By Jeanine DeHoney
Ciara knew she was bound to see the other woman her husband had cheated with two years ago at her best friend’s wedding.
Even though it was over and they had begun to rebuild trust and honesty and rekindle their love, she still couldn’t help but feel a hurtful twinge in her gut when she thought about crossing paths with her.
It can be uncomfortable running into the other woman your partner had an intimate or emotional affair with. You both may have the same circle of friends and it may be inevitable that at some occasion you meet her face to face.
So how do you handle those unsettling feelings about seeing her? Here are some ways how…
1. Talk to your partner beforehand about your feelings.
Don’t attack him or go back to reliving the past. Instead let him know how you’re feeling and ask for reassurance. Even make up a code word or hand signal that you can give him if you’re really uncomfortable and are ready to leave the event or just need a little more TLC.
2. Don’t be caught off guard.
Just like you wouldn’t give a speech or go to an important meeting without at least reviewing your notes, prepare yourself to see the other woman face to face. Make sure you’re feeling good emotionally, physically and spiritually. Pray or meditate beforehand. Put on your best outfit so you can “slay” and walk in the venue holding your head up high as the regal person you are.
3. Write a letter to her.
Say all the things you want to say to her no matter how raw and then tear it up. Next, replace thoughts of her with thoughts of those who love you, adore you. Your husband, your sweet toddler, your best friends, your parents. Let that love encircle you and form a loving and shielding hedge around you in her presence.
4. Give yourself a pep talk.
Remind yourself that this person is a nonfactor in your life and in your relationship now. Remind yourself of all the changes your partner has made to prove his love and faithfulness. And because an affair can leave a dent in your self-esteem, remind yourself that you are beautiful, creative, smart and most of all worthy of a good man and pure unadulterated loving even if you left your partner.
5. Take a deep breath.
When we are anxious are breaths are shallow and rapid. Being mindful of our breathing can help us destress and anchor us with a sense of calmness. So breathe in deeply through your nose and into your belly, hold for a moment and then exhale slowly through your nose. And begin to integrate this into your healthy living lifestyle.
6. Smile because it encourages your shimmer to shine from the inside out.
Don’t let the other woman from the past think she can still get a rise out of you. Don’t lose your temper. Carry yourself with class and grace. You are the one your partner comes home to every night now. You are the one he kisses passionately and with a renewed promise of fidelity.
7. Release the anger towards her.
It’s easy to shift all blame on her for what happened in your marriage or relationship. But the reality is that although she should have respected your relationship, your partner should have honored your vows or commitment. Release the anger and even send a prayer up for her that she can move on and go forward with her life and learn the true meaning of sisterhood.
8. Embrace the new you, the you who is still a magnificent work in progress.
No longer allow the other woman from your past or your partner in your future to have that much control over your emotional tapestry. Neither define the sum total of who you are. Embrace that you, even if you don’t always feel that way. Live victoriously and not as a victim so that you’ll leave your divine aura in whoever’s presence.
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About the Writer:
Jeanine DeHoney is a freelance writer who has had her writing published in Essence, Divine Caroline, Upscale, Black Secrets, Black Romance, Timbuktu, Mused-Bella Online, Mothering.com, and several other magazines. She is an essayist in “Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul” and has contributed essays to many blogs including, Wow: Woman on Writing- The Muffin’s Friday Speak-out, The Mom Egg, My Brown Baby, Good Enough Mother, Blackandmarriedwithkids.com, True Stories Well Told, Reunion Magazine, Mutha Magazine, Metro Fiction and ScaryMommy.com. She was also the 2014 Winner of the Brooklyn Art and Film Festivals Brooklyn Nonfiction Contest.