Affair Recovery: Getting Over The Other Woman

woman_in_shadow_by_isabellaspace-d5e7nppI post very little about my affair or myself any longer.  I wanted the blog to be not about me, but about the topic — to help others get out of infidelity, avoid it altogether or heal from it.  So I say very little about my affair, my wife, my recovery or “her.”  Its been more than 900 days since D-day and when I cut things off with “her”. My marriage has recovered well. We don’t talk about “it”.  It’s very much in the rear view mirror for us.

However, the OW went “bunny boiler” on me after I terminated things. Such that 2 years ago, I had to take her to Court for a restraining order.  But the even the judge didn’t really stop her.  Maybe slowed her down, but she still attempted to alternately entice, slander. and harass me (strange as that may seem as a plan to get a lost lover back).   Since Court, she’s tried to contact me directly or indirectly several dozen times, although it’s been a while as of the writing of this blog entry.   One of her tricks was to post libelous things and embarrassing things about me or my wife on her Facebook page. I would carefully take screen shots and preserve the evidence should I decide to take her back to Court.

So since then, every week or two, I go into her page via a fake account to see whether she’s posted anything new that relates to me in case she’s gone psycho again.  Thankfully, she hasn’t in about 10 months now.  I hope it continues. But she’s a psycho and I don’t trust her. So I hold my nose, and I go into her page and I see what she’s posted since I was last there.

Recently, she took a bunch of selfies and posted them.  I looked into the face of someone that I once thought was the sun and the moon to me. And I stared..and I felt…..

Nothing.

Zero. Nada. Zip.  Not love. Not longing.  Not even hatred (which I used to feel). I felt nothing.

I don’t even find her attractive any longer.  Funny how that works.   I was surprised. I thought that I would always feel SOMETHING for her.  But now I feel nothing. It was like looking at a stranger.  Frankly, I’m stunned. 3 short years ago, it was raging hot.   I couldn’t live without her. Without my fix.  Now it’s nothing.  She is nothing but a poignant ghost in a long line of ghosts in my life.

So why am I posting this? For the dozens of people who have emailed me asking how or when they will get over the Affair Partner.  Or betrayed spouses wondering when their former cheater is going to stop loving the OM/OW.   What can they do? What SHOULD they do? How long does it take?

Well I have the answer.  You go full no contact. You block them in every way you can. You delete their old emails and photos.  You do not seek them out at all.  And over time, you will begin to see them with 20/20 vision.  And the bonds will loosen. And the person you thought you would never stop loving or couldn’t live without will become a person you don’t love and are living quite successfully and happily without.

It works.  I feel nothing except perhaps a twinge of pity and contempt. But not love. No fond memories. No lust.  No sentimental sighs overcome me when she comes to mine.   I wouldn’t want her in my life now even if I was divorced and alone. Ever again. She is nothing to me now but a bad memory and a mistake I regret.

And yes, I acknowledge that my ex-OW was a bunny boiler.  Mean, selfish, immature and acted without a shred of grace, dignity and understanding when I ended things with her. And yes, that made it easier to get over her.  Truly.  And that’s probably why I feel nothing for her now.

But what I’m saying that, even if you part with your illicit lover on good terms, if you stay the course — aggressively implement “no contact”, even if you have fond and good memories of the person,– the feelings of love, intensity and “I can’t live without them” will fade.

It takes will and determination. But yes, it does work. It’s only with aggressively not seeking them out in any way will you get the proper distance to see them more clearly for who they are (good or bad) — and for the affair for what it was — something that was at least half an illusion, fueled by fantasy and ego and maintained by deceit and betrayal. You will finally place it and her/him in their proper context.  You may not feel nothing as I do now, but I assure you that you will feel much much less.

It takes time and discipline. You can do it.  Stay the course.

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14 thoughts on “Affair Recovery: Getting Over The Other Woman

  1. As the OW, I agree with cutting off all contact, as that has helped me see that while he was wonderful to me in the time we spent together, and I know without a doubt that I did truly love him at one time, he wasn’t someone that I would “never get over” after all. There was a season of personal growth together, but only a season. Life goes on. Dopamine is an unnatural state. Humans are built to recover and move on. The mind, the brain, and the spirit can be redirected to focus on a person’s big picture goals and priorities. moving on is difficult at first but then becomes a natural state of acceptance, and it happens sooner with stopping contact. I am glad he decided what is most important to him. I couldn’t make that decision for him. After DDay 5 months ago,with no contact for the past 2 months, I definitely am letting it all go and I know he is, too. My ego needed to hear that he missed me and still held me special in his heart, but, now my ego does not need that anymore. There were a hundred acceptable reasons we could not spend the future together. Your blog is a tremendous help to me too, by the way. Signed, – Not A Bunny Boiler At All

    • I agree that her horrid behavior made it easier than it might have been. But still it took time to get over her. I was simply amazed that however that I feel nothing at all now seeing pictures she shot of herself today. It took will. It took time. But now she is nothing but a ghost to me

      • Yes, and in some ways isn’t it like breaking up with somebody from high school or college, where you found yourself afterwards obsessed for months, trying to figure out what just happened to your ego, your heart, your soul, your plans for the future, your drug high. !? You didn’t end up with that person. And you moved on. And you remember that it felt like the end of the world, at the time. And you couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s an injury, a rather deep wound, which can’t be fixed right away. It can’t be rationalized away either. It’s new emotional territory.

        Seeing that person from high school again, the one that rejected you, the one you thought you could never get over….. Well, you sure know that you can. Especially when you have a great spouse now.

        I have been reading a lot of Helen Fisher studies which really help explain the dopamine & oxytocin highs of romantic love, and the drops in seratonin. The losses we feel are very real and very painful, even if we have bonded to the worst person in the world. We all need counseling (and some say religion)to understand our weak spots, our self-destructive tendencies, our values, and to keep us from acting like cave men and women.

      • I wonder if you would feel this way if things had ended on good terms. No D-day, no fight…Just two rational people who understood that they couldn’t go any further in the relationship and you let yourselves drift apart, without any ugly. I know from my past experiences with break-ups the ones that were friendly break-ups, even years later I look on the people with fondness. The ones that weren’t so nice I no longer care at all for them. I see them differently. Sometimes you need the ugly to fall out of love or like.

      • As I said prior, yes, it made it easier that the true colors of the OW showed after affair termination. That she was mean, selfish, immature and cruel. It did help. However, despite that, I STILL felt things about her. For a long time.

        yes, if she had withdrawn with more grace and understanding, it would’ve been harder to get over her.’

        But I think the point still holds. If you stay the course — aggressively implement “no contact”, even if you have fond and good memories of the person, the feelings of love, intensity and “I can’t live without them” will fade.

        It takes will and determination. But yes, it does work. It’s only with aggressively not seeking them out in any way will you get the proper distance to see them more clearly for who they are (good or bad) — and for the affair for what it was — something that was at least half an illusion, fueled by fantasy and ego and maintained by deceit and betrayal. You will finally place it and her/him in their proper context.

        But as long as you’re sneaking looks their FB page, or their old photos or emails, or God forbid actually trying to see them on the sly, you will never get past them. You will continue to fuel the illusion.

  2. It has been 5 months for me since I found out my man is married. I have tried no full contact. He won’t stop contacting me. Texts and calls. And at my vulnerable moment I let him back. I am hurt by his lies and I am struggling everyday trying to move on. He has multiple affairs throughout his marriage and it should be easy for me to forget him because after all I was just another pass by woman. It’s not.

    • the reality is that you can stop him from contacting you if you really wished. You can block him on your phone and on your email and on Facebook. If you persist you can tell him that he must stop and you could take legal matters if you chose. But since you have not done these things I presume that means that part of you wants him to still contact you. So you can’t really complain about something that you actually can stop. I certainly would suggest taking more aggressive methods. staying in contact him will not help you and will in fact prolong your healing

      • I don’t have Facebook. We don’t contact through email. I can’t block him on my phone and I wish I could. I need to be more persistence.

      • I’ve never heard of a phone that a number can’t be blocked. If not directly on your phone, your service provider should be able to block any phone number.

        Or change your number!

        The point is this: If you really wanted to block his attempts to contact you, you could. But you have to want to. you can’t blame him if you’re not doing anything to keep him away.

    • It’s shitty that this guy isn’t respecting your boundaries and you’re right – it’s not easy turning away the person you had strong feelings for when you’re investing much of your energy in just controlling your own impulses, so the expectation that you need to be responsible for his contact with you is absurd. But I agree there needs to be a commitment to a No Contact rule. It’s like any other break-up, a genuine resolve to move past it is required and perhaps the suggestion of contacting your service provider in order to block the number will be helpful in determining that resolve.

  3. Thank you for this blog – this entry in particular.

    I am at the very beginning of the end – that is to say, only very recently did the OW and I end things between us.

    It’s been made much more difficult, because we decided to stay friends. It’s the way the relationship started, and we really enjoyed that part even before the physical intimacy began. Of course, it made the sexual aspect that much better, but besides all that, we did genuinely like one another. But, we stopped because she started to feel badly about it. It’s funny, since she is so young and single and kind of aloof in her way — but it was she, not me, that said we should stop. I’d told her from the beginning of the physical part of our relationship (about 4 months ago) that I would respect her decision whatever she wanted to do about it.

    So, a few weeks ago, we mutually agreed to “take a break” from one another. It was a hellish few weeks for me. I longed for her terribly. I just wanted to see her, if only to talk. She finally agreed to see me last night. We had some drinks and talked, alone in a private place. I do still enjoy her company, but she definitely has distanced herself – but we still laughed and joked as we had always done.

    When she left, I felt physical pain in my back and my gut. I was doubled over with it, it hit me so hard. This is no doubt the endorphin-like reaction that was spoken of earlier in this thread. I realized then and there that we could never go back to what we had. I now know that for a fact. But, as I am over 40 and she in her early 20s, I also know that what I had with her I can never have again with anyone else. The sexual intimacy and closeness was something I’d never felt nor thought I could have. Yes, her beauty and youth had a ton to do with it, of course – not to mention the validation it gave me (ego boost, if you like) as a man approaching mid-life. But now, that has passed.

    I know I should be grateful to have been with this woman (my first and only affair in 20 years of marriage), considering my age, her consent and willingness to do anything with me, and everything else. For most men my age, this was a fantasy come true. It was kind of perfect in the way that it played out, except for the fact that some part of me wished I could end the unfulfilling relationship to which I’d committed myself, and start over with her. She did not want to hear any of that. She had no illusions about what it was. It was refreshing and disconcerting all at once: refreshing because there was no issue with her being jealous of anything in my home life; disconcerting because she was clearly not even entertaining the thought that we might have had something more. That still kind of hurts; it was a potential unfulfilled, illusion or not.

    We can probably remain friends, but it will drag out the pain a lot longer for me, I’m sure. And, her apparent lack of attachment to what I thought we had makes it easier to be friends again – but it was hard to see how quickly she was able to distance herself. Despite all this, I don’t want to lose her completely. This is probably poor thinking on my part, but this is where I am right now.

    Sorry for the long post, but I’ve told this story to no one, and I feel grateful to tell it, even anonymously. Plus, if this helps anyone that is going, or has gone, or will go (it seems inevitable) through a similar thing, it is worth the time to do this.

    P.S. – I know I haven’t said much about my marriage and home life, but this blog covers all the essential reasons for having affairs. I don’t really need to repeat the ideas represented here. I’m in agreement with all of it, because they dovetail with my experiences.

  4. If your experiences are much the same as what you’ve read here, then it’s a shame, because you apparently haven’t gained any insight from what you’ve read. It’s also a shame, because if that’s true, you could probably have the kind of relationship you seem to want so badly with your wife, but you never will as long as you keep an essential part of yourself locked away from her. She will never understand how she can meet your needs and make you happy, and you will never fully understand her, because she can’t really open herself up to you until you do the same. I don’t know why people don’t understand the basic fact that deception is at complete cross-purposes with marital intimacy. You can’t lie to someone about who you are & what you want in life, and then sit back and wait for them to work some magic that will make you happy.

    That kind of magic doesn’t exist. Your affair partner didn’t have it either. She is no more capable of making you happy in a committed relationship than your wife. It is simply an illusion; your mind really is playing tricks on you, and if you don’t wake up, you’ll either drift into another affair, or your wife will find out what you’ve been up to and divorce you, or force you to wake up. There are consequences to everything we do in life. We can either have the courage to face them, and emerge stronger & wiser, perhaps better off than we ever were before, or we can run and hide from them, and expect nothing to ever change. If you care for your wife at all, if you have any respect for her, don’t make the decision to live this way for her. She is entitled to make her own choices, and you are not just cheating on her, you are robbing her of her freedom to choose.

  5. I feel deeply for you mementomori3. I am trying to get over my AP and I’m finding it virtually impossible, although there is absolutely no contact between us now, his choice not mine. The affair ended 7 weeks ago, when we discovered. It was a hugely emotional, non sexual affair. My husband has been amazingly supportive of me and has forgiven me, but he does not know the extent of what happened between us, or the fact that the affair lasted 2 months, not 2 weeks as I have told him. This is also what my AP has told his wife. I cannot stop my thoughts and feelings of the OM. I wish I could turn my feelings off but I can’t, it’s brutally painful. I am living a terrible lie and I can’t change it.

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