You are a wife and mother of two. Your husband is a manager/part owner of a group of stores that are owned by your in-laws. You have a job doing some office work for their company. Just a little accounting and whatnot, then you can spend the rest of your time with your children. They don’t need daycare because you can be home when needed and when you’re not home, you are at your in-laws house because that is your office. Of course, you can bring your children to work when needed. They have a place to play and grandparents that are more than happy to see them.
Because of your husband’s family, your life is secure. He acts up a bit but that’s okay, nobody’s perfect. He does drugs and yells and calls you names and sometimes doesn’t come home at night but compared to your childhood, it’s way better. You’ve got a family together. You’ve got money. You’ve got a nice house, lots of property, a pool, an RV. You’ve got things. You’ve got security.
One afternoon, your hubby comes home to announce that he’s had sex with the female manager that he’s been working with for almost as long as he’s been working for his parents. Of course it’s devastating but there’s no choice to be had here. You’re his wife, you have kids and a home together. You will stay.
The other woman visits you and apologizes. You’re furious at her but there’s nothing you can do. You accept her apology but you show her that you are not happy with her. But, you have to continue on. You’re not going anywhere, he’s not going anywhere and she’s not going anywhere so you have to suck it up and move on. You’re on her baseball team. You decide to stay on the team. You decide to stay friendly.
You hear that she is no longer living with her husband. That makes it a little easier to live with. At least she is suffering. You text her from time to time to tell her you hope she has a wonderful day.
Her husband reaches out to you with a message over Facebook. He wishes you well and offers to answer any questions you have. You read this and you wonder. A day later you respond. You tell him that you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster but you’ve chosen to work through it with your spouse. You need to do what’s right for you and you believe the good outweighs the bad. You wish the other husband well in return. You even offer to watch his kids if he and his wife need time to talk. He says, “thanks” and that’s the end of your textual conversations with him.
Your husband has mostly stopped working but the other woman is there to help pick up the slack. One night, he sends you and the kids away from the house because he’s going to kill himself. He needs help, more than you can provide. You call the police and they take him away. He comes home the next day but he’s in a bad way. He needs to take time away from work and get his head together. He takes an official leave of absence.
Eventually, he starts going to work again but you agree with his parents and the other woman that he needs to stay away. He’s not helping at the job and everyone’s angry. And he’s certainly not better yet. So, he stays at home for a while, keeping himself busy. He still disappears for periods of time and doesn’t come home until the next day. He never tells you what he does when he’s gone but that’s life with your husband. It’s been that way for many years.
Eventually, your husband starts going back to work but he’s not allowed to help in the stores anymore. The other woman needs help though. You agree to let her train you. The other woman is back with her husband, trying to work things out. That’s good. Still, you have to work for her. What else can you do? You keep being as friendly as possible. You smile, you listen, you do as you’re told, you send her friendly texts.
When your in-laws are on vacation, both you and your husband are ordered around by the other woman. You’re doing your job though. Your husband does his job too, you suppose, but boy is he ever slow to respond and sometimes he just completely forgets to do what he said he was going to do.
The in-laws come back from vacation and an announcement is made: the other woman is leaving her job in two weeks. It’s up to you to take over. You follow her around all day, seeing what she does. It is overwhelming. She basically runs the entire company. This is the job your husband was supposed to be doing but he can’t. He’s got personal issues. It’s all up to you but you’ve never done anything like this before.
Your husband is needed one morning to do some labour at work. They’re calling you because he never answers his phone in the morning. You try to wake him but he won’t get out of bed. In a panic, you call his dad. His dad helps with the labour but something’s terribly wrong. He’s rushed to the hospital.
The next day, you are working with the other woman when your husband stops by. You and the other woman both ask him why he didn’t do the labour yesterday. He says he doesn’t know what you are talking about but you know he knows. You were there.
Your father-in-law is in the hospital. He’s going to be away for at least 3 months. Your husband is no help. The other woman has been keeping the business afloat and now it’s all up to you. She’s going to be gone in a week. You see her tell her friends at work that she will miss them. Does she look sad?
At home, you and your husband decide you will both send her messages of appreciation and tell her it’s not too late to stay. All she has to do is talk to your mother-in-law. You’re so sorry that you all took advantage of her. You didn’t realize just how much she did to keep the business running. You tell her this. Here you are, begging the other woman to stay in your life, to work with you and your husband and keep the business alive.
You were wrong. She wasn’t sad about leaving. She is certain. She was only sad about her friends at work. You tell her you’re so happy that she has friends because you don’t have any of your own. It’s just you and this job now. Your own in-laws have told you that you can do better than their son. How did it get to be like this?
Your husband calls you about a work issue. You explain. What you say is not good enough. He yells at you over the phone. The other woman hears it. She’s heard it before, she’s even seen him mock you and call you names at your house. This time, she tells you that you don’t deserve that. That he has no right to mad at you. That you are doing all the work and he never pulls through. You are doing great. Maybe the other woman is right. Maybe you don’t quite believe it yet but you agree with her.
The other woman has a few days left at work. She tells you, “Tell your husband that I’m not responding to his texts.” What has he done this time?
The other woman finishes her last day at work. Everyone gives her a hug as she leaves. Even you do. So does your husband.
Now she’s gone. It’s all you now. You are the glue to keep this business and this family together.
Can you do it?
You don’t know this but the other woman’s husband thinks about you. He thinks you’re a good person who doesn’t deserve to be treated the way you are being treated. He thinks of your message, “the good outweighs the bad,” a lot. He wonders if you believe that anymore. He hopes you can find someone who will support you in life and treat you well.