Talking about being the other woman in an affair opens you up to judgment and abuse | Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction and opinion based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*

Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

It isn’t easy talking about the affair that I had with my best friend’s husband, but I do it because I feel that it’s healing for me to finally get it out.

No one ever knew or found out about the affair — I’ve kept it my dirty little secret for years until I outed myself here and today, finally, to my therapist.

Six years have gone by and I never brought up the affair in therapy because I was too afraid of being judged by my therapist.

I guess I didn’t have a therapist I could really trust until now, but also, I haven’t felt strong enough to talk to anyone about it out loud until I found the strength to write about it here.

It hasn’t been easy by any means, but it’s been the one of the most cathartic things I’ve ever done.

And one of the scariest things.

Everyone has big opinions on affairs.

Generally, the opinion is: affairs are bad, don’t have them.

I tend to agree with that statement now, but at the time I wasn’t thinking as much about the consequences of what I was doing, I was just enjoying the time I had with a man I had an intense connection with, and I was putting thoughts of other people’s feelings out of my head.

Like, the feelings of my best friend.

Since I’ve started writing about this, I’ve gotten some really nasty comments and even messages in my Facebook inbox about what a horrible person I am for what I did to my best friend.

My defense has always been: What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her.

And she never found out, she never got hurt and I don’t think she ever will.

But I know that doesn’t mean that I what I did wasn’t wrong.

It was wrong.

It was probably the most wrong thing I’ve ever done in my life, and years later I am finally ready to process my feelings about it and deal with the emotional consequences of my actions.

Because I know that for some reason, my emotions aren’t matching up with my actions.

I feel like I should feel more guilt, and the consensus of the internet is that I should feel more guilt, too.

It’s humbling to write about something so shameful.

I am ashamed of what I did now. I wasn’t then, but years later I know how wrong and terrible it was and how it never should have happened, no matter how great it was for me at the time.

The internet is letting me know how ashamed I should be of myself, too, and that’s humbling, to put yourself out there into the world, to share your deepest secret with the void, and to get back so much negativity and vitriol.

But, if I hadn’t done it, if I hadn’t started writing about it, I probably never would have had the strength to bring it up in therapy for the first time today, and for the first time take a step toward healing myself.

And not for nothing, there’s someone else out there who has had an affair and is dealing with these secret feelings of guilt and shame, and I want them to know that they aren’t alone.

We all make mistakes, we all make terrible mistakes.

If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have secrets, and everyone has that one secret they don’t want to tell anyone because they are too ashamed.

I have to put the shame and guilt aside and move forward, and writing is the way that I do that, the way that I work through things.

So, I will take the negative feedback along with the supportive comments, I know that I deserve whatever I get for putting this out there.

But I can’t keep it all locked away anymore.

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