The other women


HI, MY name is Shirley and firstly I think it’s really great that The National is making space for people to share their stories.
It is actually inspiring and also at the same time draws people’s attention to various issues.
I also appreciate the fact that people are been given the opportunity to share their stories without being pressured into disclosing their identities as, knowing Papua New Guineans, there would be a lot of judgment passed on those sharing their stories.
So I just wanted to thank The National for providing the avenue for people to come out and share their stories to help, inspire and encourage one another.
Anyways I’m texting you via messenger because I want to share my story too. I think it’s time people know what it’s really like for the “other women”.
When I was 22 years old I met this guy at my work place. There was something about him, I just knew in my heart that he was the one.
We started dating and I fell in love with him. It wasn’t until a year into the relationship with him that I found out he was married with two kids.
By then I was already three months pregnant. I was devastated, heartbroken…angry with him and so disgusted with myself.
I left my job and cut off all contact with him because I knew it was wrong. Four months later I gave birth prematurely to a beautiful baby boy. We were held back by the hospital as my son was so small.
A few days later, he came…he was told by mutual friends and he showed up. I knew it was wrong but I now had a son and he had the right to have a father too. So I let him back into our lives.
Most often you will hear stories of how the wife endures the pain when the husband gets another woman but what many people fail to realise is that the other woman gets hurt too.
He would go back and forth between his wife and family and me and my son. But most of the times he would stay with his wife and children. In everything, his wife would come first. It broke my heart, hurt me to the core but most times I accepted it because I knew. You see we do know it’s wrong but we have our children to think of too.
My son and I ate the crumbles left by his wife and children. He hid us away and only saw us when it was convenient for him.
When it was time for my son to start schooling he enrolled him at the same private school as his kids. My son was beaten in school and called a bastard…by his half siblings. They even told him I was a whore. But what could I do. I was the other woman. That day, my heart broke for every mother will always fight for and protect their children but I couldn’t because I was the other woman.
A few months later, I started working again. People in the office would gossip about me. They would whisper behind my back and sometimes the whispers were so loud!
Everywhere I went the whispers followed. Always the blame was on me. I was the other woman, I was the home wrecker, the husband stealer!
I was once a very happy young woman. I had a dream, I had morals and no, I never thought I’d end up as the other woman in someone else’s marriage. I was respected and even loved but after everything, I lost everyone’s respect. And was ridiculed and spat on.
My son and I were bullied, beaten and abused so many times by the wife and her family. We laid a couple of reports but the police officers would just look at us and laugh. Telling me it was my fault to go chasing after a married man!
But you see, I never chased after a married man. He lied to me that he was single…and he never once apologised for lying.
When I knew the truth, it was already too late.
I could have just raised my son alone but like all mothers are, I too loved my son and wanted him to have a father so I stayed, even whilst knowing by then that he was married because it was not my fault or that of my son.
It was the man who chose to cheat on his wife, the wife he married and promised to be faithful to. Not me, I didn’t marry her or promised to be faithful to her. It was the man who chose to lie to me that he was single and built a relationship with me. Yet, everywhere I go, I hear it is “the other woman’s fault”.
He lied to his wife and he lied to me also. After some years, I finally found myself again. I dumped him and moved on with my life because I knew my son was better off without a liar like him.
I’m sharing this because I want people to know and understand that most times the other woman is not the cause of the problem. It is the men themselves who cause this.
I am the other women. I was the other woman. He not only ruined his family and marriage but also ruined my life. My son and I were the ones who suffered the most because one man saw fit to cheat on his wife and lie to a young woman.
I want to encourage others who are in the same boat as I am. Don’t stay and continue being the other woman because you think your baby needs a father. You’re children are better off without him.
I also want to encourage wives who continue to see the “other women” in their marriages as the enemy to start having an open mind and look at things from a different perspective. You’ll find we are not your enemies… it’s your husbands who cheated on you.
And finally, to everyone who has judged the other women, please, before you condemn us, know that we too are human. We feel the pain, we know our wrongs. We will not live in shame because we too were lied to.
Today, I have finally found a man who truly loves me and has accepted my son and is so good to us.
To all those “other woman”, please know that it’s not the end. You too can find love again. Don’t settle for being the second priority. Forget him, he has his own family and set out on your own…for God loves us too.

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