I was (am?) the Other Woman for a couple of years, at first without my knowledge and eventually as a willing participant. I could write a book on all the twists and turns, but I'll try not to. I've only ever found one online support group for us "others" that didn't get overtaken by trolls, and unfortunately, that site later shut down. I'd be willing to try again, though admittedly I've got one foot out the door. But then, don't we always?
If there's one thing I learned by being involved in an OW support group, it's that most of us needed the support because we were at war with ourselves. Part of us was committed -- or dare I say "addicted" -- to the relationship. The other part of us was realistic, agonizing over the reality that this couldn't continue forever. Not like this. Not in secret. Eventually we'll be found out. Or cut off. Or, in the off chance it ends with us riding off into the sunset, we'll be ridiculed even by those who love us. One way or another, an end will come to the secret bliss. It isn't fun to know that, but it's true.
My situation is perhaps made worse by the fact that I am single. I have to force that out of my mouth each time I say it -- I am single -- because I certainly don't feel single. I am crazy about a guy who I get to kiss, cuddle, talk to, tell secrets to...have a relationship with. We can't stop smiling when we're together. And yet. The reality is that I am single. The even colder reality is that he is not.
That every time I lay down alone, he's laying down next to his wife. I've never asked him to tell me he loves me more than her, that he'll choose me over her. I used to grow envious of other OW who told stories of their married men and how they exchanged I love yous and stories of being together someday. But now, I'm glad I don't have that, that I never demanded that, because it would have only continued to set expectations that would cause me to shut myself off to reality. This has left reality within sight, if just barely.
Our rule has been different. We don't talk about his wife at all. It's as if she doesn't exist. He goes out of his way not to include her in his stories about what he does when we're apart. I know she's there, but I can pretend otherwise because he doesn't mention it and I've never felt for a moment like I was vying for his life and affection. His time, yes. But nothing else. It's easy to pretend other things are the reason I don't get more of his time -- a demanding job, children who play travel sports, etc.
I'm rambling, and shockingly, I'm not even getting started. Anyway, I know my perspective is somewhat of a "wet blanket," but I do think it's important to have a safe place to acknowledge the dark side of being an 'other' too. So if that's helpful to anyone, I'd be happy to continue to share with you guys.