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Letter from the wronged wife

(30 Posts)
catsmeow Mon 04-Jul-11 00:41:52

OK. I am looking for advice. I don't need to be told how stupid, immature, pathetic, egocentric and wrong I was. I know all that already.

twenty years ago, when I was 22 years old, I had a stupid, idiotic affair with a 45 year old married man. I was on an extended holiday and for boring reasons was billeted in his house. He lived alone (his wife, who was his age, had been living in another country for the previous three months)... anyway. I allowed it to happen. I was on the rebound from my own relationship...and basically it was an adventure. I am not proud of it. It lasted around six weeks, I returned to England, he came to visit me once for five days in the UK, I spent two weeks holiday with him and then I ended it a few months later. So it lasted over six months in total, but we were together for only two months of that. A month into our affair his wife flew back to the country and the affair continued even though she was around (I remember him saying his wife was ok with it, though i knew that couldn't be the case). I was not in love with him (I was on an appalling rebound so I briefly thought i might be) but he thought he was in love with me.

Anyway. I have often felt guilty about it, specifically for his wife (and felt that my own partner cheating on me, as he did numerous times, was some kind of payback). This man actually wrote to me six or seven years ago and told me his wife had left him and I wrote back and said 'well done her' (he had slept with at least ten women before me, and many women after me - when he was married).

This weekend I received a letter from the (now divorced) wife, twenty years after the event. She wrote it as if it had all happened yesterday. She said how could I do it, and I'd made her so miserable, and how could I have been so cruel etc etc. I wrote back immeadiately basically saying what I said at the startof this - I'd been stupid, immature and pathetic and I deeply regretted it and was sorry for any incredibly pain I'd caused her - and if she had any questions she should ask.

She has now written back saying that she wants to meet (we live in different countries and neither of us speaks the others language. these letters are being mediated through google translate...).

Now here is where I need advice. The thing is: this was a very brief affair that happened twenty years ago. I was young, not very very young, but young. I'm not the same person now. I have apologised profusely and mean every word. I have offered to explain anything she needs explaining (although I can barely remember any of it). I am horrified this is all so alive for her, and yet... I really do not want to meet. Not least, because I am a bit taken aback by how raw this is for her years and years and years on.Given that there were others before me, and others after me, and I believe she has been divorced for seems a bit extreme.

My instinct is to say I'd prefer not to meet, but (to say again) I'm very happy to answer by e-mail any questions she may have.

Your views greatly appreciated.

TheFarSideOfFuck Mon 04-Jul-11 00:48:21

I think you should trust your instincts

You don't come out of this very well, but you have taken full responsibilty for that

this happened so long ago...what does she think she will get out of it ?

I reckon you have finished your part in this sorry mess and should be allowed to let it die like it should have long ago

you are being more than reasonable here, don't commit to more than you are happy with

SheCutOffTheirTails Mon 04-Jul-11 00:49:13

Christ, don't meet her.

It was years ago, you've apologised, everyone's moved on.

Monty27 Mon 04-Jul-11 00:54:19

Step away, what you did was wrong which you know but, no, it was a long time ago.

Is she rounding all of you up?

BreakFree Mon 04-Jul-11 00:54:24

I agree with SheCut.. ignore her now. Let it go. You've said your part you don't need to keep apologising for something that happened so long ago. Why is she only doing this now anyway? Insane!

thesunshinesbrightly Mon 04-Jul-11 01:00:27

I dont agree that she has moved on at all but i dont think you should meet her and i dont get why she would want to even see the woman that shagged her husband and ripped her world apart or she could want pay back, i suppose.

SposeIOughtToNameChange Mon 04-Jul-11 01:07:49

Good lawd do not meet her.
Trust your gut.
Have a solicitor on speed dial ready with a restraining order and lock up your bunny rabbits.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 04-Jul-11 01:25:17

Does she know you are not the only one?

catsmeow Mon 04-Jul-11 01:31:35

thelittlestkiwi: I don't know. But I don't feel it is my job to tell her. He hadn't told her about all the women by the time he met me, but he told me he'd told her about them when he told her about me (if you see what I mean). But maybe not. Maybe she thinks I'm the one bad one. Even so: my ex had affairs, and in general I blamed him not the women: he was the one cheating on me, not them. They behaved badly, but they had no loyalty to me (other than general decency).

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Jul-11 01:32:12

What reason would she have formeeting you?

Shes certainly not gonna give you a bunch of flowers! and to want to travel to do another country to do so? hmmm stay well away for your own good and yes lock up your bunnies!

catsmeow Mon 04-Jul-11 01:34:33

OK. I've written an e-mail that says, briefly, thanks for your reply, I don't feel it's appropriate to meet, but feel free to ask me any questions - although I have little to add other than to reiterate my sincere apologies for distress caused etc.

I googled her. It seems her father has just died and I wonder if maybe she is having some kind of crisis.

SchrodingersMew Mon 04-Jul-11 01:50:14

It seems a bit strange she would want to meet after so long, fairly suspicious actually.

I think you have definitely done the right thing in telling her you do not think it is appropriate to meet. I think the comments about having a solicitor on speed dial and locking up your bunnies are good advice.

I think the only thing she could want after all this time is payback, and maybe after just losing her Father is feeling a bit reckless and not worried about her actions.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 04-Jul-11 02:04:58

I think you've done the right thing. I can see why you wouldn't want to spill the beans. Although it is not really your secret to have to keep. I wonder if she doesn't know and sees you as the reason her marriage failed (which you obviously weren't). Or it could be that you were particularly significant to her husband.

Either way, he is the one who needs to take responsibility here.

PadmeHum Mon 04-Jul-11 02:16:45

My first thought and perhaps it's way off base is that there's potential some health/medical reason for her request to meet up. Perhaps she doesn't want to talk about this via email?

Did you have any screening after the affair to rule out STD's etc?

zookeeper Mon 04-Jul-11 08:04:38

I don't think you should meet her because she sounds a bit unhinged.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to answer any questions; if it's all still very raw for her that might be very cruel and possibly may do her more harm than good.

In fact I think it would be best to tell her , as kindly as you can, that whilst you will always regret your actions, you have apologised and think it best fo you both not to have any further contact.

Jux Mon 04-Jul-11 08:17:14

I think you're right about the effeect of her dad dieing. She is teviewing the men in her life after the loss of a v significant one

Don't meet up.

She will sort hersrlf out without involving you, and you can't help her, even if you wanted to.

catsmeow Mon 04-Jul-11 08:38:32

PadMeHum: i did get screened afterwards - including an HIV test. I was clear on everything. I know he was HIV negative when we slept together (I made him show me the certificate!). I did wonder if maybe he had later given her something from one of the other women (he worked in high-risk countries) and she thought it came from me.

I'll see if she responds again. And if she does I'll try and answer her questions, and if they get too intrusive I'll suggest it's best we have no more contact (zookeeper, thanks for that).

fuzzpig Mon 04-Jul-11 08:51:46

How bizarre! Is it going to be some horror movie situation with all the OWs stuck in some cave?! confused

I feel terribly bad for her having a cheating arsehole for a husband, but she is misplacing the blame here - I really fail to see what she could gain from meeting you. It'd be different if you were the only one, but the affair wasn't about you, or any of the other women, it was about the fact he couldn't keep it in his pants and was a horrible dishonest jerk. What you and the other women are like is totally irrelevant. Steer clear, you might have shagged him but it's really nothing to do with you. In the sense that it could've been anyone.

I have to ask, how the fuck did she get your address after 20 years... And how did you find out about her dad through google? Do you all have really unusual names?!

SarahBumBarer Mon 04-Jul-11 09:15:07

Good Lord - don't meet her and don't feel guilty for not doing so.

It's been twenty years! Yes what you did was wrong but 20 years? There comes a time when people have to take responsibility for their own lives and happiness - she can't blame you for whatever mess she has made of her own life over the past 20 years.

BornInAfrica Mon 04-Jul-11 09:17:37

My thoughts exactly fuzzpig! This reads like a cheap novel - don't believe a word of it!

catsmeow Mon 04-Jul-11 10:03:29

She could have found me at any time as my previous work in media made me highly googleable. But it was Facebook and yes I have an unusual last name. So it's seems does she but the only link coming up was an obituary from may which I can read with very poor Italian. Hopefully she will let it drop now. Definitely unnerved me.

catsmeow Mon 04-Jul-11 10:11:29

The other thing is that a lot of the ones before me were one night stands. Also I think a lot of the ones after me came from cultures quite alien to her own eg west Africa so she may have felt that I was the she could hold to account because we are both European? And I think I meant far more than I should have done to her husband.
It's pretty dispiriting describing a twenty year old thing in this way. Highlights all the squalor. It felt different at the time. But it was never a great love (as you can probably guess....).
He was having a bit of ammid life thing. He even started going to the gym.
Pathetically at the time my dad was leaving my mum after a long lOmg affair so there was probably some pathetic crisis of my own going on there too.
What a mess. But long long ago.

Emo76 Mon 04-Jul-11 13:10:17

Don't meet up with her ! Don't do it. You did the decent thing replying but really this is all a long time ago. Life moves on.

babyhammock Mon 04-Jul-11 13:19:08

Don't meet her whatever you do...
You sound lovely and are already trying to make ammends.... by all means answer her questions, but it sounds quite dangerous to meet her to me x

UnhappyLizzie Mon 04-Jul-11 13:21:56

I agree. I think you have done all you can. Stop beating yourself up about something that happened so long ago. You sound very moral, your partner doing this wasn't payback you deserved, we all make mistakes especially when we are young.

It must be horrible for you being revisited by this so long after the event. By all means respond if she asks you questions. Meeting is not appropriate and I can't see how it would help either of you x

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