In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

A Letter to My Father’s Mistress

Life as the other woman is just SO hard. You can’t put pictures of your cute little getaways on social media, you can’t brag to all of your friends how awesome your new man is, and you can’t bring him home to meet the folks. Your sleepovers are few and far between and you know you’ll never get that goodnight or good morning text from him because he’s at home with his family. Oh shit — did you forget about those other people? Y’know, his wife? His children? You probably didn’t think it would matter; you probably figured it was just a little affair and we would never find out. We’ll just go on and live the rest of our lives completely unaffected by it, right?

Nope. I am the child of a cheating father and believe me, I’ve been deeply affected by the mistakes you’ve made. In fact the pain that you’ve caused me will follow me for the rest of my life. Soon after my father’s infidelities came to light I struggled with depression, anxiety, and binge drinking — problems that I had never had before you were around. I was in so deep I didn’t realize I was spiraling out of control until I had nearly destroyed my academic career, my friendships and my relationships. The selfish choices you made ruined my whole family. Not just my mom, and not just me or my sister either. But his parents too. His sisters, nieces and nephews. My mom’s sisters and her nieces and nephews. It ruined my relationship with my boyfriend of two years because I couldn’t deal with the stress you caused. People have openly mocked me about my dad being a philanderer and I can’t say anything back because it’s true. Do you have any idea how it feels to come home to your crying, depressed mother and have to be the one to comfort her because of mistakes YOU made? Members of my family (myself included) had mental breakdowns because of the pain that YOU caused. The worst part is that I had to accept you or face the threat of being cut out of my father’s life. Because, after all of this, he’s still crass enough to continue dating you. Yeah, he may have left her, but don’t you dare believe he ever did it for you.

THIS is not a little affair and you’re ruining people’s lives far beyond your own. It’s bad enough to disregard his wife, but the damage you’ve caused me and everyone else will haunt us forever and you will eventually pay for what you’ve done. You can attempt to justify your decision by saying he was unhappy and that, if it weren’t you, he would have probably just cheated with another woman. But it’s not your place to decide “If not me, someone else.” You let it be someone else.

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