So far I’ve only talked about P in passing, along with O, K and Forum Post Woman, as ‘the other women’. I haven’t allocated any real importance to her or any emotion towards her, and that’s because, I genuinely don’t really feel very much about her.
I know some women would, quite understandably, feel anger, resentment, or even jealousy towards the woman that their partner had an affair with, but I feel none of those things. If I feel anything at all towards P it’s a mixture of vague curiosity, faint contempt and pity.
Before E had his first affair, I used to maintain that blaming ‘the other woman’ (or man) was unfair – and actually took the responsibility away from the unfaithful partner. In my view the other woman wasn’t the person being unfaithful to me. To me the responsibility for an affair rested squarely and absolutely on the shoulders of the unfaithful partner – and they, not the person they’d had an affair with, were accountable to their partner.
I still believe that the blame for my kids and my hurt lies firmly with E – P wasn’t unfaithful to me. But, I have slightly revised my opinion re the other woman’s ‘innocence’. This is because the simple fact of the matter is that if you choose to become involved with someone who you know has a partner (let alone children – if they have children it’s even worse), then you are consciously choosing to involve yourself in a situation that you must know will inevitably cause massive hurt. You are privileging your wants and your feelings, over the feelings and needs of other people. Not only that, but you are happy to deceive these people and have them lied to by the person you’re ‘in love’ with. Whilst this doesn’t make you responsible for their actions, it does mean you are actively doing something which you know will cause massive emotional damage to innocent people.
Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m really naive and idealistic, but pretty sure I couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who I knew was lying to someone else on a daily basis. I’m not saying I couldn’t fall madly in lust or have a fling, I certainly don’t think I have the right the claim any moral high ground – I’ve just never been in a situation where I’ve been ‘tested’ – but I really don’t think I could conduct a long-term relationship based on lying to someone else. For me honesty is a basic – something so fundamental that I just can’t get past it.
Of course, in E’s case, there’s a very good chance that he was lying to the other women too – that they were as deceived (almost) as much as I was. But, even then, all of them knew, that, for whatever reason he gave (in E’s case ‘ we’re only together for the sake of the kids’ and ‘my family don’t need me’), he had a partner and four children at home. Now, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to spot that there might be the teensiest chance that the middle-aged bloke who’s chatting you up in the pub after work might be spinning you a yarn? Surely nobody is THAT stupid? The other possibility is that you know that the middle-aged bloke is in a relationship and lying to his partner and kids but you believe that you are so attractive that you think you are actually worth hurting people, which suggests a certain kind of arrogance.
I must admit, I am quite curious about what on earth she sees in him. I can definitely see what he sees in her, she’s young (at least 15 years younger than him), attractive, she’s not tied down by four demanding kids, she’s able to go out whenever and wherever she wants. But him? With the greatest of respect, and totally accepting that I’m no oil painting myself, he’s definitely seen better days. He’s 48, he’s overweight, he’s losing his hair, he has a doritos habit that makes his breath stink in the morning, he snores like Darth Vader shagging an express train, and the older he gets the more lingering the aftermath of his ‘I’d give it ten minutes’ visits to the loo becomes. None of this bothered me – I’m no Kate Moss and middle age is doing me no favours at all – but you accept that you’re not in the first flush of youthful attractiveness and romance as you age (well, I did, clearly, he felt otherwise). So, what on earth is P doing with him? At the risk of going all Dolly Parton/Jolene on you – why was she interested in E, when she could easily have found someone not just as attractive, but also her own age to be with?
One friend suggested that maybe she has a thing about ‘older men.’ Another friend, looking at a photo of them and noting her youth and his lack thereof, said ‘bloody hell, he must be fantastic in bed’ (well – he’s always slept very well). Most people, including Oldest Daughter, think it’s because P believes E has lots of money – which has given us all a really good laugh.
Basically, she’s either really, really, stupid and believed everything he said, in which case she deserves pity. If not and she’s with him for his money, then she’ll learn her lesson soon. The other possibility – that she was happy to be involved in a relationship which meant lying to and hurting five people, that she believed she was worth hurting all these people for – suggests that she’s probably not a very nice person and she and E deserve each other. The fourth possibility – that she knew about the previous affairs and STILL thought she was worth it – suggests a somewhat monstrous ego, in which case I should probably pity E – probably. The sad thing for her is that, in all four scenarios, she’ll probably learn what E is like the hard way when he’s unfaithful to her (actually, as we know he’s already been unfaithful to her – he was still pursuing O when he started seeing her). It really doesn’t bode well does it?.
P is just one of many women that have believed E’s lies, and she’ll probably go the way that they all did eventually. I don’t know her, so I can’t like or dislike her. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m faintly curious about her because I wonder what sort of person would get involved in the kind of relationship she chose to get involved in. I also feel slightly contemptuous of her because her decision to be in that relationship hurt a lot of people very deeply.
All of this is why I don’t spend much time speculating about or worrying about P – E would have done what he did if he’d met her or not. If it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else.
The final thing I feel for her is pity – who knows where their relationship will go, they might even have children, but she’ll always be with someone that she knows is capable of being unfaithful. Having lived with that fact for ten years, I know to my cost how painful that can be – and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Not even her.