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11 Brutal Truths About Being the Other Woman

CL Grant has authored many relationship books, including "30 Day No Contact Rule," "The Reality of Being the Other Woman," and "Ex Addict."

Discover the brutal truth about being the other woman.

Discover the brutal truth about being the other woman.

Are You Okay Being the Other Woman?

Let’s be honest about this. Becoming "the other woman" to a married man is not the ambition of any sane woman. A young girl playing dress up probably never imagines being a mistress. She wants to be a beautiful bride, wear pretend wedding dresses, get married to the boy of her dreams, and live happily ever after.

Naturally, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Some other women claim to believe that they are happy with the arrangement. Even so, these women are in the minority. The vast majority of ladies who have affairs with married men usually stumble in with their eyes and ears firmly shut. Their deluded hearts are full of false hopes and broken promises, and they are madly in love with their Mr. Unavailable.

Most extramarital affairs are doomed to failure. Be prepared for heartache, disappointment, guilt, and lies. Yes, lies. If a married man can lie to his wife, he can also lie to his mistress. Your first mistake will be thinking that you are somehow different.

If you are inclined to stay in an adulterous relationship, below are 11 brutal truths you need to know about being the other woman.

11 Truths About Being a Mistress

  1. Cheating men rarely leave their wives.
  2. You will never be his first priority.
  3. You will attend special occasions and spend holidays alone.
  4. Your friends and family will think you're single, and you will have to lie.
  5. You will think about him more than he thinks about you.
  6. The sex does not mean he loves you.
  7. He is sleeping with his wife.
  8. You will always be his dirty little secret.
  9. You can never tell the truth or expose the affair.
  10. The truth always comes out in the end.
  11. You will always be the biggest loser.

Truth #1: Cheating Men Rarely Leave Their Wives

Men will have their reasons as to why they are unable to leave their wives. Many of their excuses will promise a deadline, though, giving you false hope.

For example, he tells you his children are still quite young and he is biding his time until they leave school. In your mind, he has given you a promise to leave his wife after the kids leave for school: However, when the school-leaving time arrives, the goal posts shift.

His next excuse becomes the financial burden of his children going to college. He cannot afford to divorce his wife, as the tuition fees are crippling.

Since you have invested so much time and energy in the relationship, the thought of walking away and losing him forever is too much for you to handle, so you end up wasting another three to five years of your life waiting for something that will never happen.

If he wanted to be with you, believe me, he would find a way to make it happen. Do you want to find yourself in the same position ten years down the line?

Truth #2: You Will Never Be His First Priority

He tells you where and when. He frequently cancels at the last moment because of his family commitments. He makes promises, only to break them. Most of your snatched moments together entail sex and you begin to spend less and less time doing other things and going out together.

Initially, you may react angrily to these situations, but eventually you'll become accustomed to his disrespectful behavior. You start adapting your social life to suit his, spending many lonely hours on your own. This rapidly becomes the norm for your relationship. Among other things, his constant cancellations leave you feeling resentful and adversely impact your self-esteem.

Being the other woman means spending a lot of your time alone.

Being the other woman means spending a lot of your time alone.

Truth #3: You Will Spend Special Occasions Alone

While you are lying in bed at night, alone, on your birthday, remember that he is sharing a bed with his wife. Even if you have your own family and friends, they will not be able to fill the emptiness in your heart. It also won’t be only your birthday that he misses. It will be his birthday, Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, etc. He will also be absent for his wife’s birthday, their children’s birthdays, and their wedding anniversary.

Even if he remembers to send you a birthday gift (usually belatedly), it will only be a token gesture to keep you sweet. It will never match the gifts he buys for his wife.

Truth #4: Your Friends and Family Will Think You Are Single

Even though you know that you are in a relationship, none of your family or friends do. You can never introduce him to them. You will always be dateless at social events and holiday parties. If you are ever hospitalized, he will not be the one sitting at your bedside, anxiously waiting for you to wake up.

Stop kidding yourself that he's not enjoying quality time with his family.

Stop kidding yourself that he's not enjoying quality time with his family.

Truth #5: You Think About Him More Than He Thinks About You

Just because he spends a few minutes of his day sending you suggestive text messages, this does not mean that you are always on his mind. He is maintaining the bare minimum of contact that he thinks will suffice. Even if he tells you that you are all that he can think about, when he is with his family, it just isn't true. He is telling you what you want to hear. When he is lying on a beach on some tropical island with his family, you will be far from his thoughts.

Truth #6: Sleeping With You Does Not Mean He Loves You

Women tend to interpret sex as a sign of commitment and love: Men do not. For them, sex is a physical activity which they can separate from their emotions. Intimacy does not equate to love for them.

This physical detachment explains why some men cheat so readily. They can be in love with their wives and yet still sleep with other women. You would be extremely foolish to presume that he doesn’t love his wife just because he is having sex with you.

Truth #7: He Is Sleeping With His Wife

There are very few men who turn down an offer to sleep with their partner. It may not happen as often as he likes, but there will be some degree of intimacy between him and his wife. He may even say that he sleeps with her only to make things look normal and avoid raising suspicion. However, he will never divulge the true extent of their intimacy.

Meanwhile, you will be expected to be totally faithful to him and not date other men.

Truth #8: You Will Always Be His Dirty Little Secret

As far as the adulterous male is concerned, you will always be a secret. His friends and family will know nothing about you. You will also be limited in the places that you can visit together, for fear of being seen.

You may have the privilege of being his "friend" on social media such as Facebook, but he will never acknowledge you as being anything more than that. Indeed, you may even have to endure the painful humiliation of witnessing him posting endless photographs of his wife and family.

If he is not prepared to go public about his relationship with you, then he does not want to lose his wife. He will continue to keep you a secret for as long as you allow him to.

Truth #9: You Can Never Expose the Affair

One of the worst possible things you can do is to try to break up his marriage by telling his wife. He will not thank you for it, and you risk alienating yourself. It won’t achieve the outcome or satisfaction that you hope for. Indeed, you will undoubtedly cause yourself more psychological harm than good.

Even if the affair is exposed, the prospect of you getting together is slim. If he does move in, it will only be a short-term measure. He will be looking to salvage his marriage.

Truth #10: The Truth Always Comes Out in the End

No matter how careful you think you have been, the truth has a way of revealing itself. The longer the affair continues, the more careless you become. While he may delete every single text message and email, are you honestly doing the same? Are you sure there is no incriminating evidence to be found?

Furthermore, even though you should never expose the affair, the same rule doesn't apply to him. Indeed, he may feel so overcome with guilt that he confesses to his wife without even consulting with you first. Alternatively, his wife may become suspicious and figure things out for herself. Either way, it won’t be a secret for long.

Truth #11: You Will Always Be the Biggest Loser

While it may take two to tango, it is inevitably the other woman who is blamed for the extramarital affair. Besides being assigned a myriad of unflattering names, you may also discover your married girlfriends giving you a wide berth. Suddenly, you become a social pariah.

Do not expect much sympathy, either. Mistresses are perceived as perpetrators rather than victims of the affair. It is rarely the man’s fault; he was tempted away. It is emotionally beneficial for cheated wives to think this way. Blaming the other woman enables wives to overlook how they (or their husbands) contributed to the breakdown of the marriage. It also allows wives to ignore the fact that they married a loser.

Eventually, you will come to realize that you have wasted your precious time on an unavailable man whose only goal was sexual gratification. (If you are ready to learn the emotional and psychological reasons for why you participated in the cheating, read Why Women Fall for Married Men, and How to Move on Once You Have.)

Does Being the Other Woman Ever Work Out?

In 2014, after extensive research, I published a book about the reality of being the other woman. It provides a candid insight into what it is like to be a mistress and identifies rules and reality checks about what to expect. I was overwhelmed by many of the responses I received. Due to the stigma attached to being a mistress, many women felt alone and isolated, unable to discuss their emotions with anyone else. Others felt rather indignant about being held accountable for their actions.

Nonetheless, it has never been my intention to judge. Research indicates that nearly 50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation. Of these, 55% cite adultery as being one of the causes of divorce. However, do not be lulled into a false sense of security, since infidelity does not always lead to the breakup of a marriage. More often than not, a cheating husband will dump his mistress and beg to stay with his wife.

It is also worthwhile to remember that, while 41% of first marriages end in divorce, for second and third marriages, the divorce rate rises significantly to 60% and 73%, respectively. So even if you did end up marrying your lover, the chance that your relationship will last is slim.

How to Stop Being the Other Woman

Being the other woman is a thankless task. Whether it "just happened" or you think it was "just meant to be," in the long-term, it will only result in torment and heartache. If he genuinely loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you, then he will separate from and divorce his wife to make that happen.

If he is not prepared to do that then, believe me, he is only in it for what he can get and has no intention whatsoever of leaving his wife. The more you expect from an extramarital affair, the more likely you are to be hurt and disappointed.

The best thing you can do is to respect yourself and leave the relationship with your head held high and your dignity intact. You must learn to value yourself and cherish your time. If you need further advice on how to follow though, then you should strongly consider implementing the No Contact Rule. Ask yourself honestly just how much more pain you can endure.


  1. General Social Survey.(2010 - 2016) [28 March 2019]
  2. Institute for Family Studies (2018). Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Cheating in America. [28 March 2019]
  3. Knopp, K., Scott, S.B., Ritchie, L.L., Rhoades, G.K., Markman, H.J., & Stanley, S.M. (2017). Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater? Serial Infidelity Across Subsequent Relationships.[28 March 2019]

Questions & Answers

Question: Why is my husband's ex mistress doing her best to keep in touch with me? They had an affair three years ago. Ever since then, I have had to endure a horrible texting war with her. Now, she has changed tact, is acting like an angel and trying to stay in touch with me. What are her real motives?

Answer: I'm surprised that you have engaged with this woman for as long as you have. What did you hope to achieve by trading insults? You really need to block her number and cut her out of your life. You owe her nothing.

It sounds as if she still wants to be part of your husband's life and is fishing for information. She wants to know what is happening and is no doubt hoping that you are on the verge of splitting up. Don't give her the satisfaction. Stop communicating with her and cut all ties immediately.

Question: I am my boss's mistress and I am finding it difficult to end the relationship. What should I do?

Answer: In short, get a new job. If you work in a large organization, perhaps you could ask for a transfer to a different office or department.

The last thing you need, is to ruin your career as well as your personal life.

In the meantime, ensure you always adopt a professional attitude in work and treat your boss as your colleague, and not your lover.

Question: If you were the spouse, how would you feel seeing the husband's mistress (we are not divorced) named in the family tree?

Answer: I'm guessing I would feel extremely insulted.

However, if your husband has a child with his mistress, or marries her in the future, then she would have a legitimate standing on the family tree. Aside from this, there is no reason why her name should appear.

Without knowing the exact details, I would also be inclined to consult a divorce lawyer.

© 2012 C L Grant