The woman who is scorned the most by women is “the other woman.” It’s because one very important reason. The “other” woman, most likely, knows that the man she’s dating is married. Yet, in spite of it, she has made a conscious decision to do it anyway. There are times when the other woman has been duped by a cheating husband. He’s a man who claims to be single but is actually married and/or in a committed relationship—at least his wife or girlfriend thinks so. And, most often, once the other woman becomes aware of his deceit, she‘s likely to be so deeply hurt that she’s ready to “send him packing.”
Over our 33 years of professional experience as marriage counselors, we have identified four primary types of the “other woman.” The four are (1) the “Young and Gullible” other woman, (2) the “Vulnerable” other woman, (3) the Preference for Married Men” other woman, and (4) the “Serial Cheating” other woman. We’ll briefly describe all four.
The Young and Gullible Other Woman is a young woman who lacks experience in the “ways of the world.” Some would say she’s young, foolish, and easily deceived. And, there are always men, both married and single, who deliberately look for young women like her. She can be easily taken advantage of because she just doesn’t know any better. They have often given their trust to the kind of men who are quite skillful in the art of deception and lying to young gullible women. Over the years, we have worked with many young women like this after they have finally discovered that they’ve been deceived by such men. They’ve often paid a huge price for their naiveté—including the loss of money, possessions, self respect, personal and sometimes public humiliation. It often has taken years for these young women to recover emotionally and financially.
The Vulnerable Other Woman is a woman so desperate for love, affection, and attention that she makes extremely poor choices in the men she dates. She may be so desperate for any kind of attention that she may date a man who she knows is married or involved with another woman or women. She will to take whatever limited amount of time he gives just to have a man in her life. This woman usually has serious problems with her self-esteem. She believes that she is so flawed, that no really good man would be interested in her, so she must take whatever she can get. Of course, this is not true but it is what she believes. This woman needs counseling to re-claim her self-worth, her personal dignity, and the ability to make better self supportive choices in men.
The Preference for Married Men Other Woman is a woman who usually doesn’t want any emotional attachment to the men she dates. Married men fit her need for non-attachment quite well. She enjoys spending a little time with him, getting her sexual needs met, receiving his “gifts” as expression of affection, and then sending him home to his wife and kids. The attitudes of some of these women are, “I don’t want to have his kids, clean his house, wash his clothes, cook his food, or help pay his bills. His wife do all of that. I’ll just have sex with him, take his money, and send him home to his wife.” The other woman who prefers dating married men are often afraid of a committed, intimate relationship because of their fear of being hurt or left by a man they really care about. By dating married men, they know that he’s already committed so they don’t allow themselves to become emotionally involved.
The Serial Cheating Other Woman is a woman who, like her male counterpart—the serial cheating man, enjoys having sexual exploits with lots of men. Serial cheaters, whether male or female, often tend to be narcissistic people with sexual addictions. A narcissist is a person who has an excessive interest in oneself. The word comes from Narkissos, a youth in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection. So, serial cheaters are usually those who are primarily into themselves. They gratify themselves by finding others to fulfill their almost insatiable desire for self indulgence. Serial cheaters tend to go after whoever might be available in order to have their narcissistic needs met.
Society tends to be a bit more empathetic and forgiving of the Young and Gullible and the Vulnerable other woman. That’s not the case for those women who prefer to date married men or who are serial cheaters because both are fully aware of what they’re doing. They have made a conscious choice to “fool around” with other women’s husbands. These women are so much into themselves that they lack empathy for how their behavior impacts the wives and families of the married men they date. The good news is that we have seen a significant number of “other women” decide to make a change, be remorseful for their past behaviors, and “turn a new leaf.”
There is an old saying that goes, “It takes two to tango.” The other woman could not be the “other woman” if it were not for men participating in her sexual exploits. Society, in general, and women in particular, are often quick to judge and condemn the other woman without holding the man who cheats with her to the same standard of fidelity. Men are equally at fault when they choose to be unfaithful to their wives or woman with whom they are suppose to be in a committed relationship. So men need to take responsibility for their behavior.
Men must act responsibly in their relationships with women. They need to think beyond their genitals for a brief five minute, if that long, moment of sexual gratification and consider the consequences of their behavior. Large numbers of men have paid a considerable price for their five minute “roll in the hay.” For some, it has cost them their wives, children, homes, savings, positions, trust and respect. Some men have had to face having fathered a child(ren) with the other women and eighteen years of child support for each. And if they don’t or can’t pay, they face the reality of jail time for non-support. After facing the hard cold reality of all this, most men would say that it wasn’t worth that five minutes. So our advice to both men and women is to think very carefully about what you are doing before you do it. We suggest that you find a good partner with whom you can commit, honor your commitment and build a happy and fulfilling life together.