MANY marriages are plagued by the 'the other woman', that heathen, jezebel of a homewrecker who causes wives to fall into depression, battle with anger and have low self-esteem. While many wives suffer in silence, ignore the issue altogether, or confront their husbands, there are others who go the confrontation route, and approach the other woman in hopes of saving their marriages.
The aim, according to, Sheila E, a wife who played that card years ago, was to use guilt as a factor in trying to get the other woman to have a heart.
The wife, now "mistress-free for seven years", said after finding out about her husband's other woman, she paid the woman a visit, and poured her heart out.
"I went there early one Saturday morning and spoke to her woman to woman," Sheila, a Portmore wife and mother of three, said. "I told her that I didn't know what he was telling her, but we were still married, still living together as man and wife. I told her he had no plans to leave me as he had too much to lose, and that she was causing me and my children a lot of heartache. I told her I was a Christian, and was aware that I couldn't compete in body or looks or appeal, but that I needed my husband back, and my sons needed their father."
She said the other woman, who also had a child, broke down crying, and agreed to stop seeing the husband.
"When she told my husband what had happened, he changed. He was remorseful and I haven't had a problem with cheating since," Sheila said.
This intervention, that can leave the wife vulnerable and embarrassed, though, is not something advised by psychologists who posit that it's better to confront hubby instead.
Psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj said the wife's main issue is with the man, not the other woman.
"The other woman would not have a place if the man did not make that open door available," he said. "If he did not give her the (phone) number, if he did not do anything to encourage this relationship, she (other woman) would not be doing it. So your first order of business is with him."
However, he explained that there are indeed times when the other woman has to be confronted.
"There are some issues, for example, if the woman intrudes on your space -- you have a right to confront a woman who calls your house... you have the right to be rude to her, you have a right to respond to her," Dr Semaj said. "If she calls your house, or she comes to your workplace, or if she is making statements to people about you -- maybe to your mutual friends -- then you have the right to deal with that. But if the general issue is that there is another woman that the wife has reason to believe that her husband as an affinity to, you abstain from confrontation. But then if the woman intrudes into your space, it is well within your perimeter to deal with it."
For his part, Anthony Gordon, family life educator and counsellor, said a wife should not confront the other woman in the initial stages of the infidelity.
"Once your spouse chooses to go out on you then it really is his/her responsibility and not the other person's," Gordon explained. "If the other person knows he/she is married, one would hope that that person's moral scruples would be a boundary against him/her accepting the other unfaithful spouse. But the contention should be with the spouse who betrayed you. I don't agree with women going out and trying to find the woman and say 'lef mi man, weh you a tek weh mi man fah?' It's your man who left you. What should be thought out is what has happened in the relationship."
Both advise that there should be counselling, to determine whether, after the infidelity, the marriage is worth saving.
Said Dr Semaj: "Saving the marriage at the expense of your dignity and your health and the quality of your life and so on is probably not really worth it. But some people may elect to do so, but it means you have an option -- you redefine the terms of the marriage and say it is OK for you to do what you do as long as you don't bring home any diseases; or as long as you don't embarrass me in any way; or I am not prepared to deal with this as part of my relationship with you. And then both parties must seek counselling so that some form of agreement and some form of conditions on which to go forward can be arrived at."
Things you should never do to get back at the other woman
SO you found out that he cheated. You are angry and can't wait to get your hands on that man stealer! You still feel it is her fault why your man strayed, especially since she has been trying for a long time to win him over. However, it's important that you keep your cool in order to avoid embarrassing yourself and giving her the upper hand. Below are things you should never do to get back at the other woman.
Don't get into a cat fight
This happens oh too often. In fact, it only strokes some men's egos when they see women fighting over them. So never, ever, assault the woman for your man's indiscretions. If she approaches you seeking to knock you out, walk away. If she decides to throw the first blow, you have the law on your side if you defend yourself.
Don't call her workplace
Don't invade her workspace by calling or going there to cuss her out as it could make you look desperate and insecure. Calling her office and letting everyone know she has stolen your man will look bad on both of you.
Don't call or text her
Sending text messages and calling incessantly doesn't cut it. In fact it only makes the other woman feel she is in control of the situation. She will simply have a good laugh at your expense. No amount of phone calls or text messages are going to change her mind anyway. Take the matter up with your man. Don't let her think you are a psychopath who can't let go.
Don't get too emotional.
Women handle break-ups a lot differently from men. They are more emotional. It's a good time to remember that men really don't like the drama. Lay off the melodramatics and handle the break-up with grace and dignity. It's not as easy as it sounds, but you will score more points if you stay away from her. Let both of them see that you are above them.