My Husband Left Me For His 22-Year-Old Mistress

The betrayal almost killed me.

woman looking upset with man standing behind her Dikushin Dmitry | Shutterstock

To my husband who left me for his 22-year-old mistress:

You're a bad person. You're toxic and selfish. But so am I. But the difference is that I know that about myself. You, however, live under the delusion that you're a good person. You pretend that what you do and have done is OK.

And your mistress is the same. She's no better than you. You deserve each other. Only two fools could live in the delusional utopia where you think that love is some guiding light.


But real love — the best love — is a love in which people are challenged, pushed to their limits, and forced to realize who they really are. At least I can say you did that for me.

You cannot say the same about me, because you didn't want such a challenge. You were happy to live complacent in a world where complacency gets people nowhere.

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You can keep deluding yourself into thinking that you won some sort of prize with her, but you didn't. You just found a little girl who's content to live in a swamp with you. A person too dumb to realize that there's an ocean out there. A child is too unrealistic to know that one needs to be a shark to live and thrive and flourish


Being in contact with you again was a bad idea. It was a reminder of the pain you caused; the incessant betrayal upon betrayal that you felt entitled to cause. You aren't entitled to hurt me or stifle me. I was forced to recall that you're not just an anchor in my ocean but a third leg that cripples me. Humans aren't built to run with three legs; it gets them nowhere.

I have lived my life void of necessity. I don't need someone to complete me. I don't need to be in love to be whole. But falling in love with you was a setback. I was confused and forgot myself and my convictions. I put faith in an illusion, in a man who was false in his intentions and not strong enough to stand on his own two feet.

You, on your own, have a third leg. That's why you're nowhere. You carry in that third leg the delusion that your mother instilled in you. In that third leg, you carry the weight of a broken man who lacks gumption and initiative.

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You have no backbone. You have no killer instinct. To be a killer in an ocean of sharks is OK, my love. But I guess no one ever told you that.

You can pretend your day has come, but it hasn't. Your heyday is long gone, my friend. No one wants to buy an album by an old man who sacrificed his talent for wasted love and a predilection toward fantasy and the abstract that doesn't exist in this realm.

As I said before (and have written about endlessly), being in love with you was refreshing and brand new. But what I realized in loving you is that living on a cloud is pretty for the moment, but it's not real life. Wanting to create something out of a dream is gorgeous but you can't float forever and, at some point, you need to learn to swim.

You need to come up for air. You need to breathe in reality. You need to suck it in wholly and that's what you allow to submerge you — the weight of being, of being alive and part of this world. I'd rather be part of this world and all its drama, horror, and complication than retreat into a cave that's safe and protected by the delusion of love.


Of all things: love? Are you a joke or what?

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But the purpose of this isn't to insult you. I loved you. I will always love you and I will never deny myself the truth of what I felt for you. Nor will I ever deny myself the truth of the damage you caused: the betrayal, the lies, the false hope, the rage which you induced with your behavior.

I'm no innocent bystander in the demise of our relationship, so I will never deny myself that truth, either. But at least I had the f****ing ovaries to never subdue myself or silence myself in the wake of it all. Again, that's the difference between you and me.


I have pulled out my hair, clawed at walls, and beat my head against anything within reach to fathom and comprehend the outcome of this story, but it gets me nowhere. I have ripped myself raw, exposed myself in a public forum, and bled all over pages and pages in order to make sense of it all, to surmise it without proof of purchase.

But I keep coming back to the same truth: I loved a man, but he failed me, and now I pick up the pieces, even the ones I can't find, and try to move on without regret or anger.

Do you know how hard that is? Probably not. You have no missing pieces because you don't bleed. You don't bleed in your love, you don't bleed in your art, you don't bleed with every breath you take. Because if you did, you'd be sprawled out on the street and offered up for the taking.

But you aren't. You haven't exposed a single vein in your life.


I don't believe in God. I don't believe in Heaven or Hell. If I did, I'd get down on my knees and pray you'll never know the burning of hell. I'd beg that you'd never know the pain of an inferno in which your skin will be peeled off your body by every flutter of the Devil's fiery wings, so you wouldn't have to know this pain, this pain I live with every day.

It feels like being skinned alive; like being robbed of purpose and place. But I have a purpose and a place; I'm sorry to tell you that, but it's true.

You're a sad old man. You're an old fool on a hill, as my dad says. But even from your hill, you can't see truth or reality. You're blind, my love. So blind. I hope someday you learn to see. I hope someday you learn to swim. Because, from what I've heard, drowning is the most painful of all deaths.


Love you, Amanda

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Amanda Chatel has been a sexual wellness and relationship journalist for over a decade. Her work has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Self, and other outlets.