“It does give you an extra bit of a thrill. It’s forbidden, so it feels a bit more naughty and erotic, which makes it so much harder to resist.” – Chantelle The Other Woman (TOW) 

In our minds, the other woman is a mysterious femme fatal, who uses her whiles to manipulate and connive. The other woman is a thief and when she seduces your man, she has stolen so much more than your partner. She’s taken your self-esteem, your future and your sense of security, peace and justice and in return, she’s given you gut wrenching heartache, humiliation, jealousy, rage and crippling fear.

We love to hate the other woman. It’s easy to hate her. What is surprising is how we are able to brush aside our mate’s indiscretion and make her the focus of our malcontent. We do that because a part of us expects it from men, the other part wants to believe that he is a victim too, that he wouldn’t purposely betray us. She must have done something, promised him something or seduced him somehow. She has cast a spell or some kind of a web, that he just couldn’t free himself from. She used her sexuality to coerce him into doing things he wouldn’t normally do. She should know better and she’s broken the sister code, so it’s all her fault. She knows the vulnerability of his biology, and for all these reasons we save most of our outrage for her.

“I liked the feeling of being chosen over someone else. I really wasn’t thinking about his wife, or her feelings. I was just thinking about how I felt and when he wanted me, I felt really good.” – Jessie -The Other Woman (TOW)

When Brad Pitt left his then wife, Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie, American audiences took an instant dislike to Jolie. She was the home wrecker, she had the loose morals, she was the corrupt one, the seducer and Pitt’s role in the infidelity was reduced and brushed under the carpet. Although the parties directly involved, have long since moved on, Americans still haven’t forgiven Jolie. There’s always been something unsettling about her, something that people just don’t trust.

She Made Me Do It

Who is the other woman and why does she do the things she does? These are questions we want answers to. I got to sit in on a self-esteem workshop last week and when the topic swung around to relationships I was pretty amazed by what those in attendance had to say.

“Every time he would come in he’d tell me how unhappy he was at home. How awful his wife treated him and how much he wanted out. He seemed like such a great guy and I started to wonder what was wrong with his wife. I felt bad for him and the more I listened to him the more I thought she was crazy.” Ellie TOW

Overwhelmingly, the majority of women in the audience had had stints as the other woman and/or had been the victim of infidelity. When asked why they chose the role of the other woman, most indicated that they were convinced by their new mate that his old relationship was over or in the  process of being over.

For a man to enact the betrayal, he must make his spouse the villain. He tells himself that this is her fault, thus freeing himself from any responsibility. If she’d only done X, Y or Z, then he wouldn’t be doing this. With this mindset it gives him a sense of entitlement and permission to act out in lascivious ways. The act of blaming her makes him the victim and in the retelling of his woe-is-me story, he will also attract the type of woman that wants to comfort him and make it all better.

“I felt like I was caught up in something magical. I believed that we were soul mates. We had such a deep connection and we were just waiting for everything to fall into place before we could be together.” – Shari -TOW

I Win, I Win

Sex is a great motivator for men, especially those like the Somatic Narcissist, who derive their self-esteem by their conquests of others. Some cheaters will stay with their mate and continue to cheat on the side, some will leave their spouses entirely and take up with the other woman and some will bounce back and forth between the two.

There is nothing more alluring to a Narcissist than having two women fighting over him. The new woman always has an advantage, because she is shiny and new and covered with all that warm and fuzzy, new relationship fur. And before her sparkle diminishes, she will revile in winning the tug of war battle. To her damaged sense of self-worth, what winning means to her is – “I’m better than you. “ It’s not the truth, but in conjunction with her unhealthy attitude and what she’s been told about you, it’s how she perceives it. We all like to win, we all like to be chosen and if you do engage her, she will very likely come across as smug and a sore winner. Unhealthy people always feel big by making others feel small.

“He made me feel so beautiful and important. I believed that our love was special. It felt like I’d finally found the one. I didn’t pay too much mind to his wife. She was just an obstacle that we had to get past. I thought if she was good to her man, then he wouldn’t have come looking for me, so she deserved to lose him, cuz I’d treat him right. ” Trinicia – TOW

What’s Really Going on Here?

There is a distinct reason that this article is entitled The Other Woman and not The Other Man. The things that motivate men to be with married or committed women are different than what motivates women. Many women feel compelled to compete with each other using their sexuality in a way that men don’t.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the women I talked to about infidelity were attending a Self-Esteem seminar, because women that engage with married or committed men usually have self-esteem issues. It’s easy to get caught up in a fantasy and all the wonderful feelings of budding love, but you have to be phenomenally twisted to get off on someone else’s anguish and believe that true love can grow out of  a foundation of deceit. Others participate in magical thinking and call it fate or kismet to ease their conscience.

Typically, the Narcissist’s other woman is often a fixer, one that likes to nurture and is a sucker for a sob story. They can, oddly enough, have abandonment issues, be people pleasers, are extremely gullible, over givers and others can have an entitlement mentality, or be conquest junkies.

My one-time experience as the other woman, happened when I was a teenager. My ex-boyfriend got a new girlfriend and when he came to me for sex, I felt entitled, I engaged in the tug of war, because I had him first and believed he belonged to me. I convinced myself that she was the interloper. She really was a nice girl, but my man was interested in her and that alone was enough to make her the enemy and it allowed me to justify my bad behavior.

Emotionally healthy women don’t participate in these types of relationships. They recognize that something is off and they aren’t afraid to walk away once they realize what it is. They don’t try to win, they don’t engage in the drama, and they’re not afraid to ask direct questions and demand direct answers. They don’t play tug of war, and they certainly don’t allow a man to hop from woman to woman.

Many years ago, a male friend of mine, had been dating a girl for 4 years. She broke up with him and then went to Greece for the summer. When she got back, she found that he had a new girlfriend. It was obvious that they had some unfinished business and his new girlfriend didn’t make a scene, she simply said, “It’s clear you two have some things to work out. When you get your house in order, give me a call.” And she got up and left. While this isn’t an ‘other woman’ scenario per se, it is an example of how a healthy woman deals with this type of situation. She didn’t engage in the drama, she didn’t attack his ex and say ‘he’s mine now,’ she simply said to her boyfriend – take care of this and don’t call me until you do. This happened in a bar, in front of us and I remember thinking that her statement was very powerful and I silently cheered for her in my head. He did get his house in order and eventually married her.

If you’re struggling with your man’s infidelity, don’t blame, or envy the other woman, because chances are, she has been feed a bucket of lies and has her own unhealthy issues to deal with. She very likely sleeps with one eye open. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are creatures of habit and you can’t really be too surprised, if your mate leaves the relationship, the same way he entered it.

Never play tug of war over a man – let go of the rope and walk away, because eventually both of them will fall face-first in the mud, without your help.

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