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AIBU?

To disagree with the statement "the other woman owes you nothing"

604 replies

Sarahcoggles · 14/06/2022 15:25

I see this time and again on MN.
Woman posts that husband is having an affair. She hates the OW and is very angry with her, as well as being angry with husband of course.
Then a load of posters pile in saying she should direct all her anger at husband, as he was the only one who owed her anything. The OW owed her nothing, so she shouldn't be angry with her.

I think that's wrong. We all owe our fellow human beings respect and courtesy. If I bump someone's car in a car park I should leave them a note. I don't owe them anything, I never promised I wouldn't bump into their car, they didn't put their trust in me not to bump into their car , I never promised to pay for any damage that I might do to their car. They don't even know me. But it's still my fault, my carelessness, and common courtesy dictates that I should leave a note and be held accountable.

Why is it perfectly fine to have a relationship with someone else's husband, knowing that you're going to hurt that person, just because they're a stranger and you never promised you wouldn't shag their husband?

Personally I think both parties are equally to blame, just in different ways.

OP posts:
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TitInATrance · 14/06/2022 15:31

Because men are not inanimate objects. If he’s lying to you he’s lying about you - to somebody who doesn’t know him as well as you do.

Another analogy: if your dog eats my sandwich, that’s your fault for not keeping him under control. Although I appreciate that’s controversial too.

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Hellodarknessmyoldpal · 14/06/2022 15:31

I wouldn't say equally to blame. But i agree that it is reasonable to feel anger towards the other woman.

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SweetAnnieRich · 14/06/2022 15:34

Totally agree when children are involved.
you are not only destroying another woman’s life but more pertinently you are complicit in hurting the children and perhaps helping to impact on their futures in a negative way.
I do think women who knowingly get involved with a family man are selfish and lack basic morals.

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MrsTerryPratchett · 14/06/2022 15:35

If I bump someone's car in a car park I should leave them a note.

That's a legal obligation. As is marriage.

The phrase is normally used when the women is talking about the OW and ignoring her H's involvement. It's all 'she seduced him' and similar, 'she knew he had kids'. Well I assume he knew he had kids too, more than her.

IME married men aren't being seduced left and right. The ones that cheat often go looking for it. I was hit on at WORK by a married 37 yo when I was 18. He had children. Looking back he did a lot of plausible deniability and I'm sure had I fallen for it, he would have been quite able to convince his wife I was to blame.

By all means feel angry with the OW. But don't use that to forgive a cheating husband.

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straightoutofa · 14/06/2022 15:39

'Equally to blame, just in different ways' : a perfect summation IMO.

Looking as an objective outsider, I would attribute blame to both parties equally, regardless of the genders of the parties or their marital status.

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DenholmElliot1 · 14/06/2022 15:40

I agree - the very minimum I would expect from another women is for her not to sleep with my partner.

Unfortunately some women don't have any sisterly regard.

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drpet49 · 14/06/2022 15:42

I agree with you OP.

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MrsTerryPratchett · 14/06/2022 15:43

straightoutofa · 14/06/2022 15:39

'Equally to blame, just in different ways' : a perfect summation IMO.

Looking as an objective outsider, I would attribute blame to both parties equally, regardless of the genders of the parties or their marital status.

But it's nonsense. Randoms don't have the same responsibility to my children as I do! And they also don't have a legal, contractual relationship to my spouse. I do.

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WouldBeGood · 14/06/2022 15:44

I agree with you @Sarahcoggles and it really annoys me.

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Thatswhyimacat · 14/06/2022 15:44

I agree if she was in full knowledge, but I'd imagine many men spin lies about their marital situation to the OW.

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FiveNineFive · 14/06/2022 15:45

Most of mumsnet doesn't think anybody owes anybody anything.

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aSofaNearYou · 14/06/2022 15:45

It's often said to women who are planning on forgiving their husband's part or are already minimising it.

I wouldn't say the OW is totally free of any wrongdoing (assuming she knew the true circumstances) but I don't think she comes anywhere even close to being equally to blame. The amount a person's spouse is responsible for cheating on them is astronomically bigger.

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WallaceinAnderland · 14/06/2022 15:46

I disagree. OW does not owe fidelity to her affair partner's wife. HE does. That's all you need to know. Of course it's natural to be angry at her as well but she does not owe you anything.

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7Worfs · 14/06/2022 15:48

Was thinking the same today OP, possibly about the same thread.
I have seen with my own eyes women relentlessly pursuing married men.
There should be consequences for them too, even if it’s just the married man’s wife calling them out and shaming them.

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Kanaloa · 14/06/2022 15:48

The fact is if the other woman wasn’t the other woman he’d find another other woman. A man who wants to cheat will. You can’t expect every other woman to police that for you. He’ll find someone to cheat with if that’s what he wants to do - and if it is what he wants to do there’s no point directing your rage at the OW. You’ve found out who he is.

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Kanaloa · 14/06/2022 15:49

And as for it breaking up the family - what’s the alternative? That every other woman makes sure your husband doesn’t cheat and you stay married to a man who wants to cheat but can’t because other woman are making sure he doesn’t?

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ghostyslovesheets · 14/06/2022 15:52

I think anger and blame towards the OW minimises the mans role - it's normal to encourage women to turn on other women in our society rather than look at men as the issue - yes it's not great to sleep with a married man but - as PP stated, you don't know what shite the man is telling her - ultimately your partners decision to cheat on YOU is his (or hers) and that's the thing - a decent person - even if it's offered on a plate - would say no! The man is responsible (in this example) for cheating and should bare the brunt of the anger.

I speak as someone who's marriage ended as a result of cheating

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TheOriginalEmu · 14/06/2022 15:52

She isn’t equally to blame because she didn’t marry you, she didn’t make promises to you, she didn’t lie to you and she didn’t have children with you. As the one who did all those things your spouse owes you honesty and common respect, a stranger doesn’t.

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Pollydonia · 14/06/2022 15:53

I mainly disagree with the idea that the Affair Partner owes anything to the injured party BUT I saw first hand one woman who literally targeted men as she loved the " thrill of taking them off their partners "
She split up 3 couples that I know of ( all within the same large organisation) including one couple with a young child and a newborn baby.
She seemingly had no conscience, she saw her self worth tied up in "winning" men.
I know people like her ( possible psychopaths ) are few and far between though............

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StaunchMomma · 14/06/2022 15:53

Depends if they know the bloke is married, for me. Seems to happen so often in the age of social media and dating apps that the 'other woman' has no idea & hence is not at fault.

If she did know, though? Pure skank.

Nothing worse than a woman who goes for another woman's man.

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straightoutofa · 14/06/2022 15:56

It's not really about what parties 'owe' other parties, it's more about duty/decency/morality/rules whatever you want to call it - however it's classified, IMO it takes two to tango in an affair, and so blame should be apportioned equally.

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NoseyNellie · 14/06/2022 15:57

Depends on whether she knowingly does it -doesn’t it? Cheaters lie. And not just to the person they’re married to.

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AlienatedChildGrown · 14/06/2022 15:58

From the perspective of the child (back then, now in my 50s) I felt rather strongly that any human being deserved better treatment than my mother was getting. And presumed the OW’s husband was also not in a good way and he too deserved better.

Sure as hell felt my siblings & I deserved better.

Still do. It took 30+ years to undo the damage caused. I forgave her less than half a decade ago. We spoke online recently. I can do that now, which would have been unthinkable ever a couple of years ago.

I still wish she had walked up to my siblings and I and punched us all hard in the face rather than have an affair with our dad and participating in leaving us trapped under the rubble of a broken home and relationships smashed to bits.

Punching us would have hurt less, been less traumatic, left an easier path to mental recovery in a shorter time. And people would have judged her harshly for hurting us, instead of finding us wanting because we blamed her for her part in what happened to us.

It’s not that I didn’t have any blame left over for my dad, and my mum. I did. Lots. But I loved them both, which was insulation against the roaring heat of my rage, and later left a smoother path for forgiveness. She enjoyed no such insulation. There was no history, affection, or hope of rebuilding a relationship to keep the negatives in check.

I suspect it’s not that different when you are the spouse. Certainly in the early days.

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howdoesatoastermaketoast · 14/06/2022 16:01

I think it's important to keep the blame in proportion. A married man involved in an affair is breaking his wedding vows and committing a huge breech of trust. An unmarried woman getting involved with a man she knows to be married is not behaving in a way which is in any way fine or reasonable or does her any great credit. But as @TitInATrance says "if he's lying to you, he's lying about you."

So I'd always blame the married person for breaking their vows, AND always advise woman that "I'm married, but [insert whatever bollocks he's made up here]" should be seen as an immediate bar to getting involved at all, mainly for their own sanity and dignity.

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ventreàterre · 14/06/2022 16:01

YANBU. While it's true that some women let their husbands/partners off the hook and direct all their ire at the OW, but I'd expect that most women are furious at both of them. I think I'd have enough outrage and disgust to share generously between the two of them.

Even accepting that your husband owes you loyalty, whereas the OW usually doesn't know you personally, in a civilised society we ought to feel we owe other people the basic respect of not knowingly having secret sex with someone who is married/in a serious relationship. It's a matter of common decency, and yes, I would hate someone who conspired with my partner/spouse to pull the wool over my eyes. It's impossible to say if I'd hate them as much as my partner, but safe to say I'd loathe them both.

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