We hate the other woman.
Usually, we do not even know that she exists. Somewhere deep down inside we wonder because society has told us since we were children that all men cheat.
All men cheat.
This singular notion is probably responsible for the breakdown of most relationships. Both men and women hear this and it plays out differently for both sexes.
For the man, it is a ready justification not to fight unfaithfulness. A ready excuse that exempts him from culpability because apparently his nature is prone to adultery.
For the woman it is a complex mix of distrust, feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Yes, guilt. Somehow while society tells us that men will cheat because they are men, it contradicts itself by trying to place the reason for cheating not on the male nature but on some imaginary shortcoming we women have. Most women think that when men cheat they have failed at something to make him wonder. Even men try to blame their partners when they cheat.
“She doesn’t give me oral sex.”
“She never lost weight after child birth.”
“She focuses on the children and isn’t emotionally available to me.”
“She is dirty and frumpy.”
“She doesn’t want to have sex all the time.”
So the impossible task of keeping a man who is too weak to stand upright is placed squarely on the shoulders of a woman.
There is a twist in this bizarre desire to absolve men of responsibility.
The other woman is the evil Jezebel that schemed and scammed her way to the innocent husband. She is skilled in taking care of a man. She is able to cook and satisfy him sexually. She is the oasis to the man’s desert of a wife.
So the wife hates the other woman for succeeding where she supposedly failed. In a lot of situations, the other woman is hated more than the man.
In a desperate bid to shield the husband away from other women, wives to go lengths unimaginable. They refuse to employ females or allow females (even relatives) to visit them for a long period. They also stalk the phones of their partners.
Real or imagined, the wife is constant competition with this other woman. The other woman is used as blackmail material striking fear in the hearts of many wives.
Marriage seminars in church will say:
“He married you a beautiful slim woman, if you let yourself go, he will lose the attraction he has for you. If there are slim attractive women in his office, they can easily snatch him from you.”
“Men are sexual, if he wants you, you must be ready to satisfy him. No matter when. If you don’t do this, the other woman will take advantage of it.”
“You must make your house neat and welcoming. Keep the children tidy and quiet so that he can rest when he comes home. The other woman’s house can easily become a place of solace.”
Society reinforces all of this through family, friends and even acquaintances.
The wife finds herself in constant competition with the other woman. She is not allowed to change (physically and otherwise) even though the man can get as fat as he desires without any fear of losing his wife to another man. The wife is not allowed to have human moments that include clutter and just not feeling up to glamming up.
Another burden that lies squarely on a woman’s shoulder are the ‘making the marriage work’ and the ‘don’t let anyone steal your home’ burdens.
So even if a wife knows for sure that the ‘other woman’ exists, she is expected to fight for the marriage. She goes through all her actions and inactions joining society to find a reason to blame this failure on herself. The flip side of this is that infidelity by a wife if uncovered almost always kills the marriage. This is because men are allowed to penalize women for unfaithfulness.
It is a difficult situation to know of another woman and still attempt to keep a marriage together.
Most often than not, women bear it. They swallow the hurt and betrayal and just keep keeping on. Deep down inside, they are resentful and loose respect for their partners and even themselves.
At this point, I desperately want to dole out advice on what to do about the other woman and the marriage. I want to tell the wife to ignore the other woman and be her best self. I want to tell her the being successful an looking good is a great weapon. I want to tell her she is so much better than the adulterous woman that will pay for her sin.
But I would rather not walk that path.
We live our lives how best we are equipped to handle them.
I will say that the path of truth is always the best.
The path in which we communicate honestly with our spouses. This could mean we are unable to pretend that a badly damaged trust is worth keeping. One in which we admit that things have gone wrong and working on it requires TWO people. Knowing that staying in a marriage is less important that actually enjoying the marriage we are in.
Finally, I will say this;
Dear wife, you are not in competition with any other woman. Do not allow anyone to push you to that place.
Abiodun Kuforji Nwocha.
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