The other woman isn't always a home wrecker. Sometimes good women can be deceived.
The Two Kinds of “Other Women”
One night while blog surfing I happened upon a blog by a psychic advisor commenting on the questions most often asked by clients. One item on the list that jumped out was, “When will he leave his wife for me?” The comment posts that followed lead to some interesting, if not highly charged, discussions of infidelity and what kind of a woman would get involved with a married man in the first place. The assumption was that the “other woman” always knows the guy is married but goes ahead but gets involved with him anyway, and she’s lying if she says she didn’t know he was married. Therefore she deserves whatever condemnation, or “bad karma,” that may be coming her way.
While I may not have the academic credentials to call myself a relationship expert I’ll admit to being single most of my adult life. And if one accepts the theory that experience is the best teacher, then I must be a relationship expert many times over. Judging by my own life experience, and listening to the experiences of other single women, I’ve concluded that there are actually two kinds of “other women” out there:
• The aforementioned mistress, who knew upfront that he was married, but chose to get involved with him anyway.
• A good woman who has been deceived.
Remember the Roxie Hart character in the movie Chicago? For those of you who didn’t see it, Roxie Hart was a married woman who desperately wanted to get into show business, and along the way she was willing to do whatever she had to do with any man she thought could help her achieve her goal. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Roxie Harts out there in the real world. They may be married or single, and they certainly don’t care if the men they get involved with are married or not. They have their own agenda, so I doubt these are the kind of women who would ask a psychic when their lovers will leave their wives. Marriage or a long-term commitment is not their goal, but along the way they can certainly wreak a lot of havoc and inflict a great deal of pain and suffering on others, making them deserving of any condemnation or “bad karma” that may indeed come their way.
Then there is the woman who thinks that if she can break up his marriage she’ll win his heart. These are the other women whose actions are the most despicable, and for whom such condemnation also rightly applies. And while she’s busy doing everything she possibly can to ruin his marriage she may very well be the woman calling the psychic trying to find out how much longer it will be before her efforts pay off. But even if she does succeed in wrecking his marriage it doesn’t mean she’ll end up with him. He may very well decide she just wasn’t worth all the trouble.
There is, however, another kind of “other woman.” She is not the kind of woman who would ever knowingly date a married man. She is someone who has been deceived. These women are actually decent people. They are single and most likely looking for a long-term, committed, monogamous relationship, or marriage, and they happen to meet a seemingly nice man who also appears to be single.
This woman will notice he’s not wearing a wedding band and that whenever he talks about himself he never mentions a wife. Oftentimes he’ll tell her upfront he’s single or divorced. Or a mutual friend may have told her he’s single. Whatever the scenario may be, she has every reason to believe this new man in her life is indeed single and available.
Later on, after she’s become seriously involved, she’ll discover, oftentimes by accident, that he’s married. She will feel just as shocked, just as hurt, and just as betrayed, as the wife who has been cheated on. Only she gets a double-whammy. People will always see the wife as the injured party, which she truly is, but they will also be quick to pass judgement and stigmatize her with the “other woman” label, forcing her to wear it like a scarlet letter. And, just like in that psychic’s blog, they will oftentimes accuse her of lying when she says she didn’t know he was married. It seems that no one ever wants to condemn the man for lying to her when he told her he was single.
The whole experience will often leave her doubting herself and wondering how she could have possibly been such a poor judge of character. Or she may be so in love, or have been so manipulated, that she allows herself to believe he really will leave his wife for her – someday. And maybe he will. It does happen. However, it it’s been my observation that more often than not the man in this scenario is a player who has no intention of ending his marriage. After all, being married is his means of escape once the other woman starts to get serious.
How to we protect ourselves from this kind of deception? It isn’t always easy. Sometimes I wish I was psychic too. If I was then maybe I could read his mind and know upfront exactly who he is, but then again, maybe there is something to be said for gut instincts.
Based on my own life experiences, and after listening to the experiences of others, I’ve come up with my own red-flag list. And while I make no claim of if being totally complete or foolproof, it should serve as a good guide for alerting you when something isn’t quite right.
Warning Signs That You Could Be Involved With a Married Man
1. He gives you his cell phone number, but never gives you his home or work number.
2. He asks you not to call him during certain times of the day. These times are during his non-working hours.
3. His work hours are unpredictable, or he seems to be putting in a lot of overtime.
4. He cancels dates at the last minute, oftentimes with no explanation.
5. He just isn’t available on weekends or holidays.
6. He always wants to come over to your place, but you’ve never been invited to his home.
7. He takes you to dinner or movies at locations out of the way from where he lives or works.
8. You only meet his friends or associates by happenstance, and then he introduces you as a colleague or a business associate.
9. He discourages you from talking about him, or your relationship, to your friends or family.
10. He’s not interested in meeting any of your friends or family.
11. He never gets around to introducing you to any of his friends or family.
12. He asks hypothetical questions like, “Would you ever consider dating a married man?” or “What do you think of women who go out with married men?”
13. His stories just don’t add up.
14. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but your gut instinct is telling you that something just doesn’t smell right.
If worse comes to worse and you find out you’re “the other woman,” don’t beat yourself up. You were the one who was lied to and you’re not a mind reader. All you can do at this point is end the relationship as quickly as possible and move on, and don’t let him manipulate you into thinking he’s going to leave his wife for you. A decent woman deserves a decent man, not someone who’s proven himself to be a liar and cheater.
Remember too that you are not alone. I’ve been truly amazed at the number of decent, honest women I’ve met who have unwittingly become involved with a married man. I’ve even met a few single men who found out they were deceived by a married woman. They too felt shocked and betrayed, although it seems to me that our society does not stigmatize them with “the other man” label.
Lying and cheating appears to be an epidemic, and these “other women,” the ones who were lead on and lied to, are all ages, all shapes and sizes, and come from all walks of life. But they all have one thing in common: They never set out to intentionally date someone who was married.