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The Pain of Infidelity

In our current society, infidelity is not uncommon. According to the news, infidelity is the top reason for divorce in China. Regardless of clients, friends and family, those whom I know and are involved in a love triangle are mostly women – either the wife or the mistress. Men are usually the ones stuck in the tug of wars between these two women.

When a wife discovers a third party in her marriage, it is a sudden, hard-to-believe realisation that can put her at a loss. If she has trusted family members and friends, they can be an outlet for her to vent her unhappiness and frustrations. At the same time, she may hope that these trusted supporters can help her strategize ways to get rid of the mistress and get her husband back.

Numerous Painful Questions raised by a Hurt Wife

While every infidelity case differs, most of the affected wives will experience similar feelings and emotions. They feel heartbroken, grief, anger, betrayed and pain. They will also experience hatred towards their husbands but tend to be more resentful towards the mistress. A multitude of questions will also surface in their minds: “Why me? Why did my husband changed? How did this
woman steal my husband? What have I done wrong? What can I do now to save this marriage? What will happen if I lose my husband? What will happen to our lives? What will happen to our children if my husband leaves us? What are we going to do about the children’s future educational needs? How can I
live on as a divorcee? Am I able to find a partner in the future? How can I face my relatives, friends, colleagues and boss? Is it possible to just leave (the marriage) and start anew? Why don’t I have the courage to face this?”

Although the affected wife’s close confidantes may stand by her side, care for her, share the feeling of injustice, and as acts of support, suggest various solutions for the situation, but do they truly know her pain and needs? Perhaps, at this point, engaging with a professional counsellor to assist and support the affected wife in managing her complex emotions will be more effective. The
counsellor can also help her understand what she really needs and support her as she overcomes each hurdle during such a difficult time. A marriage counsellor can work with the affected wife on reconciliation and saving the marriage; alternatively, engaging with a psychological counsellor ensures that she is supported emotionally as she undergoes through this difficult period.

A Third-Party’s Helplessness

While the wife in a love triangle undoubtedly suffers pain, the mistress may not necessarily have the best time of her life either. Admittedly, I have fewer contact with mistresses amongst groups of friends because it is rare that they talk about their situations or make known their status to others.

From my observations, the mistresses (a client or friend) whom I have met, do not feel good about their situation either, especially for those who got into such relationships unknowingly (their lovers deliberately hid their marital status). Although they are the favoured ones, these women cannot openly and
legitimately be with their lovers. They are constantly apprehensive as they do not know how long their relationship will last. Neither do these women know how to face the difficult situation when their lovers’ wives find and seek them out. Their parents also disapprove of their relationships. Many of these women struggle to end such relationships but fail, resulting in feeling useless. Their negative emotions are usually heightened during the festivities as their lovers have to spend time with their own families, thus causing them to feel alone and despondent; as a result, this can lead to arguments with their lovers.

Although some mistresses eventually marry their lovers after the men’s divorce, they remain living in constant guilt as they feel responsible for breaking up a family. There are also cases where such relationships are fruitless even though the lovers get divorced, which makes the mistresses’plight even more poignant.

The mistresses tend to feel helpless as it is difficult for them to explain their predicaments to their families and friends. Perhaps these women should seek a counsellor to cope with their complex emotions, and more importantly, examine how they should move on with regards to relationships and life. In times of emotional turmoil, a counsellor can help them cope by bringing clarity to their thoughts and the struggles they face.

Maintaining a love relationship between two individuals is challenging; having three persons involved will only add more complexity!

Dealing with a Love Triangle Situation

1. Find a trusted family member or friend to confide in
2. Face and manage your complex emotions
3. Take a step back and assess where you are in life
4. Understand what must be done and what you truly need
5. If necessary, seek professional help

The Companions
Edwina Cheung