Infidelity and Confronting the Other Person: The Drama of Narcissism

Continuing our exploration of: “Should I confront the other person?”


1. What was your purpose for confronting the OP and what did you say/do?

To inject some reality into the fantasy that they were building. I met the other woman and asked her what her intentions were toward my husband. He had been pretending that they were “just friends” (no sex), but as their meetings had been going on for 5 years in secret and they couldn’t live a day without texting/emailing multiple times, this was super-fishy.

2. What happened? What was the outcome?

This creature’s first sentence was, “I don’t have feelings for your husband any more.” For someone who was married and had two little children, and was “just a friend” of my husband’s, that she admitted having “feelings” for my husband was a (small) surprise. That she wanted me to think, “well, I don’t want him any more, you can have him back now that I’m done with him” was certainly not a surprise. She had never allowed our families to meet, to let an actual wholesome friendship develop. It was all about, could she seduce one of her stable of a dozen married, drooling mid-life dupes into flattering her ego by leaving their wives. That I had been very ill and had suffered a bad car accident simply allowed her to show off in front of my husband in her lycra outfits at the gym on the excuse of “helping him be a better athlete.” She proceeded to tell me how their “relationship” was so “hot” that she had had to call it off, it was affecting her marriage and she’d had to go to marriage counseling with her husband, her children, etc. (Never a thought for how it might be affecting me, of course.) When I told my husband she’d said this he was very upset that she’d said SHE had to break up with him, he wanted me to believe HE’D broken up with her. He was nearly in tears that she’d said this. I had trouble not laughing. I told her my husband’s true financial position, and that whoever wound up with him would have his debts, and my alimony to pay, and he would need their help. She certainly didn’t like that, but didn’t believe me, and kept contacting him, even later that day, ostensibly to ask him “how (your wife) was doing.” As if she cared. Well, I was ok with my husband admitting that it had been an affair, and that he was very sorry he’d hurt me…Right up until she called him at work to tell him that everything she’d said to me, she hadn’t said. He saw an opportunity to make me wrong and switched his line to, “You made this all up to make me look bad, what kind of a wife are you? I can never forgive your deception.” Alice Through the Looking Glass. The poor OP was even jealous of a third woman in his life that he was also courting at work. I followed my attorney’s advice not to leave the house, and my husband saw and had to admit that I hadn’t made up his 5-year romance, or the other women, what with all the evidence and admissions, etc. So he promised me he would end it and sent me his “final” email to the hussy, saying a “friend would never do what she had done” blah, blah, blah, only to fall into her arms “accidentally” at her place of employment a month later. A month after that, he asked me to rededicate our marriage and promised not to see/communicate with her anymore, and I accepted him back. He then kept on seeing/emailing/texting/calling her until she finally gave up. Her attempt to use lying to drive a wedge between us didn’t work, but it certainly exposed the weak underbelly of my husband’s ego. His excuse? “She admires me more than you do!” I have to laugh. He hasn’t forged her signature on everything from tax documents to loans and caused her foreclosure, poverty, ill health and betrayal in many arenas of life. If he had, she would admire him exactly as much as I do, and he’d have to go find someone else to deceive to get his narcissistic fix all over again. Players deserve each other, but she got away. If he’d only find a rich one next time, I’d let her buy me out.
3. If you were to do it again, would you do it differently? What did you learn?
That I married a narcissistic, weak man. I paid the price for learning what all that was. I couldn’t do anything differently, as I was too ill to leave. I’m getting stronger now, and who knows what the future will bring? Your website certainly gave me strength and made me feel not so alone and not at fault. It still hurt a very great deal, but I know that, like many who have been betrayed, it’s the betrayer who is most at fault, who actually commits the act that is most cruel. Those of us who suffer these “slings and arrows” must learn to protect and value ourselves and to build a life that has no room in it for people who have criminal standards about keeping their vows and promises. We can take responsibility for our futures, and never put it in the hands of another. We can make it good for ourselves, no matter what they are doing, in some small way that’s just our own. Crazy people are pathetic. And liars are all crazy.

Coach’s Comments:

I may be wrong but, the majority of her story strikes me as a “I Don’t want to say no” affair.

He, the narcissistic male, needs more than an adequate share of adoration and someone to mirror back to him his grandiosity.

The spouse’s intervention in confronting the other person seemed to work well. The truth was exposed and the husband and wife could go from there.

However, here’s a warning. The spouse implies that that he had a series of problems or failures that he failed to mention or cover up. The narcissistic person becomes most vulnerable when s/he fails.

Interventions of confronting the other person may work at this point because of his vulnerability.

My experience tells me that confronting the cheating spouse in the “I Don’t want to Say No” affair where there is as good dose of narcissism AND the narcissistic person is not suffering humiliation or failure has a far less chance of succeeding. Extreme denial, disdain and rage may emerge from the cheating spouse.