Sometimes I hear from wives who are considering confronting the other woman or lover or suspect that she will confront them. Sometimes the other woman has been calling or emailing and the wife is not sure how she should react if this woman knocks on her door. As much as many wives wish or fantasize about this reunion, it almost never goes as planned, and in fact, looking directly into her face can sometimes leave you paralyzed.
I heard a wife say, “I was at our school football game the other day buying my daughter a sandwich when I saw the woman my husband was having an affair with. I recently found out when my husband was sincere and she begged for my forgiveness. I know this woman because our children go to the same school. I saw her at the food stand and since I had no idea how to react, I pretended not to see her. But I know she saw me because after I left with my sandwiches. I looked over my shoulder and she was following me. I hurried over and sat down with my husband and then grabbed his arm. But I didn’t even tell him I’d seen her. Later, I was wondering if I handled this incorrectly. Should I have confronted her? Should I have said something to her or yelled at her to stop following me? How are you supposed to act when you see the other woman or lover? What’s the best way to do it? Do you handle this? “
My take on how a wife should act when she sees the mistress or another woman: Before getting into this particular situation, I must clarify that often the correspondence I receive on this can be divided into two categories. Sometimes the husband continues to cheat and the wife sees the wife while the affair continues. Other times, the affair is over and the wife is trying to save her marriage.
I have to admit that it is probably much more difficult to remain quiet and passive if the adventure continues. I know it is very tempting to tell her, in unkind terms, that you know exactly who she is and that your relationship with your husband must end immediately or else. I absolutely understand your need to do this. However, I caution you never to put yourself in a situation that could go wrong or get out of control. If you have to say something, do it very quickly and then remove yourself from the situation. The last thing you want to do is engage in any kind of emotional or prolonged exchange, especially one in which she lets you know that she is even more determined than ever to hold on to your husband. If you have to say something, make a quick statement that you know who she is and that the relationship should end. Keep walking, don’t get involved. Be the greatest person. And never have any kind of exchange in front of your children.
Frankly, sometimes an icy look with your head held high and followed by a smile is far more effective than any word you can say because this will only make her wonder what you know she doesn’t know. And not losing control or being negatively affected by it will drive her crazy. But if you lose control and raise your voice and start to get teary-eyed, then she will know that she has won, or at least has made you lose your cool.
On the contrary, if the affair ends, you don’t want her to know that you are still worried about her. Personally, I think the wife in the example above handled the situation appropriately. Leaving is, in my opinion, better than allowing her to get mad at you, making a scene in front of your children, and participating in an exchange that is beneath you. The wife wondered what she should do when she sees the woman again, as she surely would at various school events. Like I said, I think the blank or cold look followed by a knowing look or a smile is quite effective. If the wife felt that she absolutely had to speak to this woman, it should be a time when it is not in front of the children and in front of other families. And frankly, ignoring her is the better alternative (at least in my opinion and experience) to a nasty confrontation that doesn’t really solve anything.
So if you were to answer the question “how should you react when you see your husband’s mistress?” I would say that this would depend on whether or not the affair was over. That said, losing your temptress or allowing her to get under your skin gives her the upper hand. It makes her think that you’re upset that she’s still a threat, and in fact, it can sometimes bring her a lot of satisfaction, which is the last thing you want.
In fact, if you think about it, the most hurtful thing you could do is make her feel like she doesn’t even care about you anymore. You want it to feel like the insignificant and fleeting affair that it will turn out to be. But if you get nervous, upset, or even angry, she likely knows that this is not the case. Instead, if you can handle it, keep your head up, continue what you were doing, and if necessary, give him a powerful look to let him know that your interaction was not an accident. But don’t do something that you regret or get involved in when there really is no reason to do so. Healing after an adventure means moving on and the more you interact or interact with it, the more it slows down your progress.