That’s the response I received when I asked a friend of mine about ‘the other woman’ in her ex-husband’s life.
She’s currently grappling with divorce. Actually, that’s not true. The divorce she’s fine with. It’s the role of her ex’s new partner which is causing the stress. The ‘other woman’ played a key role in the destruction of the marriage. She tends to ply my friend’s daughter with gifts whenever she sees her. She took it upon herself to take my friend’s six-year-old to get her ears pierced without thinking to – you know – first ask my friend for permission. And it doesn’t help that she’s younger. And thinner.
But as common as these “evil mistress” stories are, it’s important to remember that it’s not always that way. Sometimes, the new partner becomes a much loved part of the family. And sometimes the new partner gives the child (caught in the middle of a messy divorce) the attention and love they crave, as author Jodyne L Speyer writes about in this post on Jezebel …
“I loved the woman who ended my parents’ marriage. She was not a bitch or a whore; she was lovely, and more importantly, she loved me during a time when neither of my parents had the energy to express theirs.
We saw each other every other weekend when my father had custody of me. She had perfect brown hair that reached all the way down her back, wore oversized, stylish 70’s plastic glasses and spoke with a thick, upstate New York accent that I found enormously comforting.
Like many other other women, she had been told my parents’ marriage was over long before she came into the picture. All I knew was that when she looked at me with her kind brown eyes I immediately felt less invisible in the world.
During the divorce, my parents’ time for me was always limited. This was not the case with the other woman. Her time felt limitless. She took me shopping for my very first Christmas tree, sang songs to me while I took a bath, and she brushed my hair until all the snarls came out. She was the only person who wrapped their arms around me, giving me hope that everything was going to be okay. The other woman never had snide messages for me to deliver to my mother or father.
Then one day I showed up to my father’s apartment and found her gone. The closet that once held her fashionable east coast clothes now had someone else’s clothes hanging in it. She had been replaced by another other woman. I cried as my father delivered the news that I would never see her again.
When parents divorce, there is careful consideration that goes into when the best time to introduce their children to a new partner is. But thought also needs be given to how to properly honor and protect that relationship should the romance end. As the years passed, barely a day went by that I didn’t think of the other woman. Was she married? Did she have a child whose hair she brushed? Did she love him or her the way she loved me? Did she remember me?”
You can read the rest of the post here.
The beautiful thing is that the writer is now back in touch with her dad’s old girlfriend and they are a part of each other’s lives.
But how about you? If your parents’ divorced, did any of their subsequent partners have a positive impact on you? If you’re currently divorced with kids, how important is it that your children get on with your new partner and vice versa?