Most of what we know about extramarital affairs, we got from TV shows and movies. But when you see one happen and unhappen in front of you in real life, I am pretty sure it is not something you would love to watch with popcorn and fries.
First, the wife is pathetic.
I don’t know her, but I know her struggle. I know that she has cried helplessly in front of her husband for hours and hours. I have heard her stories of despair and desperation – from running away with the children to threats of suicide to undignified begging. I have seen her try to fit in to the new groove – she dances around a pole and flexes her body – not something that a mother of 3 nearing menopause would normally do. Maybe to prove she is still in her prime of youth and beauty, that she is still worth coming home to.
She used to be a model when she was younger – classy, sophisticated, unbelievable beauty – until her then-boyfriend-now-husband whisked her away from her dreamland and turned her into a wife.
He is a man of power, and though she herself is from a wealthy political family, she chose to live the life of a loving homemaker; he can support her every whim anyway.
She tends to her children non-stop, brings them to school on weekdays, takes care of the house and cleans every surface until no scot can be spotted. Every weekend, she lovingly waits for her man to come back from his work some 200 kilometers from home. The past 12 years of her life, she lived like this, and she had nothing but God to thank for the great life she is leading.
Until she finds out about the other woman.
The mistress has turned every piece of the wife’s thoughts to the most unpleasant actions. (READ: In defense of the mistress)
The children have become aces for the woman of the house to use against her husband. She scrutinizes the man’s every move, and she would shame the other woman in ways she can.
The homewrecker has a Facebook account? Scandalize her. She deserves that, anyway. A woman of good background would not agree to be anyone’s kabit. Is this woman more beautiful than her, she would ask. Is she perfect? What is with her that made the husband break his vows of fidelity?
She starts showing up in the most conspicuous places with her husband, wishing the mistress would see how happy they are as a couple. She started to open her mouth callously and show the man who runs the show in the household. She was a prisoner of her love for a man who has cheated on her to begin with.
The mistress, too, is pathetic.
The other woman. The seductress. The haliparot. The immoral piece of evil who has no respect to the sanctity of the family. This society has demonized the mistress in every way possible. She is every wife’s most terrifying nightmare, the reason why no woman is ever confident and trusting to any man. But in reality, the mistress is just a woman in love.
I don’t know her, but I know her struggle. I know that she had cried helplessly at nights, hoping that one day she will find the light and the reason to leave a married man alone.
I have heard her stories of wanting to break free from him and apologize to the woman she was hurting, but she was so in love that she cannot give up on her happiness.
I have seen her try to fit in to a new groove – she tries to pull off a kalderetang kambing, because good wives do that all the time, even when she knows she cannot withstand the smell of goat meat. Maybe to prove that she could be a good wife, that she is the type worth coming home to.
She was young and naïve, a woman of early 20s living in a small town by herself, brought away from the city lights by the work she loved doing. She was the shiny new doll in this quiet, unassuming place, and all eyes were on her, including the man’s whom she cannot love. He is a married man of 37, a band on his right ring finger would scream reality too loud to be ignored. She refused him profusely, but he persevered, and she gave in.
She believed him when he said he would marry her someday. He promised a happy family that she kept on remembering even on days when she knows he is in the arms of his wife back home. She was his secret-keeper; she knew everything about him, his work, his family problems, his decisions in life that he regretted. Things she was sure the wife would never know, she could proudly say that she knew and kept.
The mistress, after all, is a husband’s best-kept secret.
She had accepted her double-life, or the lack of it, and had lived with her parameters set by the husband. The other woman was prepared for the backlash, though she hoped it would not have to happen, and that one day her dream man would whisk her away and make her his wife regardless of what happens to the first family.
Until the legal wife finds out about her.
The wife has turned every piece of the other woman’s thoughts to the most unpleasant actions.
The children have become the bumps along the road that she had to live with once she gets the chance to marry the man. Is the wife too beautiful that the man cannot leave her? Was it about the kids? Why can’t he just stay with the mistress who can give him what he needs? (READ: Divorce, we need to talk about it)
She stops showing up in the most conspicuous places, afraid of a standoff that would put her to shame. She has learned to shut her mouth and let the decision of the wife move her man in ways she knows would make her lose her mind. She was a prisoner of her love for a man whom she should not have loved to begin with.
We have not heard so much about what is going on inside the mind of a married man, yet we have already judged the women as wretched and beyond salvation.
They have wrecked their homes in ways they could. The wife, for stringing the whole family to her vendetta. The mistress, for wanting what she should not have. And the man, for breaking his marital vows.
In such a sad story, we make many vindications: the wife is inadequate, the mistress is a seductress, and the man is a helpless being.
We blame the wife for losing her youth and beauty. We blame the other woman for dipping her fingers in a marital affair. But we do not blame the man; for most of this society, we look at the husband as a man unhappy with a wife who has lost her charm and was enthralled by the new prospect posed by another woman.
The husband is just a passive entity in this story where two women play tug-of-war that hurts both their families, their lives, their womanhood.
I have known this story for years, yet I have not found a resolution that would keep the women happy in their lives. The man remained scot-free, and his wife still revered him, albeit broken and bruised, while the mistress has lived on with her life away from the man whom she loved dearly.
This story has not found its ending, however, as the departure of the mistress has left a vacancy to be filled, unless the man finally stays true to his vows.
He is the most pathetic of them all. – Rappler.com
Reinna Bermudez, 25, is a storyteller.