prayed about it, I asked my best friend - and I came to the conclusion that getting it off my chest then was more about me feeling relief than really about helping her/their family.
I am now at a very strong place with my faith and I ache to do anything to try to help her and the family. Do I meet her and talk? Do I respond to the message she sent me? Do I write her a letter? Do I send her your book? I don't want this to be about sharing the sordid details with her to try and make her think I had something special with him - I don't want to make this about me. I also know he had several long-term affairs and one-night stands on her (at least one of which she found out about), and woman-to-woman I don't want her to keep being in the dark.
I just have this feeling that maybe now is the time for healing for all of us and that if I don't come out of hiding that their marriage will never have the chance to be faithful. Can you share any advice with me, seeing that I am the other woman?
I'm so glad to know that my book has been helpful to you. I'm even more thrilled to hear your heart, your remorse, and your desire to do the right thing. The bible says,
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17
I honor you for working towards helping the betrayed spouse heal. I have a lot to share with you to help you, and perhaps you might consider booking a one-hour consultation with me. But briefly let me say, there are no set rules for a situation like this, because there are a number of important variables to be considered. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question, there are Life Principles to apply.
I'm not surprised that the wife has found out (or is suspicious). I really believe the truth is always revealed in the end. It's not a question of "if,” but rather a question of "when."
In my nine years of experience specializing in helping betrayed spouses heal from the trauma, I’ve found the most difficult and painful to recover from are the situations where the betrayed spouse finds out after the husband dies.
To her, her whole marriage is a lie, and she'll never have answers to her many questions. It's torture. As far as I'm concerned, it is the ultimate coward of a man who leaves his wife and children the painful legacy of a life that was a lie by thinking he's going to take his secret to the grave. Such a man lies to himself, saying “I’m protecting them” when really its himself he is protecting – making sure HE doesn’t have to face the pain of dealing with the consequences of his own choices.
To answer your specific questions: let the wife know you are deeply remorseful, ask for her forgiveness, tell her you are open to whatever she feels that she might need to help her heal. In other words, SHE needs to decide what she needs and on what timetable she needs it.
Be sincere, truthful & genuine. What type of woman this wife is, as well as where she is on her healing journey are important factors to be considered.
There is potential for incredible healing, forgiveness and understanding, and this is always God's plan. When we have wronged someone it is our responsibility to go to that person and ask for forgiveness, and to do what IS within our power to make amends.
It is kind to respond to her. I would start with a letter. I would not send her a copy of the book I authored, “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” because the title can be taken the wrong way, especially coming from you.
If your letter leads to an agreed face-to-face meeting, you might bring her a copy of my book, saying:
"This book helped me to understand you, how wrong what I did was, and it changed me. I wish I could take back everything I did, and knowing what I now know, if I had the power to turn back time, I would undo it all, but it’s not possible to go back and undo the past.
“If there is anything I can do to make things right or to help you heal, it's my hearts desire to do that. I am genuinely sorry. I brought this book as a gift to you, because I know it has offered great comfort and insight to many betrayed spouses, and I thought maybe it could help you. It's probably not my place, but if there is anything I can do to help you, I want to do it."
You might print off this article to go with the book - just in case.
Yes, woman-to-woman DON'T keep her in the dark. Tell her what she wants to know. Again, there are so many variables to consider, so a coaching session where we could talk out all the angles may be the best gift you could give to her.
You wrote: "I just have this feeling that maybe now is the time for healing for all of us and that if I don't come out of hiding that their marriage will never have the chance to be faithful."
Exactly! In my experience, your gut "feelings" don't lie to you. This "feeling" may well be God talking to your heart telling you the way to go. It’s wise to follow your heart.
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