The Mistresses’ Affair Rules

12 Affair Rules for the Other Woman

Pursuit of HappinessLife, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Our societal structure supports our right to create the life we want for ourselves, and to work towards our dreams and desires – in fact, we are positively encouraged to pursue our happiness. Unfortunately, our single-minded pursuit of our own satisfaction often comes at a price – we sometimes make choices that hurt others.

In our free society we are privileged to be able to behave improperly if we choose.

In getting involved with a married man, you know exactly what you are getting into. After all, you’re researching rules on how to be the other woman – you absolutely know what you are getting into but have decided to do it anyway.

Without diving into the obvious contradictions here, if you’re going to be the other woman at least try to do it with a degree of honesty, consideration, and integrity and follow some simple affair rules.

1. Don’t Do It

I know, rule number 1 is don’t do it?? Assuming you’re of the mind that this is your life and you’re going to live it how you choose regardless of how your choices impact others, then telling you not to do it will fall on your very deaf ears.

The ethical thing would be to sever contact with him until such time that he honorably ends his marriage to pursue a relationship with you. Instead, you’ve deemed that any harm caused by your involvement with a married man is an acceptable price for you getting what you want.

I won’t needlessly flog the dead horse, but it had to be said anyway.

2. Don’t Believe He’s Faithful to You

That might be a little ironic to point out in this situation, but it is what it is.

  1. While in our experience it’s not common for cheaters to have multiple, concurrent affairs (though it does happen), we observe that men always continue to have/try to have sex with their wives throughout their affair(s).
  2. If you happen to be in the unfortunate position of having a serial cheater on your hands (and it’s very common for a cheater to be a serial cheater) be clear that he will cheat on any woman with whom he’s involved, despite any love declarations.

Cheaters can be highly unoriginal and in our experience affairs are often shady facsimiles of their previous dating relationships. Trust that he’s used the same lines before, even if they were on his wife. Please take his promises, assurances, and declarations with a whole sack of rock salt.

3. Make a Condom Mandatory

How Infidelity Is DiscoveredEthics aside, the intelligent and safe way forward in an affair requires some minimal precautions: Get tested and use condoms.

Unfortunately, you both bring your own sexual history to the table and then he goes home and shares yours with his wife. (And refer to 2 – despite his declarations, you might not be his first or only affair.)

In all of this, none of you deserve to contract an STI. But you have an advantage over his wife because you at least understand that there is a third person in the mix – she doesn’t.

You might not give two hoots about her but do the ethical thing, in this at least, and use a condom. Not all STIs are curable.

4. Stay Away From Their Kids

Don’t weaponize kids or use them to try to curry favor or as convenient cover. Using their children as a way to facilitate their father’s affair -even if it’s at his instigation- raises red flags about who you truly are. Woman up here – they’re kids – gently refuse to get involved with them until after he’s divorced.

There is, if you like, an etiquette of the illicit which is vital to protect the innocent in these situations — his partner, his children.
Carol Sarler: I was a mistress three times

Don’t screw their children up by giving them an obvious memory of their father being unfaithful to their mother with you. It will cause a negative dynamic with them if you become part of their lives legitimately, as their father’s girlfriend or new wife.

5. Don’t Make Friends With His Wife

In fact, don’t contact her in person at all, everThere’s no legitimate reason to make in-person contact with his wife unless it’s your spiteful, deliberate, and malicious intent to gloat or cause an uproar.

Many mistresses exact revenge not upon the miscreant himself, but upon his family.

Carol Sarler: I was a mistress three times

There is nothing you can say that will help her, mitigate what her husband is doing, or make her think better of you (or him). She will see through any faux concern or solidarity (especially if he has dumped you).

She does have a right to know about her husband’s affair but she will recognize your own self-interest in you choosing to disclose the affair to her: I’m the Other Woman: Should I Tell His Wife?

6. Observe a No Go Zone

No Go ZoneOh the thrill of having sex in their bed? Err … no. It’s seedy, it’s ugly, and it’s malicious. It’s the equivalent of a dog pissing on the carpet to mark its territory. Get a room. Seriously. Stay away from their home.

Whilst an affair is the opposite of respecting boundaries, at least respect property boundaries. Don’t spy, don’t stalk, don’t sit at the end of the drive craning your neck for a glimpse of him/them. This is her home, her life, her family, and her belongings with her husband. You are not invited or entitled to observe or experience their or her life.

7. Stop Justifying

You might postulate how monogamy is unnatural, how it’s an unrealistic artificial societal construct, and how you’re a free spirit and how you intend to carpe diem the hell out of life.

You might wax lyrical about soulmates, karma, free choice, and how a higher power wouldn’t have thrust you together (excuse the imagery) unless your love was for realsies.

You might indulge in invective about his wife’s inadequacies, imperfections, and unworthiness, contrasting those to your own stellar qualities, but please understand that you didn’t win in a competition with her – he’s involved with you because you are the kind of person who will participate in an affair.

You might genuinely consider any animus or vindictiveness you feel towards his wife as uncharacteristic and believe you are a good person. Does it follow that you’re a good person if you continue to cause harm while knowing that it is harmful?

Stop dressing it up: You are knowingly and deliberately complicit in harming another person because you consider it an acceptable price for your own satisfaction. 

8. Pay Your Own Way

Cheaters are very concerned with how they are perceived and he probably delights in your thanking him for expressing his ‘feelings’ for you by spending money on lingerie and jewelry. However, we often encounter wives who are struggling to feed their kids (and that’s not hyperbole) because their husband spent the grocery money on a fancy dinner to impress his other woman.

You’re not impressed with dinner. We both know that because buying dinner is an unremarkable and easy thing to do – after all, you’ve been successfully buying your own food for years. Don’t be part of that hideous version of prostitution where you expect to be showered with treats or gifts as the upside to the inconvenience of not being his wife.

You knew what you were getting into – if you expect gifts as compensation for the inconvenience of your choices, why not just put a tariff sheet above your bed?

9. Don’t Insinuate Yourself Into Her Life/Home

Don’t buy him a dog, or give him a pet rock. Don’t buy him clothes or cologne. Don’t plant little mementos of you (love notes, lipstick marks, scratches, panties) on him. Don’t attend venues he’s attended with his wife and family, or try to hang out with his friends. Don’t send birthday gifts to his kids’ birthday parties.

First, you have no rights. Your feelings and your needs are at the bottom of the heap: below his wife’s, his children’s and their hamster’s. So no, you may not phone his home — ‘just to hear his voice’ — and slam it down if his wife answers.

Neither can you ask to hear from him during weekends, holidays or at Christmas, regardless of your loneliness or sudden illnesses. You are on your own. You will not send saucy emails or photographs that his wife could stumble upon on their home computer — even if he asks you to.

Carol Sarler: I was a mistress three times

Observe a clear demarcation between his affair (you) and his life (his family and home).

10. Don’t Indulge Your Affair Via Facebook

facebook_logoDon’t use social media to post pictures of the two of you together. Don’t post status updates about illicit love or passionate longing. Don’t post details of your hook up arrangements. It’s tacky, it’s unnecessary, and it’s smug. It’s also very unattractive to a married man trying keeping you on the down-low. If you feel the urge to try to get your relationship out from under the rock, refer to 5, 6 and 9.

It’s absurd to treat his affair with you like a normal relationship: If you want to do all those usual relationship social media things, hook up with someone single.

11. Don’t Get Pregnant

I know, you’d NEVER trap him like that and you’re insulted that anyone could suggest it. In our experience it’s abhorrently common for the other woman to try to trap the married man with a pregnancy. You might believe that you’re different but emotions can run high in affair land – and we’ve already established that you are prepared to throw your ethics out of the window if it means you getting what you want (refer to 1), so let’s not pretend here.

Oh, and refer to 3. Again.

12. Prepare Your Break-Up Song

I know – your love is different: It’s special; he’s different; he’s not a tawdry cheater; you’re not the stereotypical other woman; it wasn’t planned, it just happened. Refer to 7.

Unfortunately, if you have dreams of marrying him and living happily ever after, the odds aren’t in your favor. Understand that most affairs end – not all, but most. When you’re dreaming of becoming Mrs Cheating Married Man remember that his second marriage has a 67% chance of failing just because it’s his second marriage, affair aside. If you then factor in affair statistics, only 25% of the few affairs that become marriages actually last – added to the already dismal second marriage figures, it’s a rather sorry picture.

So, if you’re holding out hope that your affair-to-marriage will beat the odds, buckle up buttercup because only an approximate 0.13% of the population fits that demographic.

“A man who marries his mistress leaves a vacancy in that position.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Sobered by that incredibly tiny likelihood that your relationship with him will last, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting a breakup song for you:

Affair rules for the other womanWhile you’re wailing in anguish about how he wre-e-ecked you, refer to 1: You deemed that any harm caused by your involvement with a married man was an acceptable price for you getting what you wanted.

You named the price – you can’t legitimately cry and complain that you ended up paying it too.

Carpe that?

You may also like:

  • Rules and boundaries for my mistress
    Rules and Boundaries for My Mistress

  • Disclosing an Affair: To Tell or Not To Tell?
  • Affair Help: The Mistress
    The Mistress of Self-Deception

  • The Other Woman: The Zoology

  • I’m the Other Woman: Should I Tell His Wife?


“I'm not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw


  1. Dear Carol,

    I have been out of an affair for almost 10 months. It was a very intense emotional and physical affair lasting almost 3 years. We were meeting each others needs on multiple levels, needs that were lacking in our primary relatiionships. He did love his wife, but not in love with her. His wife was not physically intimate (said her body didn’t work right???) but told me all was fine when they were first married. He didn’t find her physcially attractive as well. He said she would not go to therapy to address her initimacy issues. He felt like they were roomates and there just raise there son. So he sought love and affection elsewhere…………. and we found each other.

    We spoke to each other everyday, meeting a several times a week and traveled together a few times. We enjoyed making passionate love to each other, quiet conversations, romantic dinners. We exchanged wonderful good morning and good night texts daily. I tried to always be there for him, to listen, laugh and love with him. He said he had never loved anyone like he loved me. I knew my feelings for him were genuine.

    Over the years, he regularly stated that once his son was off to college we would be together. He called me his partner, the love of his life, the one he wanted to spend the rest of his days with. I felt I was tool to keep there marriage together and I resented it. She didn’t have to work on her intimacy issus and keep enjoying her lifestyle. He felt justified in his infidilety, I did not. However I accept my responsibily that I continued to let my emotional needs be met in an unhealty way.

    I chose to ignore some very major red flags in our relationship until one day a flag was so gigantic, I could not ignore it. After a nice weekend and some miscommunication, I felt very disrepected. I chose to say quiet for about a day while I could think through my feelings. Very shortly after that I texted him “better to say nothing than say something in anger” (he used this line on me when he pulled one of his silent treatments). Prior to sending my text he didn’t even bother to check if I was dead or alive but instead spent that time on an affair website. He tried to deny this but I had evidence to the contrary that he was actually looking.

    I came to realize that the man I gave my heart, mind, body and soul to was in it for his own gain and intersests. It was easier for him to discard me than face any kind of criticism. Even after all that he said to me, telling me DAILY FOR ALMOST 3 YEARS that I was the love of his life, the one he wanted to be with for the long term, it was just an illusion. I truly loved this man like I had loved no other. He was a fraud and I was replaceable.

    This is where rules have to be abided.

    Out of complete emotional shock of seeing how easily he could write me off, I sent just ONE anynonmous email to his wife with his profile pictures from the website. I sent NOTHING about our affair nor about the different affair he had for 2 years before me, a total of 5 years he had been cheating on his wife.

    I feel HORRIBLE for sending her that email. He said that I put his marriage in jeopardy and his relationship with his son at risk. I was dumbfounded by those words. Marriage in jeopardy???? I didn’t understand this, especially after everything he said to me. I realized that he was faking a future with me and saying something different to his wife. Lies of omission stance. He said I hurt her with that email. What???? Hmmmmm, engaging in affairs didn’t hurt your wife???? I also asked him how hurt would his wife be if after 20 years of marriage he decided to divorce. He wouldn’t respond. You just wasted valuable years of her life. The sad part is I caught him with another woman 6 months after me. Seeing him with another woman confirmed that he is a serial cheater. Other than the one email, I have not sent his wife ANYTHING. He said I ruined us with that one email, all I could think is he must not have thought much of relationship if he could easily discard me.

    I was a shell of person after everything. Anger, shock, resentment, self loathing, guilt (more guilt thinking I had hurt his wife) started to take their toll on me. My husband could see I was physcially deteriorating (down to 85 lbs), depression set in. He knew something was VERY wrong and finally asked me what was going on. I was so scared tell my husband, but I did. He put his arms around me and said “you are my wife, I love you and we will get through this together”. It was as if heavy weight had been lifted and I could finally start to heal. Counseling and a lot of self discovery have been beneficial. I have come to suspect that my affair partner was a narcissist and definitely know he is a serial cheater. No amount of love can change this type of person.

    There is not a day that goes by that he isn’t in my thoughts or I wake up dreaming about him. I still have days where I grieve the loss of my relationship with my affair partner. I miss him dearly (or I should write I miss who I thought he was) and there will always be a place in my heart for him. Even though he lives close, in order to heal I take an active role in no contact. I will always love him on some level but know I can never see my lover again.

    Living a lie is no way to live. I take each day as it comes, some days better than others. My husband has been a tremendous support. We had to really face our own issues to help in mending our marriage. It is getting better and I am hopeful.

    • I am encouraged that you are no longer in the affair and that you have confessed it to your husband. I understand that you feel loss and grief, but your husband is the one who deserves your focus and attention, not your or your ex affair partner. You’ve written very little about your HUSBAND’S pain and upset here, and that saddens me. As you said about your ex affair partner’s wife, “Hmmmmm, engaging in affairs didn’t hurt your wife????” – well, your affair hurt your husband similarly.

      A spouse who is supportive and prepared to try and work through this with you deserves your concern to be about him, not yourself and your ex affair partner. Even if he seems to be coping and strong, finding out that his wife had a long term physical and emotional affair must have been devastating. You indulged your own desires for years regardless of him – he deserves now to have you put him first.

      That you’re still dreaming of your ex affair partner after 10 months is a problem. I’d ask you to take a long hard look at your situation, and ask if you are fully committed to your husband or if he’s just a safe, default position, in lieu of your ex affair partner?

      The affair rules in Carol Sarler’s own article that you seem to agree with are not founded in any form of ethical thinking. The better affair rule has to be this: If you agreed to a monogamous relationship and change your mind, exit the relationship and find one aligned with your position on non-monogamy.

      If you remain in the relationship and simply engage in deceitful and manipulative behaviors to indulge your own selfish desires, what you’re saying is, “I am prepared to dupe my spouse in order that I may maintain my lifestyle uninterrupted, while all the time seeking life with someone else.” I believe your husband deserves better.

      The affair is over – and yet you’re clinging onto it as if it is the relationship you really dream of for yourself. If that’s the case, it’s time for an ethical reality check – time to woman up and release your husband from a sham of a marriage and move on.

      Your husband deserves more than to be in a relationship with you when you are still mooning over your fantasy relationship with someone else. As you said yourself, “living a lie is no way to live”.

      I wish you and your husband well, and hope that you can see from your story here that even now, you are still mired in affair thinking – and that you are open and honest about that with your husband.

    • Murdock Peterka

      Cheaters are cheaters – no matter how long they’ve been cheating with you. It’s a character issue that “love” does not change. It always amazes me when people are hurt and angered when their cheater cheats on them.

  2. I am having an affair with a man who has been estranged from his wife and son for nearly 4 years, but they are still together. She lives in another country, but is coming to join him in a matter of months. We have been together for nearly two years. I love him intensely, but he indulges himself with other women too. I think I am the main one – we share a lot together and and see each other nearly every day. I know he has other women because I’ve seen so much evidence. He continues to vehemently deny it, even when I found women’s things in his bedroom and in his bed. I will never know the full truth, and I am so angry that he refuses to be honest with me. I see it as a sign of disrespect and that he is protecting his other relationships so they can continue. I wasn’t thinking when I fell into this relationship. I was led by intense emotions. I would never cause trouble for his wife and son, because they don’t deserve that. He actually belongs to them, not me, as much as I would like it to be otherwise. Though I am not out of this relationship; I am deeply attached to him and on top of that, obsessed by finding the truth about his other women. I feel that if he was open about his polyamorous/promiscuous lifestyle, I could at least make informed decisions about where I stand in regard to that. It would be a mark of respect for me and and my intelligence. Unfortunately I feel it’s deeply seated sexism on his part to be like this. I want a normal life and a good partner who I can introduce to my family and friends. I’m not usually one to write in something like this, but I’m feeling desperate. My questionis: is it possible to maintain contact and friendship with someone in this situation, without being lovers????? I really would like that, but I don’t know how to let go. I am terrified that he will just drop me like a hot potato when his family arrive, and not look back, leaving me devastated. How can I detach? Do you have any pearls of wisdom for me? Kind regards and thanks for your honesty.

    • You think you are “the main one”??? Havent laught that loud on a bus for years, thank you for that.
      It amazes me that the other women always feel its ok to cheat on the wife but they are very surprised when it happens to them… Why is that???
      Are you some special super incredible creature??? Entitlement much?

  3. Crispy Onions, there is so much to this story and what you’ve asked, that I recommend you register with our discussion forum and seek assistance from the community there.

    You haven’t said whether his wife is aware of you or the other women or if she has agreed to an open marriage, but I will say a few things assuming that she does not know of her husband’s ongoing serial cheating and that she hasn’t entered an open marriage.

    If you see his cheating on you as a sign of disrespect, and that you believe that you deserve honesty about his choices so that you can make an informed decision for your life, then his wife deserves the same thing. Your continued relationship with a cheater makes you knowingly complicit with, and actively engaging in, willfully causing injury to another person and a family. No, it is not all down to you, but you are not innocent of it at all either. You are showing her the same disrespect and insult that you complain is being inflicted on you, and you don’t get to have it both ways. You say you would never cause trouble for his wife and son – I put it to you that in fact, you would, you are and you have. You’re dressing it up very nicely for yourself though.

    A man who has been ‘estranged’ from his wife but is still together isn’t an estranged husband. It may be imperfect, bumpy, with periods of separation, but they are in a marriage -a relationship (and unless it’s an agreed open marriage)- and you are not part of it. If this man wants you sufficiently, he would exit his primary relationship, end it, make appropriate and honorable arrangements for his wife and child’s future, and then come knocking on your door. If you want to be anything more than second best or a convenient fuck-buddy without commitment, you owe it to yourself to remove yourself from this mess with dignity, and give him the opportunity to make his choices without pressure from you.

    I personally wouldn’t characterize his cheating as sexism. Cheating is more about entitlement and ethics. You are facilitating the same behavior that you claim you don’t want. There would be no cheaters if there weren’t willing affair partners. You might like to read this post, about the lies that mistresses tell themselves: The Mistress of Self Deception

    My guess is that this serial cheater (and serial liar) has no intention of leaving his wife or family. My guess is that he won’t end the affair with you either – it’s all win for him, so what possible motivation does he have to lose an easy avenue for his self-indulgence?

    I also see nothing at all to recommend him as a person. Someone of his character isn’t someone to be proud to introduce to your family.

    To your question of is it possible? Well, anything’s possible. Is it likely? Not a chance! It’s time to choose. Forever second best, the tawdry secret with the married cheater for a ‘boyfriend’, or to decide that you deserve better.

    You detach by choice. You detach because you get to decide what kind of person you are, who you want to be, and what basic values you expect in a partner. That you have described him here as a lying, cheating, sexist, demeaning prick should tell you all you need to know.

    You detach by taking of those rose-colored glasses that show you the fantasy of the white dress, the devoted husband, and the picket fence, and look upon the reality you are living. It’s more akin to an ugly troll in rags, living in a swamp with a slew of similar swamp creatures, wallowing around in their own stinkhole and calling it a palace. (And no, I am not calling you an ugly troll hehe – it’s just an analogy.)

    Detachment starts in self-respect and ends in self-worth. If you ever need a reality check, re-read your own comment here, and don’t forget that a relationship born in deceit, ends in deceit.

    I wish you luck and strength to do the right thing for yourself and everyone else involved.

    • Cheaters poison those around them...

      Wayfarer wrote: “Crispy Onions, there is so much to this story and what you’ve asked, that I recommend you register with our discussion forum and seek assistance from the community there…”

      Wayfarer, I just recently discovered IHG, and so am still exploring the site. I’m the spouse who was abused* by the cheater spouse and his cheater partner (who knew he was married.) Are there any kind of safe zones in the forums away from cheaters? Is this addressed anywhere on the site? Thank you.

      *(1) In a free society, I believe infidelity is abuse. (2) I’ve also come to believe that the cheater partner (i.e. “the other woman (or man”)) should be held legally responsible to financially compensate the person(s) upon whom they have knowingly inflicted emotional pain and trauma. (3) I believe women (and men) who knowingly persue and initiate sex with married men/women are a kind of sexual predator.

      Also – and again, in a free society, I also find it to be some kind of uber-bizarre doublethink that:

      (A) any woman *who has sex with a man (or woman) she knows to be married* (i.e. in a “closed” marriage) could in any way consider herself to be a feminist. (Cheaters actively/knowingly participate in the destruction of lives.) And I believe such sexual behavior (i.e. cheating with a “married man”) as repeated behavior is a form of misogyny.

      (B) many of the “cheaters” among us – if asked on the street, so to speak – would totally espouse their support of “gay marriage.” Newsflash (IMO): If you do not respect and support *marriage* (that’s you, cheater), you do not respect and support gay marriage either.

      And finally, how many women (and men) still on planet Earth do not have the freedom to choose who they marry? How many women and men on planet Earth still do not have the right to marry? People in a free society who cheat flaunt their privilege.

      And of “the other woman” in the workplace… How many women are still fighting for the right to work, or access to healthcare to enable them to work, or the right to an education to secure employment? How many female cheaters are in a position to cheat due to gender quotas? Again, flaunted privilege.

      If you’re a workplace cheater, you should resign and open the way for a woman or man who deserves the privilege of employment that you flaunted and cheapened.

      It truly disgusts me that you, cheater(s), believe you had a right to violate my life…

      End soapbox.

      • Hi CPTAT

        About the forum: It is divided into various boards – some are reserved for individual threads, others are dedicated to articles/resources and the discussion thereof. The main ‘blog’ boards provide a space where anyone may participate in a thread (cheaters, affair partners, and faithful partners alike), but there are specific posting rules for other boards (eg a cheater or affair partner is not permitted to post to the board reserved for faithful partner). We do have cheaters who register with us but they are -by far- the minority of our membership. We’re a challenging group and that tends to dissuade most cheaters from posting. The posts of those who do, however, can really give an insight into cheater-think. I hope that answers your question.

        I understand your outrage and often enjoy the view from my own soapbox. 🙂

        While I would argue that the act of infidelity -in and of itself- is not inherently abusive, I agree that the aggregate of infidelity’s attendant behaviors does constitute abuse. I think anyone would be hard-pressed to make a viable argument to the contrary.

        It’s easy to tar them with the same brush, but an affair partner isn’t necessarily a cheater. They are, though, someone who is willing to have a relationship with a cheater (and yes, many affair partners are cheaters in their own right). I stress the distinction because it’s important that cheaters themselves are held solely responsible for their affair and for bringing harm to their spouse – without their willing choices it would not be possible. However, I agree that the cheater’s primary accountability does not render the affair partner blameless – they are knowingly complicit in the harm of another and -like the cheater- deem that acceptable in the pursuit of their own satisfaction. Rationally though, if we judge it appropriate to vilify/punish the affair partner for their lesser part then it is only reasonable the cheater experiences consequences proportionately increased to reflect their much greater part in the matter.

        I stress this because anger toward and blame of the affair partner often dilutes the fury and disgust that should rightly be directed towards the cheater. It is the minimization/reduction of the cheater’s accountability that often serves to keep the faithful spouse in dysfunction: it’s easier to stay with a cheater if one can heap a greater proportion of the ugliness upon the affair partner’s head, not the cheater’s.

        The issue of punishment is complex, especially if we seek to apply it fairly and proportionately, and consider it beside other societal issues. There are alienation of affection laws in some jurisdictions, but these are decreasing. Meanwhile, no-fault divorce laws are increasingly common. Consequently, there are very few legal avenues for financial recompense for infidelity.

        However, if we agree that infidelity constitutes abuse and consider it appropriate that those who perpetuate that abuse against us are punished, vilified, and in some way ‘made to pay’, then it’s only just that we similarly apply the same consequences for others who are similarly abusive in society. It could be considered unethical to target one specific group of abusers for punishment and yet continue to exempt others for similar behavior. If we sought to apply punitive consequences to every abuser, our societal structure would likely buckle. In my view the only viable way to address this -ire aside- is by a shift in cultural behaviors and attitudes. Unfortunately, I do not believe I will see a culture that is universally and fully committed to the ethical treatment of others in my lifetime. What a sad indictment.

        It’s also worth remembering that cheaters are often the primary earners; resigning etc could have severe and negative economic consequences for the faithful spouse and any dependents, whether they choose to stay with the cheater or whether they seek financial compensation through a divorce. Most would probably not thank a system that imposing on them further burden and stress.

        Thank you for taking the time to comment – these things are worth highlighting.

    • Murdock Peterka

      I wish I would have found this site a long time ago. I thought I was alone in being a realist about these matters. so refreshing.

      • Hi Murdock

        Thank you for taking the time to comment.

        Fortunately, there are alternative resources to the popular reconciliation apologist position. I’m glad if you’re finding the site helpful.

  4. Wow no one got hurt? You are living in absolute deception. You have stolen something very precious from the wives of the men you were sleeping with you are forever responsible for that. What a callous and decieved person you are.

    • My husband cheated on me… best thing that happened to me when I found out. Yes, it hurt at first, but I grew from it. I learned from it. I am a better person because of it. I am out of a terrible marriage now as well. Sometimes theae situations are just blessings in disguise. Maybe I am the only one to look at this situation that way. I only wasted 5 years versus 20+.

  5. Hi Karen

    I think entitlement and self-deception are as common in affair partners as they are in cheaters. All this ‘no one got hurt’ nonsense forms part of the justifying narrative they create for themselves in order to engage in the affair. It’s a way of dealing with the dissonance that arises from trying to keep their self-view intact (‘I am a good person’, ‘I wouldn’t hurt anyone else for my own ends’ etc.) while being the other person.

    Telling themselves that no one got hurt is an exercise in personal flimflam that enables them to do what they want to do without acknowledging the very real damage they could be causing someone else. If they don’t acknowledge the damage, they don’t have to be personally accountable for it. And if they’re not personally accountable for it, then they relieve themselves of the truth that their deliberate and cognitive choices have a direct and negative impact on someone else.

    You might also like to read our article The Mistress of Self Deception, that further explores the lies that mistresses tell themselves in order to engage in an affair with a married man.

    I don’t necessarily share your view that the other person steals something from the faithful spouse. I think it’s more accurate to say that the cheater GAVE AWAY something that was precious to the faithful spouse. Again, you might like to read this article which explores the idea that infidelity is some form of ‘theft’: She Stole My Husband

    However, the other person who knowingly participates in an affair DOES contribute to hurting someone else. They are accountable for that, fair and square, regardless of whether they wish to own it or not.

    I at least agree with Carol Sarler that the mistress is less important than the family hamster though. 🙂

    Best wishes and thank you for commenting.

    • PREACH. this is spot on and exactly what I told his mistress…you think your better than him? Your delusional. At the end of the day she did exactly the same shit to her husband that he was doing to me. It doesn’t make her a better person because she told me about it…it makes her bitter and stupid for thinking that she was special and he was ever really going to leave. That bitch did nearly everything you’ve listed above to me.
      This has destroyed our lives and I have 3 very young children whose Daddy is now in goal because he won’t leave us alone.
      The mistress did more damage than what his affair did to me. I hope they both contract HIV or some horrible STD

      • Hi SeekingtheSun

        I think we’re all capable of spinning ourselves a line that makes it easier to continue to think of ourselves as ‘good people’ despite our contrary behavior – we see it time and time again in infidelity, in both the cheater and the affair partner.

        Infidelity IS destructive, distressing, and damaging, and it causes long-term emotional issues in the faithful partner. Sadly, most people are horribly ill-informed about infidelity until it affects them.

        An affair partner who is vicious and vindictive enough to cause the faithful spouse further emotional harm is, unfortunately, quite common. That kind of deliberate act is evidence of malicious, spiteful, small-mindedness and an egocentric outrage when their entitlement and selfishness doesn’t bring the rewards they feel they deserve.

        I am not of the belief that anyone deserves an STD though, and wouldn’t sanction it being wished upon anyone, though I do understand the emotional upset that leads to the sentiment!

        In my view, the best punishment for cheater and affair partner alike is that they get to live life as who they are. They might be fun at parties, but their appeal is short-lived and many of us prefer to avoid the hangover that comes with them altogether. I vote to avoid the cheap stuff and instead enjoy what’s on offer on the top shelf. 😀

  6. Bravo. I needed this. Trying to break free after finding out about his serious relationship….

  7. Dear Wise Woman,
    I have been unfortunately been in multiple affairs, 2 married men and 1 with a girlfriend. I find myself in a strictly sexual affair with a married man whom works with my boyfriend. We would meet up once a week to have sex and would not text or talk until it was time to meet again. I finally decided that I can’t do this anymore, I’m young and I love my boyfriend and I want to put him first and not seek attention of other men. I deleted the app we would text on and I don’t want to ever speek to him again. Like I just want to go cold turkey. I know he would never speak to my boyfriend about it bc he expressed many times that he did not want to leave his wife which was totally okay with me considering I don’t want to leave my boyfriend. I know my boyfriend deserves better, but I actually do love him and I know I did this bc I wanted to fulfill my fantasy of having sex with this guy. Would I put myself and my relationship with my boyfriend by just going no contact with this married man and never talking to him again? What makes this worse is we all go to the same gym every single morning so I have to see this MM everyday. Going to another gym is not an option. I am fine ignoring him at the gym. I’m in a sticky situation. Please help.

    Silly Girl

    • Hi SillyGirl

      I confess I am confused about what part of your situation you consider ‘sticky’.

      What I do see is that you’re content to make choices that satisfy your own desires while also intending to preserve your primary relationship with your boyfriend by deception. You clearly consider the risks this brings to his sexual health and emotional well-being as acceptable.

      You are evidently willing to manipulate your boyfriend into staying with you by you withholding information that might inform his decision to leave you.

      Your post doesn’t really suggest that you see yourself in any ethical or moral dilemma. You’ve deemed that any harm caused by your involvement with a married man is an acceptable price for you getting what you want

      None of what you’re doing can be brushed away as flighty silliness. It’s calculated, deliberate, and harmful to others, and it’s most definitely not ‘love’.

      What help is it that you’re actually seeking?

      ~ Wayfarer

  8. I’m wondering if these rules also apply to a man having an affair with a married woman.

    • Hi Sean

      Yes, they could certainly apply to any affair partner in some ways (apart from number 11, though that could rewritten to say,’don’t impregnate the cheater’). However, the article is skewed particularly towards the other woman based on the generalized patterns of thinking and behavior that we have identified in that gender of affair partner.

      In my experience the other man is less inclined to insert himself into the family of the cheater, and is less likely to gloat, brag, or otherwise flaunt the relationship in the same way as the other woman often does. While any affair creates a buzz from the drama of it all, the male affair partner (on balance) tends not to manufacture drama unnecessarily in the way that many other women seem to relish. They also appear to be less spiteful, vindictive, and unpleasant about and towards the spouse.

      When it comes down to it, a knowing and complicit affair partner has already demonstrated their lack of principles, ethics, and care about the harm their actions cause others. An affair partner has already made the evaluation that whatever drama/upset/harm they cause by their actions, it’s worth it for their personal satisfaction. The other man in that respect is no different at all from the other woman.

      Thank you for the question – interesting stuff!

  9. I understand that you are trying to be as factual as possible, but I don’t understand the incessant need to remind a woman who has made the mistake of entering into this situation that she is less than dirt. I’ve spent the last two months trying to emotionally extricate myself from an affair with a man, an old “friend”, who persued me for years before I finally gave in at a particularly weak and lonely point in my life. I looked him in the face six months before we started getting physical, after the umpteenth attempt by him to flirt with intimacy with me, and said “you need to stop and think about what a good life you have at home.” He continued right on, regardless, and after a nasty break up I finally gave in. It went on for a year, with me falling full blown in love early on, until he got bored with trying to juggle it all and me asking for more time together. The guy was not only not my friend, but a first class selfish dick who turned out to also be into physically violent and verbally abusive sadistic sex only after it was clear that I was emotionally invested in him.

    I’d also like to add that years prior to all of this, my ex-husband left me for his pregnant mistress, and I felt a real lack of support during that time, even as the person being cheated on, as well.

    My point is that I have read a lot of these articles trying to come to terms with what happened, and they all seem to have the same thing in common: shaming the mistress as if she had evil intentions in all cases, and therefore needs to be knocked down a few notches. God knows that no one is ever going to forgive the mistress in these situations, but in a self-help article a little less sanctimonious preaching might better council those who already feel like a filthy piece of garbage, whether the wife found out or not. It is an unhealthy history with men that often drives women to subject themselves to this kind of humiliating relationship in the first place.

    I guess what makes me most frustrated is how few articles I see that tackle the subject of the selfish d bags who feel the need to hunt down sexual partners like cavemen, and do it serially and unrepentantly, leaving broken lives in their wake, while their wife and kids often go along for years having no idea what dad is up to.

    • Thank you for your comment, Sucker – you’ve raised a number of points for me to address.

      1. Entering an affair is not a mistake, by either the cheater or the affair partner. It is a clear, conscious, and deliberate decision that is repeated at every interaction during the affair, and in choices made to conceal, justify, or deny one. You might like to read this: The Mistake Defense

      2. To engage in an affair and then expect or demand that you are not negatively judged for that unethical and damaging behavior, is absurd. While the primary responsibility for bringing harm to a spouse lies with the cheater, the affair partner is not blameless. However, if you characterize yourself as being ‘less than dirt’ it does not necessarily follow that I must therefore share that view. I don’t see a massive divide between cheaters and non-cheaters or affair partners and non-affair partners. We are all capable of making unethical choices that harm others – that you made this one is where I would hold you accountable, but it doesn’t follow that you can’t or don’t act in ethical, healthy ways in other parts of your life.

      3. Quote: “I’ve spent the last two months trying to emotionally extricate myself from an affair …”
      Don’t try, do. One either chooses to discontinue an affair and do what is necessary to protect that choice, or not. The emotional entanglement and attachment is not a good enough argument to justify your continued involvement in something that is so obviously unhealthy for you and others.

      4. Being pursued does not mitigate your own choice to engage in the affair. If you had not wanted to engage it, you simply wouldn’t have done so.

      5. Your own history of being the faithful spouse is interesting, especially since we are seeing an emerging pattern of faithful spouses becoming either cheaters or affair partners themselves. If you are saying that being mistreated yourself opened the door to you mistreating others similarly, that might be worth exploring.

      6. The hyperbole of ‘evil intentions’ is misplaced on this site. However, I was clear in this article that even if there is no direct harm intended, any harm that IS caused to the faithful spouse is deemed by the affair partner as an acceptable price for doing what they want – I don’t see any evidence that you are the exception to that.

      7. The issue of forgiveness aside, it would be unrealistic to expect an article that clearly takes a position against involvement in an affair to be worded in a way that spares your feelings – there are numerous forums and articles out there written by affair apologists if that is the kind of counsel you were seeking.

      8. There are many factors that contribute to our decisions. An unhealthy history with men is not universal in every affair partner, but even if it were it does not explain the suspension of ethics in engaging in an affair with a married man – dysfunctional relationships are equally possible with unmarried men, after all.

      9. We have a considerable number of articles here that discuss the cheater if you are interested in reading them. I think it’s worth pointing out though, that without affair partners also being willing to selfishly engage in an affair with the cheater, there wouldn’t be opportunities for the cheater to ‘leave broken lives in their wake’.

      I hope that do find your way to the permanent end to the affair, and that you get some support to help create healthy relationships for your future.

      Take care.

  10. Let myself down

    Thank you for this great article.

    I wish I had read it sooner. I have just had a year long affair with someone and it has just ended.

    I am not stupid and totally realised that we were never going to be together but I did let myself fall in love with him and this brought with it a sense of wanting to be together. He has recently said he can no longer be in touch, he did not elude to why – I assume maybe his wife found out, although she was also having an affair according to him. He asked me not to reply to his messages saying that he “had to go and can’t be in touch again, I may imagine how circumstances have changed”.

    I will do as he asks and not contact him. I expect no sympathy but am left feeling a bit lost without being able to chat to him on a daily basis and share different things but I know that all I really want is someone to give me that attention. I just wish I had read this article last year and realised that when we first met exactly what I was getting myself into. As I was dealing with my last break up (father of my children who was working away had met and fallen in love with someone else) I was not in the right frame of mind to have my wits about me. Feeble excuse I know.

    So now I am left with the mixed feelings of loss, guilt and sadness. But I feel that this is mostly the feelings that I didn’t feel from my last break up as the married man was there occupying my time.

    The Mistress Affair Rules are spot on and as I said only wish I had read sooner to alleviate issues for all parties involved in my disgusting degrading year affair.


    • Hi Let Myself Down

      I applaud you for making the clear decision to not attempt to make contact with him. I think that getting yourself out of this situation and doing what you must to KEEP yourself out of it is the most positive decision you can make for yourself.

      As I said in a previous comment, we are seeing an emerging pattern of people who have themselves been cheated on subsequently getting involved in an affair – either as the cheater of an affair partner. It is interesting to us that so many visitors to the site prefer to be in unhealthy -or even abusive- relationships over being single.

      I do understand the gap that an ex-partner leaves in one’s life, but I would suggest that there are plenty of decent, interesting, and kind people with whom you could form healthy relationships – ones that would probably be far more satisfying than the snatched and contrived moments in the company of a cheater.

      I would also highly recommend that you seek some support to explore your thinking and emotional health before entering another romantic relationship. Dysfunction attracts dysfunction, and until you are in a healthy place in your own life, where you understand your own worth and feel confident enough to make your choices within your ethical boundaries, you are likely to be easing pickings for someone who sees the ‘holes in your soul’ and seeks to exploit them for their own satisfaction.

      I am glad that you found the article useful, and I wish you well.

      Take care.

      (As an aside, I suspect that he was, frankly, full of crap about his marital circumstances. If they were in an open marriage of sorts, it would be unlikely that his affair with you and the subsequent end to it would have played out in this way.)

  11. (NB: This comment by Mallory was reproduced by the Administrator since it was posted during a hosting transfer.)

    What if you get pregnant? I just found out I’m 15 weeks. (I had an iud, never had a period once it was implanted, no pregnancy symptoms, etc)…
    We’ve been having an affair for 8 months. I know he doesn’t want to leave his marriage solely for financial reasons, there is a lot of money, assets, and property on the line.

    We still see each other since the discovery of the pregnancy although all intimacy is gone (sex will happen but it’s disconnected) and he’s severing emotional ties however he has never expressed the interest of walking away…. UNTIL I have the baby. He’s made it plain he is disappearing once baby enters the picture.

    Do I pursue child support? I have no idea how to navigate this.

    • Hi Mallory

      What a muddle. If this isn’t an advert for ‘Rule 1: Don’t do it’ I don’t know what is. Clearly birth control can fail. A sexually active affair risks a pregnancy – fact. And whether a pregnancy is entirely accidental, covertly planned by the OW, or openly planned by the affair couple there are innocents who will always be affected by your crappy choices: the child, the spouse, and the marital children/family.

      I obviously can’t know the details of him or your situation with him, but I do understand that people having affairs are primarily interested in their own agenda – you and he are no different in that regard. I say that because you seem to be hoping that he will continue in a relationship of some sort with you, even after the birth – and that seems inconsistent with what I am reading:
      ”… he has never expressed the interest of walking away … UNTIL I have the baby.”
      You’re ignoring reality here Mallory. Your post wasn’t lengthy but even within that you’ve given me three direct quotes that absolutely DO express that he intends to walk away:
      1) he’s severing emotional ties
      2) He’s made it plain he is disappearing once the baby enters the picture
      3) he doesn’t want to leave his marriage

      If he is the type of cheater who was looking for an uncomplicated bit on the side (and many do pursue that, so their love declarations are usually disingenuous and calculated to keep the OW ‘accommodating’) then I am not surprised that he intends to sever ties once you have your child. It’s not an uncommon situation at all and these cheaters typically do claim that they are only in the marriage for financial reasons. That can even be true and if so it is a massive clue about who they really are, what is really important to them, and the lengths to which they will lie, gaslight, and manipulate you and their spouse in pursuit of their own gratification.

      Another red flag in the sea of red flags here is that he is more than happy to keep having sex with you, even after he has quite clearly expressed that when you give birth he’s out of there. I also think you should consider that it was probably ALWAYS ’emotionally disconnected’ sex for him. I don’t say this to hurt you, but even from this tiny view into your situation I think you’re dealing with someone who has been involved with you solely for your willingness to have sex with a married man. Yes, you deemed his wife and family as acceptable collateral damage to your own gratification too, but did you consider how YOU were also acceptable collateral damage to him? And now a child? He sounds like an unpleasant piece of work, frankly.

      As to your specific question about support, your child is entitled to financial support from his father, and it is your right to pursue that if you choose. However, I think it’s time to step back and really consider who this man is at his core and ask yourself:
      a) do you want to be tied to him (and by extension, his wife) for the next 18 years?
      b) do you want to expose a child to his variety of fucked up in any form?
      c) do you need or want financial support from him?
      d) who is damaged by a continuing relationship with him in any form?

      I can’t tell you to pursue financial support or not – all I can do is tell you what I would do based on what you’ve told me. If this man is who I think he is (and at the very least, I think he’s a remorseless serial cheater), in your shoes I’d do everything I could to remove myself and my child from ANY involvement with this man. I would not want the smallest tendrils of him reaching into my life, even in terms of financial support. I would be wholly concerned about how any involvement with this man would affect the child emotionally as it grew up, especially if financial support is the only kind of relationship he has with the child.

      If you want to raise a well-adjusted, healthy, undamaged child Mallory, it’s time to step up. Yes, you will probably need some help – counseling might give you some support and will certainly help you with the necessary growth that I believe will benefit both you and your child. The mess you’re in is self-inflicted but you do have the power to limit the damage it does to others, your child included. Do you have familial support and the financial capacity to manage without this guy being involved?

      I also can’t begin to express to you how damaging all this will be for his wife, too. You might not care – you might be that caricature of an OW whose entitlement and ethical compass is so hideously out of whack that you have no care, empathy, or respect for others. You might be, but I am inclined to believe that is not the case, and I am hoping that you will want to avoid causing any further long-term harm to his wife.

      It’s time to extract yourself from this affair. You will need all the time you have between now and the birth to get over him and the affair, and position yourself as an emotionally stable woman ready to care for a child. I cannot stress to you how unwise it will be to deal with the birth, him walking away, a new child, and all the typical post-partum issues all at the same time. Get yourself out of it now, today, immediately, and give yourself a chance to enjoy the birth of your child without it being marred by sobbing, recriminations, and rejection.

      I hope you reach the right decision for your child, and wish you every success in being an incredible single parent raising an incredible kid.

  12. I’ve never read anything so accurate.
    I had an affair with a married man – twice with the same guy with 8 months in between. It ended 2 months ago and I’m still trying to get over it, despite your point number 1 🙂 Today I’m googling to ensure I let go of the illusion, the excuses, the BS he told me and the BS I told myself, that got me into this situation in the first place. I want to learn from it and never end up there again.
    That’s really all I wanted to say: what you wrote is so accurate and I want to thank you.
    (Ps. The book “The other woman” 21 essays, is great reading too.)

    • Hi IWasLonely

      Thank you for the kind words about the article – I appreciate it.

      I wish you all the best in remaining out of that recurrent affair and hope that you can find the resources that will keep moving your forward in a healthy direction.

      Take care.

  13. I am the wife of 5 years. I found out 9 months ago that my husband had a 2year affair with a woman whom I told him to stay away from. When I found out about the affair, he outrightly ended it. It was painful and devastating. We agreed on staying together and work on our marriage. We immediately sought help from professionals and are currently on counselling and a program for healing marriages.
    Going back, after my discovery, the OW got so furious and vented all her anger towards me. Insulted, belittled and called me names through her social media accounts and even created a hate page for me. I ignored everything and just carried on, trying to focus on my marriage and family. On rebuilding. I cannot say that it has been easy. It is very difficult. What I dont understand is, it has been 9 months, and the OW is taking it up a notch. She is exposing her affair with my husband by posting old pictures of them in her social media accounts, making it appear as if the relationship is still ongoing. As much as my husband and I would like to shrug this off, our friends and relatives started calling us about this. (FB apparently has a very small world). It is becoming a talk of the community when it should have been over. What do you suggest we do?

    • Hi Betrayed

      I am not surprised to hear that your husband’s former affair partner is reacting in this way: she had a two year relationship with your husband and probably sees you as responsible for the destruction of that. Faithful spouses generally feel the same way about the affair partner, after all. The exposure and vitriol has clear parallels with how faithful spouses also react – many faithful wives expose the affair with clear manipulative intent, and then go on to post details of their cheater’s affair partner on slut shaming sites etc, for similar reasons.

      I can’t give you legal advice but it strikes me that she is entitled to post pictures that she owns, and to post accurate and truthful details of her life, as she sees fit. That it is uncomfortable for you and your husband doesn’t make it illegal of course – but the creation of a hate page might be something on which you can take action and I would strongly advise you to seek legal counsel about your options. Even without something like hate page, some couples issue cease and desist letters and some ultimately report the activity to the local police (stalker legislation can apply in some cases).

      I wish you well. Good luck.

  14. revengecanbesweet

    The other woman didn’t know he was living with someone in her house, obviously not a home. The other woman did not know about the other, “other” woman. He pursued the other woman, always presenting himself as free, uninvolved with many words of love and affection for this new and unaware “other woman”. And finally the other woman figured it out. So then he said he “loved” the woman he was living with, that he was “committed” to her and he was “never leaving” her. And then surprise, surprise. The woman he was living with had been the woman he was cheating with, when he was cheating on his last wife. And then surprise, surprise, surprise, his ex-wife had been his cheating partner when he was living with still another, other woman, decades ago. Who thinks it is time for the most recent deceived other woman to file a lawsuit, “intentional infliction of emotional distress”? This is Illinois, a state that dislikes cheaters.

    • Hi RevengeCanBeSweet

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, though I admit I couldn’t quite decipher the nature of your involvement in the situation as ‘the other woman’ so I won’t comment further.

      What came through, loud and clear, is that this guy is a serial cheater. My advice to anyone involved with a serial cheater would be to disengage and distance oneself from them in every way possible. If legal action is a route open to you and you choose to take it, that’s your right of course. I would simply caution to be prepared for an additional emotional toll.

      I wish you well.

  15. It’s been only four months that ive been in an affair with a married man. We use to work together and every saturday he would drop me off to college i was completing a short course. We spoke on the phone everyday and both agreed that we didnt want to leave our partners mainly because he has kids an its his 2nd marriage, an i am recently married and my family adores my husband.
    We also stated that the long term consequences was just a bit too much, we already have that home set, friends, family everything is good and we didnt want to destroy that just for our selfishness.
    We haven’t had sex yet and he is older than i am as well. Him an his wife have a good marriage just wit his work it can be tough and they have sex just not on a regular basis. There is some level of happiness that i get from him its really unexplainable. We also agreed that he couldnt give me a marraige or kids he had a vasectomy done a few years ago we talked abt having it reverse but we both knew it wasnt right and he wouldnt be around 24/7 plus it was a huge deal.
    My husband found out and we are tryin to make it work, my married man and i still communicate havent seen him in a month though.
    We are trying to define what it is that we have.
    I dont believe sex is the reason he is with him he have been very comforting and understanding sex is never the main focus or most talked abt in our conversation.. i dont know what will happen or how far things will get, but right now i really enjoy whatever little we have going on.

    • Frustrated, I am not sure what point you wanted to make, other than celebrating your damaging, self-serving, and unethical choices. Your continuing infidelity despite ‘trying to make it work’ with your husband is reprehensible and inexcusable. It speaks volumes about your character and what you hold important: you getting your jollies.

      Sex is rarely -if ever- the primary driver for infidelity. If you’re interested in learning more, you might like to read this article: The Infidelity Megafecta.

      • I won’t say i am continuing the affair seeing that its over a month we haven’t seen each other, we still communicate but its mostly like ‘are u okay’ or ‘hello’ that’s about it. The affair isn’t in any way close to what it was like the last 4 months.
        That’s over and done with. I guess I just wanted to make myself believe it meant something more than what it actually was. Since things have slowed down with my MM and myself i have since started focusing my time on my husband and just being around him. Nothing good ever comes from an affair the only thing you get in the end are the ‘what if’s’ or the ‘ i wish ‘

        • Since you are continuing to communicate with your affair partner, that is evidence of a continuing affair relationship. If the nature of your communication is as limited as, “Hello” or “Are you okay?” that rather confirms that you are seeking to maintain contact for emotional reasons, not for any legitimate logistical reason.

          While you are still in contact, while you continue to disrespect your husband by this relationship, you are still an active cheater. The affair is the product of the way you see your place and entitlements in this world, regardless of the commitments you’ve made to others. Until such time that you dismantle that worldview and truly examine the unpleasant realities of it, you are likely to continue to make unethical choices in your own interests, accepting the harm and detriment to others as an acceptable price for them to pay in pursuit of your jollies. I hope you want better for yourself, and for those affected by your choices.

  16. I started seeing a man two years ago, who claimed to be single. At six months I was gang raped by him and four of his friends.
    I developed stockholm syndrome and decided in my head that he saved me from the situation he created. And at that point developed a trauma bond.
    More time went on and although the relationship didnt seem normal, I still believed he was available and fear was instilled in my brain that I could not leave.
    his position in the community is one of power and the justice system would not accommodate me as he has the ability to pay people off.
    He had never taken me to his house and I started asking his friends and people in the community if he was married. The answer was always “no”. Not even a hint that there was someone around.
    I finally discovered proof when a friend of his wife posted a pic online that lead to her profile with photos of them together and a rock on her finger.
    when I confronted him, he said they werent legally married. And the whole thing left me confused.
    I tried to leave but again, bc of his position in power, he has the ability to scare other men away and he will tell me I am not allowed to sleep with others.
    most of my days are calm bc he isnt always around but bc of my lingering trauma bond that I have already seeked councelling for, I still answer his calls.
    its hard to feel remorse for his wife or say any of this is my fault bc I didnt know what kind of man he was the first couple dates we went on. And his wife must know what kind of person he is by now.
    I feel your advice is harsh and not realistic towards everyone bc if I could go back in time, I would have not dated this man at all. And now I cant find normal love with anyone else.

    • Trauma Bond, experiencing a sexual assault as you’ve described is horrific. You deserve protection, support, compassion, and kindness. The depth of damage caused to you by such an attack can be debilitating and I am glad to hear that you are seeking counselling to help you through it.

      In terms of the other woman who knowingly and willingly engages in an affair with a married man: Yes, my stance is uncompromising about the personal responsibility and accountability for making such damaging and unethical choices, and for that I make no apology. However, I am also clear that where someone has been duped and deceived into believing they are seeing someone who is single when they are in fact a married cheater (or in an otherwise committed relationship), they are as much a victim of the cheater’s deceit as the wife/faithful partner.

      In ordinary circumstances, when the affair partner discovers the truth of the cheater’s relationships, I again hold them accountable for the decisions they make from that point forward. If someone discovers that they are indeed an affair partner and yet chooses to continue that affair relationship, they are knowingly complicit in an unethical and damaging situation – and it is appropriate that they are held responsible for those choices. In your situation, however, there are layers of psychological trauma that are contributing to your choices that are not easy to unravel. I encourage you to continue to do your utmost to remove yourself from this abusive and horribly damaging situation – for your own welfare.

      His wife, however, does also deserve compassion and kindness. She is also a victim of this situation, and will also experience emotional trauma as a result of the choices others are making that directly affect her life and wellbeing. I am saddened that while you understand how the emotional ties to this man bind you into a situation with him despite knowing what a heinous person he is, you don’t extend his wife any similar understanding. She will have her own emotional entanglements with this man. If yours make it difficult for you to sever your relationship with him, hers will make it similarly difficult.

      There is a vast difference between someone who finds themselves in an affair relationship with someone they believed to be single, and someone deliberately and consciously entering an affair relationship from the outset. In normal circumstances it is reasonable to expect to be negatively judged for what one does when they are knowingly involved with a cheater.

      Your circumstances are incredibly difficult, I am sure. I wish you all the very best, and do hope that you can find a way out of this dysfunction and into a healthy, positive, fulfilling life that you love.

      Take care.

  17. The Cursed and Evil Lady

    I was the other woman who told the whole truth to the wife. I know I have hurt her and what I did was maybe stupid.

    I knew this man for years as my colleague. He pursued me for years. I scolded him and even moved out of the working place. After I moved out, I got into some problems. It was the darkest phase in my life. I was losing weight. I have no one to reach out. This man appeared again and he helped me. He shared many secrets with me and eventually, I fell into his game. I accepted him. I knew what I did was wrong. I asked for breakups many times but he would cry and I would be back into his game again. Then one day, he molested me. He forced me although I said no and pushed him away. He was the first man ever to touch my body. After a few weeks, he let me go. He then left me hanging without words. He said he left because he loved me. Then, the wife texted me and asked me about the nature of our relationship. I told her that we were just friends and that he was good. I told her that he helped me a lot because he felt sorry for me. I told her that it was me who was being clingy. I told her that he loved her. This man then told her that it was him who gave me the chance to get closer to him. She cursed and mocked me on the social media. I know she has the right. After few days, this man texted me and asking to be friend again. He texted me casually. Then, I realised he treated me like the other woman whom he used to have affair with. He used to text the other woman for a kiss when he was with me. Then, I learnt that he too had forced her on the bed and lied about marriage and love. He used to tell me that what he had with her was just lust and that he had never promised or swore to the other woman that he loved her. Then, I decided to tell the wife the whole truth. And I told her, that he had to be stopped and she had to know that we are not as evil as she thought, and that he was not as good as she thought. I told her that he loved her the most and that only she can stop him from going for another victim. She did curse and judge us, but we know that she has the rights. We just kept on apologizing. It does hurt me when she didn’t bother about the fact he raped/molested me. She blamed me for that. I know she has the right so I kept on apologizing. After that, I did not keep in touch with the man anymore. The other woman too had stopped. I know I have hurt her by telling her the whole truth. She continued to curse me on the social media and posted their happy times. She called me slut, she asked me to go to die. She cursed me and my descendants. I know she has the right. I know what I did was evil and wicked. I hurt her and her children. That’s why I’m feeling really bad about that. I’m still praying and wishing her and her children all the happiness in the world because I know they deserve that after what I have told her. I do afraid of karma, and all I can hope is for me to be strong if that ever happen to me. I hope now, she can stop him from going around molesting another woman and hurt them. He took something that I can never get back. I told her the whole truth because I believed I am no candle for him, and people need to learn his true colour. I told her so that he will stop.

    • Hi Lady

      Firstly, I want to be clear: Your involvement with a married man does not make you deserving of rape. If you have not reported this man to the authorities, I strongly encourage you to do so – he is a serial rapist (the original comment you submitted detailed that he has done this before, even though that comment is not published). You are not at fault for this man raping you – him assaulting you is not about infidelity and you did not deserve it for being involved with a married man. What he did to you is reprehensible and indefensible, regardless of your willingness to engage inappropriately with him. Please do take action by reporting it to law enforcement, and please do get some support from local rape survivor advocacy groups.

      The wife is probably in a position where she doesn’t believe you. Not only were you someone who willfully entered a relationship with her husband, but you have already flip-flopped about your view of her husband in your communication with her. I strongly suspect that she sees your accusations of rape as manipulative nonsense intended to relieve yourself of culpability in an affair with him. However, even if she were to believe you, she will not be able to prevent him from assaulting other women. She is not responsible for, nor able to control, his conduct. I suggest that police intervention will be required before this man stops.

      You’ve been through a horrific trauma and you deserve compassion, kindness, and support to help you navigate the fallout of that incredibly damaging experience. I wish you well.

  18. So good to be oerfect and have it all sorted out. Pleased for you!

    • A lack of perfection in an observer of someone’s conduct doesn’t negate the appropriateness or validity of its censure. Unethical conduct bears judgment in its own right.

      Condemnation of egregious acts, regardless of the faults and flaws of the judge and jury, is how our justice systems operate; to expect no judgment of one’s conduct based on the lack of perfection in those observing it or who are victims of it, is absurd.

      However, your hostility toward that judgment is duly noted – I assume that was what you were trying to express?

      “Neither irony or sarcasm is argument.”
      ~ Samuel Butler

  19. Hi, I am the other woman. We were high school sweethearts (both married) when we reconnected 5 years ago. He was unhappy and so was I, both left our marriages, though he continued to co-habitats with his ex for 3 years due to financial reasons, not ready to sell their house and him wanting to avoid court. During this time, his wife contacted my ex-husband (still to this day, none of us are divorced), and the two of them began a 4-year full on affair as a result of our actions. During this time, his wife still cried and maintained that she loved my lover ( her husband). There were a couple in person confrontations between her and I, where she said he was still co-habitations with her, telling her he loved her, and was co-habit aging in the same bed the whole time over the 3+years. She even said they had been intimate and had oral sex on numerous occasions and that he told her he wanted to “work on things” with her and was no longer seeing me. Which I told her she was crazy and none of this was true, it was wishful thinking on her part and she read more into what her husband was saying, hearing only what she wanted to hear. Over the next few months I put my foot down, told him it was her or me. Finally on year 4, he moved out of their house for 15 months and got his own apartment. The whole time seeing me, spending time together, telling me he loves me – yet won’t move in with me, as his job is an hour commute from my house and says he won’t move in with me until the divorce is final; due to financial commitments he must wait until the house has sold in order for us to get a place together. I have attended his family reunions, holidays with his parents and brothers, and am considered now part of his family. By the way, none of us have any children. It is understood that he is separated and that his marriage was over long ago, they also know of her affair with my husband/ex. Fast forward to 5 years – after 15 months, he has moved back into the house he shares with his wife. He has been back 5-1/2 months. He states that they share different rooms and it is strictly a roommate situation- she has no job and nowhere else to go. She has since cut off all contact with my ex, he calls me to discuss this often, as he cannot understand how she cut him off so cold, will no longer speak to him for the past 5 months – he really loves her. I feel sorry for him. I still continue to see my lover, we are planning a future together. I understand his living arrangements but am wondering how much longer this will last. My ex called me about a month ago and told me his friend witnessed them together at a beach, this friend also knows her. Friend said they were camping together, headed down th coast. Now mind you, my lover told me he was there by himself, texted me the whole time, says he was there to take pictures with his camera (it’s his hobby). I believe him. When is she going to get a life and move on? Why doesn’t she leave the house, since he is the one paying for it. I think this woman has done enough damage to all of our lives. He is still paying for her everything! My lease is up in December, I’m anxious to have our life together and tiring of waiting/hearing about her. Can you give me any advice on this crazy situation?

    • No.

      I don’t see any value in me trying to pierce your narrative and justifications with advice about boundaries, ethics, and integrity. If you were interested in that kind of counsel, Anne, you would have sought it much sooner than 5 years later.

      Suffice it to say that when you cheat with a cheater it’s anencephalous (ahem) to be surprised or upset if they don’t treat you with respect, openness, honesty, and honor. What you’re complaining about is exactly what was in place when you signed up – dysfunction, mistreatment, and disrespect.

      “You deemed that any harm caused by your involvement with a married man was an acceptable price for you getting what you wanted.

      You named the price – you can’t legitimately cry and complain that you ended up paying it too.”
      IHG: The Mistresses’ Affair Rules

  20. Strongflowerpower

    My partner had affair with this women for 7 month. I know everything about the other women (as partner told me)… its hard because i wanna pack up my kids and me leave but i love him dearly but do have slight feeling will contact the other women again but then i dont. I have threaten to move out but love i have for him strong. (Maybe im foolish).. i have found out the other women has tried to contact me on social media but i confused to why??

    • Hi Strongflowerpower

      Firstly, I would caution you that it is highly unlikely that your partner will have accurately disclosed ‘everything’ about the other woman. It is typical for a cheater to continue to manage the flow of information about their affair, even after discovery.

      I would also urge you to make your decisions about staying or leaving, not on whether or not you love your partner, but on whether or not staying in a relationship with him is healthy for you (and by extension, your kids).

      As for the question about why the other woman may have contacted you via social media, you might find this post useful: I’m the Other Woman: Should I Tell His Wife? The article discusses the other woman’s motivations when they contact the faithful partner. I hope you find that it answers your question.

      Wishing you well.

  21. Is this the 10th Century? Spanish Inquisition? What two consenting adults do is their business. Affairs, right or wrong have been around for ever. For many reasons. There are mistresses who are intent on destroying homes and families. There are mistress who have no intention to do so. They are content with their lives. Are balanced. Secure. Discreet. The affair is more about friendship and companionship than just sex. Oh all you self righteous hypocrites – concern yourselves with street children, drug dealing, unemployment, injustice, the sins right under your noses and leave husbands/ wives / mistresses to deal with their own issues and stop passing judgement. WHO I sleep with is my business.

    • Celeste, there are a number of elements to address in your comment, so I will respond point by point:

      “Is this the 10th Century? Spanish Inquisition?”

      If you are trying to express a belief that current attitudes towards affairs are medieval, duly noted. Attitudes do change as societies progress but, fortunately, ethics pre-date medieval times and have outlasted them.

      “What two consenting adults do is their business.”

      Where the actions of one or both of those parties impinge on and directly affect the rights, safety, and lives of others, it rightly becomes their business too. If you are seriously suggesting that it’s perfectly acceptable for two adults to agree to participate in the harm of a non-consenting third party, as long as those two adults consent to it between themselves, I take it you would have no problem with two people conspiring to rob you, molest the infirm, kidnap women, beat animals, and force kids into slavery? No, I suspect not.

      “Affairs, right or wrong have been around for ever. For many reasons.”

      As has murder, theft, rape, slavery. For many reasons. None of which are ethical or legitimate in the 21st century.

      “There are mistresses who are intent on destroying homes and families.”

      Even the ones who are not intent on doing so are still complicit and culpable when that happens.

      “There are mistress who have no intention to do so. They are content with their lives. Are balanced. Secure. Discreet.”

      Lack of intent doesn’t mitigate or relieve responsibility and accountability for the resultant harm of people’s choices. Framing ‘discretion’ as praiseworthy in this situation is no different than patting yourself on the back for not whistleblowing, because you are enjoying the perks of your silence.

      “The affair is more about friendship and companionship than just sex.”

      For the record, for the cheater an affair has very little at all to do with sex, love, friendship, or companionship.

      “Oh all you self righteous hypocrites – concern yourselves with street children, drug dealing, unemployment, injustice, the sins right under your noses and leave husbands/ wives / mistresses to deal with their own issues and stop passing judgement.”

      a) Self-righteous? No, it’s not self-righteous to censure unethical conduct. As I have said previously in this thread, “Unethical conduct bears judgment in its own right. […] Condemnation of egregious acts, regardless of the faults and flaws of the judge and jury, is how our justice systems operate; to expect no judgment of one’s conduct based on the lack of perfection in those observing it or who are victims of it, is absurd.”

      b) Hypocrite? If you’re saying it’s hypocritical to advocate ethical conduct, you either misunderstand the word(s) or are attempting to deflect the issue of your unethical conduct and choices by resorting to hyperbolic ad hominem attacks, hiding behind the hackneyed and unsupportable position of, “Don’t judge me unless you’re perfect.” Again, as I have said previously in this thread, “A lack of perfection in an observer of someone’s conduct doesn’t negate the appropriateness or validity of its censure” and, To engage in an affair and then expect or demand that you are not negatively judged for that unethical and damaging behavior, is absurd”.

      Logical fallacies and ‘sin’ aside (I don’t deal in the concept of ‘sin’), it’s evident that you would prefer we focus on what you consider to be greater social injustices. Since this isn’t a site dedicated to street children, drug dealing, or unemployment etc, I decline. I find it interesting, though, that you are spending any energy on an infidelity site if there are larger societal issues that you believe should be people’s focus.

      “WHO I sleep with is my business.”

      Who you have sex with is wholly uninteresting. However, the harm your choices and actions cause others does become other people’s business, and rightly so.

      “[…], how would that play out if we switched the prettier, more palatable language of ‘betrayer and betrayed’ to ‘abuser and abused‘? Should we still be admonished to keep our interfering noses out of that behavior and to keep our judgment of the abuser and our support and help for the abused to ourselves, because the “couple have chosen” to deal with it themselves?

      What if that abuse was going on in 41% of all marriages? Are we still to keep quiet and do nothing when almost half the married population is experiencing domestic abuse? Is that STILL something for which we shouldn’t impose sanctions? Would Ms Plump STILL say that what goes on behind closed doors is nobody else’s concern? What about racism, homophobia, ageism? If something doesn’t affect us directly, would she have us continue keeping our interfering noses out of it and not take a stance against it?

      Infidelity is not harmless. It isn’t as simple as, ‘oh woe, I’m upset’ or ‘monogamy is unnatural, get over it’. Infidelity rarely happens without other attendant abuses, and the psychological and sometimes physical damage can have long-term and debilitating affect on the victim.

      Yes, some people’s outrage at infidelity is based on their religious doctrine and I agree that one’s religious views should not be imposed on others. However, secular censure of infidelity is not as easy to dismiss – there is a broader social issue here about whether or not we create and/or tolerate a cultural environment that supports or encourages unethical and abusive behaviors … and we should not miss the opportunity to that a closer look at that.”

      IHG: Non-Monogamy: Hold the Wrath

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