How to Cope with Being the Other Woman
Have you found yourself in a position where you are the ‘other woman’? Despite your resolve that you would never compromise yourself you have found yourself in love with a man who is only available to you some of the time?
Being involved with a man who has a wife or girlfriend is obviously not an ideal situation and one that conspires to trap you and hurt you in a toxic vortex.
However, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and gain resolution and clarity
Tell someone about the exact circumstances of the affair. Make sure the person you decide to tell is trustworthy. When you carry a secret, especially a secret where you are compromising your own values and beliefs as well as carrying guilt about your man’s family can be a horrible strain. You need someone who can give you support and perspective about what is really going on. When you get caught up in the feelings of being in love with someone it can be very difficult to separate truth from fiction, this is where a trusted friend can be invaluable.
Don’t allow your partner to isolate you. As the other woman, you can find yourself constantly making yourself available just in case he calls or wants to spend time with you. This can cause you to withdraw from your life. If you lose your support system of friends or withdraw from family, it can be difficult to rebuild these relationships, and if you are in a space where you need help, there is no one to turn to. If you make him the center of your world, it gives this man control. Remember toxic toads will try and isolate you from friends and family in order to control you. If you become dependent on him, it makes it very difficult to leave the relationship.
Its a fantasy
When you are the other woman, you create a world of fantasy that both you and your man escape into. It is an unreal world where you are both on your best behaviour, which enables you to distract yourself from the real world. Remember you don’t know who this man is because you aren’t with him 24/7 you don’t see him when he is cranky or tired. You have time together and time apart which creates time for emotional recovery from the relationship. It means you always present yourself at your very best.
He may tell you that you are the love of his life. That he would leave if only X, Y or Z were different. It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing you are special, and the world has conspired against you. The reality is you only have his word for it what his life is like, you don’t know whether he is enjoying having sex with both you and his girlfriend/wife. His words are just words, and you don’t know how many women he has said these words to before, he is having an affair with you, you are the other woman and he is living a lie, and so are you.
Don’t forget to spend time on your self-care. This is incredibly important to help you keep your perspective. Take time out to look after yourself and create experiences for yourself where you learn and grow. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to call boundaries and look for someone who can be available to you.
Have an escape route
Make sure you have a strategy to enable you to leave the relationship. Don’t allow yourself to become dependent upon this man, such as becoming a kept women. While it might be lovely not having financial worries if you withdraw from the world and become available to him in exchange for financial support you could trap yourself in the relationship being unable to leave. Don’t give control of your independence to someone else, without and income or a home, for example; you will have nowhere to go if things don’t work out and you become unsafe.
Have a timeline when you expect to have a commitment from this man. Women can find themselves as the other woman for all sorts of reasons. One of the traps many women experience is being strung along with a series of stories that keep the affair going on and on. Don’t allow yourself to be a fallback girl for when things become difficult in his primary relationship. He is either making a decision and planning to be with your or he isn’t. If he isn’t you risk being a convenience until he decides to move on. Take control call your boundaries and set your timeline.
Don’t make empty threats
Don’t threaten to end the affair unless you really mean it. If you make a threat to try and force him to make a decision but have no intentions to follow through all you do is show him that you make empty threats. He will realise very quickly that all he has to do is weather the storm of your outburst but ultimately doesn’t have to make a decision. If you are in this situation as the other woman, think about the fact that your partner knows how upset you are, and still refuses to make a decision. This is not handling your heart with care and shows a heartless, selfish side to a man who says he loves you. If you threaten to end the relationship always follow through and be clear in your own mind that the end means the end. Ending the relationship taking a break and either contacting him or allowing him to contact you and then starting the affair again traps you in a toxic relationship pattern of on again off again.
Don’t get pregnant
Don’t think that if you become pregnant, it will force his hand to leave his partner. Having a baby is a life changing decision, and does not guarantee he will make a decision to choose you, you may successfully become a single mum, and still not have a commitment from him.
Don’t compromise yourself
Don’t fake pregnancies, or illnesses or other devious excuses to make him become anxious about you and try and force him to spend time with you. Ultimately you are just compromising yourself and trying to force a relationship. Why would you want to try and force someone to be with you who is struggling to make a commitment?
Don’t pursue him
Don’t be the one who chases him, ask yourself why you would spend so much time pursuing a Mr Unavailable. Why would you want to spend so much time and energy wanting to be with a man who cannot offer you a committed relationship, who is offering you attention ‘when he can’. Think about whether you are caught in a toxic relationship pattern of makeup and breakup where you are the one who chases and brings him back into the relationship. Why would he have to make a decision or try if he knows you will chase him?
Don’t blame his girlfriend/wife
His wife is frigid, a bitch, or crazy, he can’t leave her because she has a terminal illness or because financially he was so selfless he put everything in her name the list goes on. It can be tempting to believe everything he tells you. It makes the whole situation more bearable if you can distract yourself with your perception of what she is like rather than looking at the whole situation. He is having an affair with you, and he hasn’t left her. This is what is real, regardless of what she is like.
Don’t stalk him
If you start to feel yourself obsessing and wanting to know where he is and what he is doing, find out about his partner, or his kids this is stalking. If your stalking progresses from the odd look on social media to real life, you know you have a problem. This is about you trying to take back some control in your relationship; it is about you trying to justify the lies you know you have believed. Slow yourself down and think about what you are doing. Stalking, even online, is illegal. Don’t get yourself caught up in compromising yourself to prove someone else right or wrong. Listen to your instinct, and respect yourself. You don’t need proof to know he is cheating, the moment he is with you and concealing his life from his partner, regardless of the sort of person she is or is not, he is lying and being dishonest.
Make a choice for yourself.
Choose to give yourself the opportunity to have an intimate, committed relationship with someone who wants to be in your life. Stop being the other woman. Recognise that if you have been with this man for a long time that your relationship is unlikely to change. Whatever he says, if he really loved you he would recognise that he needs to make a decision and be with you full time. Don’t allow Mr Unavailable to cause you to second guess yourself, or believe you can’t get any better. You are so much better than being the other woman.
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