I suppose I’m supposed to say that it’s your fault I am sleeping with your husband, because you didn’t take care of his needs or you didn’t do what a good wife should do, or some other nonsense. We both know that’s not really true. Infidelity isn’t the fault of the faithful spouse most of the time, and the truth is, your husband is just not a faithful man.
I’m not in love with him. Not sure I ever was or will be in love with him, but you see, for me, he is safe. Safe because he has you. And you, you’re safe because he has me. I know him and his past, a past he’s tried to hide from you (though I think you know more than you let on) and if it weren’t for me, he’d be out there sleeping with lots of different women. At least I’m clean. You won’t catch anything from him through me. After all, while he is a cheat, you and I both are faithful women.
That part is just justification though.
I know that sleeping with your husband is wrong. I do know that, somewhere deep inside of me, and in that same deep place inside, I feel guilty about it.
I can give you reasons, but they truly are nothing more than excuses. I try to tell myself that you really do know about me, and that you just choose not to say anything, so that I can sort of convince myself that it’s okay, since you silently endorse our relationship.
Truth is, I don’t know if you know about me or not.
What makes it hard for me is… I like you. I really like you. You’re a kind woman, with an honest heart, and I know you love your husband. You have a strong Catholic Christian faith, and you believe it is your duty to love him, no matter what, until death do you part.
Honey, even the Christian Catholic church allows annulment in the case of infidelity.
But that wouldn’t be honoring your husband, would it? You take your vows seriously.
I don’t know if that makes you devout or a fool. Sometimes I want to believe it’s the fool, just because that absolves me of some guilt.
What? You didn’t think I felt guilty? I do sometimes. Then there are other times I justify it by saying that you have a better marriage with him because of me. He loves you, you know. He really does. He reveres you in his own way and he admires you. I’m actually jealous of you sometimes.
Then I remember that I don’t really want him, and I can slip back into being the ‘other woman’ again.
I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying that any of the justifications make it right. Maybe if you’d lived my life you’d understand why this ‘safe’ relationship I have with him is necessary for me right now. I don’t expect you to understand. I’m not asking for forgiveness or absolution.
I can’t apologize to you for hurting you. I never did intend for any of this to hurt anyone. It’s selfish, I know, but maybe, just maybe, what you don’t know can’t hurt you.
But I do want to thank you, even though I know you’ll never read this letter. So let me say it now, for me… Thank you for sharing him with me. Thank you for loving him enough that he is safe for me to spend a few stolen nights together. Thank you for your strength and commitment to your marriage. Thank you.
The ‘other’ Woman