“I am the Other Woman” | Stories from the Women in Affairs
If you’ve ever said “I am the other woman”, you know firsthand just how complex it is to be in a relationship with a married man. There are aspects of your relationship that people in non-affair partnerships can’t really relate to. However, once you connect with a woman who has been in your shoes, you find a unique level of mutual understanding.
This is why connecting with other women who’ve been the other woman can be such a positive experience—because it’s a reminder that you aren’t alone in what you’re going through (even though it feels like it at times).
If you’ve ever been interested to hear stories from the other women in affairs, you’re in the right place. This post is an opportunity to lean into the perspectives of the other woman, using words they’ve shared directly inside our supportive community.
Are you in a relationship with a married man and want to talk with someone who gets what you’re going through? I was in a 7 year affair as the other woman, so when we work together in my 1-1 Affair Recovery Coaching you can trust I understand what you’re going through.
I also offer access to a private support community for the other woman in affair relationships—a healthy, non-judgemental space where you can feel validated, seen, and understood for the significance of your situation.
Stories from Women Who’ve Said “I am the Other Woman” — Can You Relate?
Being the other woman is a niche and nuanced situation to be in. As the other woman in an affair relationship, you’ve encountered some unique circumstances that only other women who’ve been there too could relate to.
I was the other woman to a married man, and my affair story lasted 7 years. Being the other woman is painful. It’s isolating. I felt so bad about being the other woman that I told no one for all of those years. No one can truly relate to what it feels like to be the other woman in an affair unless they have lived it, so getting the right help as the other woman is not easy to come by.
Here, I’ve gathered some quotes from our community members relating to experiences with their affair partners (APs). Many of these quotes may resonate as situations you too have been in as part of your affair.
My hope is that reading these phrases, you’ll feel less alone. Because, at the very least, you deserve to find community in the shared experiences of the other women out there.
An on-and-off-again dynamic.
“When we broke up, I would feel relief for a week and then be obsessed again.”
Affair relationships are an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you’re off, and then you’re on. Once this becomes established as a part of your relationship cycle, this hot-and-cold pattern can leave you feeling powerless and with little hope that you can end it for good
Embracing the chase.
“I felt so wanted and loved when he pursued me all the time, and I would constantly refuse him.”
When you have said “no” so many times, eventually you start falling for him and give in to a relationship dynamic you would never go out looking for.
Being pursued is supposed to feel good. But if you’re worried that the chase could end, you might do everything you can to keep your affair partner interested and on his toes. While this takes a lot of your energy, you may feel it’s worth it if it means not losing him.
Concern for your affair partner’s wife.
“I’m worried about his wife.”
Thinking about your affair partner’s wife and even feeling worried about her is very common in relationships with married men. You can’t help but put yourself in her shoes, which leads to internalised feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety.
Downplaying (or even abandoning) your needs.
“I don’t have the right to say how I feel.”
As the other woman in an affair relationship, you may feel like you haven’t earned the right to express your own needs—after all, “he has a wife and family”. Often, other women will settle into a “take what they can get” mentality–-even when the reality is they have every right to express their desires, and so do you.
Feeling like you met at the perfect time.
“We met at a low period—He was like rain to a desert.”
Did you meet him at one of your most vulnerable times? It’s not uncommon to connect with a married man while you are going through your own personal challenges or in a stage where you are finding yourself. In any case, when he entered your life, you were primed to embrace the attention he gave you.
Falling into a secret routine.
“We would talk on his drive home from work every day.”
Whether it’s meeting in secret or finding ways to connect privately over the phone, you and your affair partner will likely form your own specific routine around the best times to chat or meet without getting caught. In the early days this can feel fun but as time goes on often it leaves you empty inside. Feeling like you are always compromising your day to day activities to fit inside his (often unpredictable) schedule.
An uncertain view of your future.
“I feel like he’s keeping me in limbo.”
When it comes to how the other woman feels in an affair, you can probably bet on a high level of uncertainty. Your entire future may feel like it’s hinging on his next move, while you wait for the relationship to play out on his terms.
Feeling like he’s the one.
“I feel like he is my soulmate.”
There are several reasons why you’ve chosen to invest yourself in this relationship, and feeling like your AP is your soulmate may be one of them. Just remember: If this relationship diminishes or depletes you, you deserve better even when you have a soul connection.
Feeling responsible for his feelings.
“I’m scared of hurting him.”
Do you censor what you say and do to avoid hurting your affair partner’s feelings? A lot of women in this situation can relate to feeling this way. You might walk on eggshells or not say how you really feel so he doesn’t have to experience discomfort in any way.
Not knowing how to end it.
“I want to end it on good terms.”
If you’re thinking about ending an affair relationship, you may also be struggling with how to do it the “right” way—a way where you don’t hurt your affair partners feelings. Just know that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how to end it, and that leaving the relationship on good terms isn’t always within your control.
Crying every night.
“I love him so much, but I don’t have any more tears left to cry.”
Many women can relate to the deep sadness and loneliness that permeates an affair relationship. Loving him and wanting to be with him while he’s unable to commit can lead to a nightly crying session, and for many women it does.
Feeling lost in the lies.
“I want to be the same person in every room.”
It’s exhausting having to track your stories and lies. Whether it’s keeping a workplace affair under wraps or hiding the truth from your family and friends, being dishonest can really start to take a toll on you.
A conflicting or confusing attachment.
“If he said he’s leaving his wife, I wouldn’t even want to be monogamous with him, so why do I want him so bad?”
You want to be with him… until the thought of being monogamous with him creeps in. While it seems counterproductive, a lot of women in affair relationships experience this. This is evidence that two sides of you are in conflict—the side that yearns for his affection, and the side that knows you deserve more.
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting.
“He’s going to tell his wife. I don’t want to pressure him.”
Will he tell his wife? You’ve been assured he’s going to tell his wife about you, or that he plans on leaving her soon. So you play the waiting game for weeks, months, and years—and avoid bringing it up to him even though it’s weighing on you.
Excusing his behaviour.
“He was always chatting women up and It made me feel good because I was the chosen one. Now it turns me off looking back at how he acted.”
In an affair relationship dynamic, it’s normal to rationalise the behaviour of your affair partner. Sometimes, it’s behaviour you wouldn’t even accept under any other circumstance.
Having your boundaries tested or crossed.
“He likes breaking my boundaries.”
Every time you stand up for yourself, he puts your boundaries to the test. He even seems to enjoy pushing you to the limit—perhaps to see how much you’re willing to give (as if the sacrifices you’ve made thus far aren’t enough). His pushing can often feel like love — “He wants me that much he will go the length to win me over”.
Giving more than you get.
“The risk doesn’t outweigh the reward.”
The highs with your married lover feel so good yet the lows that also come with affair relationships are soul-crushing and leave you feeling empty, emotional, and powerless. There is a lot of risk involved in an affair with a married man. After all, he already has a partner… so as much as his attention feels so damn good, it does leave you at times to go be with his family, leaving you with the feeling of incomplete love. There’s the risk of investing in an uncertain future, the risk of being vulnerable and having it backfire, and the risk of getting caught and the cost that will bring to your friends, job, family if they find out.. This can make you feel like you’re sticking your neck out—and giving a lot more than you get in the relationship.
Questioning your gut instincts.
“Do I trust this guy?”
While you might love your AP, you might at times question his words or his actions.. These conflicting feelings leave you steeped in self-doubt and wondering if you can trust your instincts. Do I feel truly safe that he can respect, have compassion for, and protect my deepest thoughts and feelings? The thought could also be crossing your mind that if he’s cheating on his wife with you, he could very well turn around and do the same thing if you were in a monogamous relationship.
Finding the secrecy enticing.
“It’s forbidden, and that’s what makes it so attractive.”
Keeping your relationship a secret can be heavy, but it can also be alluring. As surprising as it can be, that element of your relationship can actually draw you in. Ask yourself: Does this excitement also carry the same vibration of anxiety? Often the charge of anxiety can be underneath the excitement. Although the adrenaline feels captivating and exciting and can give you a whole new zest for life, does this love allow you to relax and be at peace in your body?
Putting his needs first.
“I didn’t want to rock the boat, especially because he was going through a lot.”
During your affair relationship, you may go to great lengths to put his needs first. He may confide in you about his family issues or stressors at work. He may tell you things like “you are the only thing fun in my life right now”. This often creates an unconscious responsibility and desire to be there for him when others haven’t been. If you’ve developed a pattern of putting your feelings aside to placate him, this could be a sign of a codependency in your relationship.
Hanging on to hope.
“He always said he would never leave his wife, why do I not feel chosen when he warned me?”
Your AP may have been blunt about where you stand—and the lack of future he sees for the two of you (even though he continues to carry on with you). Yet there’s still a part of you that hangs onto the possibility that this could change. As much as he has told you there’s no future, his actions don’t communicate that.
It’s completely natural to hold onto hope when a married man continues to give you love, admiration and affection. It’s time to draw a boundary at mixed signals and ask that his actions match his words.
Wondering if his wife knows.
“It’s been 15 years… surely the wife knows? Or does she not?”
Does his wife know about his affair, or doesn’t she? Accepting you may never know the answer is a typical experience for the other woman. I believe many married women can feel the truth deep down. But despite women having strong intuitions, the emotional pain associated with acknowledging the truth and the challenges we might encounter can seem insurmountable. As a result, many choose to deny the reality to maintain peace.
Feeling like it’s your job to be there for him.
“I feel a sense of obligation to be together now that he’s divorcing.”
This quote comes from a community member who was with her AP for over 10 years, and it really highlights the perspective of the other woman in terms of obligation.
Even though he hasn’t always been there for you, and has taken a lifetime to commit fully and wholly to you, like this woman you may feel like it’s your responsibility to be there for him once he does finally listen to your needs. Often, by the time they finally act on what you want, there is a part of you that is emotionally done with it all.
Feeling bad for him.
“I care for him so much—he struggles a lot and feels like he can’t do anything right.”
“When I hear him so upset, I want to stick up for him.”
Being in this relationship has not been easy on you. Mentally and emotionally, you’ve given all you can. But as you continue to give all your focus and energy towards him, ask yourself: What percentage am I caring for me? Do I care about my own well-being in this as much as I care for him?
Avoidant communication—especially when it comes to tough conversations.
“He’s such a good listener and so supportive but when I say the hard stuff it’s like I hit a brick wall.”
The married man you’re seeing may be a great listener… until it requires any sort of commitment or change on his behalf. As soon as you’re expressing your needs to him, the wall goes up, he may defend himself and his actions or talk you out of your feelings. He may refuse to engage entirely and even subject you to the silent treatment, discouraging you from ever bringing it up again.
This can make you feel small, too needy, and too much. This is not the case! He may simply not have the capacity to hold all of you in a way that feels emotionally safe and nourishing.
Accepting your relationship—at any cost.
“I feel like I am safe in this knowing where he stands, with another partner who’s only with me, I could fear that he would cheat.”
Infidelity can actually create an unconscious cocoon of safety. “I can love you but you can only get so close” “You can’t fully reject me if I can’t ever fully have you”. You feel like you can’t or won’t find a better connection so you accept a love that deep down feels incomplete.
Being the other woman can feel like safe love to the unhealed parts of us. The first step to change is noticing this may be where you feel safe, but this is not where you want your bar for safe, healthy love to be.
Take An Empowering Step Forward in Your Story
I hope these quotes from women who have said “I am the other woman” act as an anchor for you in the journey ahead. Just like you’ve related to some of the phrases shared here, so many women would find understanding in your stories too.
Being the other woman in an affair relationship can be lonely and isolating, but the truth is so many women have stood where you have—and they’ve found their own empowered way through it, whatever that has looked like for them.
If you’re ready to take the reins on what’s written in your story next, let’s talk about your support options: 1-1 coaching with me, and/or tapping into a supportive community.
To get started book a free, 15-minute discovery call today. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing about your unique experiences.
More resources for the other woman: