I got an email this week from HER asking me for my forgiveness. She, the one I referred to as “homewrecker,” the woman that played a part in breaking up my family unit as I knew it. A small, immature part of me wanted to respond immediately with, “Well, isn’t Karma a bitch?” Of course, I didn’t, because as I processed HER words, I realized that I’d forgiven HER long ago…and had moved on.
But what do I say to this person, whom five years ago, with complete disregard or care slept with my (now ex) husband? More than that, she secretly maintained a relationship with him for 18 months, while I let her into my home and my life as a trusted friend.
I read HER words, and I don’t feel anger. I don’t feel pain. There is no bitterness. There is no judgment. No drama. What I feel is something I didn’t think I’d ever feel toward HER, and that is compassion.
He did the same thing to her, she explains, and I understand. I understand HER sorrow. HER sincerity radiates through the screen, and HER pain is palpable within the sentences. Weirdly, I feel a solidarity with HER. I know where she’s at, and she now knows where I’ve been. She, like I, ended up becoming a victim to a man that has no scruples nor integrity, who gave no care to the feelings of others and continues in his wake of infidelity with yet another woman who walked in with her eyes open, blindly. She someday will probably also be writing a letter asking for forgiveness to HER. And the cycle will continue.
So, what do you say to a woman you once loathed, who took part in destroying a family, my family?
Below is the response to her email asking for forgiveness, in its entirety. The only thing I took out was her name. I share it with you now, because it is a large part of my journey, and with hopes that someone may find it useful for their own journey.
I’d have to admit, I’m not surprised to get your apology letter. I knew that one day, at some point, he would also cheat on you. I’m not going to lie, I wished it upon you. Though you weren’t the first, you were the last (at least in my chapter of the story). I hated you for many years, not for ripping apart something that was already irrefutably broken, but because, yes I did trust you as a friend, and that betrayal (and over such a long period of time) was more than I could fathom. I allowed you in as part of my family, sharing the very special days in our lives, which you tried to take for your own.
I realized it would be inevitable that you’d share the same fate as I, and began to feel pity toward you. But the funny thing through this whole process is that after I let it go, I began to feel gratitude toward you. Your actions (along with those of my ex-husband) forced me to move, to get up and finally escape a stale prison that I was in, handcuffed to the false belief that I had to stay with a man who had no respect for me or the institution of marriage, all for the sake of our child. You, in a sense, were the person who held the key to unlocking that cell which kept me captive for so many years. I am the person I am today, because of that freedom.
As you go through the grieving process, mending the heart that he broke, some places will be dark; and there will be parts that will never truly be healed from the damage that he has caused you. That damage will carry into your future relationships; your trust will be tentatively given and tenuous at best, but will never really be whole again. Someday, you’ll find someone and while he may be fully yours, you will always have that little doubt in your head, the constant struggle of wondering if he is being truthful, if he is going about behind your back…if, if, if. It will take a patient man to deal with the insecurity that will plague you, maybe forever.
On top of that, I know you also have to deal with the damage you yourself caused, for which I have no expertise in. I will say that I’ve forgiven you long ago. I had to so that I could move on with my life, figure out who I was and become the woman I wanted to be. Yes, you were selfish, but do you deserve the hurt that you now are suffering? Part of me wants to say yes, but the other part of me thinks that no woman should ever have to go through the pain of betrayal, the pain of not ever fully being able to trust someone again, and the pain of self-doubt. No one deserves to be treated the way he treated you, or I. You deserve to be with a man that is faithful and devoted to only you, a man of character and integrity, who loves you, is free to love you, and loves only you.
The irony in it all is that through this, you’ll find a level of self-respect that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Life is funny. I’ve always wondered what I’d say to you if I had the chance, but I’ve never really thought about how I would feel. Would it be triumph? Victory? Bitterness? Anger? Relief? It’s none of those. Mostly, I feel sadness for you. Certainly, there is some satisfaction in knowing that you now know what it’s like to be the jilted one, but what you’re feeling now, the sense of betrayal, the hurt, the anger, the confusion, the lack of self-worth – it is not a feeling I would ever wish on anyone, not even the one who wronged me.
I hope that you learn to let go of the anger and pain you feel toward HER and move on. Someday, you too may get a letter, asking you to forgive.
You’ll grow from this experience, the pain will mold you and shape you for the next chapter of your life. I truly hope that it is for the better.
47 thoughts on “A Letter To The ‘Other Woman’”
very well written. May we all be so gracious if this this ever comes.
For some, it never does…but the forgiving and letting go is an integral part of your own growth.
That was pretty amazing Hanssie! You’re writing is amazing, and what you said was awesome!!
Thanks, Stacey! Thank you for being a friend to me through it all!
I have never been more proud of you and I have been proud of you often over the years.
Aw, thank you! You are one of the few Christians that stuck with me through these years when most dumped me long ago for my choices. I’m grateful for that and you!
Thank you for sharing your journey, your heart, and honesty with the world hanssie. A woman of strength is what you are becoming and its beautiful to watch. I hope HE writes you and asks for forgiveness someday.
Thank you, Carrie and thank you for your friendship. You (and your family) are missed by two girls out here at the beach. 🙂
I remember that time in your life. You have grown and matured so very much. And you ARE comfortable in your own skin now. Congratulations for being you!
Thanks, Gianna! It’s been a long and arduous journey to get here.
“I hope that you learn to let go of the anger and
pain you feel toward HER and move on.”
Easier said but it can be done.it takes a lot of time but it’s achievable.I’d say the sooner you let go , the easier it becomes for you/your heart/.
brave of you share hanssie 🙂
That was beautiful Hanssie.
Thank you, Liz. I hope you are doing well.
Very well said, Hanssie. What a journey you have been on. I am glad you have used it to become a more confident and wiser person. Your advice will, no doubt, help this woman through the journey she is beginning that you know so well. I am glad for you!
Oh no! I’m sorry to hear it. if I can be of any help, please let me know.
Been there, done that. I too, had a very similar conversation with “that” woman, who found herself in the same predicament she’d left me in. God bless.
Sadly, too many other women share the same story.
Giiiiirl! You nailed it. I too share this same exact story. Thank you for sharing this and congrats on such a well written piece others can be encouraged by and a piece that even helps with the process of healing, reminds us of our growth, the reality of truths and the joy of becoming better women. Cheers sista!
Thanks, Jaz! I’m sorry you also had to deal with your share of heartache and sorrow.
Awesome. Compassion, maturity, a right mind, growth. Well done Hanssie, well done.
I can’t take credit…good friends, lots of prayers and walking through fire got me here today. And a lot of grace.
So proud of u my friend. .GOD BLESS U ABUNDANTLY ALWAYYSSS. .
Thank you, Bessie! You are always such an encouragement to me!
You are such an amazing and strong woman! Your words are so true and insightful.
Thank you for being a good friend through this entire experience! XOXOX
Oh my goodness – you are one classy lady! xoxox
Wow, I never would’ve known what you went through because of the way you carried yourself, which is testament to your character. Big hugs and thanks for sharing!
Wow, Nguyet! That is truly a complement and one that I will treasure. Thank you.
You are not only an amazing talented independent woman but now I praise you for being such a champion in life. You are a strong, intelligent woman that I wish our society would have more. You handled the other woman’s letter with grace, compassion and with so much heart to forgive, to educate others & the other woman thru your experiences & truth. Thank you for writing this because I really believe you’ve given many woman (even maybe men) to see that light in front of them. Rock on Hanssie!! True fan here.
Thank you, Jojo for your kind words and encouragement!
Wow Hanssie!! Love this and love your openness.
Thank you, Cindy!
Hanssie, you are strong! Hat off for you =)
Thanks, Jesper! It took a long time and lots of struggle to get here.
You are a powerful writer, Friend. We love & miss you. The Lord bless.
Amazing Hanssie!! Just Amazing !! There is a `Lesson` to be taught to ourselves on this Journey of our Lives through every circumstance and event we go through in LIFE, very few have the courage to look within themselves for the answer. In order to break the cycle, learn the lesson being taught to ourselves and to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A person has to be willing to rip themselves apart to look for the answer. That is where you will find self respect, self luv and your worthiness. The true mark of `Maturity~~~ Congrats Hanssie for going from the `Victim` to being a `Survivor“` never allowing anyone to `ROB“` U ever again!!!!!!HUGssssss
Thank you for your awesome words of encouragement, Tracie. Sadly, people don’t always take the journey or have the courage to. Others, are forced to do it and have no choice but to rebuild. I am grateful that I was the latter, I don’t know if I would ever have the courage to tear it all up myself!
I had a similar situation happen to me and I felt the same way. It was more about the lost of the friendship and how disrespectful it was for a friend to just throw that away. You are a very good writer keep it up 🙂
Thank you, Stanley. Yes, I can’t understand how some can blatantly lie to your face like that.
Very gracious and humble. I am proud to know someone as strong as you. You are an amazing woman.
I admire you, Hanssie, on so many levels. Very well done.
Thank you, Lori 🙂