It’s wonderful when things just fall into place without any prompting isn’t it? This interview with “the other woman,” is one of those things. I received an email asking if I was still accepting submissions from women who are, or have found themselves involved with a married man. When I replied letting her know that I had all the letters I needed, me being the bold person I am, I asked her if she would be willing to do an interview; she said “sure, why not.” So, after our indulgence with the interview with a scorned wife, here’s an interview with “the other woman” – she asked that I not refer to her with the “degrading term,” mistress.
LeTisha: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview for me and my audience Rena.
(She is okay with having her first name used).
Rena: No problem. Since you can’t use my letter, this is probably even better.
LeTisha: How so?
Rena: Because I’m not the best writer, I tend to forget to write stuff down, but I rarely forget what I want to say.
LeTisha: And what is it that you’d like to say?
Rena: Why don’t you ask your questions first, and we’ll go from there.
(I can feel the tension, and I definitely sense some hostility coming from her).
LeTisha: Ok, well my first question is, are you currently involved with a married man?
Rena: Not currently, but our relationship just ended a few weeks ago.
LeTisha: Why did it end?
Rena: He said he couldn’t live 2 lives anymore.
LeTisha: How long were you with him?
Rena: Almost 2 years.
LeTisha: Where did you meet him? How did it start?
Rena: Which question do you want me to answer first?
(I am getting major attitude from her, so I try to get us on the right track)
LeTisha: I’m sorry, I have to ask Rena, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but why does it seem as if you have an issue with me? I am sensing some hostile vibes coming through this phone.
Rena: Oh you’re getting that are you?
LeTisha: Yes I am, but what I don’t know is why? Do I know you? Have I offended you in some way?
Rena: I’m offended by this whole thing.
LeTisha: What whole thing?
Rena: This book you’re putting out that makes it seem like women like me are the reason for these cheating bastards. Like we’re the reason that their wives and their lives get blown apart! I find it really hypocritical that you claim to be about women respecting women, but then you are blaming women for what men are doing. That’s bull****! How can you put that on us? They’re the ones who are cheating on their wives…not us! I don’t have any connection to his wife so how is it my fault that he’s cheating on her? You tell me that, Ms. Women Respecting Women.
(in case you all don’t know…my working email address for this project is firstname.lastname@example.org)
LeTisha: Well, let me first say thank you.
Rena: Please don’t talk down to me. I’m not a child.
LeTisha: That is not my intention Rena, and I apologize if that’s how it came off. I am thanking you sincerely for being so open with your feelings. I actually do appreciate that. If we are not honest about how we feel, or what we’re thinking on the subject, there’s no way for us to bridge the gap that exists between us today.
Rena: Bridge what gap?
LeTisha: The gap of loyalty from one woman to another.
Rena: Why do you care about how one woman treats another woman? I mean, why do you care so much about why one woman is sleeping with another woman’s man?
LeTisha: I care because I had it done to me, and more than that, I simply care about my fellow man. More specifically with regards to this book, I care very much about our sisterhood, and how the lack of loyalty for one another is keeping us from achieving even greater things in the world. You don’t know this, but the very first sentence in my book quotes a question from a famous song…”who run the world?”
Rena: Everybody knows that’s Beyonce
LeTisha: Yes it is; and the answer to that profound question has the answer “girls.” I personally believe that while women have made major strides, we are not yet running the world as it were, because of a lack of respect, and a lack of loyalty between us. No matter how far we’ve come, there remains a major point of contention between us, that may seem trivial to some, but is very serious to many. No matter how many marches we go on together, no matter how many laws we bring into existence to protect one another, when it comes to family, or more poignantly, a man, all that togetherness is thrown out the window. We as women claim that our family means the most to us, the problem is, we only seem to care about OUR family, and not the families of other women.
Rena: What do you mean?
LeTisha: We don’t want another woman to come in and help destroy our family by getting involved with our husbands, but we don’t mind being that woman who will then go and help to destroy another woman’s family by getting involved with HER husband. There’s the true hypocrisy. I don’t feel like I’m being a hypocrite for pointing out the truth. And the truth is, we don’t want to be a cheated on woman, but we don’t mind being the woman a man cheats with.
Rena: But why blame the women?
LeTisha: I don’t just blame the women. I’m 46-years old. Do you really think I don’t know that the cheating spouse is also to blame? The part you’re missing, because my book isn’t out yet, is that I didn’t write my book to talk to or about the men like almost all books do on the subject of adultery. I chose to take a different approach and talk only to my sisters. Why? Because in a consensual adulterous relationship, in my opinion, the women hold the power. In a consensual affair, we say yes, and we say no. I have written this book so that more, if not all, of my sisters will say NO! No to having any part in tearing down another woman, to hurting another woman, to breaking apart another woman’s family.
Rena: So you are blaming the women?
LeTisha: I am saying that women who knowingly get involved with a married man are just as responsible for the destruction as that man.
Rena: That’s not true. He’s the one that’s married. He’s the one that’s supposed to be faithful.
LeTisha: That’s true, but does that take anything away from that woman who chooses to be party to the affair? By that I mean, is her involvement any less damaging just because she’s not the one who took the vows?
Rena: I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that I’m not as much to blame as he is.
LeTisha: And I respectfully disagree. He is 100% responsible for his actions, and like it or not, you are 100% responsible for your actions, and your actions alone. I am not saying you are responsible for what he has chosen to do, I am saying you are 100% responsible for what you have chosen to do, and what you’ve chosen to do is be a part of hurting another woman to very depths of her heart and soul.
Rena: You know no one really thinks about that right?
LeTisha: And that is exactly why I’ve written this book. So that women will know just how their actions are contributing to the continued divide between us.
Rena: I may not ever agree that I’m just as responsible as the man is.
LeTisha: And you won’t be the only one I’m sure. I just feel that it’s about time we have this conversation for real.
(I sense a level of calm that has not been there since the beginning)
Rena: So ask your questions.
LeTisha: Ok, so back to how did you meet him?
Rena: We worked together
LeTisha: Ok, and how did it start?
Rena: Well it started when he started flirting with me, like saying little things about how pretty I was, or how great the work was that I was doing. He would find little ways to brush up against me, or ask me if I was dating anybody.
LeTisha: Did you know he was trying to start up something with you?
Rena: Kind of. I know when a man is just being flirty, and when he is being flirty to take it somewhere.
LeTisha: And you were sure that he wanted to “take it somewhere?”
Rena: Oh yeah, I could tell by the look in his face, in his eyes
LeTisha: Did you know he was married?
LeTisha: Did that ever factor in to your flirting back, or deciding to get involved with him?
Rena: Ummm, a little bit. I mean, I asked him a couple times about his wife.
LeTisha: Asked him what exactly?
Rena: I would say “what about your wife?” He would just say it wasn’t working, and that was all I needed to know.
LeTisha: Why were you okay with that limited information when it came to making such a big decision on whether or not to get into a relationship with a married man?
Rena: Because I didn’t feel it was my place to question him about his marriage. He made it no big deal, so to me it was no big deal.
LeTisha: Have you ever thought of marriage as “a big deal?”
Rena: Not really. Marriage is whatever people make it. To each his own.
LeTisha: What exactly does that mean?
(Her statement actually made me physically hot)
Rena: That means that if someone isn’t happy in their marriage and they choose to find that happiness with somebody else, who am I to judge. Who are you to judge?
LeTisha: I’m a betrayed wife. I’m a woman. I’m a human being with feelings that were destroyed because someone else didn’t see my marriage as “a big deal.”
Rena: So, you’re biased in all of this
LeTisha: I never said I wasn’t, however, I’m still able to listen objectively, and be respectful.
Rena: If you say so
(The tension is coming back)
LeTisha: So, how did it go from workplace flirtation to becoming physical?
Rena: It actually wasn’t planned, one night…
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