The Other Woman’s Stand-In

Purple Flower

Photo – Courtesy of Casa Dresden

  • Then & Now Project: The journey from “I do” to “I don’t” to “what now” is complicated. This project shares snippets from my book – taken from my journal then. These posts reveal pieces of the journey in a “that was then, this is now” format with my posting days matching journal entry days. (Sort of a time-fusion.) I hope this project focus will offer food for thought in your own life – whether you do, don’t or might. XO


Journal, April 4, 1994“The weirdest thing happened today. Lea and I went shopping so I could pick up some things for the house. We wound up at the new home store. We were hungry, so we stopped in their deli … While I was standing at the counter waiting for my food, this gal caught my eye. I felt drawn to her and, for some strange reason, the idea came into my head that she was Shelly. I started discretely checking her out … She was pretty. Trim in an athletic sort of way, with clear, radiant skin. It was quite unnerving. As I sat down to eat with Lea, I confessed my “obsession.” When we got up to leave, this gal did also. She directed a question about the store to me, making conversation. She was very pleasant and sweet. I thought, if this is Shelly, does she know who I am? I hadn’t found any pictures of her when I went through Ray’s stuff, so I was at a disadvantage. Real crazy thinking. I knew it couldn’t be her but the thought stuck with me. Lea started teasing me as we wandered through the store, trying to lighten me up. It did get rather funny because wherever I went, there was this gal. Like a puppy that follows you home.

I think this gal, and the thought that took root, was a face-to-face orchestrated by my angels – an entertaining way to encourage me to see Shelly not as an enemy, but as a friend.”

2010:  The angels were just getting warmed up with this one. Obsessions came easy for me so planting this idea didn’t require much effort on their part. God knows, I’m sure they were tired of my whining pleas for help and decided on a little comic relief while they passed down my lesson for the day. And they couldn’t have had a better “partner in crime” than Lea. Laughter is her middle name!

I got it. (And still believe it today.) Shelly was not the enemy. What was happening in my marriage was between God and me, first. Ray and me, second. Shelly and me – not at all. What a relief not to have to lug around that kind of resentment – and fear of drawing in or stumbling over any other “other woman.”

I chose this snippet because it cannot be emphasized enough. (Whether you believe in angels or not.) When you ask for help …

  2. Don’t Limit the Answer’s Form and …
  3. Develop a Sense of Humor!
  • A Funny Thought: If I could go back to 1994, right now? I would say, “Bernadette, when it comes to your angels, you haven’t seen the half of it. The best is yet to come!”
  • About This Post: I’m attempting to merge the nine months recorded in Bernadette’s Pages with the present here – but still can’t figure out how to format it in a neat and tidy way. So, it’s probably going to be raw and choppy in places. I’ll throw in some quotes and bullets to guide you along. If I lose you somewhere, let me know. I’ll come back to get you.

The Messy Room and my Facebook Page are two ways that I share the “HOW” of it! Please join me and SPREAD THE WORD. You CAN get here from there!

Excerpts ©2006 from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad

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4 thoughts on “The Other Woman’s Stand-In

  • April 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    This excerpt I remember the most from the book because I was reading it right when I was experiencing the same feelings. It took me a LONG time between reading this and toying with the idea that I kept projecting my own fears onto this other person. “The other” was just being used to show us both something. What a huge struggle that was, so painful until I saw this. To this day I still feel twinges of jealousy but I remind myself that this person was just a vehicle for our growth. This stuff is not for the weak at heart, that’s for sure! Thank you for showing the world that we don’t have to jump in with our egos and start condemning and demonizing others, but can responsibly look at the lessons that these teachers are trying to impart to us.

    • October 7, 2010 at 8:43 am

      So, Laura … I’m wondering if you are out there? How much has changed in this area since I first posted this?

  • October 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

    How much has changed! I laugh… When I look back and how much focus I placed on the other person, how much energy I put into my jealousy and condemnation, I am shocked. I have grown so much! Through my 12 step work and spiritual practice I was able to focus on what was really the issue in my relationship and not so much on the person who served as a catalyst for our growth. I’m grateful to that “stand-in” for giving us the gift that spurred the opportunity for growth. Yeah, it still gives me the “heebie-jeebies” if I go back to the place in my mind at times. Who wants to be “cheated on”?! But I learned how to not cheat on myself by throwing daggers at someone else when the real lessons that needed my attention were the ones that had to do with me. So, I focused on how I allowed for this scenario to take place in my life and learned to love myself enough to know that it won’t happen again. And I have moved on with my life.

    • October 7, 2010 at 9:34 am

      Love this message … “But I learned how to not cheat on myself by throwing daggers at someone else when the real lessons that needed my attention were the ones that had to do with me.” … What a powerful light you cast on your “shadows” … and what hope … all in 6 months?! I’m so glad you shared that because we all need to see what is possible … and that it doesn’t have to take an eternity to find our freedom! BRAVO!

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