How brazen of her

***This post is being misunderstood and so it behoves me to put this disclaimer at the top so that the same misunderstanding doesn’t continue.

This post and the analogies it outlines have nothing to do with the wayward spouse’s choice, their decision making,
or explaining their behavior. This post, is instead about YOU the betrayed wife and how society and often the OW and her posse of supporters ridicule you for standing by and fighting for a your marriage instead of us just handing them our husbands. The analogy isn’t meant to describe his actions or the why…it’s about YOUR choices and the why. Please read from that point of view. And for what it’s worth, no, I don’t believe wayward spouses are victims…****

Imagine if you will a mother, any mother.  Her hair can be any colour.  Her body type can be thin or not.  Her hair can be curly or straight.  It doesn’t matter really, what she looks like, all you need to know is that the only thing she has ever wanted to do was to be a mom.

I am going to call this mom Cara.

Cara struggled for many years to have a child.  After many failed attempts, she finally hears the news her heart has been waiting for.  She has been blessed with a child.  She pours everything into being a mother.

At first, parenthood is a struggle.  The learning curve is steep and there are bumps along the way.   Cara makes her share of mistakes, but she is doing the best she can, and learning as she goes.  After all, parenting doesn’t come with a manual.

Like any mother, Cara is invested in her child, often at the expense of herself.  She sacrifices a lot for her child, and her life has certainly changed.  She puts so much into this child, and would give anything to see her grow up healthy and strong.  Certainly Cara is also human, and sometimes isn’t always the best mother, and doesn’t always make the best choices, but she wakes up every morning, still dedicated, still trying, and ever hopeful that this creation of hers will succeed.

One day, shortly after her 10th birthday, Cara’s daughter fails to come home from school.  A search ensues and no one can find her anywhere.  She has essentially disappeared.  Her mother is frantic, and sick with worry.  All of the years flash before her eyes.  All of her firsts, all of their struggles, all of their successes and good times – Gone.

After several weeks, her daughter is located.  It is discovered that Cara’s daughter had been kidnapped and held by a childless woman who wanted to have a child, and tried to claim Cara’s daughter as her own.   For many years, this woman too had tried to have a child and was not successful.   Desperate, she soon gave up the dream of having her own child in favour of simply stealing someone else’s.  She made a plan, and decided that she would seek out a child of her liking, and then when the timing was right, would abduct her, claim her as her own, and raise the child.  She gave little or no thought to Cara’s heartache.  She completely disregarded the pain and torment she was putting Cara and her family through because her needs came first.  Social conventions of right and wrong were cast aside, and morals thrown out the window.  “She” was the only person who mattered here, and her happiness was paramount to all others.

Once the identity of the abductor is known, Cara fights tirelessly to get her daughter back.  She cries herself to sleep at night, worried that she has lost the precious creation she has cared for and nurtured all these years.  She starts each day in the darkest place imaginable, but with the desire to fight and find her child once more.  The abductor ups the ante and starts sending Cara messages, taunting her, telling her how much happier her daughter is with her, how much she resents her mother, and how she should just move on and let her daughter go.  Cara can’t imagine her daughter ever feeling that way, and the words simply don’t fit with the experience and the relationship Cara knows to be true.  Confused and paralyzed with fear, anger, resentment and worry, she gets up each day trying to get one step closer to her child.   All the while struggling, Cara maintains a brave face for those around her.  She has been told by the abductor that if she says anything to anyone that her daughter will be harmed, so she puts on a brave face every day, and no one knows the inner struggle she faces each day.   While colleagues and family are busy making demands of her, disrespecting her time and overloading her, she cries out on the inside that none of them would do this, if they “really knew what was going on”.  They wouldn’t dare pile this on her.  But they don’t know….so they do, and so it continues, until one day Cara’s daughter escapes and comes home.   Tearful and full of regret, she confesses to her mother that she made some poor choices, against her better judgment, and that due to her actions, she put herself in harm’s way, and in a situation where she was vulnerable, and then the unthinkable happened, and she was taken.  Cara is just relieved to have her back.

Within a few days, threatening letters and emails start coming her way.   Letters from the abductor threatening to repeat the abduction.  Threads of doubt and uncertainty are planted within Cara’s mind that her daughter will leave willingly, having favoured perhaps the other woman’s lifestyle, her home, the material and shallow possessions.  Cara is blasted as a sad and pathetic woman, a horrible mother, a selfish person who doesn’t deserve to have a child.  No matter all of the time and work invested in her child, she is told that she wasn’t good enough, that she has failed as a mother, and that her daughter, in time, will once again disappear.  Cara lives every day in fear that this may come true.

The letters become more personal, more vindictive, more hateful.  Cara can barely hold it together while her self esteem is being ripped apart by this woman, and the one thing she most preciously loves is being threatened to be ripped from her once more.  Cara is told to give up. Cara is told to let go.  Cara is mocked and laughed at for still trying to hold on to her daughter.  She is called ‘selfish’ for wanting her back. She is mocked for fighting for her, all while being told she deserves this horrible pain because she wasn’t a good enough mother, that her years of sacrifice weren’t enough…she is ridiculed for continuing to fight.  She is threatened with being outed in her community as a “bad mother” who lost her child due to negligent parenting and poor standards.

Reading the above story, do you agree that she should give up?   Should she fight?  Should she let go?  Should she watch years of her life and the legacy she has worked hard to create disappear?  What would you do if something you have created and nurtured was suddenly ripped from you?

Would we, as compassionate human beings ever mock her for fighting for her child?  Would ever condemn her for her daughter’s disappearance, saying that it was due to sub-standard qualities within her?  Would you tell her she deserved it?   I highly doubt anyone, seeing a woman fight for her child, would ever give her anything but sympathy and understanding.   After all, entire communities rally around and support parents when their children are stolen.  So the question becomes…

Why don’t we do this for marriage when an OW tries to take our husband for their own?

Why are people quick to condemn the wives for the their husband’s “disappearance”?  Why do we place the blame for the situation that occurred on something inherently faulty with the wife?  Why do we, as wives, get sucked into the emotional trap laid out by the OW to make us feel fragile, threatening us with him leaving again, or repeating the same behaviour (once a cheater always a cheater, take him back and you’ll regret it).

Why are wives told to “give up” and “let go” and “move on” and then made to feel ridiculed when they fight for the thing they have passionately cared for and nurtured:  their marriage.    A marriage, like the raising of a child is painstaking work that involves care, commitment, sacrifice, and mistakes.  No parent is perfect, and no marriage is perfect.  After years of devotion, sacrifice and time, why would anyone expect a mother to hand over her child?   Why do OW’s expect us to give up, let go, and move on and then mock us when we fight for what IS OURS, what we’ve worked for, what we’ve sacrificed for, what we created?   Is it different?

Doesn’t it seem sick and twisted that a woman, incapable of having a child of her own by conventional means should opt to create a situation whereby she could weasel herself into a family and walk out with one stolen?  Wouldn’t we call that criminal?  Why then, do we see OW’s walk into marriages, identify weak and vulnerable spots and coyly take advantage of them for their personal gain such that they steal a husband from his wife?   Is that not criminal also?   Instead it is labeled as “human nature”, or made the fault of a wife who wasn’t enough.

Obviously, the above story is designed to set up a parallel yet distinct story.  Parenthood and her desire for a child is paralleled with marriage and one’s desire for a marriage and partner.  The learning curve of parenting, the lack of a manual and the fact that we aren’t always the best, but do our best as parents, is paralleled with doing our best as a spouse when we are learning as we go.  As a woman who sacrifices everything for her child, so too does a woman for her marriage.  This story and its presentation was designed to present a scenario whereby a character gains empathy for being put into a devastating circumstance in order to see how an outside observer might react to  her situation.   Empathically or judgmentally?  With compassion or with hatred?

So why is it expected and understood that a woman would fight for her child, and not expect her to do the same for her marriage?

***This blog post is NOT making the kidnapped child analagous to the cheating husband.  No one’s husband was kidnapped, and this post isn’t intended to equate a betraying husband with someone captured against their will.   This was a choice HE made, sometimes with her help, sometimes without.  What this post IS designed to do, is to show the parallel between the reactions women have for salvaging what they love deeply***

What do you think?  Discuss.



  1. Susan Rubinsky says:

    I think this comparison is not analogous. Here’s why: Our husbands had a choice. They were NOT kidnapped. They chose to betray us. In addition, they are adults, not children.

    I know all about crazy OWs — I’ve had plenty of threats which finally got so bad the police arrested her for harassing me — but this just does not ring true for me. It’s not the OW’s fault. It’s the Husband’s fault. While the OW played a role, it is the Husband who chose to betray us. Husbands are not children nor were they kidnapped.

    • Susan, I think you are looking at this from the other angle/side. This isn’t meant to be analogous from the perspective of the husband’s betrayal. This has nothing to do with the WHY’s of their cheating. It has to do with the reactions WE get as betrayed wives when we are asked to hand over our husbands. It is meant to address the ongoing commentary by OW’s that we are crazy for fighting for our marriages, that we deserve to be betrayed for our own shortcomings, and that we are worth ridiculing for fighting for our husbands.

      My husband wasn’t kidnapped, but he was sought out and groomed for an affair. He made choices, and they were his alone, but he also didn’t act alone. I hold them both responsible. She knew he was married, and created circumstances to improve her chances. Was he kidnapped? No.

      I am not making the daughter analogous to a kidnap victim. I am making the work and sacrifice in marriage analagous to the work and sacrifice in parenting. I am making the woman who has lost her greatest and most cherished creation (her child) to one who has lost her most cherished relationship (marriage).

      It wasn’t meant to explain our husband’s adultery – I’ve done that already. This was an exercise in seeing with empathy why one fights as hard as they do, and how the OW’s mock us for doing so, when all we are doing is fighting to preserve what we have ‘built’.

    • Susan Rubinsky, I agree. A husband unfortunately chooses everyday to deceive and lie instead of being a honest person. He chooses other person instead of his entire family and humiliate them.

      Child -kidnapped, does not lie, is an innocent, brain not fully developed to be responsible
      Husband -see his family(free to go) and lie to them everyday (bad character, vile)

      I respect you very much, rescuingmymarriage, been reding your posts for awhile but too lazy to comment. I can’t even imagine how it is and wish you well and strength but I’ve never seen your hubby as a victim nor will I ever do.

      • Guys you are both looking at this from the opposite side and seeing it as an attempt to make analogous the kidnapped child and the husband. That wasn’t what I was doing here at all and wouldn’t think my husband a victim either.

        What I am doing is showing OUR perspectives as betrayed wives and the reason we fight for what we love and don’t simply roll over and let go. This isn’t about the men, it’s about the betrayed women being judged for fighting.

  2. I liked this parable very much. I might repost. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I positively understand your analogy and it is brilliant! I think what the commenters above (excluding Flaca, of course!) are missing is the psychological manipulation of the betrayer by the OW and vice versa and the “vulnerabilities” of the betrayer, as you used the 10 year old as an example–for instance, you could use as an example that the girl got pissed that she didn’t get her way with her mom who loves her so she storms off, runs away, puts herself in harms way physically and emotionally (thinking grass MUST be greener because “my mom doesn’t understand me/love me”–so here comes the kidnapper to make it all better. But it turns out, as it ALWAYS does, the new mom isn’t quite what was expected and the kidnapped wants to go home but she’s trapped and or threatened or manipulated or afraid her mom and siblings will hate her for “leaving” or all of the above– and when the betrayer or girl does make it home, SHE is so GLAD to be home and put this behind her. But of course, the kidnapper/OW, having lost her game or whatever void she is unsuccessfully filling AT THE EXPENSE OF THE INNOCENT, the ow/kidnapper sends lovely emails and taunts you on facebook and stalks you however she can. Does that make sense? I am wondering if that is what the other commenters are not understanding.
    I am linking it!

  4. I totally get the analogy between the marriage / relationship and the stolen child. I’ve read ALL of your posts and I know the OW made your life very difficult in so many ways. My experience with infidelity was very different. I didn’t have to fight for my marriage. My H effectively had a one night stand after months of having an online affair, and then ended it as soon as. As much as I hate this woman for her part in the affair (she knew he was married with kids too) she is irrelevant. The abductor in your story is clearly unhinged, flaky, damaged goods etc. Is it not best to view the OW the same? Really, do you care what this pond scum does or thinks about you? Your H never had any genuine intention of leaving you so what she thinks or does is of no importance. I know that this woman is in your life until the child is no longer a financial issue for you – I hate talking about a child like that, but it is what it is – but like I said, she is of no importance or relevance. She may have derided you for fighting for your marriage, but she is damaged, just like the woman in the story. She hates what you are – strong, committed and a fighter and because you’re ‘in the way!’. She is none of these things so she is projecting. Why else would she have settled for someone else’s left overs? No offence to your H! Maybe be these women deserve our pity rather than our anger?! Believe me when I say that that’s not an easy concept for me!

    • Yes, the OW in my story is insane, but I have moved on. She is a petty nuisance now with the occasional emails. This post wasn’t a reflection of my current feelings, as I am healed and moved on, but I wanted to share for the benefit of those who are still hurting that your fight makes sense, and that once you’ve worked hard for something, you aren’t so easily prepared to give it up. I had also hoped that any OW’s reading might actually feel some empathy for “Cara” and see how they themselves would feel the fight to keep what they have….so why do they mock us when we do it?

      • They mock because they want to undermine our importance. They know how far down in pecking order they are so they try to make themselves seem more important. The easiest way I suppose is to try to make the wife appear less important…just my theory.

  5. Oh Please, don’t ever give a predator/stalker your pity. How else do you think your H got sucked into her trappings ? These whores and sperm suckers are sub human and would never give you the same respect or empathy. They seek out vulnerabilities and weaknesses and exploit them.
    I am thinking that vs. the child being “kidnapped”… it is more of a situation where the child has been seduced into a cult. Grass is greener utopian world. peace Love and understanding , no worry just an escape from realities.

  6. Great analogy! As far as the OW that has hit my life, she is mearly a bandaid on an oozing wound! She is not his solution simply the problem!!! He needs to dig deep and face all of his demons (she being one of them from his past) before he can even think to be half the man we all thought he was capable of being!!! She has left behind her own child (which saddens me even more). No class and the least of my worries. Her true colors will shine through so I do not feel I need to help that along. The affair will grow cold as they both settle in and as I get stronger, when he crawls back (matter of time) I will then decide if WE can be once again! Peace and forgiveness is my practice 🙂 Take care all!!! xoxo

  7. My problem with your analogy is that if my child was kidnapped I would do ANYTHING to get them back. I would break the law, I would stalk and attack the kidnapper given the chance. I would feel that I was so morally correct in this situation that I wouldn’t care about the law. I would assume if caught breaking the law trying to get my daughter back everyone would only agree with me. It seems to me as if you are saying the betrayed wife can cross any line she wishes to get back what was taken from her. And even if you are not saying that aren’t you concerned that some mentally unstable betrayed wife will read this post and use it as justification to “cross the line”. It is just not the same thing. I would give up my life to save my daughter. I would not give up my life to save my marriage.

  8. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    Great post, RMM. I understand fully the point you were making, as well as what you were NOT saying or implying here.

  9. I think the reason people don’t rally around a betrayed spouse that fights for his/her marriage like they do the parent of a kidnapped child is the same reason that many in society too often blame them the betrayed spouses for their spouses infidelity. And that is because people are conflicted about what they think and feel about infidelity. I don’t think that conflict exists for them when a child is kidnapped. Most (but not all) will say infidelity is heinous, the absolute worst betrayal ever. But the agreement ends there. Some people think it should be forgiven while some say it’s a deal-breaker. Some can’t possibly support a friend who stays with their wayward spouse because they feel it violates their morals and principles while others feel will support their friend’s decision, whatever it may because that’s what friends do. Some think it should be declared a crime, that is until the betrayed spouse realizes that would make the wayward spouse in the marriage they’re fighting for a criminal. Some say “it depends on the situation”. The heartbreak of infidelity is the theme of countless works of literature, music, and more recently in human history, of cinema. Infidelity is probably as old as human history. While that is absolutely no consolation for the pain and devastation of infidelity, it may answer the question of why people don’t rally around betrayed spouses.

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