After the initial shock of discovering my husband was having an affair, I kept thinking of the other woman and asking, “What does she have that I don’t?”
What does the other woman have that I don’t? I came up with quick and easy answers. While some are specific to my husband’s other woman, many answers I came up with are similar to traits all adulteresses share.
- She has a high paying job.
- She works from home but travels frequently.
- She can spend money on herself and on what she wants.
- She has no ties to anything that holds her down.
- She is a single, never married woman who has to consider no one but herself.
- She can care for herself in ways time and finances don’t allow me to.
- She comes from a very large Catholic family and is used to being around children. My kids were perfect for her because they’d come around once in a while, and she could “play house” without having any real responsibility or inconvenience.
Reading that list, I almost fell in love with her myself. I’ve seen her pictures. She has dazzling white teeth and blue eyes that light up for a camera. I could definitely see why my husband went for her: money, trips, decent looks, and freedom with an understanding of big families.
The other woman sounds like a dream come true – except for those of us left behind and the children forced to compartmentalize their lives, divide their loyalties, and lose the security of their home base and belief in unconditional, sacrificial love.
What Else Does the Other Woman Have the I Don’t
When I look back and ask, what the other woman has that I don’t, I can see there were many things, but that is only part of the story. It’s easy to point out things she has that I don’t as I did above, but that’s not conquering the nitty gritty or helping me avoid mistakes I’ve made before. It takes the power of change away from me and puts all power in her hands.
It’s usually easier to look at another person than it is to look at oneself, but that only scratches the surface. Pointing fingers doesn’t provide the change needed to take us from our pain toward our promised Peace and perfection.
It’s more difficult to delve into the question of, “What does she have that I don’t?” and mean your own baggage, your own responsibilities, wrong doings, and shortcomings, but we must do that if we are going to heal and move on.
The other woman is always wrong; however, by looking only at her faults, the abandoned spouse surrenders all control. We must also look into, pray over, and seek forgiveness in Confession for mistakes we made and learn from them. Only by doing so can we emerge stronger and more loving. Only by doing so can we learn to forgive ourselves and our spouses and learn to grow and trust enough to take chances that could allow us to risk loving again.
Superficially, the other woman and I were different. Superficially, she was perfect, but I never wanted to be superficial or perfect in things that don’t matter in the long run. I always wanted to be real and Loved.
I don’t care about fleeting, self-based love of those who would choose the superficial, but I longed to be Loved by those who could Love on a deeper, permanent level.
To Hope for that, I needed to look at the both good and bad within myself and what in me may have pushed my husband away. That difficult introspection is a challenging, but, when the time is right, it is also necessary step in the growing process.
…Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
Romans 10: 19
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