A letter to the other woman



My name is J**** L***.  I have been in a relationship with J** N******* for more than twenty years.  I love him very much.  I like walking, and reading, and films and music, and singing, and art galleries, and hanging out with my friends.  I am doing a PhD.  I am a person.  Made of flesh and nerves, and pain.  After three months I am still not eating much and not sleeping well, and I am missing the man that I have loved and do love, and in whom I had so much faith.

Who are you V***** C******?  A woman whose husband despises her.  A mother – perhaps bored and frustrated with that role.  A woman with no hobbies or interests, but who is very chilled.  Because messing around in another person’s relationship is just a hoot.  Cheating and lying and sneaking around is ok when your kids won’t know how depraved you are, and when you don’t tell your family so you don’t have to experience their shame and disappointment.  And you forget that there is a third person.  Me.  Or you don’t care.

You pursue the affair still, beyond the point of dignity, and beyond the point of decency.

I have tried to feel compassion for you.  But J** says that you are mentally stable, so I can only assume that you are contemptible, immoral, rotten inside. I can feel nothing but utter disdain for you.

On Mondays I learn guitar – I’m not very good at it, but it’s a nice thing to do.  On Tuesdays I speak to my grandparents on the phone, and  usually go out for dinner with friends.  On Wednesdays my lovely friend E**** and I play Badminton.  On Thursdays I go to a research seminar, and get drunk after with my colleagues.  On Fridays I know the weekend is coming so I try not to be in the house.  At the weekends I either try to get away and stay with friends and family, because our house feels like a prison, or I am ashamed to say I pine for my relationship.  I often walk to keep the sadness and anxiety at bay.  It doesn’t work that well, but it’s nice to be out.  I try to work on my thesis, but it’s very hard and requires mental focus, and my brain is like a bowl of butterflies, full of you and what you have done.  That’s a worry for me.

Anyway, that’s it.  Just letting you know that I bleed when I am cut, and that I wish for my own sake, that I could feel sorry for you rather than feeling hatred for you.  Perhaps that will come in time.  Given what you’ve done I am not expecting that this e-mail will move you.  But in case there is an ounce of humanity in you, I thought it might give you pause for thought.

I don’t require a reply.

Yours sincerely.


Hate Creeps In

At first I thought that telling my story was important.  Then I realised that it was just a cliché.  A commonplace. Man suddenly walks out on wife of twenty-three years.  It happens.

I think about all those small moments of devastation.  The clueless wives, baffled and begging.  For redemption.  To stop their worlds from crashing in.

I thought that it would get easier.  With time.  You know.  But actually, as the truth unfolds.  That you love me.  But that now that you’ve done this there is no going back.  And you want to be with her.  She’s not your soul mate anymore.  No.  But you want to see.  Just some time.  To find out.  To choose.  And I’m a puppet on a string for you.

Hate creeps in.  But suffused with longing and loneliness and need.  I think of you from the minute I wake up.  What I would be saying to you if only I could.  And desperate fear.  For everything that I have lost and am losing and that will never be.

Here are some things I know

StockSnap_0EW3MVXCCYI know you need this.

I know I have to accept that.

I know that my heart is broken because I want to speak to you and be with you and see your face.

I know that I wish that you were here, but that if you were you would’t be getting what you need.

I know I have to be strong for me.

I know that knowing all of this doesn’t take the pain away.



I haven’t spoken to you today.  Except to ask if we had any lightbulbs.  There’s  a strange comfort receiving a reply to a normal question like that.  As though, momentarily, the world is not an inverse of itself.

I keep hoping for a message.  “can’t sleep”, “thinking of you”, “I’m sorry”.  Something like that.


I am so sad.  I think of quietly falling asleep and not waking up.  It has supplanted all my comforting fantasies about the future.  The comfort of sleep.  And ironically, sleep won’t come at all.

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Losing you

I talked to you tonight.  On the phone.  It was a mistake.

You  make noises like you have listened to me.

You pretend to know that what you are doing makes no sense.  But I don’t think you see it.

You fake being rational.

I feel now like you are lost to me.  Perhaps beyond the point of no return.  Probably.


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Broken Hearted

I wish that we could hold a funeral for you

To let you go.

They say that if you love something you should:

But I can’t make sense of that.


Now, I want you close

To heal your wounds

To tend the abrasion of your soul

Diminished by people that threw you away

Their hollowness

Their shallowness

Their callowness

Not yours

I wish we could hold a funeral for you

Rather than know you are out in the world




Casting your line for what will take away your pain

And finding only a boot, an old tyre, broken like you are.

There is abundance here.

Of love

Of nurture.

To mend and to amend.

But compassion does not make us feel alive.

Like the thrill of a new bite on a line.

And a shiny new fish.

That turns out to be that old boot.

I wish that we could hold a funeral for you

So that we might mourn the sadness in you

Lay it to rest

So that you might return from your fishing trip

With no more taste for your catch.

Your Sister is a Force of Nature (thank god)

Dear J**,

Tonight your brother told your sister what was happening.   I was the first person she called.  Words can’t explain what that meant to me.  She wasn’t mean about you.  How could she be?  In fact I felt like I was connecting to the one other person that truly knows you.  That knows what you are like when things are going wrong.  How you can be stealthy and closed and run away from a problem. How you stick your head in the sand.  It made me feel so much less alone.

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I am breaking in pieces

StockSnap_UE3MIBD75NDear J**,

When you came to visit this weekend, I thought that maybe you would come to your senses.  You met someone six (well, now seven) weeks ago.  You started some smoochy talk two weeks ago.  You left me a week ago because you thought you could have a better life with her.  Even if I wasn’t an abandoned and desperate wife, I would think that was crazy.  I would think that you had lost your fucking mind.

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Of all the things that I have felt or thought this week, denial is the best.  It means I am not in pain the whole time.  But it also means coming back to reality with a bump.

I had a long phone conversation with J** today.  It was nice, but also sad.  Because I keep expecting him to say that he’s made an awful mistake.  And he doesn’t say that.  He says that he feels very close to this “other person”.

I think you could call what he’s going through a mid-life crisis.  Just in that he wants to change his life.  And I sympathise with him.  I hate to say.  But at the same time I am distraught about the rejection an about my future being all messed up.  I’m despondent that he doesn’t think that it’s worth trying to fix the problems in our relationship.  And I’m sad that actually I thought our relationship was good, but he did not agree.  Although, it is hard to know which came first, the object of his affair or his dissatisfaction with what we had.

On the upside, I was miserable earlier today, but after meeting my lovely friend E**** for a couple of hours I felt hopeful again.  Great friends, I find, are rare as hens teeth.  But she’s a keeper!


Last night was a killer.  After all the horribleness of the day and speaking to you about stuff I would rather never have to think about, I couldn’t switch off.  I was awake until 5, and then woke up again at 7.

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Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

I spent the small hours on the internet.  I felt pretty bad this morning.  But then I made a Dr’s appointment, and the doctor was so lovely.  She gave me similar advice to the advice my friend Alex gave me.  This is a new beginning.  You are going to come out of it all better off in the end.  And she added that I should get legal advice.

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