Dear First Wife, I’m sorry, you’re welcome, and thank you!

Dear First Wife,

When I fell in love him I had no idea that you existed. He was most certainly not wearing a wedding ring, he never slipped it into our endless conversations that he was married and the group of his colleagues that I met never hinted that I was actually becoming the other woman.

When he told me his story, he talked about you as his high school sweetheart. He said that you dated for almost 5 years, he even said that you had lived together. He went into great detail explaining to me how you had cheated on him while he was on a deployment. He told me that he came home and threw all of the furniture off the 3rd floor balcony because you had slept with the other man in his home. He mentioned that the two of you talked to a priest for a while and attempted to save the relationship. He said it didn’t work. I had no reason to not believe him.

In my silly, naive 23-year-old and freshly-in-love brain… this was the start of me hating you. How could you possibly do such horrible things to the man I just fell head over heels in love with? How could you be so terrible as to have an affair while he was deployed in a war zone? How could you do it in the home you shared with him? What kind of horrible person could you possibly be??

I remember the day I finally realized that you existed… as his current wife and not just some ex-girlfriend.  I started looking at some of his friends’ profiles on Myspace (yes that was still a thing at that point in time) and there was this one picture of him all dressed in his gear and ready to jump out of an airplane and there was a thick gold band on his wedding finger. He was already overseas on a deployment by that point in time. He had already given me a diamond ring and asked me to wait for his return. I was already committed to this situation in so many crazy ways. I sent him an email as that was the only way I could communicate with him. I thought it must just be some sort of misunderstanding… maybe he was wearing some sort of promise ring?! Maybe it was something else altogether? As the hours passed while I waited for it to be his morning time my mind wandered all over the place… I even decided I would be okay if it was an ex-wife that he was just scared to tell me about.

When his response email came through all of my worst fears were confirmed… he admitted that you were his current wife… but then spent about 15 paragraphs elaborating on the fact that you did cheat on him, you were living two separate lives, that you hadn’t slept together in ages, and that all that was left to do was to sign the paperwork and make the divorce official. He also launched into some crazy reverse psychology manipulation that made me seem like the bad guy for being upset about all of this.

I made a choice at that point in time that I stuck with. I decided that I did not care about you, whatever vows the two of you had made to each other, whatever you might be experiencing through all of this. I decided that I cared about myself and what I wanted… and what I wanted was your husband.

So I stood by his side while you moved out of the home you shared with him, while you were divorced by proxy since he was on deployment, while he blew up your wedding ring in a garbage barrel with a hand grenade on video chat with me, while we moved into the home that you once shared, while we threw away the wedding photos and love letters and other mementos that you left behind. I packed up the things that you forgot in that house and still needed, and I forwarded your mail to your new address. I was stupid enough at the time to absolutely hate you and everything you stood for. I took pride in these ridiculously cruel acts of defiance he showed against you. I mistook these things for signs of loyalty and love for me. I never questioned how strange it was for someone to do all of this…. I never questioned him.

When things started to take a turn for the worse and he started abusing me, I used to think about you a lot. I wondered if he did the same things to you. I wondered if you cheated on him because you were so unhappy. I wondered if you cheated on him at all or if he just made that story up to make himself the victim. I fed into his games of using you as a way to attack my insecurities. I believed him when he told me that you were better than me at X,Y,Z… I believed him when he said he never got violent or angry with you… I believed him when he said that you tried harder than me. I started to focus all of my anger and frustration on you. I made it my purpose to prove to him that I was better than you.

Towards the end of the marriage I realized what had been happening with the mind games. I know that there is no way that you had a 5 year marriage to this man and didn’t experience at least some of the emotional, psychological and physical abuse that I experienced. At that point I really started to envy you. You got out. You escaped… and you escaped at a much younger age than where I currently was. I started to wonder what your life looked like after him. I found you online and saw that you were finishing college and living in a different state and appearing to be happy and healthy and doing just fine without him. In a way you became proof for me that leaving him might not be the worst thing to ever happen to me.

When I first left and started to process everything I had been through and all of the emotions that go along with it, I spent a good deal of energy feeling like a complete asshole for being the other woman to your marriage. This was in part because at that point in time he was already doing the same thing to me with a new woman… so I literally got a taste of my own medicine. It was also because without all of his bullshit and manipulation I could finally see that he was not the victim…. you were.

Now that I am far on the other side of all of this I am going to take an educated guess that his divorcing you was probably one of the best things that ever happened to you. It was probably the catalyst that got you through the emotional wreckage of leaving an abusive marriage and starting the path to a life that brought you happiness. His discarding you because he had already moved onto me probably made the whole thing easier even though it felt like the suckiest thing on the planet. You probably spent some time hating my guts and wanting me to come down with the plague… but once you got through that depressed, ice-cream-eating and ugly-crying period you probably giggled at least once and thought “he’s your problem now.”

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I would like to say to you if I ever had the chance, and what it all boils down to is: “I’m sorry, you’re welcome, and thank you!”

I’m sorry for taking part in something that was extremely painful in your life and doing so without even having the compassion to understand what you were going through. I am sorry for making you the villain, believing everything he said about you, and focusing my negative energy towards you instead of him. I am sorry for any self-doubt, embarrassment, insecurities, depression and any other crappy feelings you experienced as a result of me being with your husband. I am truly and without any reservation sorry for the part I played in all of that.

You’re welcome! I very stupidly stepped in and scooped up a huge mess right out of your life. I helped you get away from a very crazy and very abusive man. I took on 8 years of abuse that you didn’t have to deal with. I helped you find the path to whatever is currently making you happy in life.

And last but not least, THANK YOU! Thank you for being a beacon of hope in a very dark time for me (without even realizing it.) Knowing that you survived a divorce with him, that you found a life after him, that from everything I could gleam on social media you were now sane and safe and happy… made a big difference in my decision to leave.

I hope that you are currently experiencing all of the happiness that life after abuse can bring.

Sincerely,

Laura

18 thoughts on “Dear First Wife, I’m sorry, you’re welcome, and thank you!

  1. I truly love this, more than you can ever realize.
    It made me cry, and someday I hope that “she” has these same epiphanies and realizes that he’s not the amazing guy she thought he was while he was her boss (yes, he was her mentor, it’s that cliche) She’s young, much younger, so she’s willing to believe anything he tells her while she’s seeing rainbows and butterflies right now; big house, fancy car, living the life – and most likely, hating me from what he’s told her about our marriage and divorce. Thinking that I deserve every ounce of his loathing and resentment.

    She thinks she’ll make him happy, happier than I ever could because I didn’t try hard enough I’m sure, but she has no idea that he is unable to stay happy and it’s only for show. He will get bored with her too, and too comfortable so that he drops the act, and she will see it and feel it – and it will be too late.

    This is one of those reminders that I needed right now, I’ve been doubting who I am and what my life really was for the last 25 years. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. crazybutttricia, Thank you for reading! I am glad to know that it helped you as I wish I was at a place of maturity and emotional intelligence to be able to have realized all of this and said it to the first wife as soon as I found out he was married! You are the lucky one in your situation even though it is hard to see – you escaped and she is very certainly living the same torment you were experiencing!

      The entire act of becoming the other woman was something I was very ashamed of for a very long time and went to great lengths to try to hide from people. It was just another way I let The Narcissist have emotional leverage and manipulation over me. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Have no shame about being the ‘other’ woman for there are no ‘other women’. We’re all objects to be used. No one is more special than the other. No piece of paper matters to a narcissist but only as ‘ownership to abuse’.

        What happened it your truth, and there is no shame about that. Especially if somehow he implanted that shame in there by reminding you of it later on.

        It’s a merry-go-round headfuck, no doubt about it.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I can only imagine how liberating it must have been to put this kind of thing into words. To change from someone that was bitter towards another person to actually being grateful and hopeful for that person!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. tarnishedsoul, I’ve felt this way for a while now so it was very nice to put it out there for the world. It also feels very empowering to own the fact that yes, I was the other woman… versus letting that continue to be something that felt like The Narcissist held over my head. So yes, very healing and empowering all around! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  3. This was deep. I’m sorry you went through this. My narc ex-husband tried to turn my against the mother of his daughter. It didn’t work. I told him she hadn’t done anything to me. Got smacked up for it, but STILL refused. Now she and I are friends, and neither of us talk to him. He did however, get his current girlfriend in on targeting me. She was it too happy to participate, until I found some information on her, and shared it with the world. Oh, the silence… The moral of the story? Don’t mess with me!
    Honestly though, it is easy to get caught up in the drama, the mess. It’s their cunning plan from the start. You and his first wife were both victims; you just didn’t see it at the time. No one is perfect, for believe me, neither did I.
    I hope you’re OK and you are doing well along your Healing Journey.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Divide and conquer – glad that tactic didn’t work for you. It didn’t work for me either, but it worked for his wife. The Triangulation Triangle. 🙂 Persecutor, Rescuer, Victim. They switch our roles in the blink of an eye. I’m the Persecutor.

      And so it is. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah. Thank you for the story… so many parallels – and so many discussions to be had!

    First – she did it to someone else before her. It’s a cycle. It happened to us, it happened before us, and it will happen after us. She also got a taste of her own medicine – you can bet on it.

    Second, I like the way you justify how you got into a relationship with a married man. You don’t need to justify ANYTHING when you’ve been targeted by a narcissist. Whether you knew he was married or not, you would have justified to yourself why it was okay for you to have an affair with him – just like I did. After all – this man was your ‘soul mate’, your ‘twin flame’, your ‘best friend’. He preyed on your vulnerabilities that pre-existed (the narc I knew’s own words but projected onto me). Women who have high levels of integrity are targeted by married narcs because when they start to devalue you they twist the plot to tell you that it was YOU who disrespected their marriage / family / arse. That way they can stand high and mighty over you, while you pull your hair own gritting through your teeth ‘but YOU called ME out of the WHITE PAGES!’ (such was his love for me). My need to be understood, my need to be loved, my lack of understanding about myself – he saw it all. And it looked delicious to a thief.

    As I always say, the narc knows how to play two roles and usually simultaneously – the victim and the hero. He was her victim and how he had been treated by her made him your hero.

    In a way this triggers me because I never would allow him to leave his family, straight into my arms (but saying that, he was 43 at the time and had a well-established ‘enmeshment’ of family, possessions and memories that keep her to him if I didn’t work out). I told him that in the first few weeks. I can never be entirely sure if I was just a Dirty Little Secret (as HG Tudor puts it) or a failed attempt at Intimate Partner material. I would not commit. I would not accept him without him finishing his own marriage. I would not move into a house he wanted to get for us.

    He wanted to get me pregnant because I was 41 and was running out of time, but he also said that I would be ‘equal to his wife’. What did that mean I asked him. Now we know – entrapment. But I escaped by throwing him under the bus at six months pregnant when I googled ‘delusions of grandeur’ and figured out what he was and told her.

    They’re still together – and it’s a bit different for me because it doesn’t validate my experience of the abuse I went through for 15 months. In a way, you have the ex to understand what you went through. But she stayed with him, so some days I thank her because he doesn’t bother me, and other days I curse her for the enablement of abusing his own son who is now 22 months. Of course she’s gaslit and of course she doesn’t know the truth – but at what point does a person decide to go out and find the truth for themselves? Some days I hate her for her stupidity and her weakness to not see through the lies.

    We are different in that I never wanted anything to do with the break up of their marriage and I was much older than you to know that about myself. THANK GOD. So why was I there? Because I was targeted and in being targeted there really is no choice – again, due to pre-exisiting Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from our childhoods (see Richard Grannon on YouTube for more information). We felt so loved, so connected, so cherished. Anyone vulnerable will push their integrity aside for the cognitive dissonance of an affair when you believe that there will never be another chance at love like this again. And they know it.

    I recognised he tried to triangulate me with hating her, but it didn’t work. I did believe that she had had an affair on him, I did believe that she was vindictive, that they were in a marriage of convenience – even when later on the facts started to present the opposite (cognitive dissonance). Hating her at the time didn’t work because I always thought ‘well, if he leaves her we have to have a good working relationship for the (3) children). So on many levels, I was a failed entrapment because of my age and wisdom of consequences.

    I only hope that one day she will say the things to me that you say. I thank her – for protecting me, unbeknownst to what is actually happening. And I hope one day she will thank me for getting to her the information that he has NPD and enabling HER escape. That one day something just snaps, she looks it up, and sees I am right.

    But – what happens if she never does? Will I ever be free? How do I free myself? Some days I feel like her awakening is vital to my own healing. It DID happen. I WAS abused. When someone else stays around for that abuse, it messes with your mind. I know that she may have had a narc father and is much nicer than me – so this makes her a prime target. And she didn’t have someone like me to warn her back 15 years ago when she married him. She’s well into his projected mental illness now. She will have cognitive dissonance and CPTSD. But this is also a burden I carry – knowing that she is abused and not being able to wake her. It’s abuse by consent, really – and it’s not my business. There is always a little light in us that knows that something is not right.

    I wish she would thank me for waking her up. I wish I could thank her for waking up.

    And, like you, I’m sorry – Just like you, I am very sorry that I played a part in hurting her. I’m sad that she probably blames me for ‘preying on his vulnerabilities’. I’m sorry for myself that I didn’t have a chance once targeted by him. I’m sorry I fell for the triangulation, the lies, the projected nasties onto his wife. But most of all, I’m sorry I didn’t reach her and I’m sorry that she’s still there – for both our sakes, and her three children.

    I am not sorry that my son was born. I am grateful that the universe works in mysterious ways. Or else that’s what I need to believe – because otherwise everything is just senseless, and I don’t think I could deal with that reality.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I hate seeing women remain asleep. Thank God for our awakening, painful as it is. I always wondered how women stay with these men and the delusions of dysfunction are all-powerful, they really are. I think about how dysfunction breeds delusions…my grandfather was a convicted pedophile and the family denied it and didn’t even mention it. He just left for two years of prison then came back. No one questioned it. So odd and weird. But you see how delusional someone can be…even denying cold, hard facts.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello.
    Reading your article really opened different doors of perception in the wake of my current situation.

    I don’t know how to label my relationship with my ex narc as it felt more like relationship to me, given all his gestures and his”attraction” towards me., but he kept labeling it as friendship( quite convenient yeah? )

    Well that narc just left me with any closure or explanatios to marry another woman he barely met!

    Well, it feels surreal and cruel.

    Liked by 1 person

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