Affairs are a lot more complicated than you think.
I’m hopeful that this will be the last time I talk about my ex. As I heal from the wounds that he caused me, I realised that the were lessons to be learned and shared. I’ve spent the past eight months in the dishonourable role of “the other woman” and today, I want to share my lessons with you.
I met my ex online in August last year. We hit it off right away and became “more than friends” soon after. I knew that we weren’t in a physical relationship, but we were in an emotional relationship and one with a sexual element. Unfortunately, despite my wants and best intentions, I stayed as the “other woman” throughout. Here are twenty things that I felt or learned as the other woman in that time.
1. I hated the cheating, too
First and foremost, let me be clear that at no time did I condone the cheating behaviour. I knew what was going on and so that makes me guilty by association, but I did not actively encourage him to cheat. As a polyamorous person, I begged and encouraged him to be honest with you, even if we were only to be friends. He refused and said he needed time before telling you about me, and I trusted that he would. He didn’t, and I don’t believe he ever planned to, either.
2. He’s not the victim, we are
I enjoyed being a kept secret no more than you enjoyed being cheated on. There were promises made and dreams introduced to me that he probably had no realistic hope of fulfilling. He made promises to you, and he made promises to me too. He broke his promises to both of us.
3. We probably loved him
We were sold out on Mr Romantic and we fell in love. He told us he loved us and we believed him. He made us feel wanted and important and so we drank it up. When somebody makes you feel like number one, you fall in love with that person. Your man made us feel special because we made him feel special in return. It was an intoxicating and dangerous rush.
4. He didn’t treat us any better
If you thought that the heated arguments were saved for you and it was all hearts and flowers for us, have faith. Perhaps it was the sign of a guilty conscience, but the arguments were often vicious. He needed us to fall into line because he couldn’t risk us exposing the truth to you. When we spoke up, he fought back hard. Both of us deserve better.
5. It was a whirlwind romance and a rollercoaster ride in one
Eight months, that’s how long our relationship lasted, and it was nothing but major highs and serious lows. The highs were incredible – like something out of romance movie – but the lows were always rough and abusive. That kind of instability was taking a serious toll on my health.
6. Envy was a common emotion
You get to spend days out with him, wake up every morning to him, celebrate your birthday and Christmas with him, and me? I don’t usually hear from him until you’re fast asleep and by that time, the day is already over. I wanted a real relationship with your man too, and he might have even promised us one, but then failed to deliver.
7. Trust, kindness and communication matter much more than love
You can love someone but you can be unkind to them, and you can trust someone, but not love them. You might love your man dearly, but do you trust him? Can you trust him? Trust is what real relationships are made up of.
8. We’re not the women you think we are
You imagine us to be some slim, busty supermodel that he happened to cross paths with while at the bar, but we’re not ,,- we’re everyday women, just like you. What we had to offer wasn’t a perfect figure (though maybe), it was the something that he wanted, that he wasn’t getting at home. Rather than being honest about that though, he cheated.
9. There was a time that he loved us more than you
Maybe you’ve heard that line, “she means nothing to me, you’re all I want”, or something similar? Sweetheart, I have some bad news. Not so long ago you were the devil reincarnate and we were all he wanted, so don’t be buying that line. He’s trying to woo you over and get himself off of the hook – don’t let him.
10. If not us, then with someone else
All too often, the “other woman” gets the blame, but here’s the truth: When I met my ex, he we was already planning on having an affair anyway. Had he not crossed paths with me, then trust me, he would have been hitting on somebody else. No, he didn’t fall victim to us, his eyes were wandering the whole time.
11. He hates himself
Quite often, cheaters are shown as being quite arrogant, pretty boys and yet inside, they’re anything but. He’s insecure and he wants to settle down, but he’s also looking for Mrs Perfect and he’s come to realise that you’re not quite her. If you have a family, that’s even worse – he’s terrified you’ll take them away if you find out. He’s not proud, but nor can he help himself.
12. He needs help and love, not judgement
He’s not going to tell you this, but his cheating may be a call for help. He feels negated and unloved, maybe he’s also stressed because of work. Maybe his confidence isn’t what it could be either, and now it’s been made worse by being labelled a cheat. Please try and empathise with him instead of judging him, and give him the love he needs. A better home life may keep him from straying in future.
13. Yes, we’ve probably seen it (several times)
Men love their penises, and they love you to pay attention to it. It’s a bit like women and our boobs, it feels good when men say nice things about them. If your relationship is sexless or you just ignore his penis, the chances are he’ll want someone else to notice it and compliment it. Once he gets that from one woman, he’ll get hooked and want it more.
14. Sorry, but you might be the reason he cheated
If you’re ignoring him, belittling him or criticising him, shaming him for masturbating or for having sexual fantasies, you might be the reason he strayed. Men don’t want to be around a woman who does these things to them, they want to be around a woman who appreciates them entirely and makes them feel sexy That’s when we often come in.
15. He may only be sorry he’s been caught
Oh sure he’s told you he’s sorry, but is he? Don’t forgive and forget too soon. If the problems aren’t fixed, it may just happen all over again as soon as he wants some more lovin’. Don’t assume he won’t do it again, because he might, and next time, he might go further.
16. At worst, his cheating may have been a way to break up
I couldn’t count on both hands how many times my ex talked about breaking away from his wife. If he’s not feeling confident enough to break the news to you, cheating can happen instead. His hope? If you catch him straying, you’ll want him gone and then he won’t have to have that conversation. It’s kind of cowardly, huh?
17. We didn’t “steal” him from you., in fact, he probably started it
I didn’t start a conversation with my ex, my ex started a conversation with me. I did not ask to be “more than friends” with my ex, my ex wanted to be more than friends with me. Unless too much alcohol is involved, trust me, he knows what he’s doing.
18. We probably never trusted him anyway
Once I got it into my mind that “if he can cheat on her then he can cheat on me too”, that voice would not go away. How could I trust him if I knew what he was doing to you? Any woman who in involved with somebody else’s man, and who believes that he won’t ever cheat on her, is delusional at best. Leopards. Spots.
19. We’re not proud of ourselves (but we probably won’t change)
I’m not proud of being the other woman, and I certainly didn’t plan on stealing somebody else’s man. I was friendly, yes, and when he wanted more I encouraged him to be open and honest, but that just never happened. If I could turn the clocks back now then I know I should have said no, but I can’t. All I can do now is live and learn. I won’t apologise for him finding me desirable, why should I? I have as much right to be found attractive as you have to be respected. If your man really respected you, he would have just smiled and been on his merry little way. He disrespected you and hoped you wouldnt find out.
20. In the end, he left us too
He promised you a future, trust and love, and he broke that when you stopped meeting his needs. He promised me a future, trust and love, and in the end, he broke that when I stopped meeting his needs, too. He didn’t have it in him to be honest and kind with either of us, and so instead, he leaves only chaos and destruction in his wake. I share your hurt, and now I feel his guilt, too.
Eight Ways To Help Affair-Proof Your Relationship
These tips do not guarantee that your partner won’t stray, but at the least, they can go a long way to help reduce the risk.
1. Make time for one another
Men stray when they feel like they’re not important to you, so make sure you put time with your partner – and lots of it -on the calendar. Plan for dates, go shopping together, walk the dog (if you have one) together, even have cleaning days together! Whatever it is, do it together.
2. Speak to one another as lovers, not enemies
The second you criticise or belittle him, you wound him inside. He’s not perfect and he won’t be perfect, so don’t expect him to be. Instead of trying to perfect him, gently communicate only the things that make you deeply uncomfortable, and do it with love and kindness. Instead of saying he never takes the trash out, discuss chores and agree the errands that you will both do. Instead of criticising him for not dressing better, take him shopping and help him find a new look he loves. Just make sure it’s a look that HE loves, and not just one that YOU love.
3. Listen to him and support him
Sometimes, all men really want is an empathetic ear. When he’s telling you about that bad day he’s had in the office, put your phone down and really listen. Ask questions, offer solutions if he asks, make him feel like you’re part of a team. The more you feel like a team, the more likely he is to stay.
4. Show him some love
Hug him from behind, play with his hair, look into his eyes and tell him that you love him. Make him feel like he matters. It doesn’t have to be sex or sexual, romance and affection are just as important.
5. Put sex back on the table
I hear far, far too often from men who are unhappy in sexless marriages. Some are looking to stray, and some others are more accepting of their situation because they are still happy in other ways. If sex is currently off of the table, try to work out why that is. Are you stressed with work (or kids)? Could you be kinder to one another? Is sex painful but mutual masturbation possible? Are you just not attracted to him anymore (ouch)? Whatever it is, work out why sex is currently off of the table. Once you know that, you can start to take steps to, hopefully, returning some kind of sexual connection.
6. If all else fails, don’t shame him for masturbating
You want a relationship with him, but you don’t want to have sex. You want him in your home, but don’t want him making a mess. Your man is a human being, and he has needs, wants and desires just like you do. If you don’t want to have sex, at least let him masturbate in peace. Better yet, if you feel kind enough, help him.
7. Discuss kinks and fantasies
At one time of day, I was ashamed of discussing some of my deepest, darkest kinks with my husband. Now, I talk about them like we’re discussing what to eat for dinner! Having that discussion is hard at first, but the more often you have it, the easier it becomes. Do you have a maddening fantasy that you want to explore, that you just can’t forget about any time that you make love? Maybe there’s a kink somewhere? You want him to be a bit more Dominant (or submissive), perhaps? Have that discussion, and allow him to, too. Sometimes, the cause of affairs is a desire for something kinky that neither of you have felt comfortable enough to discuss.
8. Talk about an open relationship (or polyamory)
Sometimes you can love someone deeply, but still want different things. If you’re not against it for religious reasons, think about why you might be against opening your relationship up. For some couples, the relationship can be restored when they are still in love but having sex with other people. Would it matter to you if you knew that he was seeing another woman for sex or sexual pleasure? You don’t even have to agree to sex in full with another person. In an open relationship, you can decide together how far is far enough.
That’s it from me for this post! Have you ever been the “other” man or woman? How did you feel? How did it end? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!
Until next time.
Stay safe & have fun,