One of the hardest things for a relationship to endure is infidelity – and it’s hard to know exactly how a person will react to a revelation of cheating. One woman’s reaction was truly surprising, as she penned a thank you letter to the woman with whom her husband was having an affair.
Melanie, the woman who wrote this letter, had been married to her husband for eleven years – and had no reason to think that he might be being unfaithful. The two of them had been committed to each other for years, and had even started a family together.
With two children and a perfectly normal life, Melanie never had any reason to believe things weren’t going well between them. Unfortunately, she was about to have her world turned upside-down.
One day, while talking to her husband, Melanie noticed a mark on him that gave her pause. Upon being asked about it, her husband suddenly became very flustered and shifty, and Melanie started to think that something was going on.
Pressing him further, she managed to get the truth out of him – the mark had been made by a woman he had been having an affair with. Melanie was devastated. Eleven years of marriage crumbled as she instantly lost any trust she had in the man in front of her.
Melanie could not believe what she was hearing. She had never even suspected her husband of infidelity, and was now being told that he had been having an affair for a while. Furious and hurt, she needed a way to express her frustration, and turned to her computer.
Melanie decided to write a letter to the woman her husband had cheated on her with. While this might seem like a particularly strange way to react to such news, it was far from a regular letter.
To anyone who started reading the letter that Melanie posted online for her husband’s mistress to see, it would appear extremely odd – because Melanie was thanking her!
Melanie offered the woman – named Jennifer – her thanks for the part she had played in the affair and in helping her to find out, because it had saved her time and trouble. It was clear at this point that Melanie was not offering a straightforward “thank you” to Jennifer – but rather a sarcastic tirade at she and her husband.
Melanie thanked Jennifer, albeit somewhat sarcastically, for saving her the time and trouble of finding out about the affair in a more protracted and painful way. In return, she wanted to offer Jennifer her husband – as she most certainly did not want him anymore.
However, although Melanie was offering Jennifer her husband, her intentions were far from kind – and Melanie made it clear that he was going to come with some serious downsides that might dampen Jennifer’s desire to be with him.
Pay the piper
One of the first and most major downsides Jennifer would encounter in a relationship with Melanie’s husband was that she was going to have to offer him considerable monetary support.
After all, Melanie’s husband was going to have to pay a substantial amount in child support so that their kids could be properly provided for. In addition, he was going to have to pay alimony in order to support Melanie, who had agreed not to go to work in order to raise the kids.
The emperor’s new clothes
As well as helping to keep him afloat financially, if she chose to stay with him, Jennifer was going to find that she needed to help Melanie’s husband buy a new wardrobe. Upon being informed of his infidelity, Melanie did what we see over and over again in movies, and threw out most of her husband’s clothing.
As such, it was up to Jennifer to help buy him an entirely new set of clothes. Jennifer would already be finding Melanie’s husband a little more than she bargained for.
If she chose to stay with Melanie’s husband, something else that Jennifer would discover was that she was going to have to share him. After all, Melanie and her husband had two children together, and they were going to have to have contact with their father.
As such, Jennifer would have to watch him periodically take care of the family that he had forsaken in having an affair. This would make things somewhat fraught for their relationship – but was an unavoidable consequence of the affair they had embarked upon.
By now, Melanie had already outlined some pretty major problems that Jennifer would find herself faced with if she decided to continue her relationship with Melanie’s husband. However, Melanie was far from finished.
She went on to make it clear that she had a very low opinion of Jennifer herself – which was hardly surprising given that Jennifer was half the reason her marriage fell apart. Melanie didn’t think that any person willing to cheat on their own partner or help someone cheat on theirs would be particularly good at heart.
Unfortunately for Jennifer, Melanie’s low opinion of her was only going to make things more difficult. For instance, if Jennifer were to stay with Melanie’s husband, they might want to start a family, and Jennifer may have to become a presence in the life of Melanie’s children.
However, Melanie’s disdain for Jennifer meant that she was going to have her barred from any contact with her children, and was going to have her husband’s visits supervised to make sure this was stuck to.
This part of Melanie’s letter illustrates one of the most complicated aspects of the affair. If one of the people in the affair already has a family, and the affair results in the parents breaking up, then the parent that does not get custody still has to be a part of their kids’ lives.
Even if you break up because of an affair, you can’t simply cut and run on the situation you’ve left behind – the ties you formed still remain, and tend to prove persistent.
No return policy
Sometimes, when a relationship breaks down because of an affair, the couple will try and make up and move past the issue. It was clear that Melanie had no intention of doing this. She declared that she had no interest in having her husband back, and it was pretty clear that she meant it.
Melanie was adamant about the fact that her husband had betrayed her trust and destroyed the family they had worked so hard to build – and for that there would be no forgiveness, and no reconciliation.
When a person has been cheated on, it can create pernicious feelings of inadequacy, as they start to worry whether they weren’t good enough for their partner, and specifically, whether they aren’t as good as the other party in the affair. Melanie, however, had no such worries.
She made it clear in her letter to Jennifer that she did not think that she would be as good a partner as Melanie was – lacking the experience and bond that Melanie and her husband had shared.
No love lost
Sometimes, affairs are the result of two people falling in love, despite already being in a relationship. As such, despite the difficulty of the affair, it can go on to become a fulfilling relationship.
Some affairs, however, are just meaningless flings – and it is this that Melanie claimed Jennifer’s affair with her husband was. In a particularly sharp jab, Melanie revealed to Jennifer that her husband had claimed the affair was devoid of any real meaning – and that he did not truly care for Jennifer.
The blame game
While most of the letter did not contain any genuine advice for Jennifer, there was one part in which Melanie seemed to offer her a very important tip. She claimed that Melanie’s husband would be quick to blame Jennifer for the affair and its disastrous reveal – despite the fact that an affair obviously requires two people.
However, Melanie made it clear that her husband would refuse to accept any responsibility, and would only continue to insist that everything was Jennifer’s fault.
For most of the letter, Melanie had kept her anger confined to the biting, sarcastic advice that she had been offering to Jennifer. However, in one part of the letter, Melanie made it clear that she was very unlikely to let the incident pass by without more of a ruckus than the one she had already made.
Melanie claimed that she would do whatever was within her power to make sure that her husband and Jennifer were not able to enjoy a peaceful and successful relationship.
Changing his spots
Melanie was willing to offer Jennifer one more piece of advice – on a matter that she had just recently come to have a lot of experience in. Melanie insisted that, even if her husband and Jennifer were to embark on a proper relationship, he would probably end up cheating on her as well.
After all, sharing eleven years of marriage and raising two children together had not been enough to stop him from cheating on Melanie – so why should Jennifer be any different?
One of the things that clearly upset Melanie the most was the fact that her husband had cheated on her despite the life they had shared. For eleven years they had been one another’s best friends – and had even gone through the tremendous journey of giving birth to and raising two children.
Yet, despite all that, Melanie’s husband had not found it fulfilling enough or precious enough to avoid cheating – which was the thing that Melanie found the most painful of all.
Melanie reached the end of her letter, and was back at where she started. She had outlined all the ways in which her husband was more of a dud than a grand prize, and had made it clear to Jennifer that any relationship they tried to pursue would probably be plagued by the same problems – and the same ending – that Melanie and her husband had been through.
Nonetheless, she reiterated the sentiment she had begun the letter with – that Jennifer was welcome to have Melanie’s soon-to-be-ex husband all to herself.
While it’s often hard to figure out exactly what went wrong in a relationship that breaks down, and it’s often unhelpful to doggedly pursue a place to lay blame, it was clear that Melanie’s husband had made a pretty big mistake.
In embarking on an affair with Jennifer, he had irreparably damaged the relationship and trust that he and his wife shared – and ended their marriage in one fell swoop. In addition, he had made their family life much harder. Not a great day at the office.
A big decision
As you might have surmised from this story, it’s always a pretty big decision to cheat on someone. A relationship is supposed to be based on a trust that both partners share – so deciding to do something that so fundamentally undermines that trust is a fairly extreme choice to make.
As such, people who cheat have a tendency to worry over their actions constantly – as they pinball between doing something that seems to be making them happy, but also runs the risk of severely undermining their happiness.
Pros and cons
As strange as it seems, the question in front of a person thinking about cheating on their partner is whether or not it’s going to be worth it. A lot of people cheat because the person that they’re having an affair with makes them happy, and they don’t want to let go of that happiness.
It’s this that Melanie’s husband has to ask himself about his affair with Jennifer – was it worth it? It ended his marriage, but perhaps his relationship with Jennifer will offer a lasting happiness.
One of the biggest drawbacks of any affair is the sheer amount of hurt that it can do to the people around those having the affair. In the case of Melanie’s husband, the fallout of his actions was pretty severe.
Not only did he end a marriage of eleven years, he also tore apart his family, and jeopardized his relationship with his children. An affair can be devastating for the person or people being cheated on, and also for those caught up in the aftermath.
Despite the risks that come with pursuing an affair, a lot of people decide to go ahead with it anyway – and the reasons that lead people to have affairs are numerous. A lot of people cheat because their own relationship has lost its spark, either becoming dull or unromantic.
People may feel unappreciated or constrained by their partners, leading them to seek fulfilment with others – or someone might realize that they simply no longer love the person they’re with. There are any number of reasons a person may cheat.
Making up is hard to do
When it’s discovered that one of the partners in a relationship has been having an affair, it immediately puts the relationship in very serious jeopardy.
The partner who has been cheating has to decide if that relationship is what they really want, while the person who’s been cheated on has to decide whether or not they feel they can trust their partner again. Every couple works with such a situation in their own way – which means that while some couples repair their relationship and move forward, others call it quits.
One of the most common reasons people give for pursuing an affair is that their relationship has gone stale. This could be because they’ve gone years without a change in their routine, or because the couple no longer takes the time to keep their relationship lively.
These people seek companionship with other people because their current relationship no longer keeps their heart racing. This sense of stagnancy can make people extremely restless, and accounts for a lot of the infidelity that couples experience.
The best policy
No matter what reason a person may have for cheating, the moment they do, the best thing is to be honest with their partner about what happened. One of the main reasons for this is that, the longer an affair goes on, the worse it’s going to be when the truth comes out.
In addition, if a person suspects their partner is cheating, and their partner lies to them about this, it can make that person feel incredibly insecure and confused. Honesty is the best policy, even when it’s painful.
Fixing the break
If a person does cheat on their partner, then it very often spells the end of that relationship – whether immediately or not. However, there are couples who decide to stay together after the revelation of infidelity, and try to move forward.
These couples see that an affair signals major problems for a relationship, and use it as an opportunity to try and identify and rectify these problems. As such, these couples see such a difficult occurrence as the chance to make a relationship stronger.
Ultimately, regardless of whether or not a couple has experienced infidelity, and regardless of the response, relationships are a profoundly complicated thing. Whenever two people invest themselves in another person’s happiness, emotions become intense and fraught, and any number of things can end up happening.
No matter how a relationship is progressing, the most important thing is for couples to remain honest and communicative with each other. As such, whatever problems arise in the relationship, they can be properly handled by the couple, working together to protect their bond.
Not thinking long-term
Although it’s really hard to blame Melanie for lashing out at her husband’s mistress – especially if we’ve never been in her shoes – it’s sometimes better to let cooler heads prevail. In the long-term, she’s still going to have to live with her husband playing a role in their children’s lives. Bearing that in mind, this public shaming might end up doing more harm than good. Not excusing his actions in any way whatsoever, but if someone in her kids’ school makes fun of them because they read their mom’s post, she might be having second thoughts…
A glimpse into the life
Regardless of the implications Melanie’s post might have at a later date, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the fact that it even exists. Neither Melanie nor her husband are celebrities. They’re completely ordinary, average people who became famous through the very peculiar power of social media. Up until several years ago, we never would have heard Melanie’s story if we didn’t know her personally. Today, we can not only hear about her story – and countless other people’s – but also comment, critique, and connect with them. Jury’s still out on whether that’s a good thing, though…
Speaking of the jury, many people took the chance to comment on Melanie’s open letter to Jennifer. Most, as perhaps was to be expected, were highly supportive of her in reclaiming her dignity following her husband’s disgusting act. Many still saw it was empowering – she was taking, or retaking, control over her life and that of her family.
Others, however, took a differing opinion. One commenter picked up on Melanie saying she punched her husband in anger, and reprimanded her for resorting to violence. Another, though, made a much larger point about how the seemingly cathartic letter might end up leading to very bad things.
Seeds of her own downfall
Interestingly, it was a woman who commented on Melanie’s story to say that writing the letter was, if nothing else, a tactical mistake on her part. Thinking ahead to the divorce proceedings to come, she said Melanie admitted to several things in her letter that most judges would not approve of – likely referring at least to punching him.
Another commenter chimed in to say that “wasting her time bothering” her husband isn’t going to help her build a new and better existence for her kids. Harassing him, she added, would only poison her kids’ minds and eventually turn them against her.
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An inspiration to some
Aside from a few comments on the Facebook post commenting their distain for Melissa’s rage being posted on a public forum, many women noted that they wish they had the guts to follow suit. Most women dealing with infidelity typically withhold their emotions.
Such a public display of anger and hurt lead women in similar situations to express how they empathize with Melissa and envy her bravery for speaking up. It is through platforms such as Facebook that these women are able to support one another through these troubling times.
A futile letter?
However, the question must be asked: how productive is a letter like this? Aside from possibly making Jessica feel guilty for her actions and spurning her infidel husband, what exactly did Melissa achieve?
Of course, the letter was fueled by hurt and anger, with possibly little motive involved, yet, it is possible to examine the letter from a more productive point of view. It is difficult to determine whether, in the grand scheme of a relationship, a hate letter to a husband’s mistress would actually achieve anything productive.
Public rage isn’t the answer, according to experts
Of course, there is no ‘correct method’ when it comes to sensitive problems like infidelity. However, Irina Firstein, a New York City based marriage/ couples therapist comments that seeking vengeance, like Melissa, will only result in temporary satisfaction. She adds that it will not lead towards any resolution and will only create further problems.
These sentiments are shared by Dr Jane Greer, a relationship expert and author based in NY, who says that public displays of anger, such as Melissa’s, will only perpetuate her state of negativity and prevent her from progressing forward.
What should be the response?
Often when people are in unfaithful relationships, they pull the victim card and wallow in self-pity. Dr Greer comments that this should not be the response, as this will just lead to a feeling of helplessness and rejection. It will also cause the person to develop a lower self esteem and will not encourage any productive actions.
Instead, Dr Greer claims that people should do some introspection, discover what needs to change and take action – whether that requires breaking up or not, the main concern is ensuring to be active and productive.
Moving forward after heartbreak is never easy, however there are techniques that one could employ to make it less difficult. Exercise, meditation, healthy eating, journaling and listening to music are all simple methods that have been proven to create healthier mindsets and encourage overall productivity.
Instead of wallowing in misery, eating bucketloads of ice cream and seeking support from strangers on the internet, look for professional counseling, take long walks and utilize the time to think about a strategic next move.