There's no question that learning about your husband's affair brings forth many painful and urgent questions that you want answered. You might wonder why and how this happened. You might wonder how he was able to pull this off for as long as he did. But, probably one of the things that is in the front of your mind is "the other woman" and how your husband really felt about her as the affair was happening. In fact, many of us become so fixated on this woman that we can think of little else. Although this is quite understandable (as unfortunately we often know very little about her hold on our husband) it's unfortunate because it gives her a bit more control over and presence in our lives than she deserves.
Still, you deserve to have answers to this concern, but it's unlikely that you're going to completely receive this by your husband. The reason for this is not always that your husband isn't trying to be or can't be truthful (although sometimes this is the case.) Sometimes, the husband is unable to articulate his often changing, foolish and embarrassing feelings. Other times, he is trying to protect you, and sometimes, all of these issues are happening at one time.
In the following article, I will attempt to offer some insights into what many husbands feel about the mistress as the affair is happening. I am basing these insights on my research and on my interactions and conversations with many of the men who happen upon my blog.
A Man's Feelings About The Mistress Depends On The Man's Circumstances And Very Often Changes Over Time (Usually When He Revisits Reality): It would be unfair to generalize men's feelings about the "other woman." Honestly, the feelings often vary as much as the people involved vary. Some men man initially think that they have loving feelings toward the mistress. Others may just find her exciting or desirable because she seemingly comes with no real strings attached. Others see her as nothing more than an outlet and they are able to separate their love for their wives with their dealings with her. It's also quite likely that part of her attraction is that she doesn't ask as much of him and she doesn't see his flaws and mistakes in the same way that you have. She's not cleaning up after him or seeing him let her down (although she likely would if the relationship progressed.)
When he's with her, he can often feel strong, confident, and attractive. And, even if these feelings are a mirage based on a lie, at least a little while, this may be preferable to him than feeling old, vulnerable, and scared. Very often, a man who starts up an affair is a man who is dealing with some issue in his life that is troubling him. This may be aging. It may be worries about or stress with his job. It may be his life feeling stagnant. It may be him feeling unappreciated or misunderstood (even if these feelings aren't exactly accurate.) Whatever the reason he's feeling in a negative way, he often sees her (especially at first) as something that are going to make his issues better.
Now, this will generally change and evolve over time. Very often, the positive and "new" feelings that surround the mistress eventually begin to lose some of their sparkle. She'll often begin to demand more and begin to slip a little with her "no strings attached" stance. The husband will usually also at some point realize how illogical his thinking has been and may begin to feel some regret. But typically once this happens, the damage has been done and there is no way to take the relationship back. Some husbands feel positive feelings toward both the mistress and the wife, but over time many husbands come to the realization that the mistress doesn't support and understand them in the way that the wife always has. Of course, once the damage has been done, many wives have a hard time believing his assertions that he still loves her.
Beginning To Move Away From The Hold That The Mistress Has On You: I completely understand your need to know exactly how your husband felt about the mistress. But, it's possible that he might never be able to articulate what was true. He often doesn't understand it himself and he often knows that you're taking whatever he says with a grain of salt because the trust has been eroded. At some point, you will usually come to realize that focusing on yourself, your marriage (if you chose to do that,) and your own healing will often begin to release some of the hold that she has over you.
At the end of the day, your marriage will either end or it will be between you and your husband only. Eventually, there is only room for two and the issues and people in that marriage become much more important than someone who only temporarily tried to derail it. At the heart of things, she was someone who was there and available at in inopportune time. It doesn't mean that she has some qualities that you don't have or that she has some magical powers. It means that she sought something inappropriate with someone else's husband. Don't let her continue to hurt you when you have control over how much thought and importance you give her.
I know it hurts to think that he felt something for someone else. But often these "feelings" are the result of his own shortcomings and perceived inadequacies. It's natural to focus on this, but it's much more important, and healing, to let her go and to focus on you, your healing, and what is really important to your own life, not hers.
I know that even contemplating your husband's "other woman" is painful and difficult, but make sure that you don't give her more power than she deserves. And, healing is often closer than you may think. It took a lot of work and patience, but today my marriage is actually stronger than it ever was before. I also did a lot of work on myself and am happier as the result. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and my self esteem is at an all time high. I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/