I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my life, some were easy, and some were hard. One of the most difficult things I had to learn came from an unexpected and unusual source: the woman who tried to take my husband. And I’d like to tell her what exactly it is that I learned from her.

First of all, this isn’t about revenge, and there’s no reason for you to worry; I’m not going to call you out. You know who you are, and trust me, your identity, your name, means nothing to me or the point I’m trying to make. The only thing that matters is your existence in my husband’s life, and in mine.

I’m not mad at you, I don’t even hate you. I have no intentions of trying to ruin your life. Had I known you prior to this, I could have warned you. But the truth is, I don’t even know you, I’ve never met you, nor heard your voice. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in love, been married, or divorced. My guess would be no, for the simple fact that if you had, you’d have known better.

What I want you to know is that because of you, I got my sight back. The sight that after being together for so many years, I’d lost. The sight that showed me who the man I fell in love with was. The sight that showed me the funny side of him, the charming, charismatic side. The man that I had forgotten, until I looked at him through your eyes.

Because of you and your interest in my husband, I was able to recall the boy that he used to be, and every single year that passed, as he became the man I no longer knew. Because of you, I realized I remembered everything, every tiny detail about the boy he was, and absolutely nothing about the man he’d become. Because of you, I realized that I wanted to, that I wanted to know everything you knew about him and more.

Because of you, I realized the girl he’d fallen in love with, the girl he’d known, had become a woman he no longer knew. Because of you, I wanted him to know her, wanted him to fall in love with her, too. Because of you, I realized the image I’d held in my head for so long of my “perfect” life was all a lie I’d told myself for far too long. Because of you, I was forced to face reality.

Because of you, my life was forever changed. Not because you thought you were enough to take a man from his family, from his wife, his past, and his home; but because you made me realize I didn’t want him to go. There’s one thing a woman like you doesn’t understand, and I hope this taught you: love isn’t about how pretty you are, how sexy, young or exciting you are—it’s about much more than that. Before you came along, I’d stopped trying, stopped giving the effort. But because you did, I won’t ever make that mistake again. That’s all because of you.

But the love that created this marriage—that’s kept it together for 20 years—is not because of you. The life we’ve built, the life we’ve shared, and the family we’ve made, is not because of you.

You see, it’s because of you that I am where I am, that I’m a happily married woman again. I imagine you did what you did expecting a much different outcome, and I’m absolutely certain you weren’t expecting a thank you.

But that’s what you’re getting. I thank you for making me understand how very much I love my husband. And for making me come to the conclusion that he deserves so much more than a woman who thinks someone else’s husband is husband material for her.

Neither my husband, me, nor our marriage is perfect. We stopped holding onto to one another at some point and ended up lost. You are nothing more to us now than the one who brought us back together. But the appreciation I have for you is endless and my advice to you is genuine.

Next time, put your efforts into a single man, a man who falls for you because of who you are, not because he’s weak and vulnerable. A foundation of a relationship that is built upon a lie, a betrayal, will always be weak. And when the time comes, never, ever, take your eyes off of your man.

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To the Wife Whose Husband Loves Another Woman

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Tabitha Milam

Tabitha Milam-Fisher is an experienced Columnists with a demonstrated history in the writing and editing industry. She writes a reoccurring nonfiction column in the newspaper, and writes for The Horror Tree magazine.