Stalking the Other Woman

I was asked:  “After a wife has been cheated on, is it normal for her to start stalking the mistress?”

I answered:

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘stalking, but in the 20+ years I’ve been looking at sexual betrayal, I can say it’s extremely common for the betrayed wife to want to know what the mistress looks like–(it’s even a sign of health, but I’ll get to that later). But it is a complex issue.

Here’s What I Mean (names have been changed):

Mary’s husband cheated on her. She wanted to find out what the mistress looked like. It seemed like this was more important to her than the fact that her spouse cheated. Her counselor told her she couldn’t “unlearn’ things about the mistress once she saw her.

Mary went ahead and tracked down the mistress. Once she found out the mistress wasn’t very attractive, Mary’s fears were relieved and she was able to move on with her life, leaving both her husband and mistress in the dust.

This is a much different story than Barbara. She, too, wanted to know what her husband’s mistress looked like, but when she found out the mistress was attractive, it sank Barbara into a deeper depression. She wasn’t able to climb out of that pit for some time, but she did–even though she seemed to carry away more scars from the experience.

Looking To Feel Safe:

Even though neither Mary and Barbara spoke on this, they both instinctively knew modern society gives physical attractiveness a lot of power. (Sometimes it seems like the only power certain societies allow women to have.)

So what these women were looking for was a way to get their power back by answering the question: “Is she prettier?” It was their way of trying to feel safe again–which is a healthy thing, even if they went about it in a way that could have become an obsession. (Please note: I believe trying to feel safe is a healthy thing, but obsessions are not.)

Power:

I wouldn’t shame Mary or Barbara for ‘stalking’ the mistresses this way. I would, however, point them to another way to get their power back.  

Why? Because physical beauty changes—with each passing year, and sometimes with each passing day. It’s far too fickle to put too much stock in. So to look for power in something that’s so unstable and tenuous isn’t going to help us reach our goals very well.

I’ve written a free guide to help women get their power back, so if you’ve been sexually betrayed, feel free to download it.