In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"


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Meeting Her: Guest Post from Patricia D, Volunteer at Infidelity Counseling Network

                                        
For those of us who have experienced infidelity, there is one particular moment we truly dread: meeting our husband’s affair partner (a.k.a. The Other Woman). Here is my story of that encounter.

                                                                             Meeting Her

Here’s what is going to happen. Prepare yourself. Imagine the worst thing you have ever experienced, death of parents, losing pets, awful natural disasters, locusts, any of it. Take all of those things, put them in a big truck, have the truck run you over, and maybe that will give you a tiny fraction of the pain and madness you will experience when you discover your partner has been unfaithful and your marriage is done.

Flashback to our Kentucky Derby party. And may I say, the last Kentucky Derby party we would ever host, and likely my last as well. My husband invited a number of women from his gym, where his workouts consisted of Zumba class, Skinny Jeans class, Ripped class – you know, activities where lots of women would be.

From the moment she showed up, almost everyone at our party picked up on something that was off. She walked in to my home like she owned the place; as it turns out, she had been there before. She brought a hostess gift, although it was addressed to “Kirby Baby”, complete with bubble-dot I’s and hearts. She barely acknowledged me. But I was committed to trusting my husband. She spent the afternoon drinking bottles of chardonnay, and suddenly was telling anyone who would listen about how her husband of 23 years cheated on her. As the evening progressed, some my family members pointed out that everyone had gone home except for her. At this point she was so wasted that I couldn’t let her drive, so I told her she could sleep on the couch. I thought since she was a friend of my husband that it was the right thing to do. The rest of us — except him — settled in to watch TV. She went to find another set in a different room, and then it was radio silence.

About twenty minutes later I went to find my husband. Boy did I find him. On top of her, in one of the guest rooms, full-on making out.

I never thought I would be in this place. I’m sure many women have said that exact same
thing. Everything had seemed too good to be true when we settled into our new house; I’d worked my ass off to be able to buy it, completely on my own. We don’t have kids, by choice, mainly because my career kept me traveling, and so for ten years we seemed the perfect married unit. We never really fought, and I never once pressured my husband to get a job. It all worked, or so I thought.

What was going on in the background? His father had recently died; I was traveling a lot for my career; we had lost all the equity in our first home in a bad market; our beloved Labrador had major surgery; my father became sick and died a horrible death six months later; his sisters were feuding over the estate after his mother’s death; I had put on 30 pounds; he had many years of career troubles. Or maybe it was something else. Something different.

After his father died my husband decided to lose some weight. He had always been a big guy, and this was good for him from a health standpoint. Although, as it turns out, his motives were altogether different. He began to drop weight, spent a lot of time with a woman in our apartment complex, and then he started telling me lots of things that were not true.

The first time I found out my husband told me a major lie I was completely devastated. In hindsight, it’s possible that there have been lies all along, but in my mind they were just small, harmless lies. The big lie though, involved a hockey game (I love hockey) and the woman in the apartment complex. She became a divisive factor in our relationship, and turned me into someone I didn’t want to be — a jealous, angry, suspicious wife looking for evidence of an affair. Of course, I had every right to be suspicious, and after a year and her saying just horrific things about me on text messages, the kind of things that typically only a mean teenage girl would say, he abruptly ended their “friendship”. A few weeks later he had a new one on the line. This time I wanted to trust him, so I did. I assumed the lunches were innocent. He said the texts were just flirting. Know this ladies, no good can ever come of flirting text messages. Ever. Ever. Ever. And this was no exception.

When you think about those moments in your mind, or you see them in movies, or hear about them from your friends, you always think you will react a certain way. I’d assumed I would become enraged, loud, vindictive. But this assumption was diametrically opposed to how I actually reacted. Looking back, I am really proud of how I handled it, that night at our Kentucky Derby party when I caught her and my husband making out in our home.

I politely told her she had to leave.

I calmly asked how long this had been going on. They both denied anything was going on.

And just to show you the type of person she was, she insisted on driving home even when I told her she was unfit to drive because she had drank four bottles of chardonnay.

So I explained that I was not concerned about her wrapping herself around a tree, rather the possibility that she might harm someone else and my potentially liability in that situation. Her response? “Well, that’s why you have insurance.” My response? “Get the hell out of my house, now.”

Crossposted at http://www.drpsychmom.com/2015/04/17/meeting-the-other-woman/ and http://eldamlopez.com/female-chronicles-story-two/

By Patricia D.
Volunteer at Infidelity Counseling Network
Get support to heal from infidelity – http://infidelitycounselingnetwork.org/counselor.html

Donate to help keep our services free for all women – http://infidelitycounselingnetwork.org/donate.html


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Blister Toad

  
credit: http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/cane-toad0.jpg

Old greedy blister toad,

brown and rooted, he is

surrounded by mossy scum,

squat-padded among the lilies,

too green with rage to notice.

Swizzle-tongue swats at flies,

he splat spits his beady hate

in a black glare of marbled stare

and glowering grin, grinding gut

that churns out pity, starved

for the want of a fatty gnat–

a wart on a brimming pond.  

 


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Polyamory: a bouquet of lovers

credit: johnstore.com

I woke up with angst this morning, and when that happens, all the ugly appears. Today’s ugly came in the form of jealousy and not just the kind commonly thought of in relationships–the other man or woman–but the all encompassing kind that takes in a little of everything including envy, such as how come some stoned guy who repeats “double rainbow” twenty or thirty times in a video can garner such attention and semi-fame?

However, the sharpest jealousies come from the investments I make with other human beings. My teenage daughters and I have discussed the friend jealousy, the one where the best friend gets a boyfriend and then has no time for the friend. Then there is the jealousy that comes with a significant other spending time with an ex-lover/girlfriend or boyfriend, the jealousy of time spent at work over the family, the jealousy of a significant other’s memories of past loves, etc. Jealousy is a host of ugly, and I don’t mean the emotion itself, which is merely an emotion. I mean the way it makes me feel and think.

Poking around the Internet for enlightenment on jealousy, where it comes from and how to deal with it, I came upon an extremely informative article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled “Multiple Lovers Without Jealousy” so thorough and well presented that it was impossible not to share. I had heard of polyamory before but had never read about the psychology and lifestyle but lightly. This article challenges the reader to think about the basis of our relationships, monogamous or otherwise, and intimates not surprisingly that successful relationships are based on ever-negotiating agreements, long-term and moment by moment. Seen through the prism of polyamory, monogamy or polygamy or communal living comes down to understanding the nature of jealousy, i.e., the self, taking responsibility for one’s own emotions, and of course, trust in the other person’s feelings and commitment, whatever the parameters of the relationship is determined to be whether pre-determined or negotiated as it goes.

It sounds ideal–to have multiple partners because the pressure to be everything to someone is overwhelming as is the expectation (and probably disappointment) of someone to be that everything. But can the green-eyed monster be controlled? Is polyamory realistic? Probably not for everyone–in practice–but for some it certainly can be.

Here are a few teasers to this thoroughly interesting article, but I recommend taking the time to read it even for the tidbits of the history of monogamy and the studies to dive into further if the subject interests:

There’s a phenomenon within psychology called obsessional review, which refers to the kinds of questions that the partner that finds out about the infidelity asks the unfaithful partner,” Shackelford said. “Men ask, ‘Did you have sex with him? How many orgasms did you have?’ etc. Women ask, ‘Are you in love with her? Did you buy her gifts? Did you take her to our restaurant?’ and so on.”

Those of us who are in monogamous relationships will probably never stop being jealous—and that’s healthy. What’s not healthy is the way some monogamous people manipulate their partners’ jealousy and devotion. According to Shackelford, women in monogamous relationships “are more likely to use sexual assets to induce jealousy in their partner,” while “men will manipulate access to resources.”

By contrast, the way polyamorous people tend to resolve their conflicts is more above-board. When extramarital relations are already out in the open, it seems there’s little else to hide. “A big part of what makes someone feel jealous is when their expectations for the relationship are violated,” Theiss said. “In poly situations, where they’ve actually negotiated the ground rules—‘I care about you and I also care about this other person, and that doesn’t mean I care less about you’—that creates a foundation that means [they] don’t have to feel jealous. They don’t have uncertainty about what’s happening.”

For example, as Conley, the polyamory researcher, has noted, “polyamory writings explicitly advocate that people revisit and reevaluate the terms of their relationships regularly and consistently—this practice could benefit monogamous relationships as well. Perhaps a monogamous couple deemed dancing with others appropriate a year ago, but after revisiting this boundary they agree that it is stressful and should be eliminated for the interim.”

People in plural relationships get jealous, too, of course. But the way polys get jealous is unique—and possibly even adaptive. Rather than blame the partner for their feelings, the polys view the jealousy an irrational symptom of their own self-doubt.


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Your Wishes Untrue

image
Be mindful of wishing, careful with wanting.
The love you seek for warmth might overheat,
asp you in snuggle, strangling your sleep.
Be careful of what you wish for.
The vision of ever after with one love
may poison your spirit, hamper your peace
to think your own, think your thoughts
about everything from jihad to football to
brushing your teeth while watching t.v.
When wishing for one who windows your heart,
un lassos your long labial lust and
dances your daylight, flexible and loose,
don’t jail up in jealousy, secrete in sulking sorrow
or lay yourself down with loneliness
when she is loving you and the world,
living her life in joy without need, you or
an other, only enwrapping you in wide arms,
mind and heart. She is open.
Like her wandering will, she is free like words
she water colors and the sighs she speaks.
She is. Beware the love you dream in her.