I’ve mentioned before that advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer. Intellectually we all know right from wrong, but sometimes making that right turn feels antiquated. "Yes, I know I shouldn’t care, that I should just move on, take the high road, but BLECH." Sometimes it just feels so good to go bad. To say, I might regret this, but so what. I’m going to cross the line. I receive many emails asking for relationship advice. Here’s a recent one:
Should I confront the other woman?
"Hi, I’m not sure if you’ll get this.. but I read your first book, and I have experienced much of the same that you had with your first husband. I was with my fiance’ for five years.. we had a "brady bunch" family together, it was truly a lovely dynamic.. raising our 4 year old children from previous relationships together. I was so in love with him. He was the most amazing man. Our relationship was not easy (also in-law issues).. but I was in complete and utter shock (and still am months later) when I found out he was sleeping with a another woman (much younger).. he lied to me about her for months, but I always wanted to believe him.. I’ve been such an idiot. I have come to my end. I am desperate to put everything behind me, move on with my life, but I have this urging need to have a talk with the woman who stole my life. He says that she didn’t know about me.. but I know that she slept in my bed and saw pictures of our family. She had to have known. There is no doubt that she seduced him, and showed him a very easy life. He is out of town on business right now, so I think I have the perfect opportunity to speak with her tonight.. but I’m very nervous and have no idea how to go about it. I know that it needs to be in person but I’m not sure if she’ll speak to me. He’s told her that I’m crazy.. which is so hurtful. I have wanted to have this conversation and get answers for months now. I need to also let her know what kind of person he really is, because she thinks he’s fabulous. She should know how he has tried to be with me, while they were clearly together. I’ve never been so hurt in my life. Sorry for the storybook, I thought if there was anyone who could give me clear, solid advice it would be you, because you have been there. I just want to do the right thing, and be done with all of it."
The Right Advice For Confronting The Other Woman
Intellectually, we know what the "right" advice is, the good honorable, high-road answer. The answer that forces you to confront what’s REALLY going on, and why you NEED what you do. But that’s no fun, now is it? The "high road advice" would go something like this: You say, "I am desperate to put everything behind me, move on with my life, but I have this urging need to have a talk with the woman who stole my life." That line says it all.If you were really that desperate to move on, you would. You wouldn’t indulge yourself with thoughts about confrontations. You wouldn’t talk about moving on. You’d just do it. You’d will it. You’d distract yourself and force yourself to let it go. And, for the record, no one can be stolen who didn’t want to be taken in the first place. If it wasn’t her, it would likely have been someone else. "I need to also let her know what kind of person he really is, because she thinks he’s fabulous." Now we’re getting down to it. I don’t honestly believe you are concerned about this woman (nor should you be). What you want is for him to feel pain. To have someone treat him the way he’s treated you. No doubt he’s told her you’re crazy, convinced her that you were really separated, etc. Lies to get him what he wanted, and I’m sure his family will hop on board in agreement. And it sucks. It does. But at the end of the day, you want someone with character. Someone who’d never be okay with lying behind your back, not in fear of being caught, but because it made him not like himself. Period. You won’t get any answers from this woman. You already know the important part, you know where you are today, and whatever happened, it’s done now. It’s time to move on, and moving on means letting it all go.
And Then There’s My Advice for confronting the other woman:
This might not be right, but hells yeah, this is what I would do"(the advice I actually gave):
If it will get you that much closer and faster to closure, then… fuck it. I’d TOTALLY confront her. You have nothing at all to lose. Who cares what the hell she thinks of you? Firstly, I’m sorry you’re going through this. So sorry, but you know, in times of pain is actually when we do the most growing. That idea always comforted me. Like, "yeah, this totally sucks. And I feel so broken, so alone, and worst of all, I’m so scared that I’ll never do any better…" but really, how could you do any worse? It’s so so hard to *KNOW*, to feel sure, to have hope, that it will get better. Intellectually you know, but emotionally, you’re a little girl who feels rejected, left alone, and have a hard time believing there’s unconditional love out there, but there is.
Fact: you want him to suffer.
Want him to one day know the pain you feel… you hope that someone treats him the way he treated you. And that’s what’s at the root of your wanting to tell this woman all you know. You don’t want to save her from him, to protect her. You want him to suffer, to ideally say to you, "I am so sorry, what I did was wrong, but I had no idea. He fed me lies, thank you for telling me…" Honey, I soooo know. But that’s just the anger (and justifiably so), wanting revenge, wanting him to know the pain. Because whether or not he stays with her, isn’t the point and doesn’t change all you have in front of you. You must feel like it’s bleak (emotionally), but it’s not. You must hate the idea of starting over with someone new one day, having to "catch up" to the life you thought you had… but I promise you… it’s an adventure. And even better than that: if you learn to master "change", learn to cope with transience and the idea that there are no guarantees in life, you’ll be equipped to handle anything that comes your way 20, 30, years from now. So try to see this as your chance to confront your fears, tackle them now, so it will be that much easier for you in the long run. I should say I’m sorry… but really, this ending is only your beginning, and I’m excited for all the surprises and meaningful friendships and lifelong connections you’re about to make going through this process.
And to be fair… I know how you feel. The Wasband is engaged to a new redhead, and I’d love nothing more than to send her a copy of Straight Up and Dirty. But you know what? Even if she read it, I imagine she thinks, "It would never happen with me because we’re suited for each other." That or, "The book is all lies. His family even says so." I’ve been tempted, I really have, to contact her via Facebook. But I didn’t… want to know what the test is? If a reporter were to ask her about me, would I be proud or ashamed about the things she said about our confrontation? That is, any action that I take, I can ask myself, "If this was reported on the news about me, would I be mortified?" If the answer is yes, I simply won’t do it.
2 YEARS AGO: The Days and the Girls