**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I once wrote about my experience falling in love with a married man. It’s not something I’m proud of but it’s something I choose not to feel shame for anymore, especially after all these years.
In response to my writing, I received an outpouring of stories and experiences from other women regarding their own affairs with married men. The women who reached out to me were searching for solace and for closure. They asked for my advice to help them figure out a way to extract themselves from their situations without causing or feeling even more pain than they already have.
I'm not a professional or certified therapist but I can offer up my own personal advice for any woman out there who has found herself in the position of being the 'other woman.'
My advice is to walk away.
I know you’re afraid of feeling more pain but the agony of staying with someone who most likely will not divorce their spouse or change their life in any way to suit your needs will end up being far worse down the road.
I know this is probably not what you want to hear. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear way back when and I let myself live in shame and denial for years while holding my own life hostage for the needs of someone who was not being faithful to the person they promised themselves to.
The more you choose to live in the bubble of denial and the more you convince yourself that perhaps this person will change or leave their spouse for you, the more you deprive yourself of a life you deserve to live without the secrecy, without the tears, and without this burden following you around.
You are not a wicked person. You made a mistake.
But to choose to live within that mistake even longer and cause even more pain for yourself and the other people involved, the more likely it is that you will continue to find comfort in the darkness instead of climbing up that proverbial ladder towards the light.
I know there might be some of you out there who think you are perfectly fine in this type of relationship where you don’t necessarily have to deal with a commitment and perhaps the wife even knows about you — but this is not generally the case.
And so I urge you to make a decision that you probably don’t want to make.
Maybe you won’t be able to make this decision for months or even years to come but if I can help you make it a little earlier than you might have done otherwise then perhaps my own lessons have been of some use.
If you are indeed in love with a married man I know how you suffer wondering if he loves you too, wondering if he thinks of you at night when he is with his wife, and wondering if he misses you while he is out with his family.
But these are things you should not have to wonder about.
You should not have to wonder if somebody loves you or if somebody truly wants to be with you. This is not how a healthy relationship functions and the person who is having the affair and betraying their spouse is not communicating or operating in a healthy way with anyone — you included.
Always keep in mind that if this person who is betraying their spouse were to actually leave them and be with you, it is highly likely that they would do the same thing to you. It doesn’t mean you are not valuable. It doesn’t mean you’re not pretty enough, exciting enough, or any of those things you may think to yourself.
The problem ultimately lies with the person who is betraying their partner and my heartfelt advice to you is to stop participating in that betrayal with them.
There is nothing that an affair can fix either for the spouse who is cheating or for the woman with whom he is cheating.
Although the excitement of an affair can be intoxicating, that does and WILL fade over time.
And so, my advice to any woman reading this who finds herself in the situation I have described, I again implore you to extricate yourself, cut ties, change your number, do whatever it takes to save your own future.
As someone who wasted years away pining for someone who could not love me in a healthy, functional way, this is my heartfelt and sincere advice.