If I asked you to conjure up an image of the other woman, what would you imagine? A sexy, younger woman perhaps? Maybe even someone a little bit ruthless?
What you’ll probably imagine is that this other woman gets the very best of your man. After all, extramarital affairs are sizzling with excitement compared to the mundane routine of marriage.
Of course, all of the above might be true, but there’s a harsh reality to being the other woman. I know, I was her, and I can tell you, it’s not all secret rendezvous, illicit kisses, and delicious stolen moments.
Relationships like this are difficult. Much of being the other woman is spent alone, bored, and wondering what your married man is doing with his family. It’s certainly not all heated illicit meetings packed with passion and lust.
So if you really want to know what it’s like being the other woman, here’s the reality.
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I started having an affair many decades ago when I worked in a bar. This guy would come in and flirt a little, but because I knew this was a married person I kind of ignored it.
Then it became obvious he wanted to have an affair. He told me his marriage was over and he and his wife had nothing in common. I told him that I had no interest in becoming a side chick and that if he wanted to date me he had to leave his wife.
There was no way I was going to have an affair with him for months and months and run the risk of being caught out. Also, I didn’t want the blame for the breakup of his family.
We were involved for around 3 months, seeing each other behind his wife’s back. I felt terrible about the situation. It bought up all kinds of complicated feelings. I knew it was wrong for him to cheat; he was a married man. But then I was single so was I really doing anything bad?
I knew I was.
Eventually, his wife found out and kicked him out. He came to live with me and we were in a relationship for over 6 years before we split up. But in the three months that I was the other woman I went through a range of emotions. I also realized that being the other woman wasn’t at all how it is portrayed in books or movies.
Even when we were together we both felt terribly guilty about his wife. He was torn between wanting to end his marriage and not wanting to upset her. He knew what he was doing was wrong, we both did.
So don’t get the idea that an affair with someone else’s husband is all fun, glamor, and weekends away to exotic cities. It’s not. The truth is that when you are involved with a married man you have accepted a lot of the blame.
Your friends and family might not agree with the relationship. They might tell you that when people cheat once they’ll do it again. You may not get the support you need, right at the very time you need it the most.
If you want to know what you are getting yourself into when you are involved with married men, this is my experience.
Being the other woman means you are never his top priority, especially if he is married and has a family. Despite what he tells you, his wife and children will always come first.
Then there’s the matter of everyday life, you know, work, friends, his commitments to other people such as his in-laws. So gradually your time with him is getting smaller and smaller. And don’t forget any emergencies when he’ll have to cancel or leave mid-date.
I can tell you that from experience, being the other woman means you are alone for a lot of the time. Not only are you alone, but you are also wondering what he is doing.
Is he having fun with the family? Is he having sexual contact with his wife? He might have told you that he is in an open relationship, but that doesn’t make you feel any better.
You put your life on hold just in case he calls and can see you at the last minute. You don’t want to have a prior engagement and miss out on a date with him.
There are definite highs associated with having an affair. When you are involved with another woman’s husband the moments you share are heightened. The passion is exaggerated because you don’t know when you’ll next see one another. You make the most of every second you are together and parting is such sweet sorrow.
But underneath all this aching desire is guilt. The time you spend with each other is tinged with the black cloud of infidelity. No matter how hard you try, you can’t put the thought of his betrayed wife out of your mind.
The guy I was seeing had two children and had been in a relationship with his wife for over 12 years. I remember thinking that if he could cheat on her, surely he could cheat on me in the future? After all, I was just the other woman.
In fact, he did leave his wife for me but once we were together he became obsessed that I would cheat. His reasoning was that if someone as moral and trustworthy as he could commit adultery, so could anyone.
We all like to have our cake and eat it, and this is true of some married men. Whilst some might leave their spouse or girlfriend in the future, it is pretty unusual. He’ll tell you that he just has to wait until the kids start college, or the mortgage is paid off, or it has to be the right time to tell her. More often than not, the truth will out and the infidelity will come to light. When this happens it can force his hand to be honest about the affair.
When you see someone on and off a few times you are only ever getting the best of them. Because you typically don’t have much time together you don’t spend it arguing or picking fights. You want the date or the night to be fun and exciting.
Having an affair is completely different from living with that person. Now that you are involved in a proper relationship, you might find out things about this married man you didn’t know before when you were having an affair.
If the husband does leave - all of a sudden, you are the one in the boring and mundane relationship. Now you get to see the real person, warts and all. The everyday routine that comes with being in a relationship.
When I got together with a married man, his mother and father were very much involved with his children. They also loved his ex-wife dearly and found it difficult to accept me as his new family. It wasn’t surprising, they had known her for over 10 years and were totally loyal to her.
His mother couldn’t call me by my name, instead, she would say ‘your new girlfriend’ and practically spit the words out. She would blame me for the affair and it took several years to forge a relationship with my in-laws.
You have to be patient and accept the fact that you are not number one on his list of priorities. You’ll spend a lot of time on your own and this might make you jealous, wondering what he is doing with his family and wife.
Being the other woman is a woman who is having a sexual relationship with a man who is married or in a relationship with someone else. Typically, although the other woman is often single herself, and it is the husband who is cheating, any vitriol will be directed at the other woman.
Some women purposefully chase married men because they don’t want the commitment of an actual relationship. However, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of an affair. It is a secretive world where passion and feelings are heightened. The married man may convince the other woman that he will leave his wife. So it makes sense for her to stick around.
Some do, some don’t, it all depends on the circumstances. Some people consider emotional affairs to be the most hurtful of all because you are sharing intimate thoughts and feelings. If the emotional affair turns physical it is more likely to turn into love, as the two people cement their feelings with sex.
Affairs start in many ways, but it is usually because one partner is unhappy in the relationship. Another reason is that one person may have a higher sexual appetite than their partner. Or that they meet a person in real life, or online, that they cannot resist and succumb to temptation. In open relationships, when sex with other people has been agreed upon, the boundaries can get blurred.
The harsh reality is that being the other woman is not all about being whisked away to exotic locations to be wined and dined in the most expensive restaurants. Ultimately, you could be the one woman that destroys relationships, or you might be the one that ends a toxic relationship. Only you will know.