In This Article
Most women can relate to this. There is almost nothing as frustrating as being the other woman to your man. It is emotionally tasking, demoralizing, and painful to know that another person has taken over the one you have invested your love in or that they weren’t even yours, to begin with.
The psychological effects of being the other woman are numerous. They include low self-esteem and depression. Although some women might be happy being the other woman, this doesn’t remove the fact that it can be brutal.
In this article, we will bring some perspective to the concept of being the other woman. We will evaluate how it affects your life and show you effective strategies for coping with being the other woman.
What is it like being the other woman?
Being the other woman is terrifying, especially for someone you have fallen deeply in love with. It is that state that is usually characterized by fear, anxiety (about whether your partner will wake up one day and decide to end things with you), depression, and many other negative feelings.
Do you know what’s even worse about this?
These things often happen without the express permission of the person involved. There are many reasons why people cheat on their partners, and these could range from feeling disconnected, seeking emotional and physical comfort, and an escape from pain.
Regardless of the reason, cheating does more harm to relationships than good. One of them is the loss of trust immediately after this comes to light. One of the major psychological effects of affairs is that it leaves the victim feeling like the other woman.
If she was already drifting away from her partner, this might cause them to drift even further apart. The psychological effects of being the other woman are numerous, as you may find yourself blaming yourself, wondering what you did wrong, or simply self-destructing.
Being the other woman is tough. For every time you spend with your partner, you may wonder if they really want to be with you or if they would rather spend their time with the other person.
15 crippling psychological effects of being the other woman
These are some of the psychological effects of affairs.
One of the first reactions people have when their partners have cheated on them is to feel guilty. If this is the case with you, you may wonder if you did something wrong.
“Did they cheat because you aren’t pretty enough?”
“Is it that you have been emotionally unavailable?”
These and more are some of the thoughts you may think about if your partner has cheated on you.
One of the main psychological effects of being the other woman is that you may begin to battle feelings of guilt. If you aren’t careful enough, you may think that you are the reason for which your partner cheated.
This would be as a result of either of two reasons.
- You may be worried that you would have to keep your relationship a secret (if you are the side woman). Or,
- You may be sad because you believe your relationship is about to come to a sudden end.
In either case, one of the psychological effects of cheating is sadness. Beyond just feeling a bit withdrawn from your partner, you may find yourself falling into a state of deep depression, where everyday living might just become a challenge.
3. That feeling of being alone
One of the major blessings of being a human is the strong relationship and communities humans build over time. Being in a network of friends can help you stay sane and also keep you going, even when strange things happen to you.
However, part of the pain of being the other woman is feeling alone. For one, you may feel you cannot speak to anybody about what you are going through. Your family may not understand, and your friends may not be able to relate.
Because you may be detached from them, speaking to your partner about the pain they caused may feel entirely out of the question. So, you’ll be left to figure everything out all by yourself.
One of the most significant psychological effects of being the other woman is feeling betrayed by the one you have committed most of your trust to. Finding out that your partner is having another affair with someone else leaves you feeling betrayed and stabbed in the back.
Successful relationships depend on mutual trust and complete belief in each other. When you discover that your partner has another woman, after all, there’s almost nothing that may be worse than the feeling of betrayal you may have to deal with.
5. Constant emotional stress
Here, the things you used to love doing may become a chore to you. You wake up exhausted, trudge through your day like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders, and feel at your wit’s end.
Constant emotional stress is part of the psychology of being the other woman. The only solution to this is to face it head-on.
6. Anger and resentment
You may experience deep anger and resentment toward your partner if you discover they have lied to you for a long time.
You may have gone into this relationship believing that your partner is single, only to discover in the most shocking way that they aren’t as single as they claimed.
Your knee-jerk reaction under this condition would be to lose your mind and start throwing fits. Although you may not throw fits, getting mad is only natural if you discover that you have been deceived and lied to.
Related Reading: How Do You Let Go of Anger and Resentment in a Relationship?
7. The fear of the future
Most people love knowing what the future holds for them when they get into a relationship. The knowledge that you are with someone and plan to settle down with them after a period brings an amount of assurance to your mind.
However, one of the psychological effects of being the other woman to anybody is that you cannot tell where the relationship is headed. They might string you on just for the fun of it. You may be with someone who doesn’t mind telling you lies.
They might convince you they are done with their current partner, only to keep you patiently waiting for them. The sad part is that many women have lost precious parts of their lives waiting for these promises to be fulfilled, to no avail.
Related Reading: How to Cope With the Fear of Losing Someone You Love
8. Feeling manipulated
Mainstream media has painted that the other woman is usually the master manipulator. While this may be true in some cases, it is not always true.
One of the psychological effects of being the other woman is that you may end up feeling manipulated.
When you have to keep your relationship a secret, look over your shoulders every time you go to get the groceries, and worry that your partner is lying to you every time they open their mouth, you may just feel like you are being manipulated.
Related Reading: How to Recognize and Handle Manipulation in Relationships
9. Feeling insecure
This goes beyond just mental and emotional insecurity. You may have to deal with significant security fears when you’re the other woman.
What guarantees that your partner’s partner isn’t a lunatic waiting to run you over with a car the next time you try to cross the road? How do you guarantee they haven’t tracked you down to your apartment yet? How do you live your life without constantly looking over your shoulders?
In addition, these feelings of insecurity are accompanied by emotional insecurity. Deep down inside, you may start battling with those random thoughts that you would never be enough for your partner, which is a major challenge.
10. Social stigma
If word ever gets out that you are the other woman, you may have to deal with a lot of social stigmas for a long time. This stigma would most likely come from people who do not understand your unique situation and don’t know the situation surrounding your meeting with your partner.
The social stigma that accompanies being the other woman is terrible and harsh. People might judge you without giving you the chance to explain yourself, and you may have to face grave repercussions at work and in other places.
Thoughts like these might keep you emotionally limited and constantly in a state of intense fear.
Related Reading: 8 Ways Social Media Ruins Relationships
11. Your self-esteem might take a beating
One of the most devastating psychological effects of being the other woman is that you might have to deal with low self-esteem for the longest time. No matter how much they try to tell and show you that they love and care about you, you may always deal with the lingering feeling that you aren’t enough.
For one, there’s another woman they go back to once they get out of your arms. Over time, this knowledge can attack your self-esteem and make you feel like you are not good enough.
At first, you might not notice this effect. When your relationship is new, you might just be clouded by the intensity of what you are feeling and may not pay attention. However, as time passes, you’d begin to notice the glaring effects of a dwindling sense of self-esteem.
12. Deep-seated trust issues
This goes beyond this relationship and might also affect every other relationship you may get into for a long time.
When you are in a relationship with a committed man, you know deep down that he is cheating on both of you with yourselves. One of the first things you would have to deal with is the fear that there may be other women you may not know about.
Then again, this one scenario can leave you scarred and with the impression that all men behave like that. With this mindset, you might experience challenges getting into and settling in committed relationships for the rest of your life.
Suggested video: How to deal with trust issues.
13. You may stop trusting yourself
If you fell into this mess with him, what is the guarantee that you haven’t spent your entire life making many mistakes that you know nothing about?
These and more are some questions you might start asking yourself in your unguarded moments. One of the worst psychological effects of being the other woman is that you might start having issues with trusting yourself at certain levels.
Not being able to trust others is already bad enough. Do you know what is worse? Not being able to trust yourself.
Related Reading: 15 Ways on How to Build Trust in a Relationship
14. Sneaking around can get exhausting
There’s nothing as exhausting as being in love with someone but having to hide your feelings from the world because they are in a committed relationship with another person.
When you cannot brag about how awesome they are, walk down to the grocery store together, or have a quiet date night at the local diner near you, you might soon get exhausted and start lashing out.
15. The emotional stress can cause you to become unpredictable
The psychological effects of being the other woman can easily manifest physically. You might soon discover yourself feeling uninspired to work (which can affect your output at work), constantly exhausted, short-tempered, and an overall menace to everyone around you.
In summary, things may get bad pretty quickly. As a result, you may become hostile or less productive than you usually are.
How do you deal with being the other woman?
This is how to deal with being the other woman in the relationship.
1. Determine precisely what you deserve
If deep down within, you know you don’t deserve to be treated like the other woman, your first assignment is to be sure that you deserve better.
When you are confident, you are ready to take the necessary steps to get a better outcome in your relationship.
Related Reading: 7 Reasons We Settle for Less Than We Deserve in Relationships
2. Talk to him, don’t fight
There’s a possibility that the only thing on your mind is to walk up to him and yell until the heavens come crashing down.
The challenge with this is that it might bring you no good results. Instead, have a heart-to-heart with him.
Try to understand what’s going on in his mind and know his plans for the relationship.
3. You might need to put a lot of space between you
Limit your interactions during this period. He needs to choose by himself, and
being around him a lot may not allow him to make the right choice.
There are some decisions he has to make all by himself. You also need the break to get your heart fixed and act together.
Related Reading: 15 Signs You Need Space in Your Relationship
4. Know when to seek professional help
This is one of the proven strategies for healing after being the other woman. In addition to putting a lot of space between both of you, also know that you may need to seek professional guidance to help you deal with all the negative emotions you may be feeling.
It is okay to experience the psychological effects of being the other woman. Make sure you don’t spend your entire life in that negative headspace.
5. Practice self-care
This is when you need to step back and focus on taking good care of yourself. Doing this will help you recover your self-esteem and trust and make you a better person as you have always been.
Being the other woman is emotionally and mentally tasking. It can throw you off the balance if you aren’t prepared for it.
This article has shown you 15 terrible psychological effects of being the other woman to your partner. You have also seen how to recover from being that person and get the relationship you deserve.
Use the strategies discussed in this article to pry yourself out of this situation if you have found yourself in it. Also, don’t forget to seek professional help if you need to.
What is the psychological damage of being the other woman? ›
It is emotionally tasking, demoralizing, and painful to know that another person has taken over the one you have invested your love in or that they weren't even yours, to begin with. The psychological effects of being the other woman are numerous. They include low self-esteem and depression.How to survive being the other woman? ›
- Have your escape route from the affair planned. ...
- Don't burn energy making empty threats. ...
- Do tell someone about the affair but do ensure that you tell someone who isn't going to blow the lid on things. ...
- Don't get pregnant in an attempt to force his hand. ...
- Get a life.
Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety have been linked to infidelity. A person may also experience relationship anxiety, which often results in a person feeling more insecure about themselves. It can also induce doubt towards one's partner, and excessive worry that one will be cheated on again.How long does infidelity trauma last? ›
There is no set time for affair recovery.
However, there can be a period of healing. During this time, you and your spouse will take specific steps towards healing. Even better, this period is not even that long. Most of it can take anywhere between 8-10 weeks.
An emotional affair is very dangerous because it not only takes away time and energy from the marriage, but it can lead to sexual infidelity and possibly divorce. Another way of looking at emotional infidelity is that the betrayal is a symptom of the problems that already exist within a marriage.Do affairs cause trauma? ›
Infidelity can cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress from the relationship breach that were not previously present before an affair. Some common symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and obsessions about the event.How do you get over the love of your life being with someone else? ›
- Acknowledge the truth of the situation. ...
- Identify relationship needs — and deal breakers. ...
- Accept what the love meant to you. ...
- Look to the future. ...
- Prioritize other relationships. ...
- Spend time on yourself. ...
- Give yourself space. ...
- Understand it may take some time.
- Accept your feelings.
- Don't blame yourself.
- Distract yourself for a bit.
- Find a support system.
- Confide in someone.
- Avoid speaking with anyone involved.
- Face the truth of your situation.
- Envision the future you want for yourself.
- Focus on you. ...
- Show her how you think you have changed. ...
- Tell her what she's done for you. ...
- Tell her you still have feelings for her. ...
- Acknowledge that you know she is with someone else, but in order to be true to how you feel, and the two of you, you had to at least try.
And this is not your fault. Research shows that betrayed partners, after learning that their significant other has strayed, typically experience stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What are triggers after infidelity? ›
Things that can trigger flashbacks include spending time with your partner who cheated, romantic sounds, love stories, not hearing from your partner and sometimes they can just come out of the blue when you least expect it. Being betrayed by a loved one can often be traumatic.Does infidelity pain ever go away? ›
It's absolutely possible to heal from infidelity. Although the pain and grief can be intense, it's also possible to work on the relationship so that you and your partner are able to move on.Is being cheated on traumatizing? ›
Infidelity can be traumatic, causing intensely painful emotions for the person who was cheated on. They may actually experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including heightened anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and emotional distress.What should you not do after infidelity? ›
- Tell Your Entire Family & All Your Friends. ...
- Blast Your Partner on Social Media. ...
- Make Life Altering Decisions. ...
- Place All Blame on The Other Affair Partner. ...
- Obsess Over the Other Affair Partner. ...
- Blame Yourself. ...
- Think You Can Recover On Your Own.
The effects of betrayal include shock, loss and grief, morbid pre-occupation, damaged self-esteem, self-doubting, anger. Not infrequently they produce life-altering changes. The effects of a catastrophic betrayal are most relevant for anxiety disorders, and OC D and PTSD in particular.What kind of cheating is unforgivable? ›
Having an emotional and sexual relationship with somebody else was rated the most severe and the least forgivable act of infidelity. Using online services such as live sex shows and going to a strip club, on the other hand, were considered the least severe and most forgivable acts.How many people regret affairs? ›
80% of those who divorce during an affair regret the decision. Just two years after marriage, an estimated 20% of couples make love fewer than 10 times in a year.How many emotional affairs turn physical? ›
“It's been said that 50 to 70% of all emotional affairs eventually lead to physical cheating and sex.”What is hysterical bonding after infidelity? ›
The deep desire to win back one's partner's affections post infidelity is called hysterical bonding. This is most commonly with respect to the infidelity of a sexual nature. So, the one who has been betrayed sexually by their beloved indulges in sexual experimentation with their partner.Do people who have affairs regret it? ›
Statistics show that only 31% of marriages last after the affair has been discovered or admitted to. People who are unfaithful to their partners regret causing their loved one so much pain and heartache. Even if the couple decides to stay together, it's very hard for them to have a trust-based, happy relationship.
Can affairs cause mental illness? ›
Mental Health Consequences of Cheating
Part of the reason cheating comes as such as huge blow is because it actually impacts our mental health, causing increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as other distress. “Infidelity is one of the most distressing and damaging events couples face,” M.
- Identify the reason. Ask yourself why you're now deciding to detach from the relationship. ...
- Release your emotions. ...
- Don't react, respond. ...
- Start small. ...
- Keep a journal. ...
- Meditate. ...
- Be patient with yourself. ...
- Look forward.
Communicate with your partner
Don't hold in your feelings or keep malice with your partner. Doing this will only cause more anxiety and uneasiness. The best way to get rid of the other woman is to confront your partner. Besides, seeing your partner while holding grudges against him can't help you get clarity.
The “safe” advice most all-purpose therapists typically offer is that confrontation is a bad idea. Confronting your husband's affair partner indeed confirms their significance, and in many cases, that could be a strategic error from the get-go.How do you let go of the pain someone caused you? ›
- Create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts. ...
- Create physical distance. ...
- Do your own work. ...
- Practice mindfulness. ...
- Be gentle with yourself. ...
- Allow the negative emotions to flow. ...
- Accept that the other person may not apologize. ...
- Engage in self-care.
The Reason Why It's Hard to Let Go
Loss comes in many forms, not just death. And every loss comes with a certain level of grief. Letting go of someone you love also isn't just about that person. It also signifies a big change in your life, and maybe even your identity.
"It can take anywhere from six weeks to three months to forever, depending on how intense the relationship was, how invested you were in each other, and how heartbroken you are," says Jane Greer, PhD, New York-based marriage and family therapist and author of What About Me? (Those three factors all sort of piggyback on ...What hurts the most about cheating? ›
What hurts the most about being cheated on? There is no doubt that having someone you love and care about cheat on you is hurtful. People who have experienced infidelity report feeling betrayed, losing trust, rage, and damaged self-esteem.What are the three main causes of cheating? ›
- Lack of Emotional Connection. ...
- Lack of Sexual Connection. ...
- Bad Boundaries With People Outside the Relationship. ...
- Fighting Unfairly. ...
- Making Assumptions About Your Relationship Status. ...
- Unresolved Childhood Issues. ...
- Sex Addiction. ...
An analysis revealed eight key reasons: anger, self-esteem, lack of love, low commitment, need for variety, neglect, sexual desire, and situation or circumstance.
What hormones are linked to infidelity? ›
People with higher levels of the hormones testosterone and cortisol are more likely to cheat and feel good about their unethical behaviour, a new study has found. Hormones play a two-part role in encouraging and reinforcing cheating and other unethical behaviour, researchers said.What is a normal reaction to being cheated on? ›
Discovering your partner has cheated can open the gates to a flood of overwhelming emotions. Confusion, grief, physical pain, sadness, anger, and even rage are all normal responses to the pain of betrayal.When should you walk away after infidelity? ›
These are seven signs that it might be time to walk away from your relationship if infidelity has occurred: Your partner doesn't apologize. Your spouse doesn't want to get counselling. Your partner doesn't show a desire to put in the work.What percentage of couples stay married after infidelity? ›
Close to 25% of marriages stay together after an instance of cheating. And more men than women stay married when they are the cheating partner (61% vs 44%).How do I find peace after being cheated on? ›
- Remember: you are not to blame. ...
- Accept that things are going to suck for a while. ...
- Put yourself first. ...
- Try to keep your cool. ...
- Don't make decisions out of fear. ...
- Surround yourself with your squad. ...
- Take a mini-break from socials. ...
- Ask for (professional) help if you need it.
On average, it takes anywhere from eighteen months to three years to recover from a betrayal trauma (and that's with help and support). There are several steps you need to take to move on from the trauma in a healthy way: Validate that the betrayal is trauma.Do I have PTSD from being cheated on? ›
While some can overcome this pain over time, others can find it more difficult. For some who have been betrayed by their partners, infidelity can lead to long-lasting trauma and they may experience symptoms similar to those who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).What does cheating say about a person? ›
The most important thing to remember is what cheating says about a person. They're insecure, impulsive, selfish, and immature. Sometimes, it's a chronic problem that likely won't ever be fixed, just be sure not to ignore the warning signs.How to be intimate after infidelity? ›
- Listen, and avoid pointing fingers. Tetra Images/Getty Images. ...
- Don't get stuck. Tanya-stock/Getty Images. ...
- Speak from the heart. Maskot/Getty Images. ...
- Start the conversation off the right way. ...
- Don't wait to take the first step.
Someone who had an affair and fell in love most likely experienced this because the cheating partner filled in the gaps that their present partner failed to do. Hence, you can tell an affair is true love when you realize that your cheating partner is playing the role of a genuine lover and partner.
What is the biggest betrayal in a relationship? ›
Infidelity is the betrayal our society focuses on, but it is actually the subtle, unnoticed betrayals that truly ruin relationships. When partners do not choose each other day after day, trust and commitment erode away.What hurts the most about betrayal? ›
What makes betrayal so painful is that it is not an act committed by your worst enemies, but it is an act that has been carried out by those you love and trust the most. Many often use the expression “I've been stabbed in the back” to describe an act of betrayal, and it couldn't be closer to the truth.What are common behaviors after a betrayal? ›
Symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares and impaired sleeping, depression, anxiety, brain fog, distrust, dissociation, are common. Betrayed partners often feel as if their reality has been shaken to its core.What is the psychology behind extramarital affairs? ›
"Researchers find that partnerships characterized by dissatisfaction, unfulfilling sex, and high conflict are at higher risk for infidelity," she says. "Also, the more dissimilar partners are—in terms of personality, education level, and other factors—the more likely they are to experience infidelity."Can I sue the other woman for destroying my marriage? ›
It's called alienation of affection. Cathy Meyer is a certified divorce coach, marriage educator, freelance writer, and founding editor of DivorcedMoms.com.Is it wrong to have feelings for another woman? ›
"Oftentimes, women realize they can be sexually attracted to other women but not romantically attracted." The bottom line? Having feelings for a woman even if you've always dated men is totally normal.How do most affairs end? ›
Yet, most affairs usually end one of two ways: with divorce or a stronger current relationship. How the end plays out is up to you, how you choose to react, and how hard you want to work to stay together. Learning how to overcome grief and pain is going to be difficult, but Couples Academy can help.What are the 8 reasons people have affairs? ›
An analysis revealed eight key reasons: anger, self-esteem, lack of love, low commitment, need for variety, neglect, sexual desire, and situation or circumstance.How long do extramarital affairs usually last? ›
Extramarital affairs vary in duration. About 50% may last between one month to a year. Long term affairs may last for about 15 months or more. And about 30% of affairs last about two years and beyond.What states have Homewrecker laws? ›
As of 2022, only Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah still allow alienation of affection lawsuits. And even though these suits might still technically be allowed, courts in most of these states have expressed a dislike for them.
What are your rights if your husband commits adultery? ›
No. California is a no-fault divorce state, and it does not have laws against adultery.What states have alienation of affection? ›
Alienation of affection laws are rare, and only six states still use them. North Carolina is among them, along with New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Hawaii, and Mississippi.What is micro cheating? ›
Summary. Micro-cheating involves participating in inappropriate intimate connections with others outside your relationship.Can a man love 2 woman equally? ›
Emotional behaviours and inclinations
According to Ken Munyua, a Nairobi-based psychologist, men can have a sense of attachment and commitment to more than one romantic partner, which they will define as love. “A man may be able to emotionally commit and attach himself to two women at the same time.