Last week we were drawn in with Part I of “Interview with a Philanderer.” You found out that he had been involved in the affair for about a year, but more surprisingly, you found out that this husband was still involved with the other woman at the time of this interview. We left off where he was about to tell us with whom he is having the affair. Try to keep your emotions in check as you read, Interview with a Philanderer – Conclusion.
Husband: We’ve known her just about all our lives.
LeTisha: Wait…”WE,” who is “We?”
Husband: Oh um…
(he pauses, after a few seconds he lets out a huge sigh, and says…)
Husband: My wife and I
LeTisha: Your wife knows the woman you’re having an affair with?
Husband: Yeah, it’s her best friend, I mean it’s our best friend.
LeTisha: That’s NOT a friend!
Husband: Well my wife believes she’s a good friend.
LeTisha: How have you both known her almost your entire lives?
Husband: We’ve all been friends since like grade school, like since 6th grade.
LeTisha: And this “good friend” would clearly have known that you’re not the nicest man – just quoting your words- and is okay with you not being so nice to her while you’re having this affair? Because you said you started the affair so you could have someone other than your wife to take your issues out on.
Husband: I mean yeah, she knows I’m not the nicest guy, but she puts up with it.
LeTisha: Why? Most women who get involved with a married man are often treated very, very nicely by the man. What woman would get involved with a married man who treats them badly?
Husband: I wouldn’t say I treat her badly. I mean, I’m still nice to her but since it’s not a real relationship, it’s just about sex, she just listens when I vent at her.
LeTisha: Ahhhh, now we might be getting somewhere. So she gives you sex, and she just listens to you. She doesn’t argue with you at all does she?
Husband: Exactly. With my wife, it always turns into a big fight. With [name removed], she just listens and it’s nice.
LeTisha: So once again, it’s all about you. And let me tell you something. If this woman allows you to “vent at her,” gives you her time, and still sleeps with you, to her, you’re in a real relationship. My book makes mention of how women will become whatever they need to become in order to be with, and stay involved with, someone else’s man. Even if she’s not being true to herself.
Husband: I have to agree with that. A lot of my friends who are having affairs say their girlfriends do stuff they don’t really want to do because they don’t want to lose the relationship.
LeTisha: Not surprising. Sad, but not surprising. So, back to you.
Husband: What my wife doesn’t understand is when I rant, I just need to let it out. It’s not personal, and she always takes it personally. If I’m having a bad day I just need her to sit there and listen but she always, always, has to say something, or offers her opinions on what I could have done to add to my bad day and that pisses me off, and we end up in a fight over something that wasn’t about us in the first place!
LeTisha: Have you told her that?
Husband: Told her what?
LeTisha: Have you walked into your house, told your wife you needed to talk, or needed to just vent, and that all you want is a listening ear?
Husband: Of course.
LeTisha: Really? You’ve said “honey, I had a terrible day and I just need to vent, so please allow me to just get this off my chest. This isn’t about us, so please don’t take any of what I’m about to say personally. I just need you to listen.” You’ve said something like that to her?
(The longest pause yet)
Husband: I mean, maybe not those exact words.
LeTisha: Similar words? Any words?
Husband: This feels more like marriage counseling than an interview.
LeTisha: It’s just a question. You’re having an affair because you said you found someone who would just let you rant and vent at them without pushing back. I’d be willing to bet that you told your mistress why you and your wife fight so much. I bet you told her that you wish your wife would just listen to you and not say anything; and if I’m right, what you did was give your mistress a one up on your wife. You didn’t give your wife the same level playing field that you gave your mistress.
Husband: You know what? I did tell her that.
LeTisha: So why could you tell your mistress what you needed from your wife, but you couldn’t tell your wife what you needed from her?
Husband: You’re good.
LeTisha: I’m not trying to be “good.” I’m just trying to get to the heart of the matter. It seems to me that you wanted to have an affair, maybe because all your friends are doing it, and you used the contention in your marriage as your justification, but you are the cause of the contention. I’m not saying your wife may not be an issue also, but just based on what you’ve told me about why you started a side relationship, you were going to cheat no matter how your wife reacted to your personality flaw. Instead of working with your wife, and working on yourself, you made the worse possible choice, and when your wife finds out, all you’re going to be able to tell her is that you did it so you could be nicer to her. Come on, really?
Husband: Why do you keep saying, “when she finds out?” Like you’re going to tell her or something.
LeTisha: Yes, I’m going to place an ad on television that will be for some wife of an anonymous husband who is having an affair with some woman. I think she’ll figure out it’s you (I say as sarcastically as possible). I keep saying “when she finds out,” because at some point she will. She may already have a sneaking suspicion. We have a very strong female intuition, and we know our husbands. Some way, somehow, your wife will find out. It could be that her “good friend” develops a conscience and tells her out of guilt. She could fall in love with you, and tell your wife in an effort to break up your marriage to get you all to herself. Someone else may know about your affair and tell your wife. There is even the remote possibility that your wife will just come out and ask you if you’re cheating on her, and you may just man-up and tell her the truth. However it happens, I’m telling you, she will find out sooner or later. Have you even given it a moment’s thought what you’re going to do to your wife’s heart and mind when she does find out? Do you have a clue how devastating it’s going to be for her?
Husband: Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it because I really don’t think she’s going to find out.
LeTisha: Ok, you’re still on that. Ok then, so you know your wife very well. How do you think she is going to feel and react if she finds out? Can you give me an answer with an “if?”
Husband: That’s better.
(When he said “that’s better,” I was literally thinking, “what an idiot”)
Husband: IF she were to find out, I know she would be devastated.
LeTisha: Devastated in what ways? You know her, how will it affect her?
Husband: Knowing her, she’ll probably shut down. She’ll tell me to pack my sh** and get out. She won’t ask me any questions in that moment. She would probably look at me in a way I don’t even wanna think about. I can see myself in some hotel thinking about what she’s going through at home. I can see her curled up on our bed just crying; crying inconsolably. I can see her not sleeping, and not eating, and not talking to anyone.
(He actually clears his throat in a manner that makes me think he is getting a little choked up)
(I pause to give him a second before I go on)
LeTisha: And is that what you think your wife deserves from you just because she takes your ranting personally? Because the two of you get into arguments?
Husband: Well no one DESERVES that. I mean, that’s kind of a ridiculous question.
LeTisha: No, what’s ridiculous is that you began an affair with your wife’s childhood friend because she doesn’t push back at your unkindness, because you told her the secret to what makes you happy instead of telling your wife what would make you happy. Speaking of this childhood “friend,” what has she said, if anything, about what she’s doing to her best friend?
Husband: We had a conversation in the beginning about it, and she said she felt bad. She has said a time or two that if I wanted to stop she wouldn’t try and convince me no to.
LeTisha: But what is her reason for getting involved with her best friend’s husband? Did they have a falling out? Had they grown apart? I mean, what could cause a best friend to betray a friend in the worse way possible?
Husband: No, they were as close as ever. You would have to ask her why to get her reason. But, she was just always there to listen. She was a sounding board for both me and my wife over the years. We both told her what was going on in our marriage.
LeTisha: So just another woman who took what she knew, and decided to use it to her advantage. That’s why my book is so important.
LeTisha: Because it has a strong focus on strengthening our sisterhood by building up loyalty towards one another.
Husband: That’s what it’s about?
LeTisha: Well it’s based on my interactions with my ex-husband’s mistress. It tells my story, and it includes real-life letters that both wives and mistresses volunteered to write for publication, in an effort to open the floodgates of communication on the topic of women helping to devastate other women’s lives over a man…more poignantly, a married man.
Husband: Wow, that sounds incredible. I hope it does well. I think it will ‘cause you’re good. If it’s anything like this interview, it’s gonna be a best-seller.
(We both chuckle)
LeTisha: Thank you, I hope so as well. It’s long overdue. So anyway, you said this friend feels, or felt bad, but clearly not bad enough to not do it, and certainly not bad enough to end it right?
Husband: Well we didn’t set out to hurt her. It just happened.
LeTisha: Gotta stop you right there. Adultery does not just happen. To cheat takes forethought and some insight. It takes communication. It takes planning. All of those are conscious decisions that lead to active choices. It did not “just happen.” That’s a cliched statement used to try and gloss over a level of responsibility.
Husband: Your husband must have said that to you.
LeTisha: I’ve just heard that oft-used excuse more times than I can count.
Husband: So what now?
LeTisha: That’s up to you. I’ll tell you though, as a woman, as an ex-wife, as hard as it would be, it’ll be better if you tell her before she finds out some other way. I found out when my ex’s mistress called me herself and told me. If she finds out, and when and if she ever speaks to you again, if you didn’t tell her, one of the very first questions she will ask you will be why didn’t you tell her? Why did she have to find out some other way? And if your only answer is the standard, “because I didn’t want to hurt you,” that type of cliched expression is only going to make it harder for you two to communicate effectively. She’s going to want honest, from the heart answers, and if you can’t give her that, you may lose any opportunity for reconciliation, if that’s what you’ll want at that time.
Husband: So what should I tell her IF she ever finds out?
LeTisha: Oh no, I’m not going to spoon-feed you answers so you can sound like you’re speaking from the heart, when in fact you’ll just be parroting what someone else told you. You’ll have to recognize the damage you’ve caused, and be more honest than you’ve ever been in your entire life. But we’re talking about the after-effect. You’re still having the affair. That’s what you need to deal with first.
Husband: I know I do. Even before I saw your post I was already thinking about how to end it. Can you give me any advice for that?
LeTisha: Nope! You started it on your own, you can end it on your own.
Husand: So is that it? Did I answer all your questions?
LeTisha: Pretty much. Thank you so much for doing this.
Husband: You’re thanking me, and I know you don’t like me very much.
LeTisha: How I feel about you should be the furthest thing from your mind. What I think has nothing to do with my appreciation towards you for being willing to give me this interview. So again, I thank you, and all I can say is I hope you take something away from this interview that keeps you thinking about what you’re doing to your marriage, your wife, and to yourself. Do you have anything else you’d like to say or add before we go?
Husband: Um, not really. You’re good. Thanks for not judging me, out loud anyway.
(We both laugh)
LeTisha: You’re welcome. Ok, well feel free to email me down the road when…I mean if she ever finds out. I’d like to interview you again if that happens.
LeTisha: Thank you. Bye
Well that’s it for this Interview with a Philanderer. I certainly would love to have your feedback and/or comments on this, or any of my other posts. Please be sure and read some of the real-life letters from wives to mistresses in my previous blogs. They are excerpts from my upcoming book, “Woman to Woman: Letters from Wives to Mistresses.”
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