Jan talks to Female First about helping women who have fallen victim to infidelity from their partners.
Please tell us about the light bulb moment when you looked to your friends and realised what most of them had been through.
They say the best ideas happen when you least expect them. Well, my light bulb moment was on the A48 driving to a friend's house for coffee. As she'd said in her text: 'sorry to bother you AGAIN. But I really need to bore you about him. Falling apart. xx.'
OK, so what happens when she can't send that text? What happens when we're all too busy? What happens when a group of friends are tired of listening? Answer: meeting place/website/self-help/getting good advice = Women Scorned.
Why do you think there has been a lack of good advice in the past for infidelity?
When I embarked on the journey that is Women Scorned my first port of call was to research on the internet, doctors' surgeries, etc, to see what advice was actually available. I was amazed to find that a woman suffering from the fallout of infidelity doesn't come under a category. Ipso facto: she is non-placable. After all how do you give advice to someone experiencing so many emotions?
She can suffer from rage, thoughts of revenge, depression, tears, lack of self-esteem. All, according to some experts, time will heal. From a friend of mine's personal experience, when she felt at her lowest ebb, she visited her GP and was offered anti-depressants. This is not advice. This is not healing a woman's soul after experiencing infidelity. This is not restoring her self-esteem.
The starting point of healing, for some, will begin in the Forum area of Women Scorned. The Forums are a crucial part of Women Scorned, heavily policed and providing anonymity and a safe haven for women to put down their real thoughts and fears. There they are able to wear their hearts on their sleeves without being ridiculed or shot down. Sharing pent up emotions with others in a similar position is a cathartic experience and can be a great help. Especially at 3am when there may be nobody else available.
Why is it important to talk to people about the big things like divorce as well as the small like new make up?
As anyone who has been on the Women Scorned site can see it is divided into four sections. In the section called The Acceptance the subject of divorce is heavily featured as some of our Users may decide to take this route. Others may decide to remain in their relationship - we don't judge. At the acceptance stage Women Scorned felt it was crucial to source some of the best advice available. Marilyn Stowe, a well-respected and high-profile divorce lawyer, has a monthly Question and Answer section attached to her Women Scorned page to help our Users.
Don't think for a moment that Women Scorned is being frivolous by featuring sections on makeup, hair and beauty. This is an important part to some women of getting back on track with their self-esteem, confidence and new lives. So in a part of The Next Chapter section of the site whatever a woman's issues are, Suzi Grace, Lesley Reynolds, Nicky Hambleton-Jones and a host of others are there to offer them wonderful top notch advice and guidance for their beauty regime.
Every single subject throughout the Women Scorned site is important to women at different stages in the rebuilding of their lives.
Why after being in a relationship for so long means that a new one is daunting?
After being with the same partner, in some cases for many years, some women can get into a 'comfort zone'. Sometimes they may metamorphosise into 'mother and housewife' - cooking, cleaning, washing - and they can lose their identity. When they've been catapulted out of that safety net, and even once they've gone through the three main stages on the Women Scorned site - The Discovery, The Acceptance, The Next Chapter - dating again can pose a whole new set of challenges for some.
From having sex with a new partner to what to wear on their first date we cover all angles with various experts including ITV's This Morning's Denise Robertson as our resident agony aunt with her monthly Question & Answer section attached to her Women Scorned page; Monika Dedus, our Sex Therapist, with her insightful articles covering many aspects of physical needs and wants and Gayle Vaatstra our resident NLP expert.
What are the three stages a woman might experience after a break up and can you tell us a bit about them.
Women Scorned sees the first stage as being the discovery and we can help as you digest the news and decide what’s best for your future. On our team are women who have been there and got the T-shirt. Some have stayed whilst others have chosen to start anew, all for her own reasons and with different results. We and our carefully chosen partner organisations have the expertise and experience to listen, offer advice and empower you to make the right decisions for your life and circumstances.
The second stage is the acceptance of the situation. You might already be packing your bags (or his!) or perhaps you feel this isn’t an option for you. Maybe you’ve decided infidelity is unacceptable, whatever the reason, or perhaps you are choosing to stay and work things through. Every woman has her own reasons for staying or leaving and that’s absolutely fine. There is no right or wrong way forward, only what’s right for you, and we’re not here to judge.
The third stage is the next chapter when it is time to move on. Whether that be with or without your partner. You’ve been through a lot, particularly emotionally, but these emotions by now will seem less intrusive into your thoughts. You’ll feel more in control and this is now the time for you to look to the future and to move on in a positive direction with your life. Look upon this phase in your life as an opportunity, a time to plan your future and make changes, to take your life in a direction of your choosing.
Why is it important not to focus on the revenge or bitterness that a woman might feel?
Rage, fear, jealousy. These are just some of the emotions covered in The Discovery part of the site. They're all normal emotions discussed by our clinical psychologist Dr. Jo. However, revenge is an emotion that Women Scorned will neither condone or encourage. To focus on such negative emotions such as revenge and bitterness prevents a woman from moving on, eats her up inside and drains any positivity from her being. Women Scorned stands for hope, laughter, support and care. This is more constructive towards rebuilding destroyed lives than revenge can ever be.
Why was it important to acquire the help of a long list of celebs for advice?
All the celebrities and experts featuring on Women Scorned are onsite because of their respected expertise and vast experience in their own field. The fact that some of our experts are well-known and popular celebrities will give Women Scorned Users an extra feeling of comfort, confidence and familiarity.
How can talking to like-minded people often be more beneficial than your friends when this happens?
Women Scorned Users, although going through the same issues, are from all walks of life and backgrounds. This alone will make the Forums a goldmine of help and support for all involved. It may only take a short sentence from one of the Forum users to spark that light bulb moment for another Forum friend.
Sometimes friends may tip-toe tentatively around some issues whereas a Forum friend may say it how it is.
What is next for Women Scorned?
The Women Scorned website is over 500 pages and 2,000 links in size and growing on an almost daily basis. We want our Users to see something new almost every time they log on. So more and more experts, sections and pages will be added all the time. Just as exciting is the fact that early 2014 will see the Launch of Men Scorned as we believe that infidelity knows no gender, race or sexuality. There are many, many unique and ground-breaking things planned on both sites. Watch this space.
Quotations from experts involved with Women Scorned
Dr. Bridget Kirsop, ex-GP and NLP Master: "I have joined the Women Scorned Team in order to help people on their journey towards reaching their full potential and create a world where they are happy and fulfilled."
ITV's This Morning's resident gardening experts The Benton Brothers: "We are now here every month exclusively for all you Ladies as Women Scorned's resident gardening experts. We'll hold your hand and walk you through all the seasons of the year with our hot tips and techniques for your plants, flowers, shrubs and vegetables."
Fake Bake's Sandra McClumpha: “I am delighted to be involved with Women Scorned and look forward to working directly with them to offer additional support and comfort for women all over the country during their time of need.”
Writer and blogger R J Wardle: "Writing for me is a little akin to an ever present cuddly bear. Always my friend, always my critic and always, oh but always, my beloved companion in life."