Why Affairs Are Like Being Double-Crossed In A Heist

Over the years of writing Baggage Reclaim, I’ve heard from many women and men who have been left empty handed, duped, disillusioned, distraught, angry and a plethora of negative emotions after being involved in an affair. While many of these people feel awful about deviating so far from their personal values that they wound up not only in a deception but often ended up feeling emotionally bankrupt, there’s also a significant chunk of people who while they may feel aggrieved at deviating from their values, their grievances are focused on the ‘deal’ not coming through.

Affairs are like heists gone wrong.

As the Other Woman/Man, you’re under the impression, even if it’s not directly stated, that for your participation, which as a result of deviating from your values may feel monumental, you’re going to share the ‘takings’ between you and run off into the sunset. All you’ve got to do is hang tight and engage in the deception.

The Cheater is committing ‘fraud’.

It may be that when you first met, you hadn’t intended to be involved; maybe you were just having a good time. But then they started talking up the future and the opportunities, and you suddenly started to believe in the possibility of being together.

You operate under this misguided notion that they’re an honest person being dishonest to the other party due to the circumstances, not because they’re actually dishonest. If you’re anything like I was, you’ll think that you’re the one they’re being honest with.

There’s no such thing as an ‘honest cheat’. That’s an oxymoron like ‘casual relationship’. They lie to themselves, they lie to others, and they most definitely lie to you. Of course some base their reasoning on a complex framework of lies and so will stubbornly cling to their lies, because to let go, would be to place the responsibility and accountability on themselves that they seek to dodge.

Some of you may have actually started out feeling like you were the more ‘powerful’ party in this. They were chasing you and you could take it or leave it. They were trying to convince you but now, you’ve been left with your head spinning and wondering where it all went so wrong.

Unfortunately I’ve seen enough episodes of 24, CSI, and The Wire, never mind various action films to know that often, the person who thinks that they’re in on the deal gets shot or left out.

You keep wondering when they’re going to ‘come good’. They keep talking about how they just need more time, or that the ‘goods’ are in a safe place, and how they’re just waiting for the right moment, their cat’s stuck up a tree, they haven’t got clean drawers, or they suddenly remembered various problems they have that they’ve got to attend to.

It’s difficult under these circumstances not to get a bit, if not a lot, twitchy. Are they going to come through? Are they shady? Have they double-crossed you and cut you out of the deal and cut in one of your colleagues that sits a few seats away from you, or an ex, or even their current partner? Oh my God, what if they’re ‘back together’? Why didn’t they just tell you? What about everything you’ve invested? And round and round we go.

Of course the deal goes sour. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow but it will be soon enough unless you’re pulling an ostrich and holding on tight come rain, hail, shine, or the next decade.

And then you’re angry and you know what? Who wouldn’t be? You got played, even though they may deny it and claim that they really meant to cut you in, but something came up, or you ‘did’ something, or some other lame excuse.

Here’s the thing though: It was an affair. Don’t get me wrong – they’ll have done their wheeler-dealing, lying, omission, and even pressuring, but you knew that there were a lot of things wrong with this situation and you’ve also lied to yourself.

I say this from experience. My anger and indignation gradually gave way to grudging and then welcomed responsibility when I realised that I’d known what I was dealing with – I had just hoped to be exempt.

If you’re still angry about the fact that you’re not still with them while they cheat, or are angry that they haven’t left, you’re missing the point – it was an affair.

If you’re still angry, your moral code hasn’t caught up with you yet. It can’t have done – you’re still bargaining and justifying that you had good reason to be in this situation, because it’s that classic Justifying Zone, the slippery slope where people go to after they’ve emotionally or sexually invested and need to find any reason, even one that’s straw-like to justify it.

In the case of affairs, we like to think there’s a whole load of damn good reasons why we would get into a situation like this and continue. The truth is, often there wasn’t at the outset. It’s only further down the line when it suddenly occurs to you that you’re in an affair and that means you’re in something shady that you start wheeling out the reasons and searching for even more. You need to find a reason for the ‘whim’ and gambling.

There’s an over-correlation that happens with affairs, much like it happens when we meet someone who possesses certain qualities or characteristics and we assume that they possess others and that they’re ‘right’ for us. With affairs, we over-correlate our presence in one and assume that it’s because of a connection, ‘chemistry’, deep feelings, ‘fate’ etc.

Actually, often you’re in an affair because you’ve taken a detour down a shady alley in Low Self-Esteemville – you just may not know it, possibly because you’re running from and shielding yourself from other hurts.

If you want to move on from the affair (I hope you do because these things are bloody painful), you’ve got to stop acting like you’re an ‘innocent’ victim – you were happy to be in on the heist when you thought you had something to gain. Now that the tables have turned on you and you not only haven’t ‘won’, but in fact seem to have left some of your sense of self on the table, how much is it going to help you to be a victim?

There’s no peace or growth in claiming helplessness and that you’ve been robbed – you can’t call it a robbery because it hasn’t turned out how you’d liked, when you were calling it ‘love’ when you thought it would go your way.

The same qualities and characteristics that enabled you to have an affair with them, are the very ones that they’ll use to cut you out or at least lead you down some blind alley’s. What you don’t want, is to be that person who is waiting and waiting and waiting, while they keep palming you off with excuses, while they go and live the good life.

The takeaway from this isn’t to give yourself a hard time – taking responsibility doesn’t mean taking on the blame for the whole thing. Own.Your.Part.

This means taking the focus off them and positively putting it on you – this experience was a sign that you don’t love you enough and need to deal with whatever you’re avoiding. You’re human, you make mistakes, and you want to love and be loved – forgive you and get back on track.

You’re not going to feel good or gain a healthy relationship out of something based on deception that leaves you feeling bad. Forget about them; make things right with you.

Your thoughts?

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

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295 Responses to Why Affairs Are Like Being Double-Crossed In A Heist

  1. yoghurt says:

    I haven’t had an affair – which is lucky for me and I’m glad – although I do remember saying (when I was pregnant!) “How are you treating me like a mistress when you aren’t in a relationship?”

    It occurs to me, though, that being in a casual relationship has similar elements to the affair heist. You sit there going “but you’ve been awful, you’ve taken so much from me and you haven’t given anything back” and they say “yeah, I know, but I stated at the beginning that I was going to con you so I don’t know why you’re bellyaching. Why d’you sign all those feelings over to me when I’m wearing a black-and-white stripey jumper and a face mask? What did you think I was going to do other than put them in my swag bag and run away?”

    I hope that this isn’t too much of a prevarication but it occurs to me that anyone who associates with emotional crooks is going to get ripped off… it’s just that in a MM situation they admit that they’re a crook but take the emphasis off YOU by admitting that they’re thinking of burglarising someone else and THEN run off with your self-esteem.

    • SM says:

      LOL Yogurt. You got that right. I feel the same way after the last AC, who was completely single, pulled a con on me. Angry cause I didnt get what I wanted, mad at myself for letting him con me, then telling everybody about it for weeks (thank goodness I found BR and came here to tell people so my friends could get a break).

      • Michelle says:

        Hahaha yes, how patient and amazing friends can be. BR also helped alleviate mine from my constant antagonizing and questioning over the former AC. 😉

    • allie says:

      @ yougurt

      Why d’you sign all those feelings over to me when I’m wearing a black-and-white stripey jumper and a face mask? What did you think I was going to do other than put them in my swag bag and run away?”

      this is so fantastic. And so opportune in my life. The woman my ex-husband cheated on me and then divorced me, he never marry her, he has cheated on her numerous times and kick her out of his home, etc.(this drama has been going on and off for 5 years). Now she is acting like the victim, and I just think to myself, well, what part of him being a cheater you didn’t get?

  2. Marianna Miaow says:

    This is perfect timing thank you! I am still dealing with all the emotional fallout from my affair with a married man which lasted on and off for 2 1/2 years; started off with a kiss, led to a sexual relationship and then no no no, we must stop, this is not right for you, for me, for her, and after some time apart and us both pining it was like f** it this is IT, we just have to be together (from him) start looking for somewhere to live hunnybunch we are moving in together. When his wife found out he couldn’t go through with it. And I was left with the most indescribable pain I have ever EVER experienced. I am still feeling it over a year on and am desperate to move on. I try everything (except dating I cant do that…yet…? no one can compete) counselling, reading here, reading books on getting over it, working on taking responsibility, trying to diminish the feelings I had for him – yes a liar and a cheat (so was I though, to take him away from her) but I just cannot seem to get over him… I am going to read this over and over again and pray that it sinks in, other than that I am hoping that time will do her thing. I dont know what other actions I can do to lessen this, am blindsided by how long I have been in pain over this. I am angry with myself for feeling like this about this man, but the rejection by him when I, as Nat said, originally had the ‘power’ has shaken me to the very core. Never never never get involved with a married man, EVER!

    • LMA says:

      hi Marianna,
      I was involved for 4 years with a MM. Like you when it came down to the wire he couldn’t go through with it, so I was rejected in favor of his money and appearances. It took me 2 years and a LOT of self-work to get over it all. The final straw that burst the ‘bubble’ was contacting him again, and finding out that he was quite willing to jump into bed with me again but reminded me that he was married. He hadn’t changed one bit, still a lying cheater – and there was no way I was going to let all my progress be wasted on him. I like myself a lot better now that I am out of the affair scourge, and have finally been able to start dating again recently. It feels so good to be able to date single men that are focused on me without the ‘deception’ elephant in the room.
      The ‘nothing compares to him’ feeling is completely overrated; it’s limerence, not love – he’s just not that special. Keep working on your self-esteem and focus on yourself and know that time does heal; also know that it will take a lot longer than you think – don’t get down on yourself. Progress is slow but sure, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. Hang in there sweetie.
      NML, great post as usual; we were overdue for an ‘affair’ post :)

    • Leann says:

      It really hits home when their two lives meet (wife finding out) and sure enough they become the lesser man that you hoped deep down inside they werent and was sure they would be more than that. Instead they run back home and sing to the tune of the wife to let the storm past. Karma has no time limit though and I really hope you can find the strength to move on from this awful heartache and mend. Find something from before all this that made you truly happy and start from there. Time is a healer but it doesn’t stop you forgetting.

      Please be kind to yourself though, let the punishment go, like Nat says ‘You’re human, you make mistakes, and you want to love and be loved – forgive you and get back on track.’ I don’t know what I would of done without this blog and Nats words but you really can be truly happy again.

      But they truly have to want to leave their unhappy marriage and you cannot force it. They need to change and do it themselves.

      I had so much negative energy after it all I had to find a new way to channel it and make it positive. The affair took over my life and when it was over I had so much time on my hands. It was a task to start from nothing again and build myself up. But slowly and surely you do get back on top and it really is something no one can take away from you. That amazing feeling of self worth. I focused all mine on a new career (left the last one as he was in it) and now its such a big force pushing me forward to better things.

      It really is knowing that right time to turn your back and leave the past behind. You should not compromise and want a criteria of a life partner to be ‘someone you have to share.’ But we go through these awful heart aches to learn what we want and even how low we ourselves can sink. Its the actions we take next that mean the most.

      Live. Love. Change.

    • Spiral says:

      Oh Marianna, I feel for you! We are soul-sisters on this one.

      I am getting over my affair as well, with a man who must have been the “model” for this blog posting! He pursued me, told me he was in love with me, texted me dozens of times a day, begged me to be with him, said he was leaving her…then six months later turned it all around and said, “I don’t think I was ever in love with you.”

      I am struggling daily with anger and depression and guilt, especially since we have mutual friends and I run into him on occasion.

      I will be putting a link to this post on my desktop to read over and over. Nat, you’re always so great at cutting through the BS, even when I don’t want to hear it. I find I have to read each word slowly and mindfully, and tell myself: “She’s talking to YOU!” Thank you for being my “Shoulder Angel”.

    • rosenfire says:

      I’m so sorry that you’re hurting. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but some of it sounds familiar. Time helps, but it’s not a magic wand. For me, there were some things I needed to do (and not do) while Time was doing her part.

      These are all my opinions. If they help, great. If not, toss ’em.

      1. Trying to diminish your feelings for the Other Person never works. It’s like telling yourself to stop thinking about the color red, and the more you tell yourself to stop thinking about the color red, the more you’re actually THINKING ABOUT the color red! I had to just admit (to myself and to a safe girlfriend) that I still had feelings, and then I had to stop focusing on them–even if my focus had been to try to get rid of them.

      2. I realized that I was still feeding my addiction to the Other Person. (Addictions are when you need to see that person, hear from them, spend time with them, have some sort of reminder/fix in order to feel normal, feel okay, or stop feeling pain.) I stopped listening to songs that reminded me of him, or of love, stopped driving by places we used to go, even if it meant taking the long way around, stopped reading his emails (delete!), stopped stalking his Facebook (delete account!), stopped recalling everything he’d said and promised, stopped trying to figure out WHYYYYYY. Eventually, the twitching got less noticeable, but detox (especially cold turkey) takes time. The thing is, it won’t work until you want it to.

      3. I know that last sentence sounds harsh. But it was true for me: I wasn’t going to truly LET HIM GO until the pain of holding on was greater than the pain of letting go. Eventually, you say “Enough.” And you listen to Streisand and Summers sing “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” until you get your moxie back. :o)

      4. Lastly, you have to grieve him. Really grieve, like he’s died–or rather, like all that you hoped and wanted and believed you’d get from/with him – died. This is tough. I pretended like I was talking to him (no, there’s no point in actually telling the Other Person this stuff…if he cared how much he’s hurt you, he wouldn’t have hurt you in the first place). I told “him” how he’d hurt me and how angry I was, and WHY it hurt. Then I admitted, out loud, what I had hoped and wanted and how I’d tried to meet my legitimate, healthy needs in illegitimate ways. I…

      • rosenfire says:

        I confessed that his not meeting these needs hurt me terribly and that the unmet needs I still had also hurt me terribly. Then I asked God to forgive me for my foolishness and to help me make wiser decisions as I grew to the place where I’d be able to choose someone who could meet my needs in a mutually-beneficial, respectful, legitimate relationship. And then I allowed myself to cry until I didn’t feel like crying anymore.

        All of this took me a long while. I wasn’t ready to let him go for a long time because I felt that if I let HIM go, that I’d be losing part of myself, and part of my history. That I’d have compromised my values for NOTHING, that all what we shared must’ve meant SOMETHING. Yes, it meant that I have real needs but chose to meet them in unhealthy ways. It takes time to be ready to let go, but you’ll get there. You will know you’re ready to completely move on when you’re willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means letting the good memories go just to get rid of the bad.

        Sorry for rambling so long…I’m rooting for you. Hang in there.

        • Stephanie says:


          This is excellent advice! I’m kind of following the same path with the AC I ended up with last year. He wasn’t married but sold me a fantasy then cruelly disappeared and ignored me like I didn’t exist. Well done to u :-)

        • Spiral says:

          Thank you for your rambling. I can tell you’ve been where I am. Thank you thank you thank you.

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Marianna you are NOT alone. I’m still digging out from being an OW. I really felt comfort in Rosenfire’s comments Thank you.. It’s where I’m at after who knows how long. It’s just taking so long. It’s the multiple wounds. For me, it’s been difficult dealing with the deception on his part and the owning the deception on my part. But unfortunately long story short, there’s a ton of OW’s out there. It’s been the most difficult year of my life facing how I could get involved with a totally MM.
            Rosenfire, you articulated absolutely everything I’m dealing with right now. Thank you for your comments. You really helped me see that there is still hope even though the progress is slow going some days. Up days and down days. Most of all, thank you Natalie for creating such a wonderfully safe harbor for everyone to heal and move on.

            • rosenfire says:

              Thank you all for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. For those of you who commented that you are currently in the thick of it, may I give you a virtual hug and also admit that I didn’t figure any of this stuff out overnight. And it’s a lot easier to articulate looking BACK on it than when I was in the horrible pain of it all. It helped me to remember, when I would take one step forward and two steps back, that I didn’t create the mess in a month’s time, and I wasn’t going to clean it up or recover from it in a month’s time. Mending, I think, often takes much longer than the time spent in the relationship. But I told myself that if I was willing to spend 2 years in a dead-end relationship that crushed me, I should be willing to spend at least that long truly HEALING from it, if only to keep myself from making the same foolish choices again. I’m rooting for all of you. Listen to Nat!!! :o)

    • Lilly says:


      It will get better. I promise. A year and a half with my MM and it took me that long to get over the big hump and really begin to move forward. Time, I think, is key but I believe I could have moved through it faster if I hadn’t been in such denial. I really believed everything he ever told me and even after I horribly ended things with him, I think I was still holding out…hoping for him to do something. Make a move or prove me wrong or something. Still clinging to the fairy tale and all the plans we made.

      What helped me was reading this blog and other various articles (all saying the same thing) I found online, facing reality by looking at facts only, which was hard for me to separate and to stop speculating and treating feelings as facts. I also made The List. This is a list of ‘negatives’ about him (any and all minor or big things I could think of), which was extremely hard for me initially because I had built him up so much. Once I thought of everything I could, I looked at that list and it helped me to see him more clearly (not as a monster or a piece of crap, but more balanced and without rose-colored glasses). It helped me to see that list and ask myself if this was The One for me, as I had thought. In other words, to focus on what I wanted instead of the perceived rejection. Do you want a guy you can trust? Can you trust him? Do you want a guy who is so good at lying? etc…

      The other thing is to start focusing on building up your self-esteem. Make a bucket list of things you enjoy but quit doing, things you’ve always wanted to try but never have. They can be simple or major things. Paint your nails, get a hair cut, sign up for a dance class, learn something new, etc. Baby steps.

      One day all those obsessive thoughts and unanswered questions you may have will dissipate and then eventually, they’ll be gone or won’t even matter anymore. You’ll have forgiven yourself and him and, hopefully, learned a lot in the process.

      • Marianna Miaow says:

        So many amazing responses to my posting, thank you, now I have Nat’s article and all your wise words to read over and over. To hear from people who have been in the same boat, and come out of it is the most helpful thing I have read so far! And I have read a LOT! Sometimes I think that reading about it all keeps me focussed on him and is another way of holding on to him because once I let go that really is it! Kerrazy I know, I am sure he is not reading all about how to let go of me! I think the key is focussing on me and why I stared into the eyes of a man who was willing to lie to his wife and thought yes you’re a keeper! Of course he lied to me, but my thoughts were exactly as Nat says, he was lying to her because of ‘the situation’ but overall is a trustworthy and decent man worth waiting and even fighting for. THAT is the crux of the learning. A total denial of reality and a belief in a fairy tale of love and obstacles and true love will out. When as we know it is the truth that will out. I thank you all for your stories and advice here.

    • rosenfire says:

      Yikes! Even MORE thoughts I had (thanks for letting me vent), after reading the other comments on here and thinking about things for a bit:

      One of the main problems with trying to heal from an affair is the fact that you have multiple wounds to heal from. First, there is the pain from the relationship ending. This pain, like any breakup, hurts like hell all on its own—even if YOU ended it, or agreed that ending it was the right thing to do. But added to this pain, you also have guilt and shame (and perhaps depression) that comes from cheating your partner or stealing from someone else’s. While you’re in the affair, the highs of being together serve to numb the guilt and shame, but when the affair’s over, all THAT pain comes rushing in on top of the break-up pain. And to make matters even WORSE, you have to face the personal issues (like low self-esteem, poor boundaries, pain from previous relationships, etc.) that allowed you to violate your values and get involved in an affair in the first place. Healing from an affair = a ton of pain + a ton of self-work = a long time.

      The “no one compares to him” feeling does sound like limerance, but I don’t think we should automatically discount what we felt in the affair relationship by saying “it was limerance, not love.” It might have been love, but it wasn’t a healthy, fulfilling, self- or mutual-respect kind of love. It had its problems, obviously. It might seem that you’ll never get that same “rush” or “chemistry” with anyone ever again, but that might be simply because the affair was an illicit relationship, which creates its own kind of “charge” that can’t be duplicated in a legitimate relationship. Legitimate relationships don’t come with secrecy and sneaking around and hiding and whispers and imagined futures or longings for the “next time” you can find a way to be together. But, on the plus side, they also don’t come with the secrecy and sneaking around and hiding. :o) You might not get the same “high,” but you also don’t get the same low.

      To say that the man who goes back to his wife “isn’t the man you thought he was” might be true, but it’s also unfair I think. He’s actually a BETTER man than I thought he was—since I thought he was capable of leaving his wife and kids. Instead, for whatever reason, he is honoring the vows he made. Similarly, even though his “choosing her” hurts, because it…

      • Allison says:


        He didn’t honor his vows, he stomped all over them!

        Time to remove this man from the pedestal!!

      • kacey says:


        I feel the same way. It’s great to hear stories and encouragement from people who experienced it and share the pain or people who emphatize rathern than condemn. You’re stronger than you think. You will be able to move forward no matter how hard and painful it may feel, in time it wouldn’t be as soul crushing.

        Rosenfire, you’ve obviously been reading about the psychology behind these infatulation and affairs. so agree on how painful and hard to go through these and yet people time and time again still fall into these traps. Yes Allison the man betrayed his vows and isn’t worthy to be adored but I think I know what Rosenfire means. “he isn’t the man you thought he was” means he wasn’t the man who promised that he loves you and will choose you (if only …blah blah) but instead he’s just the man whose promises are empty and who is gutless after all. man who realised that you’re his “mistake” when the wife/gf finds out.

        • Allison says:

          The bit that threw me, was that she believed him to be a “BETTER” man?

          • kc says:

            Isn’t it “better” for a man to stay and work on his marriage if he decides that he’s made a mistake and realise he does values his wife/gf?

            Isn’t it possible that some men & women have an affair but they realise later they’ve been mistaken and do end up repenting and making ammends?

            • rosenfire says:

              To *try* to clarify (tough in this context), I don’t have him on a pedastal, and I don’t adore him. I simply meant that it’s easy to get angry if he rejects me and to call him all kinds of names, including debasing him as a gutless coward. But, didn’t I already KNOW he was a gutless coward? For cheating on his wife rather than ending one relationship before starting another? Therefore, I prefer to think of him the way KC described: that he has stopped at least ONE lie and is trying to do right by his wife and kids. It’s even healthier for ME to think this way, as staying angry at him does nothing for my soul but keeps me physically sick and emotionally distracted.
              The rest of my original comment got caught off, and might again, as I tend to ramble. :o) …Similarly, even though his “choosing her” hurts, because it feels like rejection, it’s a rejection I deserve. He SHOULD reject me (and every other woman) and stay faithful to his wife. If I truly loved him, I would want him to be his best self and to do the right thing instead of wanting him to choose a path that will cause him a ton of guilt and shame and regret, that might end his relationship with his kids, and that might destroy his self-respect (all of which he would likely resent me for and would destroy whatever relationship we had). More importantly, instead of focusing on my pain and on the rejection, I started looking at why I choose men who need to reject me. Why do I seek out men who will ultimately reject me…due to their being emotionally unavailable, fearful of intimacy, or because they are MARRIED? That’s what I need to figure out—and change. One of the hardest things for me, in letting the MM go, was to admit that he lied to me. I feared that if I admitted he lied about X,Y, and Z that it might mean that he also lied about A,B, & C (all the wonderful things he said about me as a person, woman, lover, etc.). How could I know FOR SURE what was truth and what wasn’t? I couldn’t. The whole relationship was based on fraud and lies and deception. FACT. Therefore, I couldn’t ever know without a doubt what was real and what wasn’t. FACT. I needed to get my ego stroke, my words of affirmation, and the truth about me from another source. FACT. It was hard to admit these things, but when I did, I felt freer than I had in a very long time. Less pain, more truth, a better me. Of course, I didn’t…

            • Allison says:

              Depends if that is what he is really going to do. A lot of these guys state this after they feel the pressure to leave the marriage. He should have never of gotten into this situation to begin with, and he’ll probably repeat with someone else.

              Bad character is bad character!

  3. Flower White says:

    THANK YOU Nat for this post! Today, I have recommended several mistresses to this post, as I only see them in cyber space, due to what I consider odd character -being a mistress- I refuse to socialize with them. Like, why would I want those women hanging with me as I flirt with and date new men? Talk about bringing the wolf to the lambs. I don’t trust mistresses. There, I said it. I don’t trust men who cheat on their wives, either.

    I tough-loved the mistresses out of my social life. Maybe I’m turning into a grouch but I cannot listen to middle aged mistresses mope and whine about MM. After 2 decades of being a cheat you’d think they’d get a clue. I have not a shred of empathy for a 40+ mistress.

    • Flower White, it is up to you to decide whose company you keep, but you’ve gotta stop with the slagging off middle aged women. I have teenage boys and girls write to me who have been ‘mistresses’, as well as 20s, 30s and so on. Why not just go and hang out with like-minded folk? I just don’t ‘get’ why you’re engaging with these women if you loathe them so much? That is what you need to address because unless you get off on feeling superior to these people, I don’t see why you’re in their lives. You have no empathy for them – you could never be a friend or confidante. Being devoid of empathy is a code red alert. For them.

      Would you listen to an under 40 woman make the same complaints? While there are some ‘predatory’ mistresses who make it their vocation to be with attached folk, the great majority are stuck on one person. I’m glad though that you said that you don’t trust cheat’s because it shows you have other targets besides the middle aged.

      • Kmac says:

        Natalie, thank you for this. I’ve never been a mistress, but I’m 48, and I appreciate the response. Had to get my reading glasses on to see it, of course. And then I tripped on my cane on the way back to the computer.

        • blueberry girl says:

          Kmac, that totally cracked me up! Thanks for the laugh!

        • Have to agree Kmac – you did give me a terrible fit of the giggles and a hilarious mental picture! Thank you!

        • tracy says:

          Oh, that kills me, as I’m 48 and had to find my reading glasses to read this, too!!

        • suzanne says:

          Kmac: LOL loved this!! Am 52 and had to put my glasses on 2 and use my zimmer frame to get to the computer!! great post Natalie as always!!

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Hey all, got my bifocals, cane, and all my electronic devices to assist me in my old age. Thanks Natalie for clearing up the age factor. Trust me, Wildflower 50-somethings can have wild passionate sex just like 20, 30, 40 somethings. If only it were about wild passionate sex. I know thinking about 50 somethings having sex may be a yikes moment. But 50 somethings have sex and relationships too.
            I do have a great deal of empathy for anyone who has been deceived and for anyone who has deceived themselves whether they are 2o, 30, 40 or 50 or 90. It still hurts. Hope this blog is still around when you turn 50!

      • Tanzanite says:


        Great response and a great post.

      • Ashamed says:

        Thanks for the great response to the higher than mighty Flower. Many middle aged women still got it going on. Just look at Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Cox, Salma Hayek and Halle Berry to name a few. They’re “middle aged” and far from pathetic.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      For Pete’s sake. Can we stop treating age 40 as some magic number? “Woe betide me, I’m over 40, there are no men for me!” “Women over 40 REALLY should know better, already!”

      Look. People develop at different rates. I’ve known incredibly naive women in their late 40s (hell, I was one of them). I’ve known incredibly worldly women half that age.

      A woman I’d known for many years entered into an affair at age 48. Part of the reason she was vulnerable to the cheater’s dubious charms is because she was very inexperienced sexually and romantically, and he worked that angle, and swept her off her feet like a googly-eyed teenager. Yes, she should’ve known better, and yes, it had terrible repercussions (it ended our friendship, sadly), but I think demonizing or pathologizing (per Max’s comment) women who participate in these types of scenarios is not productive.

      It’s a sad truth that women who engage in affairs put a tremendous strain on their female friendships, and I know the limits of my empathy and compassion were pushed to the breaking point. Ultimately, my friend became isolated from the very people she’d normally turn to for support. Because she’d fallen for the con, and the deceit it required, she became a liar herself — she told most of her friends and family all sorts of porkies to cover up what was going on.

      There is such a ripple effect with affairs. The damage isn’t limited to the participants, or their families.

  4. Max says:

    I stop speaking to a girl friend because her “affair” was soo sick. She would complain and whine and bad mouth this guy one day and then be in total love/awe the next. I strongly suggested she get serious psychiatric treatment for her issues. The scope and sheer insanity she engaged in was very very scary. I am sorry but your NOT a friend if you don’t tell these women to get professional help. The issues they carry are extreme, life long and cannot be glossed over by the affair. This guy is married with a slew of kids and NO he has not left his wife. Best thing I ever did was off this “friend’ was really was a certified Nut Job. Married Men are OFF LIMITS……Period!!!!

    • Flower White says:

      Co-sign. @Max!

    • Max, I disagree with some of this comment. I don’t think the issue is life long so it’s a bit OTT to condemn them. I’m not saying it’s not an extremely unhealthy relationship but what your comment lacks is empathy, which can be down to the fact that you’ve never been in this situation. That’s not to absolve each person of their responsibility but there’s a tangled web that is woven with affairs. Very smart people who have even had fairly emotionally stable lives can become greatly impacted. Also, it is a shame that while you’re calling them “nut job’s” that you’re not referring to the cheating party as such…

      Oh and I also just remembered how Oprah herself said that’s she was the OW and then found out that she was the OW to another OW – will you be sending her to a psych ward as well?

      I would also add, what you’re slagging off this person for is exactly what many people do in an unavailable relationship, affair or not. That’s a hell of a lot of condemned people you have on your hands.

      • Natasha says:

        Excellent response Nat. Before I found BR, I was very judgy towards OWs, as both of my parents had their childhoods jacked up by their fathers’ affairs. Then a funny thing happened – I started reading the comments on the site and found that a lot of OWs had a many of the same issues that I had. Just because my assclown was unattached (THAT I KNEW OF. For serious, you never know with those wiley creatures.), didn’t mean I was “better” or “more sane”.

        • P. says:

          I had a friend (was she, really?) who was having an affair while going through her divorce with someone who was engaged to be married. She was often “in agony” calling and talking to me for hours why her partner does not leave his fiancee? I patiently listened. Finally he left the fiancee and became “official” with my “friend”. She invited me to her birthday (girls only – they did not know about the bf then). I made some comment since I did not know what the situation was at the time, and it turned out she thought I should be envious of her (since I did not have a bf). That, and she also criticized me in front of everyone for being sad about my divorce (“you should be over it since it has been more than a year, right? What’s wrong with you?” I do not remember the exact words but that was the gist of it). When she told me how long she was dating the bf I realized it must have been even before her divorce started. Well, I try not to judge, but I felt used and hurt since I was good enough to listen to her, but not good enough to need some time to recover after a long marriage… I try to avoid her now.

        • Happy Soul says:

          Natasha, plus some OW did not know that they were “dating” married men…so many men lied about their relationship status.. Eventually, they will find out but it is too late…as poor women already in love with these losers! I feel sorry for both sides OW and wives…

          • EllyB says:

            It’s so easy to deceive ourselves about this. In the past, I often looked at the stories of politicians, movie stars and top managers who apparently left their wives for a younger woman, and then I told myself: I don’t like to be an OW, I don’t like cheating, but apparently for other people it’s a “valid” strategy to get a relationship?

            What we don’t know though (at least not from the glossy magazines) is the following:
            – did the OW really wait around for a long time, or did he leave immediately – I think usually the latter is the case, unless…
            – the wife finally threw him out because of his affairs

            – how many OW did he have in the past whom he didn’t marry (many of those guys are known to be serial cheaters – even if it’s rarely mentioned in the glossy magazines)?
            – what does the new relationship look like (I bet most of those guys will cheat upon the new woman as well)?
            – how long will it last (many of those guys marry 3, 4, 5 times)?

            I’ve grown very wary of glossy magazines…

            • FedUp says:

              Also there are always the exception stories you hear about from a friend of a friend etc. And also you have people who are always in the media like Angelina and Brad. Angelina was a OW and they are still together. I wonder what makes them the exception? Why hasn’t it blown up in their face yet? Why are they still together?

              • grace says:

                It’s true that men (and women) can leave a relationship for a new one. In my experience it happens quickly, within months if not weeks. AJ was NOT an exception to that.
                The longer it goes on, I feel that the less likely it is that he or she will leave. They get comfortable with the double life.
                Charles and Camilla IS an exception to that, but I don’t think many of us can draw a comparison with them. And it didn’t exactly work out well for everyone concerned.

                • kc says:

                  I think both the wife/gf and the OW feel like they’ve been conned and robbed. The wife conned by the husband and robbed by OW.

                  Charles & Camilla were in love and were in a relationship before Diana came to the picture. C & C had their love broke up because of some external pressure which is why Charles couldn’t get over her.

                  I suppose there is a small percentage of people who do have affairs who get together and do work it out & last. It’d be interesting to hear about how they’ve made it work out or maybe they just feel like they have to commit to it or they have no other choice because they couldn’t exactly backtrack. Like Mymble said, there’ s no way of knowing. Sometimes what seems like a perfect marriage/relationship is actually
                  a sham in reality.

                  • Tulipa says:

                    I think there is always a cost to a man leaving his wife, partner etc. for the other woman.
                    My dad left for his mistress, made it work for 19 years before she left him for another man. It caused me untold pain because he didn’t want anything to do with me. He will probably never know the full cost of his choice to leave and be with his mistress.
                    My cousin’s husband also left her for his mistress causing his two daughters untold pain and yes I know children are reslilient and adjust it is still a cost.
                    I often wonder what it is like for the mistress once she ‘gets’ her man and the reality of him.
                    I don’t think I’ ve seen a post from someone who actually got the guy to leave his wife etc and all was well and happy.
                    We aren’t behind the closed doors of Brad and Angelinas relationship but Im sure there is a cost somewhere.

              • Mymble says:

                They’re clebs and they live in la la land. Angelina even grew up in that country.
                You have no way of knowing what the reality is behind the hello type photoshoots. Personally I think there’s something very very strange about them.

    • Tanzanite says:


      Everyone makes mistakes.It’s so easy to make one party to be whiter than white and the other blacker than black but it’s not that simple.

      I would also like to add being in contact with people who could not empathise was what caused me to withdraw and caused my stress related illnesses.As soon as I was in contact with people who didn’t take the moral high ground and guided me with love I was on the way to recovery.

      Thanks to Natalie and the ladies on here.

  5. pty says:

    Havent’ commented in a long while. My reaction when I read this was to think of Marvin the Martian from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. This post deserves an “earth-shattering kaboom”.

  6. Bella says:

    We assume to be oh so individual, but we are just as crazy as everybody else. I was turned into an affair after my long-distance dude started dating my facebook friend who was writing with me for several weeks before they got together. He just changed our roles and eventually I was left one month before I could have applied for jobs (USA) since he was so annoyed by my jealousy and said our relationship had not been perfect to begin with (since I was jealous at innocent romantic remarks at is fb wall) – and so he chose her. The irony is that my jealousy simply showed me who he truly is – somebody who starts affairs quickly and is skilled at stringing people along. I should have gotten out out and out the second he started making out with my “friend”. Period.

  7. I’m experiencing these feelings with my Mr. Unavailable. Although I’ve told him we’re not together anymore, he still contacts me and I still find myself with a niggling hope that he might change or that we might end up together. I’ve taken the focus off him and don’t obsess anymore because my common sense finally kicked in and I read enough blogs and articles like this one that showed I had the profile of a love addict. That’s someone addicted to unavailable men and who uses this as an excuse to avoid intimacy. That’s me. The thing is these men are not evil; they have their own issues. But those are none of my business. I have to get right with myself and understand that relationships are not an escape from reality but the cherry on top of an already full life.

    • blueberry girl says:

      Feast, what a perfect statement~
      “I have to get right with myself and understand that relationships are not an escape from reality but the cherry on top of an already full life.”
      I think I share some of the “love addict” qualities to which you refer. Good to hear you’ve taken the focus off him and put it where it belongs -you- but I understand the struggle.
      Most of my romantic life has been spent looking for that elusive prince to “complete me.” And voila, my life would be transformed into this idyllic fairytale of happiness and contentment! I’ve never been much for romance novels or films, so I don’t know where this “glass slipper” mentality stems from!
      When you’ve dealt with the pain & rejection of being involved with one Mr. Unavailable after another, it becomes far more pleasant to live there than in reality.

  8. Tamy says:

    Reading your comment us like reading a page from my own life. I too was involved with a married man. The only difference is that i didnt initially know he was married. It was a long distance relationship and he told me that he was divorced. I found out a year later that he wasarried. He said he had wanted to tell me something for a long time but was afraid he’d lose me if he told me the truth. He admitted that he was married but that they were separated and didnt have the money to divorce her. I forgave him only to find out 3 years later that they were not separated… But living together the entire time. I saw the red flags… Questioned him about my suspicions but he always had a logical explanation. And ALWAYS convinced me that i just didnt understand how complicated hos situation was. He was quite good at turnibg things around on me and making me feel selfish. Its beem year since i ended it. Yet, like you, my heart still loves and misses this person… And i cannot understand why. Every few months he calls to see if im seeing someone. Im not but i told him last December that i was. Felt awful for lying but i felt it was the only way to set myself free. Funny… I still dont feel free :-(

    • Allison says:


      I’m curious? How did you meet this guy, and how often did you see each other? Did he have two homes?

      I don’t understand how he was able to keep this from you for so long?

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      See, this is what I don’t get – how can you be with someone for THREE YEARS and not live with them. Were you exclusive?

      Once again, this is a fantasy relationship and a very reliable test for detecting fantasy relationships are ‘Do they fail the touch test?’ i.e. Can you physically touch them (not just see across the desk at work) on three separate days each week, every week, consistently.

      Fantasy relationships almost always have three core elements:
      1. Distance (and crumb communication to match)
      2. An excuse in the form of ‘If only X then Y’ which moderates/controls the distance/communication
      3. Failure of the touch test

  9. Leann says:

    Perfect article. I managed to get myself out of an affair, but I really had to let it all blow up in my face and realise the deception was to everyone. They love their wife, they love you and they probably love every other woman that makes them feel happy for that moment. When you realise you can’t help them, they won’t just fall in love with you and only you and they make up constant excuses of why they can’t leave just yet (of course) you have to know its time to LET GO.

    When I met the ‘married guy’ I was so happy, so independent loving single life. Unfortunately when your that happy you attract people who want a taste of that happiness as their life is so miserable and they want a way out. They see you as the way out! It comes from either an unhappy marriage, unsatisfied life or not reaching their goals. Seeing you achieve all that you are makes them want a piece of you but to keep their life they built at home intact which is crumbling around them.

    I soon changed though, his problems became mine and I got obsessed with this whole wanting to change his life and make him happy. I lost myself, my dignity and all my own personal morals. I lost that amazing happy single person I once was and got sucked into deception, lies and an untrue me.

    It ended 6 months later and I never want to go back there again. He’s back with his wife and making things work. I really hope he is being a true husband. He’s cheated his whole marriage, lied his way through the hard times and is always that happy one on the surface but so many problems within. I look back and realise I did love him but it was more the idea of him (the cardboard cut out) but he was never mine to love. The roller coaster of emotions you go through is tough and when it doesn’t work out its heart breaking but at the end of the day your not the victim. I was lucky I had amazing family and friends to pick me back up and get me on my feet again. It turned my life upside down and strangely for the better. Ive learnt how low I can go and I never want to go back there again.

    My friend also during the same time was with a married man, her love affair story has actually ended with a smile. The man had guts and left his unhappy marriage to be with her. But this is rare. However the whole time she kept true to herself, carried on with her life, didn’t become overwhelmed by the affair and…

  10. Healing One says:

    I haven’t been involved with a married man, because I don’t respect a man who would cheat. I was married for 10 years–no kids, which I know complicates things–but I was unhappy and had the courage to leave. It was NOT easy. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I did NOT always handle it with maturity, but I left and I started my life over. I did not stay and cheat on my husband so that I would not have to deal with the emotional/spiritual/financial pain that came along with facing the fact that divorcing him was the right thing for me. I broke his heart. I had to live with that. I have been hit on by married men and I do not hide my disdain. At the end of the day it’s about character. As Natalie says above: there is no such thing as an honest cheat but even more importantly–there is no such thing as a liar with character.

  11. Sue says:

    Natalie’s posts on being the “other woman” and engaging in an affair often speak of waiting and waiting for what eventually turns out to be nothing but a broken heart and a lot of wasted time. I have had to watch a friend of mine deal with the fallout of actually “getting the prize” if you want to call it that. It started as an affair. They each eventually left their spouses (after some back and forth on his side) and settled into a life together. Problem was….ALL THE PROBLEMS! His ex was (and still is) so hurt by the whole business she has made everything (and I mean everything) very difficult. Her ex was not much better. From splitting their assets to contact with the children. Holidays were a nightmare on both sides. My friend told me that she was ashamed that her kids and the rest of her family knew all about the circumstances of how they got together. Family problems, financial problems, feelings of shame and regret… in this wonderful “we were meant to be” relationship it would come out as anger toward each other. They have been together for 6 years now and are on the verge of splitting for good. That was “the prize” that they each won. Headache, heartache, stress, anger, and a whole host of other negatives touching not only them but everyone involved. DON’T DO IT and if you are in it GET OUT! So to the post above “nothing compares to him” if the reason you can’t move on is because you still have ideas of what could have been for the two of you… it probably would have been s**t.

    • Little Star says:

      Sue, you are right 100%!!! As Russians saying: “You cant build happiness on someone’s unhappiness”!

  12. Imagine720 says:

    Two months ago today there was a large popping sound…it was my head coming out of my rear end. I woke up and looked at my Married Man and thought…if you are lying to your wife to see me, then how can I believe anything that is coming out of your mouth. We had met online and from the beginning he lied about his age, the email he gave me and the fact that he was married…so what would make me think that he would be honest with me now. Luckily we had only been together nine months and I had tried to leave him three times before because of how badly I felt about the affair. He always pulled me back in by taking me on trips, the sweet nothings he would say to me and promises that he would leave his wife…just not right now. Finally after some shady behavior that I had been ignoring while letting my values be shoved under the rug, I had had enough and went “no contact”. It has been the most difficult time of my life…the affair, attempting to break it off, going back and then realizing it was me that needed to change my behavior, not him. He is a snake, that’s what snakes do, I’m the one that put my hand in the cage and I got bit. Now I’m working on myself and trying to change my behavior towards unavailable men. This website and the book have helped save me from myself. Thanks Natalie!

  13. Doubful says:

    I can’t believe I can relate so much to this post when I think everyone on here would laugh at how little it took to make me feel such a deep connection to this man who has a girlfriend. Their relationship developed a little before or around the same time he met me, and I knew he was attracted to me and felt that chemistry and connection. I asked him about it once and he said: “Our relationship is interesting, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

    And, NML is right, I did feel powerful, because I felt his attraction to me.

    Fast forward several months, and I get a kiss and an I love you from him. I say it back, along with telling him my health secret. From there, everything goes downhill for me. I can’t get over what I disclosed and, although I did have some follow up discussions about it with him, my anxiety soared. I definitely felt like I was in some kind of holding pattern, waiting to see if he would leave his girlfriend, or if he would spend more time with me again.

    He was the first man in so long that I felt something for, after being divorced for so long from an emotionally abusive husband. I have surprised everyone in my life with how fast I went downhill over this. My reaction compares to those from women on this site who have been with an attached man for years! What is wrong with me?

    • grace says:

      Here is your red flag (not to beat you with it, but so you know for next time):
      “Our relationship is interesting, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
      Whether he’s married or just EU, or commitment phobic or a flip flapper, ambiguity is the stock in trade of the EU. I know it cos I felt it too (for so long I thought it was normal).
      It’s natural to over-invest in someone after a drought. I did the same with my “pretend boyfriend” – first man who has been of interest to me in six years. But slow yourself down and be aware of what’s actually happening. The key is not to project yourself into a full blown relationship or saying you’re “in love” when, in reality, very little (of substance)has happened.
      Mind you, my pretend boyfriend hasn’t kissed me or said he loved me. That would piss me off if he had no intention of following through. If he did that to me, I’d have to nuke him.
      It’s this non-friend/friend thing which will bite you in the ass. I’m nto saying NEVER speak to men again or NEVER speak to married men again but – be wise. Don’t get carried away. Don’t let his d!ck lead you up the garden path.

      • Doubtful says:

        Thanks for your very direct words, Grace. I appreciate them.

        In anyone else’s book, this would be old news. It’s coming up on almost a year since the kiss/I love you. But, I’ve had to leave the place where I would see him all the time (where I exercise), and I really want to go back there. It’s hard to be mad at him, but he did say, on the day, you are going to be mad a me. First, you will be sad, then you will be mad. I didn’t know what he was talking about.

        • Hi Doubtful, I was thinking of your situation earlier and I suspect that this is where you are stuck:

          There was a build up.
          A move was made.
          You then blurted out the secret health thing.
          He bolted. ‘Back’ to the girlfriend he’d always had.
          You then feel rejected.
          You’re still operating under this mistaken impression that had you not ‘shared’ or had you not had this secret health thing, then this wouldn’t have happened. You may not realise it, but it’s the sticking point.

          You are stuck on the perceived rejection and your feelings about this secret. You’re maybe a bit angry with yourself. What I do know is that as long as you’re invested in reliving one kiss and an inappropriate ‘I love you’, you’re in no danger of having to move forward in reality and run the risk of being rejected again.

          • Doubtful says:

            NML, Thank you for taking the time to consider my situation and respond. You are 100% correct in that:

            1 – My anxiety soared over disclosing this health secret.
            2 – do think it is what made him bolt even tho we subsequently spoke and he said absolutely not. But, I don’t believe him in my heart.
            3- All follow up conversations became about my “issue” and not us.
            4 – I am VERY angry at myself for blurting this out. It is very personal.
            5- I have VERY negative feelings about my secret and therefore myself and never even knew I had any shame associated with it until I disclosed it.
            6 – I will never know if this is what made him bolt.
            7 – I felt extremely rejected.
            8- I am VERY afraid of moving on.

            You are correct on every point from all the way across the pond. How did you do that when I have had to be in therapy to figure it out?

            I have two follow up questions if you have time to answer:

            1 -What if it is my fault for disclosing this? I can’t bear to think I am the reason that things messed this up.
            2 – You say that I am under the “mistaken” impression that disclosing my health secret is what made him bolt. Why do you think my impression is mistaken?

            • ixnay says:

              Lets just say for hypothetical that your health secret did scare him. Lets also say that any man you truly want to be with and trust with real intimacy you would eventually share your secret with — otherwise, what kind of relationship is it?

              So your self-blame comes down to timing. Or does it?

              I’m just going to propose that a deep, wise part of you knew that he was not capable and caring enough to handle your truth. And rather than waiting, building a relationship, luring him away from his gf, that wise part of you decided to have him reveal his character up front. And he failed the test, big-time.

              The shame and disappointment is not on you. It’s on him. He wanted a fantasy on the side; you gave him a real person and he freaked. This is not the partner you hoped he would step up and be. This is not the man for you.

              • Doubtful says:

                O my goodness, Ixnay, I am so grateful for your words. I have spent months trying to figure it all out, and I just keep going ’round in a circle.

                The thought had crossed my mind that we were each other’s fantasies, and when I presented my reality, things changed.

                When I asked him later on if he felt funny around me for what I told him, he said: “You are an amazing woman and there is nothing you could tell me that would change the way I think about you.” Even at that point, I did not realize that it was me who felt funny around him, not the other way around.

                During another follow up conversation, I explained that I thought I told him because I did not want him to leave his gf and arrive on my doorstep only to find this out then. Almost as if I was watching out for him more than for myself.

                His response: “Nobody’s leaving anybody.” He also told me that he knows why I told him – because he knows me and the kind of person I am. He told me there was a lot of beauty in that truth. He later called me “a good egg”.

                So, it seems he was fine with all this, but I just could not settle down inside. Then, I had to watch him with his gf which made me all the more unsettled.

                I would like to think that there is a wise part inside me that was watching out, like you say. In fact, when I told the therapist that I might have self-sabotaged, her response was like yours, saying she thought I had self-preserved.

                I hope that’s true.

                I am almost 50 years old and am facing things about myself for the first time. So odd to have thought I knew myself so well only to have to go through so much self-discovery now. It is taking a long time to retrieve my equilibrium.

            • Hi Doubtful, reading situations and spotting what’s *really* going on is what I do. It’s the foundation of Baggage Reclaim.

              The more I read of your situation, the more it confirms that this was a fantasy situation. Both of you were being unrealistic and one of you was actually having an affair. This seems to have bypassed you and the truth is, this whole situation is more about your feelings about you than it is about him.

              In the face of truth, you have opted to hold onto blame and shame. You’ve persecuted yourself for a year and even when he tells you that it’s not your ‘secret’, you refuse to believe it. Now why would that be? Because if you accept that it’s not all you and that it isn’t really about the secret, you will have to accept some uncomfortable truths.

              This man wasn’t leaving his girlfriend. I think that was an assumption on your part. This man was just playing around. He told you himself – he wasn’t leaving. You both had different views of the same relationship.

              If you can blame it on blurting out your secret, I’m surprised that you also can’t blame it on saying that you loved him.

              Whether you had this secret or not, he wasn’t leaving which means that while the secret may have sped up the outcome, the outcome remains the same.

              You are under a mistaken impression that you and he were in love. This is an inappropriate, clandestine involvement that got out of hand.

              The fantasy is sometimes preferable to reality, a reality where you don’t feel deserving and experience shame because of your secret. Self-preservation indeed. But you have been punishing yourself unnecessarily and ultimately, it is you who must stop rejecting you.

              All this situation has done is highlight how you need to take care of you and come to terms with your secret. Stop rejecting yourself before others do.

              Love can happen for you too, but it wasn’t going to happen with a man creeping about behind his girlfriends back.

              • Doubtful says:

                Thanks, NML.
                “Because if you accept that it’s not all you and that it isn’t really about the secret, you will have to accept some uncomfortable truths.”

                Are you meaning that the uncomfortable truths include how I feel about myself or about the fact that he rejected me? When you mention that one of us was having an affair, which one?

                And, I do think I loved him.

              • grace says:

                I concur – when you find yourself turning over and over something he said, or didn’t say, or a kiss, or what you said, or what you didn’t say – it’s fantasy. It’s not real.
                You cling onto these frankly insgnificant happenings because there’s nothing much there. The I love you and the kiss is too much, but not worth a year of agonising.
                Also, gym instructors pull this stunt all the time. They get up close and personal with women who are vulnerable, then move on when the woman appears to be taking them seriously. Happened to a colleague of mine. Her marriage was almost wrecked by her obsessiveness and her texting. And, no, she didn’t even have sex with the man.
                Well before “your” guy bolted he only ever had one foot in the door (or rather a toe). He had no intention of ever fully entering.
                It’s fun. It’s fun drawing someone in, it’s fun to flatter them and watch them melt, it’s fun to flirt and to kiss someone. And then go home to your girlfriend. If you want more than fun, pick someone who can offer you that. You can’t always tell straightaway but – a big clue – there won’t be a girlfriend or a wife. And I’m not being snarky about that. So many people just don’t understand that. They think it’s irrelevant. More subtly, if you’re not sure about yourself, your ability to commit, your lovability, what better way to avoid all of that than by launching yourself at a situation where you’ll never be put to the test. All you have to do do is fantasize, cry, and react. Even when the “relationship” is long over.
                Unless you are both single, the two of can only be just messing around. Trying to make it about your big reveal, or his girlfriend, or what he thinks of you isn’t going to morph this into something worthwhile.
                A more valid pursuit is to ask yourself why so little meant so much to you and continues to do so.
                You’re committing time and money to these therapy sessions. Isn’t there more important stuff to talk about than what a man with a girlfriend said to you over a year ago? I get it, I wanted to yabber about “my” MM when I was in therapy but, thankfully, a part of me knew it was a waste of time. I’m gonna say it – the man is irrelevant.

                • Doubtful says:

                  Wise words, again, Grace, and I’m grateful for them.

                  “More subtly, if you’re not sure about yourself, your ability to commit, your lovability, what better way to avoid all of that than by launching yourself at a situation where you’ll never be put to the test. All you have to do do is fantasize, cry, and react. Even when the “relationship” is long over.”

                  You are so right here. I am EU. I had 12 years with an emotionally abusive addict/alcholic husband followed by about 15 years of hunkering down and raising my kids. I never even looked at another man. This man was my exercise instructor, I knew some of his family, and I helped promote his new studio. I felt I was more than just a student in his class.

                  He was attentive, and I exceled in the class. It was very hands on, and I am not exaggerating when I say I felt that he and his instruction melted me. I think I did feel it was safe as he had a gf, and I did not think anything would really progress. Once it did, though, even if barely, I was a wreck and have remained so.

                  The therapist says that this man and the drama that surrounds him for me acts as an anesthetic for me so that I don’t have to address my EU-ness. I always knew but did not understand the impact of how badly I truly feel about myself. My “secret” greatly contributes to that, but so does the damage done by my marriage that I never addressed, even though it was so long ago.

                  I am very grateful for the responses I have received, from you and others, including NML. I feel like my story is so small, and I have spent so much time trying to figure out what was real, what I did wrong, where he was coming from, etc., etc., etc. I never expected such responses, all of which have helped to validate my experience.

                  It was real after all. And, if I had more faith in myself and in my worth, I would not have had to wonder in the first place.

                  Signing off with gratitude.

      • Natasha says:

        “Don’t let his d!ck lead you up the garden path.”

        Aaaaaand I just choked on my iced tea hahahaha! There was a time when I let an assclown’s d*ck basically be my GPS in life (imagine that program, with the very dignified GPS voice?! “The d*ck indicates a left turn at the next juncture.”) and I can vouch that their sense of direction is highly…faulty. I’ve been on a six dates with someone who seems cool, but it’s not, you know, going anywhere. Not that I’d be expecting declarations of luuuuuuuuuurve, but we do have mutual friends and I don’t think an en masse night out would go amiss. I don’t want to be “The chick I take to dinner and make out with once a week.”, followed by the “The chick I took out to dinner a bunch of times and then stopped calling after I slept with her.” I feel you lady, I really do.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          Oh gawd, I will never be able to hear that dignified GPS voice again without picturing a giant schlong skipping down a garden path.

          I love this place. 😀

    • EllyB says:

      @Doubtful: I’m sorry you went through all this (of course, you made mistakes too, but one lives and learns). Anyway, I don’t think “going downhill quickly” is any worse than “going downhill slowly”. At least it means you felt uneasy rather early, which is a good thing in my book, EVEN IF you might have done some stupid things to avoid the truth at first. It’s hard to face the truth.

      If you had “gone downhill” more slowly with that guy, would you have gained anything? Well, maybe some of your acquaintances might have judged you more positively, but who cares? I’m sure YOU would have suffered even more in the long run. I’m glad you didn’t.

      The goal is NOT to put up with those guys as long as we can, to try to keep them in check with fake “boundaries”, fake NC or some weird “rules”, by bribing them with sex, by closing our eyes to their true nature or whatever. It won’t change the outcome. It will only hurt us more. I know what I’m talking about!

      Others might disagree, but to me the speed at which this happened might even indicate you’re more ready for a serious change right now (if you’re willing to work on it). In a way, you might have hit your personal “rock bottom” now. That’s a good thing, because if you’re determined not to go any lower, the only way for you is up (hope I don’t sound sarcastic, because I don’t intend to!).

      More than a decade ago, I stayed in a dysfunctional relationship for years. Afterwards, I dated various toxic guys, but all those “relationships” went downhill within weeks or a few months. Back then, I thought this was a sign I became “more and more unhealthy”. Nope. For a long time, I also believed guy number 1 was simply a “better pick” than the ones that followed. Now in retrospect, I realize he did a lot of brainf* to me too. He was EU and very self-centered, but I gladly put up with it because he reminded me of momster (sigh).

      Later I was just not that willing to put up with crap anymore (unlike in my first LTR), and I didn’t suppress my negative feelings for such a long time anymore. I think that’s why it all escalated more quickly (and therefore came to an end more quickly, too).

      Needless to say, nobody should ever want to REPEAT such an experience, no matter how shortly it lasted. The goal is to opt out BEFORE going downhill at all. That’s what we should all be striving for.

      • Doubful says:

        Thanks, Elly B, for your considered reply. I do think this is my personal bottom, as you mention. I think after my emotionally abusive marriage to an addict/alcoholic, I just marched on, raising my kids and not really healing inside.

        This man was my exercise instructor, and it was a pretty intimate and physical setting in general. I feel like he melted me, almost. I know he knew I was vulnerable, but I don’t think either of us realized how much.

        I thought it would be my dream come true to have him kiss me and say he loved me, but it turned out to be the worst that could have happened. I turned into a nervous nelly. Soon after, his gf stopped speaking with me and he was aligned with her. At the exercise place he owned, it was as if I was discarded. Our “friendship” became so superficial that it was insulting and hurtful to me, although on the surface everything was polite but, for me, very awkward.

        I’ve since left that place, but I keep thinking I can get over this and somehow make it back there.

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          I’ve since left that place, but I keep thinking I can get over this and somehow make it back there.

          Don’t go back – unless you want to fall off the wagon, be burnt and be cured finally. Seeing my AC with someone else (new victim/casual) was the FINAL straw that brought me back to reality about their assclown ways.

          EUMs and ACs are everywhere and I can spot them like radar, quite scary. A friend of mine has recently gone back to the ex but their relationship statuses are both single, and another one has their partner living with their ex who is throwing out all sorts of crumb excuses as to why they can’t be together often (and they’re also on dating/hookup sites too), another one is a ‘friend’ to a major potential sex-addict assclown who cheated on them with more people you can poke a stick at, another one tells me how in serious LTRs they like to be exclusive but they haven’t had a serious LTR – ever but I notice they have someone in ‘acting’ relationship mode. ALL of them would swear blind there was nothing amiss with what they were doing…

          • EllyB says:

            I second t_o_a. Find another place to exercise if you can, maybe even a “women only” gym, if available. It might be a relaxing environment for you, and help you to distract yourself from your current turmoil, too.

            It almost bet that some more months into your recovery, you would not even WANT to return to your old gym anymore. Maybe switching gyms might cost you some money (don’t know whether this is a problem for you), but many of us have lost money by getting rid of a toxic guy. In the end, it doesn’t matter because it’s money well spent (even if you might not see it that way right now).

            • Doubtful says:

              Thanks, EllyB. It is a small, intimate exercise studio, and I would attend early morning classes before work. The group got to know one another well and, since it’s yoga, the instruction was fairly intimate.

              You are right, it has cost more money to change studios, not to mention the therapy expense. And, I don’t like the instruction in the new place, nor the atmosphere, hard to find parking, and lots more. Thus far, I am perservering, but if I were to be truthful, I would say that I am waiting for when none of this matters to me anymore so that I can go back to the original studio.

              I used to practice almost 5 times a week. Now, sometimes only 2.

              • tired_of_assanova says:

                It cost me over $1000 and 8-9 months of intensive therapy plus more unmonetarised costs – it is just NOT worth it or your sanity or the chance or temptation.


                • Doubtful says:

                  Tired of A – Have you been talking to my mother?

                  Just tonight she told me the same thing – that the goal of the therapy, the healing cannot be to go back there.

                  Thanks for coming back to comment. It helps.

  14. Jsam says:

    This is unbelievable timing…this is a very helpful article that couldn’t have come out at a better time for me. I just ended an affair with a MM (I’m a MW, BTW). He started out with future faking, told me he loved me, called me non-stop (he set it up that I don’t have his cell phone # and can only get hold of him by giving one ring to his work phone and he calls me back on my cell phone – I have only “rung” his phone 3 times) and basically gave me the attention my own spouse was not giving me at all. I fell for it!! I couldn’t wait to give myself to him.

    We finally had sex a couple of weeks ago – after all his promises of making me feel special, giving me a full body massage because I “deserved” to have one, etc – the actual sex felt like I was in a porno. And at the end, he couldn’t wait to get the heck out of there…needless to say I felt like crap, I felt guilt, I felt duped. And for the wrong reasons.

    However, I told him we needed to stop and to stop calling me. The problem is, I have a major attraction to this guy – being with him felt like a drug of some kind. I know he’s completely wrong for me on multiple levels, but I miss him terribly…it’s bizarre!!

    He calls me on and off and there’s a place we both go to where we see each other, so I know I will see him some time soon. The trouble is, even though I told him to stop calling, I don’t want him to.

    I feel like I’m going crazy!! The whole thing is so wrong, he’s a major flirt, cheater, liar and I’m already married (to an EU man, no less) but I’m wild about this fool!!! I’m a disaster.

    This article was good for me to read. I’m trying to stay strong and do the right thing.

    • Eloise says:

      Jsam, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that you, your husband and this MM are all EU. I don’t know if you’ve read Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, but in that Natalie says something along the lines of; EUW make EUM feel good about themselves, while EUM confirm the insecurities and bad feelings EUW have about themselves. So, just remember that, if you get tempted to ring the MM: You’ll just be massaging his ego, while he makes you feel like something he’s stepped in on the street.

      Having watched a friend go through something similar to you recently, I would suggest there is something you are not facing up to in your life. The MM is like a fantasy project that distracts you from other feelings/issues you may be avoiding. Some of those issues probably relate to your current relationship.

      • Jsam says:

        You are so right on all points! These are things I need to hear. I have such a strong attraction to the MM, I still think about him non-stop. I know that even if we divorced our spouses, I could never be with him because I don’t respect him on lots of levels and I don’t see us as compatible partners.

        So, wouldn’t you think I would stop fantasizing bout him?? Not a chance, it’s the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever done. I can’t help taking his calls an I always get butterflies when I’m about to see him. It’s like a drug and I need a fix.

        The attraction with the MM is so strong…and the lack of intimacy in my own relationship seems to “reconfirm” my feelings for the MM. I know I will never get the attention or intimacy I crave from my own husband. I am taking steps to stand on my own two feet so I can leave in a couple of years.

        But I can’t stop thinking about the MM, it’s such a conflict in my life!! It makes no sense. I feel like a lunatic!

      • Teddie says:

        “I don’t know if you’ve read Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, but in that Natalie says something along the lines of; EUW make EUM feel good about themselves, while EUM confirm the insecurities and bad feelings EUW have about themselves.”
        I read something similar elsewhere: we, women, take the most harm from our trespassing. If a woman does something totally off, totally wrong, such as sleeping with her husband’s best friend, or becoming OW, you name it, if you look at who gets most injured by the whole thing, it is herself. Men somehow tend to get away with less harm to themselves. I do have the impression that this is the case. Women do get more penalized for everything, even for aging.

  15. blueberry girl says:

    “Actually, often you’re in an affair because you’ve taken a detour down a shady alley in Low Self-Esteemville – you just may not know it, possibly because you’re running from and shielding yourself from other hurts.”
    So right on, Natalie.
    April 1st (April Fool’s Day~how appropo!) will mark one year since I ended my disastrous affair with the MM. I knew he was married but I was thrilled by the attention, the Hitchcock-level intrigue and enjoyed the dysfunctionally passionate sex. I take responsibility for putting myself in an impossibly painful situation that, of course, ended badly.
    A year later, I rarely think of him except to be reminded of his manipulation and cruelty. In December, I started receiving strange texts (he was using a different cell number) from a man trying to meet for sex. I had my doubts at first, but now know it had to be him. I was disgusted by his contact.

    It was HELL at first, but a year later, I feel at peace. I’ve had to address my own unavailability issues (still a work in progress) and fears about aging and losing my looks.I’m able to opt out of situations that I would have readily laid down my doormat for in the past ~ now, I realize if I have to do that to keep someone’s love and attention, it’s just not worth subjugating myself.

    I wish many of you struggling with affairs with MM’s the same “recovery.”

  16. Wednesday says:

    We were in a very small social circle. He was wildly attracted to me from the get go. After two years he invited me out for coffee. We saw each other for another two year as “friends” though it was clear that he was interested in me sexually. He invited me to every social event at his home. I kept saying to myself that I’m not interested in him plus he’s a married man but I kept on seeing him.

    Finally one night when his wife was out of town he invited me to dinner. He was very attentive; I was not present and was privately lamenting when would the day come when I would have a real date not just be out with my married friend.

    He then walked me home and told me that he had fallen in love with me and I was his soul mate and kissed me. I ran upstairs wondering if I have finally at long last found love.

    The first time he made love to me it was really making love. Wonderful. But after that it appeared that I became a weekly booty call. I ended it after five weeks.

    We got together once more and I felt so terrible after the sex when he got up to leave that I knew I needed a guarantee that this would never happen again. I started a fight about him leaving his wife. For his excuses – it would destroy her, kids, he also added that she was someone that mattered. That really stung.

    I had forgotten about him but something had caused me to think about him again and all the anger and hurt has come back.

  17. R says:

    What timing Nat. Today was my moment of truth with my MM. I pushed for him to admit what I always knew – he had full intent to stay with his wife. It doesn’t matter if he “loves”me, “misses” me. Because how is it love, if you are consciously chosen over for someone else?

  18. Cher70 says:

    There’s nothing more demoralizing than engaging in an affair. I’m not even speaking of morals and values because those are obvious. I’m referring to selling your soul to your libido misinterpreting sex as feelings of love while someone else reaps the benefits of having not one but two hearts in their hands. After almost two years, reading this article almost brought tears to my eyes. I felt sorry for the person I was and grateful for the person I’ve become after leaving such a toxic self destructive situation.

  19. Anonymous says:


    As I read this, I laughed at some parts and wanted to bawl my eyes out at others. Natalie, you have a true gift for expressing what so many must feel, but are unable too. Having said that, I was involved in an affair for ten years. I am 15 months out of it, after he was divorced, but then cheated on me and I caught him (go figure and what did I expect?) and then found his new “victim’ and was married within five months of our break up. Lucky for me, this is a pattern for him, as four months after marrying the new victim, he was out trolling for another mistress. Can you say “Madonna/Whore” complex. He was a psychopath. And there are many out there like this. All this information about him has been a blessing in disguise. While I am responsible for my participation, there is no way I could have known that nearly EVERYTHING he said and/or did was a lie and that I was one of MANY. Ironically, this has turned into working very hard at my own issues. I have a long and multiple abuse history. I was married for 20 years prior to this 10 year affair and was not a promiscuous person. This man was my “friend” for two years prior to the commencement of the sexual intimacy. I blindly overlooked the first WTF moment three months into the affair. It was SO CLEAR what the intent was. I tried to get out several times, but boyfriend would make promises he was never going to keep and well, I BELIEVED it. I hung on for dear life. What I have realized is that it was a HUGE distraction from ME and what I needed to fix. It is amazing the things we will do, including tossing our moral compasses and self respect of our individualized decks. These men and women (women can be pathological too) know how to get to your SOUL and EXPLOIT every wound or good quality you have. THAT is not your fault, they are predators, they know how to dangle whatever it is YOU want most and not give it to you, which starts the trauma bond going, but I know now that had I felt better about me, and had taken myself and my values in for repair PRIOR to this, along with some tight boundaries, this never would have happened. Natalie, I appreciate this article SO MUCH, I’m going to post it to my face book page for my readers, many who have also had affairs with the disordered and are now recovering. God Bless you!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Having said that, I was involved in an affair for ten years. I am 15 months out of it, after he was divorced, but then cheated on me and I caught him (go figure and what did I expect?) and then found his new “victim’ and was married within five months of our break up. Lucky for me, this is a pattern for him, as four months after marrying the new victim, he was out trolling for another mistress.

      They don’t change do they?! Don’t assume they’ve hit the jackpot just because they’re parading around a new piece!

  20. Mia says:

    What happens when your the wife who IS left for the other woman? Is it happily ever after in that case? My husband left me for the OW and we have two small kids. In my case, the person having the affair with my husband, got what she wanted. Where does that leave them now?
    I’m upset and having a hard time with this as I know most men don’t leave for the other person, but mine did. I know he isn’t much of a man if he was able to cheat on me but it’s still very upsetting.

    • grace says:

      I’d love to say that he’ll get his – but they don’t always. I think waiting for his new relationship to go belly up isn’t going to help you. It might in time, or not. And you don’t get to see what goes on behind closed doors anyway. You don’t get to know. Key to all these horrid situations is being able to separate yourself mentally from the EUM/AC. You are no longer joined.
      It IS a major betrayal – that someone made a promise to you, you’ve had babies and he’s gone off with someone else, not to mention the fibbing. The pain doesn’t get diminished by saying “Well, he can’t have been that great in the first place”. You have to go through the grief.
      But I do believe you can make a better life for yourself, if you allow it to happen. Sometimes, it seems inappropriate to be happy when a calamity has befallen us. You don’t have to be happy-joy-joy all day every day but look after yourself and your children and fight for those good moments. Eventually those moments come more easily and last longer. What seems impossible now will happen. There is healing.

    • Lia says:

      Oh my heart goes out to you, but trust me, he is going to get his. If you believe in karma like I do, just know that he will get whatever it is that he put out there served right back to him one day. I’m gonna tell you a story, a true story, that hopefully you can take something from. My father left my mother for the other woman when I was just an infant, left her alone to raise an infant and a toddler on her own, with no child support. And to top it off, the other woman knew that he was married, and was pregnant before my mother even gave birth to me! How’s that for a slap in the face?

      Anyways, my mother moved us two hours away so we could be near her family. She never knew what was going on in his relationship with this other woman, but guess what, it wasn’t all that it seemed, even when they were both smiling in her face. Come to find out, he had been cheating on the other woman throughout their entire relationship. And…the woman who he cheated on her with had a baby by him that she didn’t even know about! Sound familiar??? LOL I still can’t help but to laugh at the boomerang that my ex-stepmother caught on that one, karma is truly a b!+ch…she left my father as soon as she found out that he had been hiding a three year old child, and now he’s alone and broke, and will be paying back-owed child support for the rest of his life.

      My mother, on the other hand, is financially stable and happily enjoying her 50s. When we speak of what she went through, I remember her saying that she used to feel similar to how I imagine you are right now. But she also said that we were her motivation to get past it, and that she knew that success would be the best revenge. She showed him just how much she didn’t need him, and how her life could go on without him, but somewhere along the lines it stopped being about getting back at my father and became about making herself happy. You are going to get past this too, just focus on what’s important. Trust me, your children are gonna love you so much for it. Oh, and keep a lookout for your ex to start poking his nose around in you business. My dad was never around, but he would conveniently pop up whenever he would get word that my mom was seeing someone new, even years after the split.

      Reading your comment really struck a nerve with me, I just can’t believe some of these men…

    • Little Star says:

      Mia hugs from me! I just want to tell you story of my parents. My father cheated and my MUM could not forgive him for that. HE eventually left her and went to live with OW…They have been together for 30 years… they hate each other so much and OW dreams to leave my father at the age of 70! I met my father last year and he said that having an affair with OW was a biggest regret of his life. HE lost woman he truly loved and two lovely daughters…WHERE is he now? HE is sick, old, childless,unhappy and with a WOMAN he hates the most!!! He deserves his life and I DO NOT feel sorry for him! IT was his choice…Please remember that:-) ALL THE BEST!

    • kc says:

      Mia, so sorry to hear. There is no happily ever after. They will have their own struggles too.

      It’s a painful recovery for you right now but I believe you will be ok.

  21. colororange says:

    This may be a stupid question but I ask since I’m still in the land of Is This Appropriate or Boundary Busting or Not? Is it cheating or deceptive (maybe that is too strong of a word) or inappropriate for a married man to be talking to several different women about what turns him on sexually? And a lot of those women engage with him and they have lewd conversations. Some women even show him pictures of themselves. Is it cheating if he has cyber sex with someone other than who he is married to? I know if I were married to someone I found out what doing this, I’d be one unhappy woman but some women don’t mind. Anyway, I was wanting to hear others take on this if that is considered cheating.

    • kacey says:

      engaging in sexual conversations with the opposite sex is inappropriate. cybersex definitely cheating!

    • natslayer says:

      It is very much boundary-busting, big red-flag behavior. Even if he isn’t doing this physically in person with these woman, he is being sexually intimate with them. Sometimes it is horses for courses in terms of what women will allow, and that is up to them ultimately, but in my own opinion, this is completely UNNACCEPTABLE.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      colororange, my two best friends are male. One is married, and one is engaged. I knew both guys long before they became married/engaged, and we still sometimes get together without the significant others present (though I’m also good friends with one of the wives).

      While there is NO chance I’d dally with either guy, I’m very sensitive to maintaining good boundaries, and acting in a way that’s respectful to their significant others. I’ve modified my behavior around them, and in my emails to them, to accommodate their change in status.

      My litmus test in all my interactions with them is this: would anything I’m saying or doing cause their significant other discomfort if she were to overhear it, or read it (email)?

      I think to answer your question, unless the man in question has an explicit understanding with his spouse that that kind of behavior is more than OK (hey, maybe they’re swingers, or in an open relationship, who knows?), then HELL NO what you’re describing is not OK. No way, no how, nuhuh.

      And really the only way to know if he and his wife have that agreement is to have her say-so on it. Not just his. Even then, who knows if it was coerced? (Maybe he threatened to leave her if she wouldn’t go along with his antics?)

      So, yeah, 99.9999% chance it is no-go behavior.

      • colororange says:

        Thank you kacey, natslayer and Tea Cozy.

        This helps me get a better perspective. He has said his wife knows how he “talks” with women and that she is ok with it. I have no idea since I’ve never talked to her. It seems I have been running into a lot of married men lately and weird stuff happens like this. It’s disheartening for me since I get worried that this is all that is out there, married perverts. I’m just not sure. Having come from a place of no boundaires and having to have them now is difficult. Always questioning if something is right or not.

    • Tanzanite says:


      It’s cheating.

      Emotional infidelity.

  22. rosenfire says:

    Thank you, Nat, for this post. So much to consider…

  23. runnergirlno1 says:

    Wow Natalie, every thing you described perfectly fits my foray with the exMM. You are right, as long as I thought I was in on the heist, it was okay. When the heist went tits up, I got angry. Angry at him for leading me on and angry at me for buying into the heist.
    This is a perfect post for me as I’m still stuck on “I’ve been robbed”. But I’m working through the underlying reasons for getting involved with a MM. I clearly took a ” detour down a shady alley in Low Self-Esteemville “. It has been sucky facing the the other real hurts.
    This means taking the focus off them and positively putting it on you – this experience was a sign that you don’t love you enough and need to deal with whatever you’re avoiding.
    “You’re human, you make mistakes, and you want to love and be loved – forgive you and get back on track.” I’m trying. I want to be back on track.
    “You’re not going to feel good or gain a healthy relationship out of something based on deception that leaves you feeling bad. Forget about them; make things right with you.” It has been so hard but I’m getting almost close. It is just so hard coming to grips with reality.
    This a really great post. I got to work past the anger. Somedays I think it’ll be okay and then I regress into the anger phase. I’ve got some work to do on the forgiveness stage.
    Ladies, don’t go down the OW path. It hurts.

  24. Elle says:

    Yeah (sigh). I had the experience once of starting a relationship (an affair) while my long-term one was crumbling (and had been for a year or two). Spurred on by high hopes for the new man and belief in what he was telling me to alleviate my concerns, I left the relationship I was in, only for the new guy to turn out to be one of the most unstable, in-it-for-the-chase little meanies I’ve ever encountered.

    Truth is, I was trying to getting away with a plan that was way beyond me, that relied way too much on the co-operation and care of someone I hardly knew, and who, of course, held most (read: almost all of) my emotional chips and had, from my perspective, the moral upper hand. Looking back, it was about me being too frightened to end something without having the next relationship lined up, even so I could justify why I did it. The funny thing was that the boyfriend I left had 5 months on his own and then started a relationship with the love of his life (or at least someone he has settled down with etc).

    Heists are the worst. You’re right, Nat.

    • yoghurt says:


      D’you know, “little meanies” is one of the best ways that I can think of to describe EUMs.

  25. genesis says:

    My “‘affair” lasted almost 4 years…culminating with my “boyfriend” actually divorcing his abusive wife. I stood beside him through thick and thin…all the abuse, depression, telling me he still loved her, etc. When the divorce actually happened, I felt like I had finally won. All my time and effort finally realized. Then what…he withdrew…nothing from him. 2 months later, I get a TEXT telling me he is dating someone new and they are engaged and that he would “tell you more when I can talk”. Are you kidding? After all the S___ I have been through for almost 4 long years? Of course, he has never called and that was the last I heard from him. Almost did me in, along with my family and friends who were there to pick up the pieces. Never again.

    • j d says:

      This is a good example of how focusing on the cheaters’ motivation rather than his actions causes trouble. Abusive spouse or any other reason, he is still acting dishonestly (cheating), and actions show you who someone really is.

  26. Jen says:

    I have also never had an affair– my instincts were always against the taken man. Not that the non-taken man is always much better, and not that taken-men have never propositioned me, but it always seems like a catch 22:

    Even if they leave their significant other for you, how could you EVER be sure they won’t do that to you? If you pressure them until they leave, how could you EVER be sure they really want to be there?

  27. Siolyam says:

    Marianna, my heart goes out to you as I am going through something similar, altho’ I was originally the one who was married. I had an affair with my doctor. He made me feel like the center of his universe and loved me in a way that no one else ever had. He waited 2 1/2 years for me to leave my husband and when I found that I couldn’t, he eventually left me for another woman. I then ended my marriage in hopes of salvaging what we had. To no avail. He has been in that relationship for just over a year now but has kept in touch with me on and off keeping me on the hook with promises of leaving her and telling me that I am the one – his soulmate – and how he should have waited for me. He has assured me repeatedly (for over 6 months now…) that she means nothing and he was just using her as a way of escaping from me as it was too painful waiting on the sidelines for me to choose between him and my husband. I recently allowed myself to actually believe him and made the huge mistake of becoming the ‘other woman’. It soon became apparent that not only was he not going to actually end the other relationship any time soon if ever, but all his talk of a future with me dwindled off too. Yes, I am guilty of an affair from both angles, but when he moved on, I left him alone at that point to get on with his life. He has not shown me the same kindness or decency. I have no comprehension of how or why someone will toy with another person whom they know cares very deeply for them. Payback…? The devastation is immense and I can’t even begin to see my way through this pain. I went from being the one he adored and wanted to spend the rest of his life with to being the one that he tossed the crumbs to. You have very concisely described exactly what I feel and am going through. I too am taking the same steps as you to try and recover. I now wonder if recovery is even possible. I also can’t even begin to imagine a life without him. You are right – never ever, under any circumstances, get involved with someone who is in another relationship. The very short term gain is not worth the very long term pain.

    • j d says:

      The doctor is violating not only his personal, but his professional ethics. If I were you I would find a new doctor.

      • Siolyam says:

        Yes JD, you are right. He ceased to be my doctor the minute that line was crossed as he had breached all ethics and moral conduct at that point. Over the course of the affair, he continually pointed out to me the risk he had taken in pursuing me as if he was reported, he could loose his license. But, of course, I was worth it and he wanted to marry me… I now see that that was not only a way of making me feel that I must be the one and so special, but also a way of making sure I protected him at all costs.

        • Siolyam, this is an open and shut case of assholery. I have a busy mind – I couldn’t help but think of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle…

          Your slippery little sucker of a cocky doctor ex abused his power. He hasn’t swotted up on medicine to not know which ‘marks’ are the best to prey on. He’s manipulative and abusive.

          That said, you will not get past this if you continue to cast yourself as a victim.

          When someone cheats, it shows what they do when they are confronted with problems, difficult emotions, need for more effort, a decision etc – they avoid.

          You are not addressing why you were in the position of being with the doctor in the first place. If you keep telling yourself that you were duped, you will not gain the lesson in this.

          What were you avoiding and looking to get outside of your marriage?

          The doctor was an upper and some pain relief – what he wasn’t, was the actual solution.

          The fact that you attempted to have the best of both worlds for 2.5 years shows the deep extent of the fantasy and deception.

          The fact that you only felt the trigger to leave when he left only shows how unavailable you are.

          You couldn’t leave but you also felt very assured of his feelings. You probably felt like the driver in this situation but actually, clever dick the doc has pulled a bait and switch on you.

          Like many a person who cheats, you were happy to play on both sides of the fence, but now that he’s gone, you want him.

          There’s also the tricky matter of now being left to deal with a reality and a life and a marriage that you were trying to avoid. If I were in the same boat as you, I’d be damn upset.

          It’s time for you to face up to your problems…in your marriage.

          The doctor has done his feeling ill done by about being double-crossed, in spite of the fact that he’s a con man, and you’re complaining about being double-crossed by the person who you were effectively double-crossing by dragging out the affair for 2.5 years. There *had* to have been some Future Faking in there. I find it hard to believe that for 2.5 years he was saying I love you and that he wants to marry you and you kept saying “I’m too scared to leave”.

          You’ve then tried to make a new deal while double-crossing your husband, and doctor dickwad has double-crossed his new woman and double-crossed you. For him to have the opportunity to eff you over, you had to be still hovering to cut a new deal. You’re now mad that he’s double-crossed you again but at no point have you really addressed the fact that there are two *victims* of your heists…and it’s *not* you two!

          Man it was tiring to type that!

          In this situation between you both, it’s the cheater who has been ‘double-crossed’, but that’s only happened because you got in with someone who is up to his own fraud.

          You wonder how he can do what he did, but you only have to dig deep within yourself and ask why *you* did the same thing. You are falling into the trap of actually believing that what you were giving under these circumstances, was clean, healthy deep love – a loaf. It wasn’t. I’m not saying that you didn’t care, but if you truly had felt the depth of feelings that you profess to, you would have *left*.

          When you start dealing with the current life you don’t like, you’ll stop hankering for the future that never was.

          • Siolyam says:

            Natalie, I thank you for this. It was a wake-up slap in the face. You are the first person who has seen it from this perspective – or at least the first person who has spoken up with such brutal honesty. I have not been accountable, or even recognized my complicity in all of this, in this entire process and I have been in an avoidance mode for more years than I care to count. I will keep re-reading your post to make sure I get the full extent of it. Time to deal with this from a position of reality and honesty.

            • Boots says:

              Siolyam. Have much compassion for you. Life is a continual lesson and your story would have been too painful for me to read a couple of years ago….but not now. Here’s my tale of growth…..married twenty years. 6 years ago had a consultation with a surgeon for removal of a lump in my breast. He rang me after and asked if there was more than ‘Dr/Patient thing going on’ ? I was shocked but also flattered. Felt it was a ‘unique’ situation and attraction because, well, what a risk he was taking. I had never had an affair before and only had a couple of boyfriends before my marriage. I was so alive for the first time. At that point I had had no sex with my husband for 2 years. He was/is a drinker with erectile dysfunction problems. It carried on for 4 years. In the middle of all the lies and deception I discovered the closest experience I have ever had in terms of intimacy, sexual enjoyment and most of all kindness. He finished the affair abruptly, by email saying he wanted to be a man of integrity and could no longer continue. I did not respond at all in any way. My thinking was …I deserved this. I was distraught, it brought me to my knees and on the sound advice of a therapist I ended up in a trauma clinic for 6 weeks whereby I looked for the first time at the violence I had witnessed and suffered as a child. All I wanted was to talk about my affair partner, all they wanted me to look at was my marriage! I married someone I could hide from and who would not force me to be real. I have been avoidant and unavailable and it really suited me. My lover contacted me after 6 months. He had been in a clinic for sex addiction.I was not the only affair or the only patient! He apologised and we maintained contact…not sexual…until recently. Think he is going through a divorce but I am nc with him although he continually sends me little texts. Am not going there. My desire is to be authentic and live in peace without fear or pain. I have married my father without the physical violence but with much of the rest. I needed to go through this. I am not a victim. I have been manipulative and played the role of wife and lover without really been authentic. I think I would have run a mile if my Dr had turned up outside my home with his 4 children. Now I have some understanding of why I have lived and behaved like this…..it was my uneducated choice. BR and Natalie…

              • Siolyam says:

                Thanks Boots. The situation is clearly not as cut & dried as Natalie suggests as there is so much more to it than that & the fallout has been overwhelming. I was in a dysfunctional marriage where we were basically roommates. We lived very separate lives and hadn’t been in a sexual relationship for 8 years at the point that the affair started. I can so relate to what you say about “in the middle of all the lies and deception I discovered the closest experience I have ever had in terms of intimacy, sexual enjoyment and most of all kindness.” I was starved for that kind of attention and affection and truly thought that my knight in shining armour had arrived. Clearly, he had not as I am rapidly learning…
                Having said all that, Natalie is right in that I have to own up to my part in all of this. Why was I willing to just keep avoiding and trying to put a bandaid on the wound rather than deal with it? What exactly was I getting from remaining in both situations for so long? Why was I so willing to rush back into this mess of a situation when the shoe was on the other foot?
                I thank you for sharing your story with me as we clearly have a lot of similarities in our situations. Your comment of “I am not a victim. I have been manipulative and played the role of wife and lover without really been authentic” has also struck a chord. I have been thinking all along that I was the victim, but now have got to get real about that too. As painful as it has been to have these truths pointed out to me, I understand that this is now the first step towards healing and moving on and finding that authenticity and peace that you talk about. Thank you.

    • grace says:

      This situation is one hot EU mess.
      He didn’t wait 2.5 years for you to leave your husband. He liked the fact that you were unavailable. You liked his unavailability too, which is why you dump your husband as soon as the doctor meets someone else. If someone is persisting in something, however much they’re crying about it – IT SUITS THEM.
      He is now jerking you around by keeping tabs on you while he’s with someone else.
      Cut him off. He’ s a liar, a cheat and unprofessional to boot. I can’t see what’s so great about him.
      And as for adoration – it’s easy to adore someone when you don’t have to share the mortgage payments, bring up kids, visit the inlaws, go to boring company events together, or look after them when they’re sick. Don’t throw more of your life away on a heap of nothing.
      Cut him off.

      • Siolyam says:

        Thanks Grace. This has been pointed out to me before. I have also been warned that there is a good chance that he has NPD tendencies, but when your heart is in the thick of it, you just can’t see the forest for the trees. I realize in hindsight that for about 2 years prior to the affair starting that he had been possibly ‘grooming’ me for this during office visits. Always making seemingly harmless semi-flirting comments and talking about his personal life – which came across as very romantic. This was incredibly intoxicating to an unhappily married woman with very low self-esteem & no self love. And yes, in hindsight, completely unprofessional & predatory.
        When the affair finally did start, he raced head long into it and professed his undying love for me – that he had waited his entire life for a love like this & told me he couldn’t wait for me to be free so we could be married. I had never in my life been ‘loved’ like this. Adored, revered & put on a pedestal – made to feel like the most important person in the world & I was convinced he was the one. It took about a month for us to consummate the relationship & be well past the point of no return, when he then informed me that he was actually in another relationship. I was devastated. He promised to end that one so we could be together & then proceeded to take another 3 months to do so. By this point, I was so embroiled in guilt & mixed loyalty, that I literally couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t leave & hurt my husband & couldn’t leave the other man whom I believed my very existence depended on. Plus the entire time, he was still spouting his undying love & need for me making me feel like the center of his universe.
        By the way, he did the same thing to me when he moved on. Didn’t actually try & end our relationship until he had the next one within his grasp.
        Anyway, I realize that now that I am available, he keeps this next woman on the hook too as a very ready reason to still keep me at arms length. Last week, I found the courage to send him an email explaining that this wasn’t going to work for me & not to contact me. Considering that once he had his ego re-stroked he was probably looking for a way out yet too cowardly to just tell me (as how can you go from professing your undying love one week to saying, sorry, I was wrong about that, the next), I don’t think he ever will. I now have to get down to the very painful work of accepting that this was never real and it is really over. I have come to realize that this will only come from developing self love and self worth. Don’t even know where to begin there. Anyway, you are right, this situation is one hot EU mess. Thanks for your insight.

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          I’ve so totally tracked in the hot EU mess. If I commented on every comment, it would take the rest of my life. I am still coming to grips with how totally EUW I was. Ladies, when I got involved with the exMM, I figured he wouldn’t get in my “way” cos he was married. I know that sounds absurd now. But I really thought that I could section him off as he did the same with me.
          As it ended up, he could section me off and I wasn’t able to do the same, even though I tried. Getting involved with a MM or attached male, it is always as Natalie says, a heist gone wrong. The minute I engaged in the heist. I went belly up.
          There is simply a simple solution. NO MM’s. No attached males. Why does it seem so clear now?
          I still want to beat his married ass around my backyard. What the sam hell was he doing in my home while he was married? What was I thinking in allowing such a slime bucket in my home?

          Okay done. No more MM’s or attached males in my home. I won’t even give an MM or attached male the time of day. GO HOME. MM PHONE HOME.

          • brenda says:

            I Actually spewed my coffee from the giggles after reading your comment!!!There is obvious Pain on BR,I know,we all do,but There is also laughter and smiles here too!

            • runnergirlno1 says:

              Yup Brenda, I still have some pain to work through. Now it’s gaining awareness of how deeply in denial I was and how low my self-esteem was. Thank god for Natalie, BR and all of you. I’m committed to digging out, gaining a healthy sense of awareness as well a a healthy sense of self-esteem. That’s the key. No attached males or MM’s will ever, ever cross my doorstep again, thanks to BR. I’m smiling with my newly adopted boundary. If my homeowners association would allow it, I’d paint it on the front of my house. But may I still smack them upside their married/attached heads? Talk about numpties. They all need to see what the inside of the gutter looks like and I’d like to give them the grand tour of the curb.

  28. Lia says:

    “The takeaway from this isn’t to give yourself a hard time – taking responsibility doesn’t mean taking on the blame for the whole thing. Own.Your.Part.”

    Oh but this is the hardest part whenever a relationship comes to an end painfully. I’ve never had an affair, but I do know that there is usually blame to go around in every relationship, even if it’s not a 50/50 split. One thing I had to learn after I let myself get played was that I definitely saw bits and pieces of the truth before things ended badly. I accused him of playing stupid just so he could feel like he wasn’t to blame, but I was playing stupid too. In law there is this term “willful blindness”, it refers to individuals who intentionally shield themselves from the facts in order to escape being held accountable for any wrongdoing. In terms of relationships, I think people engage in this behavior because we feel as though we’re getting something in return for turning our heads. It’s only once we figure out that we’re getting the short end of the stick that things become all too clear. Once again, we become willfully blind to our own part in the relationship because it would be too painful to admit to yourself that you knew better but didn’t take better care of yourself.

    “The same qualities and characteristics that enabled you to have an affair with them, are the very ones that they’ll use to cut you out or at least lead you down some blind alley’s. ”

    Once again, I have found this to be true of unmarried men as well. I’ve often wondered why the same characteristics that worked for us in the beginning of a relationship gradually begin to show their dark side and turn on us. I don’t get it, were those always there? Or were these guys just really good at hiding them until they needed to use them on us to disappear? I guess no one should really be surprised by it, but it’s one that I still can’t seem to wrap my brain around…

    Great post. Definitely food for thought…

    • Thank God for That says:

      “In law there is this term “willful blindness”, it refers to individuals who intentionally shield themselves from the facts in order to escape being held accountable for any wrongdoing. In terms of relationships, I think people engage in this behavior because we feel as though we’re getting something in return for turning our heads. It’s only once we figure out that we’re getting the short end of the stick that things become all too clear. Once again, we become willfully blind to our own part in the relationship because it would be too painful to admit to yourself that you knew better but didn’t take better care of yourself.”

      Spot on…you let the EU person “get away” with things, even hide things *for* them, and don’t tell your friends what you know, because on some level you know it’s innappropriate and downright unhealthy. But you think you will be rewarded for being so *loyal* and understanding…

      • Lia says:

        Right you are….I don’t know if you live in the UK or not, but in the States willful blindness is not a justifiable excuse for committing a crime. In the eyes of the law, if it is reasonably possible for you to know the truth, then you are held accountable for it. If you choose not to seek it out, that’s still your problem. I think most people reading this site have already found that out, or are finding it right now…

  29. EB says:

    There’s no way to stop the affair but cutting and going no contact.
    It’s the most painful experience I’ve ever been through, but now I have my painful life and not my “lie based” painful life. I guess reality isn’t always cousy but at least you know where you stand.
    For me, being ok with letting her go was seeing and accepting the situation for what it is. Being ok with the pain you go through is being clear about all that has happened. It still hurts, but now for what it was, and not for the stories I had in my head.

  30. Tred says:

    Marianna, this sucks! Perhaps some thought-stopping techniques might help you. For starters, get hold of the classic “How to fall out of love” by Debora Phillips.

  31. Polly says:


    Just before you posted this Natalie I read your comment to Amy in the previous post – and that shook me. And this kept me awake! I have posted before as the OW of a MM who absolutely double crossed me as you describe. The analogy of being cut out of the deal when you have invested so much in it is spot on. But I was also cheating on my LT partner and had constructed a whole load of lies to myself to justify it – here are some of them:
    1. I deserved it for yrs of loyal service
    2. He’s done some shitty things to me over the yrs(never cheated though)
    3. I was powerless to resist the other person
    4. I’m happier therefore I will be nicer to him therefore everyone wins (this was the biggest lie of all)
    5. He won’t find out so therefore I’m not hurting him

    I know that I need to forgive myself but I think it is hard to do that until you accept you have played your part in a ‘crime’. Continuing to feel like the innocent victim isn’t helpful at all as you have so clearly articulated.

    This scenario reminds me a bit of the concept of ‘honour amongst thieves’ – even though you are taking part in a deception you expect or hope to receive justice yourself. Much easier to see how futile and misguided this is when you are on the other side of NC.

    On a slightly different note it would be really interesting and helpful to have a post about getting over an AC experience and doing NC whilst trying to work through an existing relationship. I’m struggling a bit…getting some self awareness about my own EU helps though

  32. Beth says:

    While fortunately or unfortunately, you are right about everything, I’d just like to add that while the person involved will most probably never leave his spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend for you, it’s very hard to see that while you’re having the actual affair. It is also almost impossible to see that your feelings are not true, that this relationship with all its chemistry and all the other excuses you mention, are not real. Because they are. My point here, is to make people realize that making themselves feel bad about what they are doing is the wrong approach. They need to realize themselves that this will go nowhere. But making them feel that their feelings aren’t real will just backfire, they will defend even more strongly what they believe to be real. Because deep inside they know, it can’t be.

  33. Francine says:

    Five years in an affair with an assclown. I saw the light – and continue to do so thanks to your insightful posts on being the OW Natalie, and I ended it last year in June, when I discovered his narcissistic personality disorder. I gave up my entire life for that man, and feel exactly as you describe here. But I am owning my actions in this and looking at my boundaries (which did not exist at the time of my affair!!). Life is so much better now that I am not ‘waiting” for him or listening to his endless nauseating excuses. Of course, having been “separated” with his wife – who he married while having an affair with me… he has gone back to her!! I feel deeply sorry for her being married to a person like him – I have told her about our affair, but she is desperate to have him in her life and has taken him back. I cant imagine how low her self esteem must be to do this – as I am sure he has just hit the reset button with her – after a five year affair – almost unbelievable!!! I am picking up the pieces of my broken life in the meantime and looking at how this even happened and accepting my own role in it. This post has really helped. Thanks Natalie!

  34. Heartache Amy says:

    Beth, I agree with you. I’ve gotten a wake-up call from Natalie (in her previous post) and she’s absolutely right. I have to stop being the victim, take responsibility for myself and move on. But it’s true – when you’re in the midst of it, your feelings ARE real, whether they’re right or wrong, and even whether you know better or not. I feel like a fool for what I may have believed last summer during my brief “fling” (not affair) with a MM, but at the time, it felt real. It seems like one has to learn the hard (very hard!) way, and I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has written to never get involved with a MM. It’s so not worth it, even for the few, brief moments of happiness, pleasure, etc. you might get. The hurt and shame stay with you long after it’s ended.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Heartache Amy, remember me? I’m so happy for you that you have cut the MM off. It’s difficult, I know. Stay the NC course. Focus on you.
      It’s been hard for me to reconcile the victim and perpetrator roles. That’s why attached, MM’s are off limits. There is nothing, nothing, nothing an attached male or MM can add to my life. They could only drag me into their depths of despair, dysfunction, and/or addictive crap. Or they could only need a good lay? Who knows. Some guys tick to a different clock. In dealing with a MM, it’s always a heist gone wrong because their is no such thing as an honest cheat. Get out. Stay out. Move on. (Mostly I’m saying this for me, of course.) Wishing you the best on your complicated journey. Hugs. You can do it.

  35. Mymble says:

    I love this post, its brilliant.
    I’ve been three months NC with the MM and have been backsliding a bit, feeling depressed, thinking of things I want to say to him, wondering if I’ll ever see him again (when I should be hoping I never do!). Partly i think its a a distraction from the other real stuff going on in my life – easier to pine and fantasise than get off my arse and sort my life out properly. This made me laugh and realise how utterly ridiculous it was.
    “There’s no such thing as an honest cheat.”- I have read those words before but I think I am only now beginning to ” get” what that means in the context of my own life. As in – everything he said and did was questionable, fraudulent, meaningless, intended to deceive. Or, even if it was not all lies, I have no way of knowing what was, and what wasn’t.

    • kacey says:

      absolutely agree with all the comments and this post about not wallowing on self righteous “victim” mentality blaming everything on the MM or “the situation”. Even though it’s hard, it’s actually quite a relief to admit your own messed up mistakes and beliefs and own up to your part in the heist. In hindsight when you’re ready to be honest and logical, you think about what happened and recognize & learn from both the MM and your own questionable behaviour and deceit during the whole sorry affair. It’s an even bitter pill to swallow when you realise there were signals and red flags all along before it all started but you chose to ignore them. You mistakenly and predictably though you were the “exception”.

      Whenever I think “why did he say that or why didn’t he do this?” I try to follow it up with “well why did I say that or why did I do that?” When you start to analyse what the MM said or did, shift the focus to analysing what you said and did. You’re more likely to discover more about yourself which will hopefully help you move forward & make better choices rather than trying to analyse in vain what were obviously just misleading actions and meaningless words.

      It’s comforting but at the same time sad that there are so many people in in these crazy “boat” and we all get sick together until we reach land.

      • Tea Cozy says:

        ‘Whenever I think “why did he say that or why didn’t he do this?” I try to follow it up with “well why did I say that or why did I do that?” ‘

        Ooh, that’s good.

        This really has been the key, for me, to finding clarity and peace in the aftermath of my recent relationships. None of them were OW situations, but that same line of questioning applies perfectly.

        It’s a simple and clear way to shift the focus back to what I actually have control over — my words and actions. It’s tremendously freeing.

        “OK, why did I do that? What can I do differently next time? What was missing in my life that led me to act that way, and what can I do right now to change my life so I’m not tempted to misstep again?”

        One of the many things I love about BR is the emphasis on really owning our “stuff”, no matter what the situation. It applies across all types of relationships (personal, professional, family). Solid!

        • kc says:

          spot on. exactly.

          it’s a freeing thing. taking control of what you can. the the main positive thing to move forward from a mistake is to learn from it.

  36. kacey says:

    Needed to read this particular post. Straight to the heart and head… points to ponder on and learn from. Especially about the anger at being robbed and the self blame and excuses that comes soon after. The avoidance of accountability. It’s just ironic and just plain sad that people who have low self esteem or are avoiding issues, engaged in these damaging situations only to end up even more demoralised and lost.

    How cruel that human desire is to be loved and happy which causes our body and the mind to trick and lie to us to do whatever it takes when we find “someone” who triggers this desire even if this “someone” is inappropriate and malicious…even if it caused pain.

    Some of the comments have been spot on about the overwelming pain that sometimes people can bring on themselves by being involved with attached/EU people.

    No matter how strong the pull back is get sucked back into a cycle of being used and betrayed, no matter how it’s the hardest thing to get off the “addiction” to this person, no matter how it feels like you are damage beyond repair to be apart from this person…you are doing the more healing thing if you save yourself and walk away.

    If someone genuinely loves you they will choose to be with you, be true to you and stay with you in their own accord. You shouldn’t have to wait, you shouldn’t have to compromise your value, you won’t have to be lied to or lied about.

    I kind of agree with Beth, the feelings are real even if the situation and the person are fantasy based. We usually want the fiction of “happily ever after” and “the One” which always seem to just end up in disappointment.

  37. NME says:

    I was the other woman when I had an affair with a married man in college. I knew I was wrong but continued on, until one day I saw him and his wife together holding hands and it really hit home for me. He isn’t going to leave her and I really felt like sh$t. My mom had saying growning up, “when you look in the mirror do you like what you see?”. I didnt like what I saw about myself and called him and told him I was done. It isn’t worth it…anytime I’ve had a married man or a nut case pursue me I ask myself “when you look in the mirror do you like what you see?” Yes..I love me more

  38. minniecakes says:

    I am so relieved to have found this blog and realised that my situation is far from unique. Great work Natalie, and thank you!
    For the past few months i have been involved in a ‘relationship’ of sorts with a man with a girlfriend. We worked together in a pub, were clearly attracted to each other, and with the constant presence of booze and plenty of opportunity for ‘after hours drinking’, ended up sleeping together regularly for the best part of two months. A few weeks before meeting me, he met a girl that he had started seeing. I knew this from the offset, but since they were only at the early dating stage, i kidded myself into thinking that what we were getting up to was ‘okay’. Clearly it was not. Anyway, this booze fuelled, sex-based relationship continued with typical passion and excitement in the way and an ‘affair’ often does, until it became clear that he was becoming more serious about this other girl. We stopped sleeping together, but of course by this time i had grown attached to him, convincing myself that we would be great together etc etc blah blah blah. Knowing that he was unemotionally available to me made me want him all the more. Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac after all. I have been trying hard not to care about him, but he has remained stuck in my head and it doesn’t help that we saw each other on a regular basis since we still worked together.
    Anyway, a month of no sex passed by and i was feeling proud of my self control, even though it hurt to think of him with someone else.
    He is going to India for 6 weeks in a few days time and two days ago it was his last shift at the pub. And guess what happened? Yup, we ended up having drunken sex – dirty, unsatisfying sex, as it happens, which made me feel like a cheap whore, if i’m honest – and now i feel terrible about it. Sick to my stomach. I feel disappointed that i didn’t have the self control to say no. I feel slutty and guilty for the girlfriend he cheated on. Poor girl! But most of all ( and this is how self absorbed i am) I feel sad that his last feelings towards me before he goes away are feelings of guilt and remorse. I feel annoyed that i have allowed myself to get into this station AGAIN (this is the third time i have found myself involved with an EUMan – pathetic!). The fact he’s going away is a blessing, of course, since i know that cutting all contact is the best (and only) thing to do. But i am so gutted that his last thoughts of me before going away are going to be negative ones. I know he’s not ‘the one’, but that doesn’t stop me wanting him badly, and if i can’t have him as my boyfriend, what better compromise than to have him as a friend, right? Pathetic, but i hate the thought of not having him in my life at all. I am so very sick and tired of finding myself in these loveless and soul destroying situations with men. How can i break the habit of a lifetime? All i want to to love someone and have them love me back, but time and time again i will find myself either being the OW or chasing shamelessly after an EU man. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and each time expecting a different result. Well if this is true, then i am bat sh*t crazy. Please help me!

    • grace says:

      Since you ask for help, here it is:
      Like attracts like.
      Cut him off, take some time off from dating. Dedicate yourself to your work or studies. Re-connect with friends or make new ones. Consider what you want from life and what your values are. Get Nat’s book, Mr Unavailable and the FBG. I also like He’s Scared, She’s Scared though if you can only afford one book, get Nat’s. When you have your own life and are happy, you just won’t be interested in someone like your exes anymore. You won’t want to compromise yourself for the sake of sexual attraction or attention or a fantasy. And they most likely won’t be interested in you either as you simply go “eh?” when they push at your boundaries. I do not respond to that jerkoff behaviour anymore. It doesn’t do it for me.
      I don’t think he does feel any guilt or remorse. Otherwise he would leave you alone.
      A friend adds to your life – with care, respect, trust and a listening ear. A friend is not a jerk you keep in your life because your pride won’t let it go.
      I wonder who these men are that have y’all throwing your knickers in the air, your values, your self-respect and who you then chase for friendship. Then I remember I threw myself at these time wasters, too, in their various forms (including MMs) for YEARS.
      If I can give them up so can you. And it’s not even giving anything up. It’s opening the door to your own shining beautiful qualities.

      • P. says:


        what if you do get your life back, are happy with it, are not interested in EUMs or MMs / see through their BS with some clarity and then you start wondering: “What if I am not going to be interested in anyone now that I am OK with myself?” What then?

        • grace says:

          I think many of us go through the stage of thinking “I will be happily single for the rest of my life” and then – we meet someone. I’ve met someone I like but don’t know if he feels the same way about me. AND IT DOESN’T MATTER. I did have some anxiety but it was just bad habits – drama seeking, catastrophizing, and fantasizing. But now I’ve stopped doing that (thanks Nat), I’m enjoying his friendship. I will continue to enjoy it for … as long as I enjoy it. On Sunday, I was talking to the pastor and I could see my “pretend boyfriend” waiting quietly for me to finish so he could walk me home as usual. Sweet.
          I can like someone who is not at all sexually aggressive, doesn’t brag, doesn’t boundary bust, doesn’t future fake. Okay, maybe he’s not at all interested but at least I can like someone who’s not a nutjob. So if I get nothing more out of it, at least I know that.
          But if I AM single for the rest of my life, that’s more than fine.
          And today I ordered my mother a bouquet for mother’s day. Possibly because my pretend boyfriend and I were talking about our mothers and I felt … normal. There’s a thing.
          Sometimes I wish and wish I’d known earlier that there is life after these clowns but I guess I found out at just the right time. For me.

      • minniecakes says:

        Grace, you’re absolutely right and thank you for your advice. I know that i’ll get over this guy once he’s out of the country, and therefore out of contact/out of reach and i can begin to move onwards and upwards to a better future. I’m just so angry with myself for falling back into old habits and compromising myself in such a way. I’m so weak! I feel like it’s an addiction and i’m sick and tired of putting myself in these situations with men who make be play second fiddle to another woman, but seem incapable of stopping myself. I often find myself wondering if i’m just a bad person with crappy morals. I don;t want to be the Other Woman and feel huge guilt about it. I still find it hard to comprehend how men can so absolutely separate sex and love, but i know that it can very often be the case. Just because they are sleeping with you, doesn’t mean that they love or even like you. That’s the hardest pill to swallow when you’re in a situation with a EUM. I’ve been in ‘f*ck buddy’ situations before too (one situation lasted for three years), which inevitably left me hurt,bereft and questioning my self value. I realise that my self esteem is at rock bottom, so i agree with you that i need to take some time with my oldest/best friends and concentrate on something non man related for a while to rebuild my confidence through healthy past times. I shall bake cakes and arrange flowers! I’m just terrified that this is going to be a recurring habit that i’ll never break and therefore end up miserable and alone. There’s nothing more lonely than being the Other Woman. Still, i’m also an old romantic, so a part of me really does believe that ‘The One’ is out there for me somewhere, he’s just very well hidden :)!

    • yoghurt says:

      On a practical note, stop drinking, at least stop drinking to the point where your judgement is compromised (and, believe me, I KNOW how difficult that is when you work in a pub with the after-hours drinking).

      Being drunk is not a good place to make decisions, either about your immediate actions (ie whether or not to have sex with someone) or about how you feel about them.

      I attracted – and then scared off (I think) – a perfectly nice bloke the other week with my horrible drunken alter-ego. It wasn’t until I was berating myself for it afterwards (“Oh why me? The one time that I get drunk in two years and the one time I meet a nice man have to coincide…”) that I realised it probably wasn’t a coincidence. I don’t think I’d’ve started talking to him unless I’d been under the influence, and I think that I drank heavily once I’d secured his interest so as to shut my stupid lack of self-esteem up.

      And then I realised that I hadn’t made a single initial relationship decision sober for the last fourteen years or so, and given my appalling track record relationship-wise I can attest that it isn’t a good habit to get into. And it’s bloody annoying realising that I’ve yet ANOTHER bad habit to break!

      • minniecakes says:

        Yep, you’re absolutely right. It sickens and depresses me to admit it, but it’s a been a while since i’ve had sober sex with a man who wasn’t having sex with someone else. So yes, i need to knock the booze on the head and learn when to say no (to both alcohol and unavailable men). i am terrible at approaching men, so, like you, i tend to drink to gain confidence to talk to them, but then inevitably either end up in a drunken one night stand, which leaves you feeling cheap and used, or making a gigantic idiot out of myself and scaring them away, not to mention looking like Alice Cooper by the end of the night. So thank you – i agree – booze is not what i need to get my self back on track. Mineral water and early nights from here on in!

        • yoghurt says:

          I’ve been freaking out since I wrote that yesterday. On the one hand, I’ve suddenly realised that carrying on in this way is really about as sensible or well-thought-through as signing the contract on a house whilst bladdered, purely on the basis that you liked the toilet whilst you were throwing up in it. :(

          Then I was thinking about the various situations or relationships that I’ve got into that’ve started whilst I’ve been drunk and it’s depressing how bad they’ve made me feel. But is my own fault.

          But on the other… the thought of approaching a man whilst sober? Showing him that I’m interested whilst sober? Argh! No! Too scary! Anyroad, I’ll join you in the mineral water and early nights – or at least, I’m going to be very very careful about my drinking in the future, and also in the baking and flower-arranging, because they sound lovely, and we can see how it goes.

          I’m a romantic too, but I don’t think that getting bladdered and latching onto the first attractive numpty who tries it on is really the ACTION of a romantic…

  39. Leaving Fantasy Behind says:

    Natalie writes: “You’re not going to feel good or gain a healthy relationship out of something based on deception that leaves you feeling bad. Forget about them; make things right with you”.

    The above, in my opinion & from first hand experience, describes exactly what happens later – when the party is over & both of you have left your marriages.

    Leaving my marriage, that was a good thing. I had already planned it & made triple sure it was unworkable & that my lover wasn’t influencing my choice.

    Where things went wrong: I planned a life with my lover, who was still married. By the time he’d left his wife & moved out (he just moved a bed from the marital home….) I had a wake up call, I was free…. FREE, that meant I could live anywhere, my choices were going to be mine… I changed my mind & ran away from my lover. I wanted freedom, I also hated being with someone I “cheated” with, he reminded me of what I hated about that choice.

    Heist…. Yes!!! That’s exactly how it felt & still does.

    People, listen…. Affairs are fantasy based, the relationship is not based on reality & how two people would interact if they were completely single – two people in an affair are not emotionally available, the grieving for the relationship you want to leave hasn’t happened either!!!! Even if you hate your soon to be ex, there will be a mourning…. your affair, being a very weak foundation, won’t survive any if these difficult feelings.

  40. NorthernGirl says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could empathize with the spouse being cheated on and considered that human being’s feelings? I know this isn’t reality, but in the case of the cheating husband, considering the poor wife with children at home, wouldn’t that be a better world if women didn’t put up with this crap and banded together in a sisterhood? I guess both parties who are having an affair are being deceptive and are unhealthy in varying degrees. Unfortunately, we are not taught how to be good spouses and parents early on. Society at large is already unhealthy. Unhealthy parenting breeds unhealthy children who don’t know how to have healthy relationships in adulthood. And so the cycle coninues. What happens in the past affects the future. Kind of sad.

    • amanda says:

      The cheated spouse gets my empathy, for sure.

      IN many cases, though, it takes more than two to tango; it takes three, especially if the MM’s cheating has been going on for a while. In my situation, MM had been non-monogamous for 6 or 7 years. The marriage had at times been open… at other times, the infidelities were clear cases of cheating. Yes, I was an idiot to procede in this minefield of red flags. But, husband and wife had been on the merry-go-round of (1) he cheats (2) she finds out (3) they almost break up… but (4) they reconcile and are “faithful”… rinse repeat. for a while. They had even experimented with an open marriage at times (this was the case when we first got together, but it “closed” a few months into my being involved… and I couldn’t quit because I didn’t have the will).

      They chose to ignore their real problems, and instead tested each other with this vicious cycle. I can see the “high” they experience each time they reconcile. While its short-sighted of me to believe what the MM has told me about his marriage…. that his wife never has sex with him, that she barely every talks to him and is always angry and resentful… it seems that if they have been through this for 6-7 years, through the birth of their two children, she’s in denial as well, and almost welcomes the martyred status. She is indirectly a co-enabler… “fine.. cheat on me. that will give me more ammunition to make you feel like shit. and then you’ll feel guilty. and you’ll come crawling back to me. and I will have power over you once again… but then you’ll get resentful of that, and you’ll cheat on me again.”

      I know that what I say sounds controversial. I am doing my part by leaving this sick little merry-go-round, and hoping to God that when MM says that they are going to therapy “for real” this time, and that he’s dropped all of his cheating ways, that they are really going to look at the deeper problems in their marriage.

      (I’m ready for your rotten tomatoes!)

      • Spiral says:

        Amanda, I think you called it!
        I actually spoke with the fiancee of “my guy” and she wanted me to tell her all the dirty details. They’ve stayed together and I think part of it is because she can lord everything over his head. He grovels and begs and she has her power back…for a while.
        I truly hope my ex-guy gets his act in gear and doesn’t become a serial cheater. I hope this mess made him learn his lesson so he can man up and be a good husband and father. Maybe I was just a wake-up call for him. It’s out of my hands now.

      • Tea Cozy says:

        ‘She is indirectly a co-enabler… “fine.. cheat on me. that will give me more ammunition to make you feel like shit. and then you’ll feel guilty. and you’ll come crawling back to me. and I will have power over you once again… but then you’ll get resentful of that, and you’ll cheat on me again.” ‘

        I’m assuming these are words you’re putting in that woman’s mouth, based on what her cheating husband has told you about her? Or has she sat you down for a nice woman-to-woman chat to discuss her marital problems?

        She welcomes the martyr status? Really?

      • grace says:

        if you were to take care of your own business, another woman’s husband would be of no concern to you.
        A lot of these EU situations (not just MMs) are a way for us to avoid our own issues.
        It’s like your house is on fire and you’re getting your knickers in a twist because next door’s house is on fire too. In fact, your’e pretty sure your fire started there. Why they don’t they do something about it?

      • yoghurt says:

        I think that what you say is possibly true, but I think that it’s besides the point.

        Fact is, that in any marriage, THEIR relationship is THEIR business and there’s really nothing more frustrating or disempowering than trying to analyse a relationship that you’re not even in.

        If the wife is or isn’t making choices then they’re HER choices to make about HER relationship with HER husband.

        Like I said, I haven’t had an affair, but the father of my child only really left me alone (such as it is) when he met his girlfriend when our son was two months old. I went through a phase of nearly driving myself crazy by working out all the ‘flaws’ that I could find – through subterfuge and gossip – in that relationship and trying to persuade myself that it was unhealthy and founded on unstable dynamics and wouldn’t work etc etc.

        Then I realised that I don’t KNOW. I’m not in the relationship and can’t know. I might be right – it might be profoundly flawed – but they might stay together anyway. Or I might be wrong but they might break up.

        They’re still together, but I’m finding that as I (in a slow and painful dot-and-carry manner) sort out MY issues and bring the focus back to myself and my recovery and my future, I care less. Good luck to ’em and all, but I’m sure that life holds many more interesting things than a situation that I don’t have any power over and that is none of my business anyway.

        Anyway, long story short, you might be right but it’s still a) none of the OW’s business and b) probably not that helpful or healthy to dwell on or know about. I’m not sure that having empathy for the wife involves analysing her and the private details of her marriage to death (which you’d probably hate if someone was doing it to you), I think it involves leaving her marriage well alone.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          Nicely stated, yoghurt.

          Armchair psychoanalysis of the wife/significant other, on the part of the OW, feels a bit like adding insult to injury. And it reads very much like avoiding the hard work of focusing on one’s own role in the situation.

          As a side note: the haunting absence of mention of the injured spouse in most of the accounts by OW is startling to me. It’s as if she doesn’t…exist, or isn’t worthy of mention. Isn’t part of getting right with yourself, and reality, acknowledging the full extent of the situation?

          I may be just reacting strongly based on my own experience as (former) friend to an OW. Trying to get her to even *say the name* of her creep’s SO, much less consider how her actions were impacting that SO, was impossible. Yet, she was willing to analyze her creepazoid’s every word and behavior down to a gnat’s whisker, and detail her own pain down to a microscopic level. But the injured SO? Invisible. Irrelevant.

      • Wised Up says:

        No rotten tomatos here. You described my MM wife to a T except she wouldn’t agree to the open marriage thing much to her credit. These narcissists have no conscience and really don’t care who they are hurting. I believed my MM hook, line and sinker for many years. I am not an idiot but trust me he was good. MM are often con men who are great actors. They literally will say and do anything to keep the ruse going. Most of the time they lose interest in their spouses just because they get bored. Forget all those other excuses like his wife doesn’t like sex. She doesn’t like sex with him cause he treats her like shit most likely and she doesn’t trust where he has been. They are self centered jerks that always think of themselves. They will mind fuck to the nines because they are NOT capable of a healthy love. So glad to be out of the mess. Weirdly I will miss him here and there and then I will splash the cold water over my head…miss who??? I had no clue who he was. He was nothing more than a fantasy…his poor wife had the reality

  41. Monique says:

    There are a couple of things those in relationships with MM should think about, aside from the on point dynamic pointed out here.

    First–just because a MM has an affair, it does not mean that he has an “unhappy marriage.” Some studies have shown that those in affairs actually say that they love their spouse and feel like they have a good marriage, although that’s not what they say to the person they want to sleep with who is not their spouse.

    And the crux of all of this is that you mjust consider WHY a MM has an affair. Sure, people tell themselves that they married the wrong person, have now found their soulmate, have been miserably unhappy, whatever. But these are all an abdication of personal responsiblity and, often, an affair is a way to temporary self-medicate instead of dealing with life and marital ups and downs. So when things get serious and someone finds out and a man must actually leave–he gets cold feet. He might tell you that it’s for superficial reasons that he won’t divorce, but the only one who is superficial is the cheating man. He is too screwed up and emotionally whipsawing to really leave the loving family setting. Because, no matter what he is telling you–he is probably getting sex and warmth at home and to really blow up his family takes the kind of guts that cheating men do not have–or they WOULDN’T BE CHEATERS.

    And last but not least–if the man divorces (and 9 times out of 10 it will be ONLY because his wife has decided she can do better, not because he wanted to go through with it)–you then get to inherit a man who cheats, justifies it and then rewrites history as his emotions change or the situation degrades. From you are my soulmate to we’re just !@#$ buddies.
    And you have a fellow who turns to attention outside the relationship instead of sticking with it and whose moral code is full of gray areas. So the “prize” is the furthest thing from it. And tons of women out there want to say–“but wait, this is not MY situation, I am the exception to the rule.” But you’re not.

    • Tanzanite says:


      You have made some good points.

      If I have any regrets it’s not doing things the correct way.

      I regret not seperating from my husband and getting myself sorted out before getting carried away with someone else. ( Perhaps we would still be friends if that had happened ) It all happened so fast.
      However,I feel authentic for the first time in my life and that feels really good.

      I hope never to make the same mistake again.

    • Wised Up says:

      Can’t tell you how many times I have seen this happen. The old saying…”how you get them is how you will lose them” It really has rang true in so many cases I know. Think Linda Evans story More common than you think….

  42. Hayden says:

    I have had a 10 year marriage destroyed due to an affair (husband’s affair, not mine). I continue to dig myself out of the aftermath. It has destroyed me physically, mentally and financially. While going through all of this, “friends” (no longer friends after showing their true colors) who are married have hit on me and asked me out claiming that they are unloved in their marriages, that their relationships are dead and are staying because of the children, etc. These are excuses, ploys, and lies (most of the time). If this is what they are going through then they should be soul searching, not booty searching.
    The easiest targets for an affair are those who have a low self esteem, are bored in their own relationship or are feeling unloved. The OW woman was all of these. She broke up her own marriage as well through this affair. It is important to look at the bigger picture- not just how this liar (and cheaters are liars- it is part of the package) makes one feel, but the adage, do on to others… it fits and I think we as a society have fallen away from it. We become so self focused that we forget that actions have consequences that go beyond just us. The actions affect others, innocents (e.g. the wife and children) and lower the OW’s self esteem further. No one wins with affairs. The cheating liars usually get caught, the OW usually get dumped and the wives end up either trying to turn the other cheek or go through a messy divorce. I know, I have done the latter. It sucks and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. ever. Trust is precious (and almost impossible to get back) and so is self dignity, which is why walking away became the only option for me.

    • Monique says:

      Hayden–I am sorry for your pain. There is never an easy way through these things, but you can and should at least focus on rebuilding your own mental and physical spirit. And I agree, society seems to shrug its shoulders. We have lost the concept of shame and it makes it seem as those who take advantage of others come out on top. I can assure you, though, that they do not. They have to forge life with themselves and their own faulty wiring. Unless they get to the root of this, they are bound to repeat the pattern. You, on the other hand, get to start fresh. Give yourself time to heal and to reclaim yourself. You will find that as scary and daunting as this is–life will bring you great joy again. Give it a little time.

    • Tanzanite says:


      ” Trust is precious ( and almost impossible to get back ) and so is self dignity.Which is why walking away was the only option for me ”

      I can relate to that on so many levels.

      I can see the situation from all angles. I have been cheated on by my ex husband.I don’t flinch when I hear of OW on here because I know they have been spun a yarn. ( It’s been over for years I don’t love her,we don’t have sex anymore,she doesn’t understand me,if it wasn’t for the kids etc )

      I have nearly lost everything at the hands of an AC and know what it’s like to be manipulated and for you self esteem to be on the floor.

      If the husband stays he is always under a cloud or eating humble pie for the rest of his life. The wife is heatbroken, filled with doubt and her self esteem takes a hit. The OW is left heartbroken and feels used. We all end up with security and trust issues.So, you are right, there are no winners in affairs.

      You can’t turn back time and sometimes the only option is to move forward and start again.

      I am in a great place and have learned from my past experiences- at last.

      When I say that i’m off men, people imagine I have drunk a bottle of wine and i’m hiccupping the night away,or I’m perched on the edge of a cliff ready to jump, but it’s the opposite.I like decent men.

      We have moved away from honesty and integrity as a society but i’m going back to it.It keeps me out of trouble and it helps me sleep at night.

      It does get better.Good luck x

  43. Tracy says:

    Just this morning I read…

    “If relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.”


  44. EllyB says:

    “Who I am to judge” I used to think about my OST with attached men… If they wanted sex with me, they must have had good reasons… After all, weren’t all people in the world except I good people?

    So I gave them what they wanted (in a few cases, while in other cases I dodged the OSTs last minute). It was always horrible, because I hate hate hate sex without love, but it was somehow compulsive. And I felt so crappy afterwards.

    I didn’t ask anything from them. I didn’t want them to leave their wives, didn’t want them to pay for dinner, didn’t want them to chat with me and to pay attention to me, didn’t want them to help me with anything. I didn’t want to be “demanding”. I didn’t want to “owe” them. Plus, I wanted to take all the guilt for the cheating upon my own shoulders. I told myself: It’s all my fault, I somehow “forced” him to want me (even if it was always them who pursued me in the first place – but I must have “manipulated” them into doing it somehow, no?). If I felt insanely guilty, then he could be “free” from guilt, no? I told myself this was the “correct” way to act.

    Why was I doing all this to myself???

  45. Eloise says:

    Having come from a large family, I spent most of my childhood sharing stuff. My life was like ‘One Eighth of Muffin’ by Ruth Orbach. I’m still quite good at sharing, but when it comes to relationships, I want a man to be all mine. There’s no way I could share. Consequently, I’ve never been interested in MM.

    However, a friend of mine had an on/off ‘relationship’ (aka shag) with a MM and I found some similarities between her experience with the MM and my experience with single EUM. We were both fed lies / experienced future faking. And we both ignored our hunches and went along with the fantasy – essentially committing fraud against ourselves. When I was emotionally unavailable, it was so much more fun living in the future than living in the present.

  46. amanda says:

    Wow, given that I am getting over a MM, this post hits the nail square on the head.

    Why do we gravitate towards these relationships?

    An almost-18 year old mystery was cleared up for me today, on that front. I had my first serious relationship in college, junior year (in the US). I’m bi, and was dating women at the time. “Beth” courted me aggressively. She wanted me more than I wanted her. I relented after 3 months, and we had a good 3 months together. Then, she grew distant. Three months later, she dumps me. She just graduated from college, is living on her own outside of town, and is hanging out quite a bit with another woman… who is in life-long relationship with someone else, “Anne”. I had my suspicions, but I didn’t pursue them. Since that time, Beth got married to “Amy”, who gave her two children. But, last year, Beth left Amy… a month later was in a relationship with an unnamed person… and just today, I see on facebook, that Beth has announced the name… Anne! The same woman I had suspicions about 18 years ago!

    I laughed when I read that today, but it also hurts. For 18 years, I suspected that Beth fell out of love with me for someone else, and now that feels confirmed. Amy is the one who really got the short end of the stick (especially if Beth was carrying a candle for Anne.

    My next partner, “Katy”, left me after 3.5 years for a man, “Derek”. (She declared that she was really straight). Oh, and lets see, prior to “Beth”, I had been in love with “Matt” who dated me for two weeks my sophomore year in college before telling me he had a girlfriend whom he wanted to patch things up with.

    Flash forward to the last 4 years. I almost destroyed a 6.5 year relationship with the one person who ever wanted to be faithful to me for an affair with an EU man. When my relationship ended for other reasons, I immediately jump into this now-ending relationship with the MM.

    Someone like me must have learned from her early experiences that someone who claims to love you will invariably leave you for someone else. Might as well dispense with the betrayal and the rude realization and ONLY get together people people who’ve already made you their second-choice. It will never feel like enough, but you know what to expect. You can’t get MORE hurt.

    I know that I must have hit on something, because learning today about Beth and Anne hurt as much as it did when Beth dumped me that summer evening in 1994 after we watched “Clear and Present Danger.” I got my resolution after all of these years.

    I look forward to learning from this… and to moving forward, building my self-confidence. Maybe people were questioning me and always on the lookout for something better because I was projecting parallel self-doubt. Or, maybe I ran into a handful of jerks, and even at the old age of 38, I still stand a chance of meeting someone who will love me without always being on the lookout for something better… but responsibility starts with me. I have to command that respect from others. Its not a matter of being beautiful or smart or nice or accommodating… its about believing in yourself. Or, so I hope.

    • ixnay says:

      Imagine how Amy felt about Beth’s fb post.

      Beth is evil. Unfriend her. And I hope Amy finds the most loyal, loving person ever, right away.

  47. tired_of_assanova says:

    *LOVE* the photo!

  48. rosenfire says:

    After reading through everyone’s heartfelt comments, it seems that one common strand is the MM’s “words.” Everything the MM says, promises, hints of, tells you, etc. It’s what he SAYS that first captures our emotions, and we follow his WORDS down the slippery slope. Why is this? Maybe because he says the things we’ve always wanted to hear? Buuuuut (as I’ve only recently discovered) it’s EASY for him to say these things, because he doesn’t have to follow through with any of them or back any of them up with action. One commenter made a related point: what would he and I do if we were both 100% single? Would he say the same things? Follow through with a single promise? Would I???

    NML, like you said in a previous post, it was the fantasy that was hardest for me to let go. At minimum, I wanted closure, explanation, apologies, and resolution – at best, I wanted a happy ending. A happy ending?!?! What the duck was I thinking? Like you said in this current post: it was an AFFAIR!!!! It ended like affairs end. What I now regret is my own lack of dignity; what I regret even more is how much I hurt those I love and those who loved me.

    Thank you for being a safe place for me to admit that.

    • Monique says:

      Great point–actions, actions, actions. If we could stop listening so hard and start watching more carefully we will see the truth in front of us. And when someone cheats, they are showing you as clear as day who they are. Remember, to cheat on a spouse, the person has to devalue them and disrespect them–their thoughts, their feelings, their health. If someone can do this to the person they have pledged themselves to, to what will they hold fast? They put their own needs above others and want to hold all the cards and keep others in the dark. If your marriage is truly awful and you want to see others, get a divorce , give yourself a bit of time to grieve and THEN involve yourself with someone.

  49. Lumos says:

    I havn’t had an affair…however having once being married to a man that I suspected of at least wanting to have one I will tell you this – while my husband was flirting with this other woman we were having great sex, laughing together, playing with our kids and when I wanted to leave him he was crying and begging me to stay – and he told me he loved me every second day. This other woman assumed that he wanted her and was trapped with me – he certainly fauned all over her but trust me if a man is still married to a woman he is very much attached to her – no matter how adoring he seems of you and how much he criticises her. It wásn’t about her (although at times I wished some woman would take him off my hands) – it was about the fact that in his youth he had been a player and got a lot of self esteem from it and he liked to think he could still pull. He also did it to punish me – he used to keep me in line by putting me down and flirting with others to maintain having more power over me in the relationship – if that didn’t work he would resort to violence. This woman at his work was an unwitting partner in his abuse of me. Plus he was a manipulative intelligent man who got a lot of self confidence from being able to trick people. Yes, he seemed communicative and friendly (loving father, confident, great body etc etc) but there was a whole other side to him that only his wife had the misfortune of knowing… So my advice is if a man wants to have an affair whilst still married – run like hell. There is no way no matter how wonderfully he behaves towards you that he is a nice man – in fact the more wonderful he is just means the better con man he is. In fact there is a distinct possibility that he is obsessed with his wife and very controlling of her – and that you are part of his abusive cycle with her. My flirting (and probably unfaithful) ex husband spent a year stalking, threatening, hitting and threatening to kill himself after I left and was so desperate to have me back it was terrifying. And yet the women he flirted with would lord it over me when he did it in front of me – I am very attractive and I guess they thought securing his attention from me was an achievement. I wish he had left me for one of them.

    • amanda says:

      I believe you, wholeheartedly. MM compared his wife unfavorably to me all of the time to keep the game going. BUT, reading between the lines… he more often used “we” (referring to his wife and he) than “I” when talking about the mundane things that were going on in his life. “We” “we” “we”… I realized that as much as he liked to complain about the Old Lady, the Ball and Chain, the Noose around his Neck… that he could not (and will not) conceive of an identity separate from hers.

    • Magnolia says:

      Lumos, your ex sounds like a replica of my ex. Except that my ex wouldn’t come within 100 miles of actually marrying. But same use of outside women to control me, humiliate me, as well as the pride in being able to manipulate others. And the smug looks from the women who felt they were his real ‘friends’. Glad that experience is way back there in the dust I raised when I moved on. Glad that you are on the far side of that guy, too.

    • Mymble says:

      I have recently realised the truth of this, in my case at least. The MM said, at the beginning, apropos of nothing, that he was a happy person, had no anger, and was psychologically well adjusted, having done co-counselling some years before. He who doth protest too much! He said his wife and I, in contrast, were “neurotic and full of unresolved anxiety”. Well he certainly drove me crazy and I think he was doing the same to her. She was trying to bring the marriage to an end and he was resisting. He was subtly, smilingly disparaging and I was running round in circles trying to please him and make him appreciate me.
      I now feel that I was making it all about me, but he was who he was, and he had his issues which I suspect to have been (very well concealed) anger, resentment and depression.
      He said his wife complained about his nihilism and said he was a sexist (he was outraged about that!). I think I know now what she meant.
      It has been a relief realising this. I could have been anybody and it would have made no difference.
      It was hard to walk away because I had got into a mindset of wanting to get the validation from him, but I am glad I did.

    • blueberry girl says:

      Lumos, your story is compelling.
      True, the MM said many disparaging things about his wife, complained that she “hated him,” made him beg for sex, screamed at and criticized him, etc., but honestly, how did I know the truth? One time when we were together, a thought hit me, ” Just how was he so skilled in bed if he rarely had sex for the many years he was married?”
      So, I’m sure you are correct that there was much more going on in his house (and his bed?) than he owned up to. I was bringing gifts to a pity party he was throwing himself! Either way, the marriage worked for him and, to my knowledge, they are still together.
      I am sorry for your ordeal but thank you for sharing your perspective.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Wow, Lumos, that is a very eye-opening post. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      I hope any OW who think “Oh, well, the wife is *choosing* to stay with him; she could leave any time if she wanted out; don’t blame ME for their troubled marriage” will reconsider. I’ve not been an OW, but there was a time during a low point in my life when I considered it, and I’m sorry to say I never even thought of the possibility that the guy might be using his attempted affair with me to control and abuse his spouse. Horrifying.

      As your experience shows, sometimes it’s very difficult and quite dangerous for the wife to extract herself from an abusive, volatile situation. And the OW is instrumental in enabling the cheating spouse’s controlling behavior.

      Well done on getting out of that unhealthy situation. It’s sounds like it was really daunting.

  50. wakeup says:

    While I do sympathize with everyone and their painful experiences with their MMs, what I think the most important idea about the affairs is that it is 100% wrong, and that the one being cheated on is the biggest victim.

    Even if the wife of the MM is cold/unloving, they are still in a marriage, and I strongly believe that two people who are married should try their very best to work things out (or else get a divorce if they really cannot come to a resolution). It does not make it any more ‘right’ to cheat just because the wife isn’t nice enough/a good listener/giving him sex etc. A married couple is bound together by their wedding vows/commitment to a lifetime of love.

    The reality is that when you are choose to be with a MM, you are hurting the MM’s wife. How can us girls all claim to love each other and support each other when we do this? Aren’t we supposed to stick together? What happened to the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? For me, the pain/guilt of hurting someone else would kill me. I hope that everyone out there who is having an affair can try to put themselves in the wife’s shoes. I believe in karma…. if you don’t want to be cheated on in the future, don’t be with a MM. Ever.

    My comment here is not meant to dismiss the emotional pain that the affair participants feel on baggage reclaim. I am just reiterating Nat’s idea that you entered into this affair KNOWING that the guy is dishonest, and KNOWING that you are hurting another woman.

    Maybe some people here won’t like what I typed, but I hope that my comment will make people think again….. instead of being tormented by your own pain/sadness, what about the other victim’s sadness? (the wife)? You willingly participated in an affair (while knowing fully of its risks), but the wife did not willingly ask to be cheated on. In addition to ruining a marriage, you may be ruining a family. Think of the consequences of your actions.

    While some may say, “Even if the MM doesn’t cheat on me, he will cheat on others! Therefore, there is nothing wrong with being with my MM.” What he does with other women is not up to you. He can choose to disrespect his wife by cheating on her with other women….but if YOU are a wise, kind hearted person, do not let him drag you into this mess. You are smart because you read BR :) The minute you find out a man is married (even if it is AFTER you fall in love with him), please walk away…. the wife is also a fellow human being and deserves your respect.

    Many of you have complained about cheated on before. Let’s not inflict this same kind of pain on our fellow ladies!!

    • Allison says:


      Let’s not forget about the damage this does to the children!

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Wakeup, it took a total wake-up call for me to deal with the deception on my part. My wake-up came when I slipped off NC with the exMM and his wife put a tail on him. Thus, his wife became extremely real. I don’t know how I justified and minimized the fact he had a wife but I’m dealing with the fact now. Worse, I’m dealing with the fact my self-esteem was so in the gutter that I put up with the crap. His wife did not deserve to be treated so badly. She didn’t know. That’s the shit thing about an affair. The MM and the OW know, the betrayed wife doesn’t. I am s0 very sorry for the pain I caused on behalf of his wife. Dear lord, his children…every moment he was with me he wasn’t with his wife and children. That hurts me even more to know I was a part of the heist. Worse, my father did the same thing to my mother and my siblings. Then, I grew up and repeated the pattern. Pattern DONE OVER OUT. It hurts too much.

        • wakeup says:

          Dear runnergirlno1,

          I think it is very good that you have sympathy/empathy for the wife. I am happy that you now see the situation for what it is… I wish you strength to forgive yourself and to never repeat this again.

          I am also sorry to hear that you grew up with a father that did the same thing to your family…. :(

          I hope other women will read your comment and learn from your experiences. The wife is a breathing woman with feelings just like us. She does not deserve any of this… no one does.

    • blueberry girl says:

      Wakeup ~ although your post was difficult to read, it just confirms that one of my most clear-headed decisions was to go NC on the MM. At least, I can say that I ended it with finality.

      I am sure that he, on the other hand, is still actively trolling cheating websites looking for his next victim. He had absolutely no empathy or respect for the wife he professed to despise, who he was leaving when his youngest child left for college, who he wouldn’t leave because he would have to give up his home near the beach, (her income exceeded his) and yada, yada, yada.

      Part of me wishes that his unsuspecting wife would find out about his clandestine activities and his cover as the perfect “family man” would be blown at last. She deserves to know she is married to a disrespectful, using louse!

      I deeply regret getting involved with him and am glad that he and the affair are well behind me. I’m damn lucky that I got out before she found out about us.

      • wakeup says:

        Dear blueberry girl,

        I am very proud of your decision, I know it must have been hard for you. Yes, your MM sounds like he will always be addicted to extramarital affairs—-I feel sorry for his next victim, and most importantly, his wife. I hope one day, she will find out about his horrible actions and leave him, because he does not deserve her!!

        Yes, I was aware that many people on BR may not like what I had to say—-but I think that it is important to point out the number 1 reason ladies should not be with MM is NOT because they are assclowns or EU, but because extramarital affairs are WRONG to begin with. Marriages are marriages until the two people are divorced—-in no way is it acceptable for a third person to interfere, no matter what ‘justifications’ there are. (“we are in love! he doesn’t love her anyway! she is a bad wife! etc etc etc….)

        • Marianna Miaow says:

          You are right, right right. I know this I understand this I accept this. i will never do anything like this ever again. It is the constant backdrop all the time, please dont think that those f us dealing wih our own pain and hurt are disregarding the wife. But many of us need to get out our own pain too. And the pain teaches us the lesson, whats done is done I just pray the wife can get over it, I think in the last week I have been thinking of her only, hardly at all about him anymore, I am just devastated at the pain it caused her.

  51. Confusedd says:

    Here’s why I’ve been dealing with, sound familiar?
    Said he’s not good with relationships right now.
    No advance plans- always last minute plans that were never definite.
    Said he’d been honest so I couldn’t complain or make him feel guilty cos I knew he stood.
    Said that’s just the way he is
    Said he wanted me to go with the flow and have less expectations.
    Defensive and lashes out when confronted.
    Said I’m too demanding and freaked him out.
    When i said I wanted space he Said he’s friends with his other exes. 

    • Allison says:


      I hope you’re not still dealing with this, as he has clearly stated this is going nowhere.

    • NCC says:

      I empathize. Classic EUM here, Natalie writes about almost all of the things he has said to you.
      MANAGING down your expectations so he isn’t required to give. EUM. Someone who truly has love care trust and respect for you will not tell you how to feel, or try to manipulate you so you stop having expectations of them. He is trying to make you feel bad so you will be in limbo/confusedland where you are thinking you must have done something wrong, and that you now must be careful or you could lose him. What he doesn’t want you to realize is that this would NOT be a loss for you, you’d be gaining back yourself. And truly it would be his loss.
      -being defensive when confronted-I’ve been SCREAMED at for having the slightest questions or thougths that i dared to share with the EUM. It’s a way again of putting you off the subject so that he doens’t have to answer questions that he can’t answer truthfully, and he knows it, and that scares him.
      -telling you you know how he feels so it’s your fault if you are disappointed. On some level, it’s true. But it’s not a nice thing to say to anyone, and it’s another CLASSIC EUM tactic to remain unaccountable for his actions. He’s basically saying he can treat you however he wants, he’s “told” you how he is. Now all the decision are on you. He is now not responsible if you get hurt. It’s totaly BS. But you do need to remove yourself from the situation if you truly don’t want to be treated like that, which is, and i’ve been through it many times, like less than scum.
      I’m sorry for what you are going through, and I understand why you are confused.
      Also look at Natalie’s post on “Topline Data.” In all his crap there lies the Topline facts about him. Once you recognize what that is, to hell with all his other verbal diaherria. He’s trying to get you confused so you have to muddle through what he’s saying and never really come up with a conclusion for yourself about what YOU want and need. He makes it sound like he wants to be clear with you, but what it really is, he’s ALL about himself, and him saying all this stuff to you and leaving you confused is how he gets his needs met. It’s such mindf-ery.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      NML often writes “they use sex as a weapon”

      Said he’d been honest so I couldn’t complain or make him feel guilty cos I knew he stood.

      well, I would like to add to that “They use honesty as a weapon”.
      If someone phones up and says that they are going to shoot you, does them being honest make it any less dangerous. This guy is classic EUM and possibly AC, CUT HIM OFF AND GO NC.

      Do you want to be still dealing with his flip-flapping ways in 1,10,50 years time?


    • tired_of_assanova says:

      EUM = people who don’t want a relationship, either they say so or the act so. An impossible situation.

  52. brenda says:

    I myself have never been “invoved”with a MM,well at least not to my Knowledge.Being on a dating site and the Liars that hang out there(not saying all are)but who knows If the Men I have met have been Married?
    I am positive a few have been.
    I find I am to inquisitive,somewhat of a snoop,to ever get duped by someone who is Married.
    I feel so sad for the Women and Men on here,who are going thru Pain.
    I can say that time does Heal all wounds,sometimes it takes longer,but it does happen..

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      You know that I found just last week that some guy I had chatted up online (when I was doing online dating a while ago) that blew really hot and then suddenly didn’t want to talk to me and went dark is actually the boyfriend of an acquaintance of mine!

      They have been on there for ages, getting ego strokes from people like me. Their partner allows them to be online because they trust them not to go the whole way. Seriously! They shouldn’t even BE on there.

      And here I was thinking ‘it’s all about me’. These guys are SO DODGY time and again their track record – when it eventually surfaces – it just horrific. Not only that, I found out that their partner is irritated because they wont commit and don’t even live with them and told us about the problems they are having – and in the first 2 seconds I knew they were EUM.

  53. lis says:

    I feel like I have made such progress. I have been NC for almost 8 months. The two times i was at a place where the ex showed up, I was polite and civil and only engaged in group conversations. No one on one time.

    I feel stronger and happier but I also have this fear that I can never be his friend again because I would revert back to the doormat I was when I was with him.

    The weird thing is ;
    1) I do not know why I am even contemplating a friendship with someone who treated me so terribly.
    2) He has made no indication that he wants to be friends, this is just me thinking about what could possibly happen in a future that doesn’t even exist.
    3) This person going from everything to me to nothing still feels weird and uncomfortable even though I recognise it was necessary.
    4) I have no desire to get back together with him. When I think about him it is mainly the pain he caused me.

    I do not understand why this person is still such a sour point for me. The idea of having him in my life scares the life out of me but I feel like if I was truly past all this then it wouldn’t. I would be indifferent.

    Does anyone else feel this way? How have you handled these feelings? What do they even mean?

    • grace says:

      Don’t be his friend. After a year of NC, instigated after I was dumped (again) I called the ex and we ended up flippin married. I instigated the separation before our first anniversary because I couldn’t go through with the charade anymore. LET. SLEEPING. DOGS. LIE.
      Maybe you’re looking for validation – Look I’m so healed I don’t want you anymore and I can deal with you. I’m so cool. Let’s be friends.
      The end of the journey isn’t indifference. It’s MAKING A CHOICE. Choose your future. You can’t have a new future when he is still in your life. At the very least, no (decent) man is interested in a woman who keeps a crap ex as a friend. How do you explain him? “Oh yeah, he treated me really badly and now we’re friends”.

      • tired_of_assanova says:


        I had one from the Assclown Cemetery resurface at a night club and try and dance with me because we had a mutual friend. I was on guard but I kept thinking “Can’t they see they’re an assh*le?”. Although it was three or four years since we were dating (wasn’t even sure we were doing that!) they’re still up to the same old same old, still chronically single (geez, I wonder why, LOL).

        This was the same AC that texted me after ONE MONTH of silence and come back unchallenged. CRAZY!

    • kc says:

      Lis, I feel for you. It is weird that someone who was so important to you is now just somebody you used to know but unfortunately is the way it is. It’s good that you’re aware and honest enough to admit that how you’re likely to behave (like a doormat) if you let this man back in your life even as a “friend”. You can’t really be “friends” with him .. not now maybe not really ever. Some people do manage to be friends with their ex but I reckon it can get complicated on most cases.

      I’m ashamed to share my story but I might as well. 12 years of off and on contact and head games with an EUM who became an MM. Everytime I move on we end up trying to be “friends” but we’re just not friends. I was the one who waited and waited who tried to move forward but kept going backward still looking for closure and answers. When I thought that at least we could be at least be friends just to hold on to him and see whether things would change but I should have just left it alone and stayed away. NC forever!!

      • EllyB says:

        May I quote NML (from the discussion of her last post)? “Mutual love, care, trust, respect, and demonstrated shared core values along with commitment, intimacy, balance, progression, and consistency. Plus the attraction that distinguishes it from a friendship.” She gave those reasons for chosing somebody as a partner.

        Your relationships didn’t fail due to lack of attraction, but because the other qualities NML listed were missing. Attraction is usually there, but at least one party doesn’t act like a real partner.

        Anyway, all those qualities, except attraction, are required for a good friendship AS WELL. Why would you want to be friends with somebody who doesn’t have those qualities?

        We all got involved with those guys purely because of the attraction. And now we should become their friends because of… what??? I made the same mistake in the past, but it only makes things worse.

    • Allison says:


      I think you should focus on 1 and 4. Why would you want to be friends with someone who treated you poorly? How do you benefit?

  54. Appleby says:

    While I agree overall, this bit I don’t get:

    “your moral code hasn’t caught up with you yet.”

    Let’s say it’s a single woman having an affair with a married man – she’s not the one who made vows. She’s not the one deceiving her partner. He is. Her moral code is intact.

    • Allison says:


      Absolutely not! If she has knowledge that he is involved with someone, she should not get involved.

    • j d says:

      What kind of moral code is that? It sounds like justification of using and hurting others. Actions have consequences.

    • BRwisernow says:

      “Let’s say it’s a single woman having an affair with a married man – she’s not the one who made vows. She’s not the one deceiving her partner. He is. Her moral code is intact.”

      REALLY? HAHA, keep fooling yourself, that’s BS…been there done that! The only moral code I see here is ‘JUSTIFYING’ poor choices.


    • EllyB says:

      If I (knowingly) buy from a receiver of stolen goods, is my moral code intact, even if I use my own legal money?

      I too belive it’s primarily the cheating party who is to blame, but as OW we are (or were) complicit in their crime.

    • MovingOnWithMyLife says:

      If you’re in a relationship with a married man, and hypothetically that married man murders someone -is your morality intact if you agree to keep the murder a secret? Or is it lost?

      • Appleby says:

        Murder is a crime, infidelity is not. Some people couldn’t give a rat’s ass about marriage. They don’t go there themselves and couldn’t care less about other people’s marriages. Just sayin!

        • I think what you mean Appleby is that this is what you think. You don’t give a shit. You don’t see anything wrong with adultery. You don’t think that someone knowingly sleeping with someone who is already in a relationship is wrong. You think that the Other Woman/Man is innocent of any wrongdoing because it is only the cheater that is doing wrong. You’re just a highly moral person caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          You will find also that infidelity is a crime or at least a morally lacking act that can get you as the ‘innocent bystander’ sued in some places, including in America. You may want to do your homework on Fantasia and any case where another party has been named on the divorce papers. Even if there isn’t a monetary payout, there can be immense character damage caused by being named and it may become a matter of public record.

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            I think that it is a little more complex nowadays:

            * If you know the person is attached (doesn’t even have to be married) then going and shagging them is probably not a good idea

            * Unless you want to become the OW, this is also a code red situation.

            That said there are a lot of “open” relationships nowadays (is that an oxymoron?) – I’ve come across more than ten cases of this in my wider friends circle – mostly gay/lesbian. So you can see that the lines/expectations is going to be blurred – just like other lines have become blurred with things like online dating, grindr, and so forth.

          • Appleby says:

            Er no Natalie, if I had been stating my own views, I would have said ‘I think’. It’s true I haven’t done my homework but that doesn’t stop me thinking your viewpoint on moral culpability is simplistic. I have a colleague who does not believe in marriage, is in an open relationship, and the idea that she has ‘lost her moral code’ because she expects other people to take responsibility for their own marriages strikes me as ridiculous.

            • Appleby, not to labour the point but it is your opinion. It wouldn’t make sense to argue a point so vehemently that you don’t believe in, in a comments field for your opinion.

              An open relationship is an open relationship when it has two parties in agreement – that’s mutual. That has absolutely nothing to do with what is being talked about here.

              If someone has an ‘open marriage’ (an oxymoron in itself) that is one thing, but a marriage or relationship where one person effs around is not an open relationship; it is cheating and an abuse of trust.

              I’ve known a number of people who have open relationships. Not one of them is like your colleague. I’ve also watched a gay couple’s one year civil partnership after an 8 year relationship disintegrate over ‘openness’.

              Just because these people i know in open relationships have no desire to be in a committed relationship doesn’t mean they believe they have a license to screw whoever they want. They respect other people’s relationships.

              Anything I’ve said to you is the same thing I’d say to someone who doesn’t think they have to disclose a STD if the other person is prepared to sleep with then bareback anyway.

              Simplistic? Being a decent person of integrity is simple. Being shady is complicated.

              • Appleby says:

                Think what you will Natalie but it’s not my opinion. I’m just trying to figure out where I stand on this. While I agree that it’s not right to wilfully participate in any scenario where someone else is being duped, nor do I think it’s right to impose one’s morality and views on marriage on the world at large. So I concede you’re right while seeing varying shades of grey. I guess that makes me shady, lol. But I’m leaning towards the black and white.

                • Appleby says:

                  PS Have you never heard of devil’s advocate? 😉

                  • Haha! Yes indeed 😉 I used to be shady and sadly have been on all sides of the fence with this affairs thing. It is cringeworthy, but I’ve said two things that showed how my moral code had plummeted 1) As someone who didn’t believe in cheating, suddenly as the OW I was saying “I’m single so it’s not my problem” and my ex used to say that if he ended it, she might do something to herself and not that I am or was convinced of it, but at the time I was a bit like “She’s going to do what she’s going to do” and that she wasn’t my “problem”.

                    When I questioned my own integrity and also considered consequences as well a seeing her as a human with a name, feelings, and flaws, I was ashamed that I could think of another human in that manner.

                    Of course not everyone thinks as I do, and you have to work out what your values are.

                    • Appleby says:

                      “Of course not everyone thinks as I do, and you have to work out what your values are.”

                      This is key. When you consider that not long ago in Ireland – and no doubt other places too – a woman was branded immoral for having a child outside marriage, and routinely locked up (Google Magdalen laundries), you learn to be wary of self-righteousness.

                    • Indeed. I’m raised in Ireland though and I’m a child from outside marriage. I’m also black and people get killed for that. I think having a child outside of marriage, and maybe I’m biased as I am one and have two of them, is very different to riding someone else’s man like a pony and having an affair. If that’s self-righteous, gimme more of it. It has kept me out of trouble after nearly destroying myself. Your values are your values and hell, if you are happy etc, knock yourself out. Now gotta go – one of my illegitimate children has just woken up! 😉

              • tired_of_assanova says:

                These open relationships are all the rage in the gay/lesbian community, spurred on by things like “The Ethical Slut” and other books.

                In my former life, when I was EU, there would be many ‘hard to get’ people on dating sites that later I would find out that they are attached or in a partnership already! In fact, I have already come across TWO cases where this was the case. And here I am thinking ‘It is me that is the problem isn’t it?’. Time and again the truth surfaces… eventually. And no not everyone tells you either – you are left to go figure out the puzzle!

                Boundaries and asking questions are more important than ever if you don’t want your head busted. Open relationships are also the perfect invitation to become the OW / TOM (The other man) with all the attendant problems. Indeed I knew a same sex couple who were looking for a third (not just for fun but polyamory basically without “all the needs”), it is more common that one thinks…

                Virtue Ethics suggests that we should do what a virtuous person would do in the same circumstance. Would a virtuous person screw around with someone who they KNEW were in a closed LTR – no they wouldn’t. They’d go off elsewhere and find someone who wasn’t.

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          Being an assclown isn’t a crime
          Still makes it horrible though.

  55. jcrunner says:

    Lis- I am a guy but I have felt this way. My marriage ended recently after my wife had an affair and used it as justification to treat me and my family very badly (I guess she suddenly thought she could do better). The feelings you described of going from everything to nothing are brutal. Two things that can help you cope: First, think very hard about what the actual relationship was like. Chances are that there were many times you were scratching your head (or even pulling your hair out) during the relationship and it quite possibly was never as good as you want to remember. Second, after every positive thought or good memory, train yourself to repeat a mantra such as “yes, but he also did things that significantly hurt me and does not seem to care about that”. Ultimately, Natalie is right, peace comes only from moving on, finding other meaningful outlets for your passion, taking responsibility for your role in the bad relationship (even if that is just that you put up with crap), and making and keeping promises to live within your own deepest values.

    • Outergirl says:

      Hi Lis,
      Rest assured many, if not most of us know what you are feeling. I still struggle with the feelings BUT I’m learning where those feelings are coming from and it’s almost like he was every disappointment and rejection and abandonment from my past come back to haunt me. So maybe you need to dig a little deeper to find out what is holding you to him. Read some of Nat’s articles on cutting contact otherwise it is like you are saying you will agree to any and all of his terms just to keep him in your life. And that will only prolong the pain because you will never have him in your life the way you want it to be.

  56. Heartache Amy says:

    I have the pleasure of seeing the AC/MM at church almost every Sunday. That’s my choice, and I choose to do that because I sing in the choir and it’s one of my only outlets at this point. Plus, I like the people in choir. Ironically, this guy’s wife is in choir and I sit next to her and laugh with her. She’s a nice person. Meanwhile, if I see this guy, I do my best to avoid him, or otherwise say “Good morning” and walk away. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and causes a certain level of anxiety. I can’t bring myself to chat with him, nor do I think it’s a good idea if I do. And even though I got a wake-up call from Natalie and realize I should no longer play the victim, I’m not at the point where I can admit that seeing him doesn’t churn my stomach or even want to ball up my fist and punch him (I’m not a violent person but it would feel so good to do that…). So, I think I’m where you’re at: I don’t think I can really ever be “friends” with him and I don’t see myself being able to chat with him or joke with him. I just don’t think it’s a smart move.

  57. Sincerity60 says:

    I have to come back on the wanting to justify myself comment. I was so convinced my affair would come right and I could prove to be the exception but I have disamlly failed again. My justification is flimsy but for six months I honestly didnt know I was the OW.I just thought we were taking things slow and he had other prioritys like children and sport. He already had a girlfriend and when I eventually caught him he convinced me he loved us both and that the other one was going to go bang soon, so I perseveered. She still knows nothing of the deceit.
    I then asked him out over New year and he promptly texted me on Boxing Day to say he had made a decision to stay with the girlfriend. Later admitting I had put him on the spot as he had already arranged stiff with the girlfriend I was gutted but within five days he contacted me saying he’d made a mistake and wanted to see me again. So off we went again future faking me the lot until three weeks later he said again he wanted to be with the other lady So I didnt contact him again. Three weeks ago he came onto me again at work and we spent a few lovely dates together with him telling me one evening how he loved me so much and wanted to live with me……twenty minutes later a knock on his door and it is the girlfriend…shock on his face and I thought he is going to have to come clean as she knew nothing of me for the past year. Oh no though ,he asked me to say nothing for his sake so stupidly thats what I did . When she came in I heard him spinning her a yarn about me being a colleague in trouble etc. I left them to it and she appears to have bought into his lies as he has again informed me he wants her not me. Well job done I am so angry and hurt and confused but swear if anyone had been in my place they would have believed him too as he was so credible!

    • Elle says:

      Sounds awful, and I believe you when you say he was good at playing you (like the self-absorbed, morally-shabby fraudster he is), but, now you know never again to afford anyone the power of choosing from afar whether to be with you, as if you have no say in it.

      Once you knew he was being a dog, and, then CERTAINLY once he decided once that he was going to be with his girlfriend for the first time, you should have packed up shop, with no hint of leaving the door open. I don’t mean this to slap you – I imagine you’re feeling hurt, down and ashamed. But I really don’t want you, me, or any of us to ever be in that situation (metaphorically or otherwise) where we’re performing like low-rent bellydancers chugging back Midori from the bottle, set up outside a workplace, all to get the acceptance of someone. Dignity and autonomy are just far too precious.

    • tired_of_assanova says:


      What a game! All he needs is to say a whole heap of cr%p and the secures the goods.

      There’s nothing confusing about open and shut cases of assh*lery. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE CASES. FLUSH!!

  58. Confusedd says:

    I’m trying to get out if it. we were friends before we dated. Last time we parted he kept texting me periodically on a friendly level and I always replied and eventually we met up and round 2 started.
    Now I’ve told him i want space and silence. he wasn’t too pleased. Implied I was being strange as his other exs are great friends with him. He said he cared about me. Of course then I felt bad and wanted to make sure we weren’t on bad terms. So I suggested we meet and say goodbye in person. Now he keeps putting off our meeting with lame excuses. It’s a vicious cycle of mind games.

    • Allison says:


      It doesn’t matter that you started as friends, you need to concentrate on how he treated you. Friends DO NOT treat one another this way!

      I don’t understand why you would have to say goodbye in person, as it seems as a way to prolong. Personally, I would block and be done with this.

  59. Confusedd says:

    I will check out the topline data article, thank you. Yes, mindf-ery indeed. He is clever with words and conversation and likes to spin simple exchanges into more complicated, multilayered discussions, in the end I’m not even sure what my own point or question was… In his mind it’s probably a success for distracting me… Is this a common trait for these people?

    • kc says:

      yes it is common for them. I never knew they had such predictable set patterns until I found this site and saw the list of the signs on how to spot them. what you described what your EUM did is the same stunts and same lines my EUM did to me. they use this “friend” card whenever they want to use you and then go off on their merry way until they need another ego boost or distraction. when you want to distance yourself from them because it’s too hard they make you feel bad by saying the care about you, and make you feel guilty when they should be the one feeling guilty about their head games.

    • NCC says:

      So common! Your list of what you’ve experienced with this guy on your original post….all of that stuff has happened to me/been said to me.
      I know that it’s not easy to cut ties though and make a solid decision on your involvement with these people. I just hope some support and empathy here helps you, I know that I come here for that and to work towards a better life…for ME!

  60. NeverTooLate! says:

    Never again, never will I be with a MM. The exMM has moved across the country with his family. He still contacts me about once a month which I don’t get, no sex obviously. When I tell him that there is no point to stay in contact he gets panicky and begs me to stay in contact. When I texted him by accident, he told me he likes hearing from me even if my text wasn’t intended for him. In my heart of hearts, I know he doesn’t care, what is he holding on to? I most likely will never see him again, actually even if I could I don’t think I would want to. Why do I still have feelings for him? I just don’t get what’s in it for him. I need to stop thinking of him. From now on I am going to own my part, let him panic, it’s not my job to figure out why, he’ll have to take care of himself and I will take care of ME. Relationships are worth my time, affairs are worth nothing!

    • grace says:

      He’s holding onto his image as a great guy who women want to be friends with.
      He’s holding onto the possibility (however remote) that the two of you might have sex again.
      He’s holding onto the ego stroke – I’ve still got it.
      He’s holding onto knowing that he can still affect you.
      He’s holding onto keeping tabs on your whereabouts and, if you meet someone new, the chance to screw it up.
      If you want to stop caring, take the first step first – no contact. Change your no. if you have to.

      • Outergirl says:


        Grace has put it succintly [as usual] I would like to add; stop caring about ‘him’ and start caring about ‘you’. He made his decision, he chose himself and his family. YOU choose, YOU.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      NeverTooLate, try not to give too much thought as to why he’s pestering you (though grace’s list is right on the money). Stay strong with staying away from communication with him. No contact = No new pain. Do whatever it takes to deny him access to you, and if he manages to weasel around it, ignore ignore ignore.

      Natalie has some really great posts on No Contact, and her free 30-days of No Contact email is terrifically supportive. It helped me through my last rough breakup.

  61. Tinkerbell says:

    I spent 6 months with a MM. It was 6 months of ambiguity, aggravation, disappointments and waiting, waiting, waiting for him to show up. Fortunately, by reading Natalie’s book, “Mr. Unavailable….., reading self help books, and other blogs including this one, I was able to go NC and extricate myself from that disastrous situation. Several months later I tried online dating and met a man half my age, who chased me down as if the world were going to end. I was flattered and even wrote boastfully on this blog about him and how excited I was. Well, soon after he confessed that he not only had a girlfriend, but that he lived with her and she was 6 months pregnant. I still wanted to go on seeing him because I missed sexual intimacy and felt it would be a blast with him. However, after having done so much work on myself to get out of the MM situation, I just could not allow myself to go back into a situation similar and in some ways worse than what I’d gotten out of. I decided that the sex would in no way make up for my feeling cheap and immoral, and since going to church every Sunday and professing how I wanted to be more godlike, I could not see myself doing that to another woman. Thanks to mostly Natalie’s influence I am alone and at peace. I am able to say that this was a lesson well learned and I will not be repeating the same egregious mistake. Thank you so much, Natalie, and everyone else for all your words that have helped me greatly. I’m taking very good care of myself, staying busy and enjoying other things besides men. Perhaps one day he’ll show up, but if not, I’m confident that i will thrive.
    no longer

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hi Tinkerbell,
      Natalie’s influence is amazing. For me, her book was life changing. Congratulations for extricating yourself from the exMM. You fortunate to get out after 6 months.
      And even more good for you for not getting involved with young online guy with a pregnant g/f. Maybe this guy was your “one last ass” to borrow a phrase from a BR comrade. Thanks to Blaise Parker for that line. I do feel badly for the pregnant g/f and the new baby who is/will be counting on online guy and future daddy as he’s out stalking women for sex. But at least you are not repeating the same mistake. Your comment gives me hope that recovery, forgiveness, and avoiding the same mistake is possible. Keep up the good work. For me Natalieness is next to godliness!
      Thanks to Natalie and all of you, I’m coming to grips with the fact that these guys really do exist.
      A guy with a 6 month pregnant g/f is out hunting for sex? Is there more than a red flag and more than a flush handle?

  62. Josie says:

    I ended my affair with a MM just one week ago and I can only say that the pain and heartache is almost more than I can bear. I have ended all contact with him and am determined that this time it is over, hence the utter devastation I feel (I have tried twice before to end it unsuccessfully but he has talked me round with words of love and how much he needs me in his life).

    I played my part in this and take full responsibility; it started out with a kiss at a school reunion, then him giving me his number via a facebook message, then meeting up for dinner and drinks, then sex and you can guess the rest. I knew he was married from the outset, didn’t care as I certainly didn’t intend to get involved, all I wanted was a break from the mundane and he chased me for 6 months before I realised I was so so in love with him. There is no poor me in this, I don’t deserve it…..I just want the hurt to stop so I can start to face a future without him in it, and get on with my life.

    He is who he is, and I know he may try to get in touch with me again at some point, and I want to be able to have the strength to tell him it really is over, PI** OFF, leave me alone once and for all, but at the moment I just want to curl up into a ball and sleep for 100 years……

    Sorry guys , I know this sounds like a bit of a pity party; would just appreciate a few words …anything to get this chick to wake up and smell the damn coffee xx

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hi Josie,
      I want to reach out and give you a hug and a ton of strength. Nope, there is no pity party for an OW who knowingly entered into the illicit situation. I did the same thing. I didn’t mean to become involved, thought I could handle it, and then got involved and couldn’t handle it. I am accountable for making a really huge mistake. I know the pain is immense and I’m sorry.
      You are doing the right thing by ending it and cutting contact, despite the pain. There’s a ton of great advice from Natalie and the wonderful BR community on this blog so keep reading and commenting. Breaking through the fog is hard. While I was deep in the fog of denial and the justifying zone, I didn’t see my part in the deception since I wasn’t the one who was married. He was. Owning my part in the lying, cheating, and deception has been my wake up call and has kept me from going back (after a a slip). I don’t want to be a liar and a cheat. Being with a MM means I have to lie and cheat too. Thus, I can’t go back. You can’t either, right?
      Everyone on this site is so helpful so this may just be a little silly thing, I keep repeating Natalie’s words “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS AN HONEST CHEAT”. That’s been difficult for me to grasp too. I have the words emblazoned on his forehead (as well as other parts) and on my forehead. He had to have been lying to me as well as his wife and children. Yup, I was under the misguided notion that he was only lying to his wife, not me. Dear lord, as I type that sentence, “misguided” seems an understatement. I had to be lying and cheating too. That’s what I’ve found so helpful about Natalie’s work, placing the focus on me. What about me?
      This post gives me another emblazoned message: “AFFAIRS ARE LIKE HEISTS GONE WRONG”.
      Sleep if you need to sleep. At least you aren’t contacting him. My best wishes to you. Stay strong. Block and delete him. And sleep.

      • Josie says:

        I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to reply to me and give me the benefit of some very sage advice. I believed with my whole heart that the MM was honest with me, he kept telling me so…’Jo, I will always be honest with you, even if its not what you want to hear’. I still want to believe everything he told me was the truth, because then I won’t feel like such an idiot! I have fallen at the first hurdle; ignored three texts and a missed call last night only to text him this morning to ask what he wanted….and his reply was ‘just to chat’ aaaaarrrggggghhh!!! My response was that he has lots of people to ‘chat’ to, his wife being the main one, that I was hurting and in pain and to PLEASE do the decent thing and leave me be to grieve and to try and get over him. No response….

        • rosenfire says:

          Hugs to you. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry that it’s going to hurt for awhile. But, remember, No Contact = No New Pain. Give yourself time to get over the old pain without creating new pain for yourself along the way. Like others have said, sleep is good for you. Make healthy choices–avoid things that will just numb the pain or create more, even if those things feel good in the moment. Pain is horrible. Makes me want to vomit, curl in a ball, never wake up, takes my breath away. But the good thing about actually letting yourself go THROUGH it, is that you actually go THROUGH it. You will end up on the other side of it, even though it might not seem possible right now. Keep reading NML’s blog, keep doing what you know is right, keep being kind to yourself as you grieve him and let him go. Hugs.

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Oh yeah Josie, they always just want “to chat”. It’s what they do, “chat” via lazy text/email messages because they are MARRIED. I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime “chatting”. It wasn’t a relationship, it was “chatting”. There’s no relationship based on respect, trust, and love, it’s just a “chat”. You are spot on, the women he should be chatting with is HIS WIFE, not another woman. No way a MM could just be lying to his wife and not lying to his mistress. So sorry. I heard so many protestations as how he wasn’t lying to me. He was. There is no way a MM with a mistress isn’t lying to his wife and his mistress. That could only be the case in my situation and may not be the case in your situation.

            Rosenfire, your comments have been so helpful and spot on for me. Thank you for taking the time to comment. “No Contact = No New Pain. I still want to smack these dudes upside their heads. But I won’t. I’ll make cheesy potato soup pour a nice glass of wine, and turn on some great classical music.

            • Josie says:

              I burst into tears this afternoon, right in the middle of Costa Coffee, in front of my two children, who clearly thought Mother had taken a left turn down barmy alley. I excused myself, shut myself in the bathroom and sobbed for 20 minutes over this man who I have loved for a year. My 15 and 12 year old know nothing of MM and what the hell would I say to them anyway. They were so concerned and all I could do was make an excuse……so yet more lies for a man who probably hasn’t wasted one drop of a tear over me. Every bit of me wanted to text him today and tell him how much I miss him but (a) that would make me look confused & desperate, (b) it would give his currently over-inflated ego a huuuuge boost and (c) it would make 10 days of tears, lack of sleep, weight loss and clinging on to Baggage Reclaim for dear life, for nothing and NO WAY am I doing that to myself! The only way to go now is UP ladies and I urge any of you to carry on with your quest NOT to go back….we can all do this!! Your honesty has kept me afloat and made me feel like I am not the horrid OW who deserves all she gets….just a flawed, hurting human being who made a mistake with a man who knew exactly what he was doing when he pursued me from one end of the country to the other!

              Keep going ladies……we can cut them out of our lives for good xxx

              • runnergirlno1 says:

                Oh Josie, sorry to hear about the tears. Your kids must have been concerned. My 18 year-old daughter was still living at home when I took a “left turn down barmy alley” (love that phrase) and like you, what the hell would I say to her? Just excuses and lies…like you say. Thank god she wasn’t here to experience the end of the nightmare.
                Try to resist the urge to text him. I recognized that by portraying him as the perpetrator, robbing me of of my investment in a shady deal which I was in on from the outset, left me in a helpless victim mode. Natalie is right, we aren’t victims. Texting him is doing the ostrich thing as well as the bargaining, justifying thing. Steer clear of the Justifying Zone. The heist went sour. I’m still spending to much time in the Justifying Zone and I’m working on getting out of the Victim Mode as well. There is a bit of comfort in being a victim but not much empowerment.
                I think the worst realization for me was that every time I broke down, replied or initiated contact, it was a huge ego boost for him. It’s a wacky dynamic. Natalie’s book really helps explain the wacky dance.

              • brokenheartedbabble says:

                I’m so sorry you are hurting, Josie. For me it’s been four months and I still cry every day. I’ve never felt like the guilty OW and always thought we would be the exception. What was I thinking? My therapist says abandonment is worse than death. All I know is that I’m struggling to hold it together at work, in public, and in front of my kids, and all the other people who have no idea that I’ve spent the last 2 1/2 years in a passionate amazing relationship and as recently as last night I dreamed he asked me to marry him and was dissapointed to awaken.
                I know it will get better, that I’m strong and don’t need a relationship without a mutual commitment. This has hurt worse than I ever though possible, but there is a glimmer at the end of the tunnel now. I see a day when I can at least find a reason to go on. It will be there for you too. Hang on!!!

                • Josie says:

                  Oh Broken, my heart goes out to you….it really does. I too, cry every day at the moment, but its all part of the grieving process which we HAVE to go through in order to come out the other side. Crying in public is a real bummer, especially as family etc. have no idea why. Mine just think I am depressed, having moved from one end of the country to the other in order to find work, and assume I am missing my old life. I let them think it because its easier than admitting I was the OW for 15 months. After a bout of weeping yesterday in front of my Mum, I went home and completely changed my bedroom around and created an environment totally different to when the MM was last there. If I had the money, I would change duvet covers, cushions, throws etc and cleanse the room of him, but as I haven’t, then this is the next best thing.

                  The only thing we can do is take it day by day…and when its really bad, minute by minute and hour by hour. Baby steps. Making those small changes in our hearts and in our minds. Its not easy….as I said, I miss him every single minute of the day, but at the end of that day, I am a step closer to where I want to be. Whats more important is that we don’t get in touch with these men…..and thats the hardest thing of all at times.

                  Having all you guys for support helps enormously, and I cling on to all your wise words…..Runnergirl, Rosenfire, Tinkerbell, Brokenhearted. Thank you.

                  • Marianna Miaow says:

                    Josie I know what you mean about changing your room. I am going to paint mine and change things around. It feels violated. I think about all the times he came to my home, ate my dinner, drank my wine, sat on my settee, showered, cleaned his teeth… my home. i allowed him in yes, but he told me the lie that we were going to be together and that he was going to move in, we were in it for real. Now it turns out it is a lie the use of me and my home feels just… vile. Look I know my part, I know what I did and I was stupid and careless to believe we would be together, but could I go into another’s home and use them knowing full well I was conning them? No, I don’t think I could. Changing things around is symbolic and heathy is my guess.

  63. EllyB says:

    I know quite a few people who say “It’s natural for a guy to cheat”, and then proceed to blame both the wife (for “neglecting” him and for “growing old and ugly”) and the OW (for “seducing him” and for being “a needy single”). They even seem to admire the unfaithful guy. I thought this was somewhat “normal”. Now I think it’s purely sexist.

    I used to wonder: “How could women ever have a happy relationship if everybody thinks it’s okay for a guy to be unfaithful? If it makes him ‘cool’, even? What did all women in the world together do wrong to deserve this?”.

    Now I know it’s not “normal”. Not everybody thinks like this. Why did I always focus on people with such disagreeable opinions anyway? They are not the norm.

    I’m glad there is hope. Thanks again to NML and to many other people who comment here.

    • Outergirl says:

      “I know quite a few people who say “It’s natural for a guy to cheat”, and then proceed to blame both the wife (for “neglecting” him and for “growing old and ugly”) and the OW (for “seducing him” and for being “a needy single”). ”
      Could not agree more. Over here in the states, you may have heard of a thing called a Charlie Sheen. He’s a pig & a wh*re and in ‘women’ years, old. But you can’t turn on the tv w/out him being glorified, he’s got all this work selling products that capitalize on his narcissism. The message is always the same, young hot females throw themselves at him, hoping to be the exception I presume. It disgusts me. Not that anyone should behave that way; but when a female celebrity does even half of what he’s done and saints preserve us, if she has the temerity to crown 30, they still brand her with a scarlet letter and make her a laughing stock. How do we change this double standard??

      • RG says:

        That’s absolutely true! Somehow at the end of all this, the woman comes out a ‘slut’ and a man a ‘player’. It’s really sad.

  64. RG says:


    You have written every word that I wanted to write. The person being cheated on is the biggest victim here, and being lost in your own pain and hurt, which you have willingly inflicted on others, sounds a bit selfish doesn’t it? How can you be okay with someone cheating on their wife/gf and leaving them but the same shouldn’t happen to you?
    It’s a major lack of empathy from your end ladies. Even if a man leaves his partner for you (a blessing for her), imagine being cheated on by him…pinches doesn’t it? And you know what, rude as it may sound, you will deserve every bit of it. What you give is what you get.

    • wakeup says:

      RG: so glad that there is someone out there who thinks like me.

      I think it isn’t right that the ladies’ sadness/emotional well being would be the main reason for leaving the MM….instead of the wrongness of the situation being the main reason!!!

      Conversely, if these relationships made the ladies feel good, does this mean they would stay with the MM? This is the problem with basing the decision of whether or not to leave the relationship based on how they feel (whether the guy makes them happy or sad). How the ladies feel is NOT the most important point here. Even if the MM makes the woman very happy, the whole thing is WRONG because it is an affair, so she should not be in it to begin with.

      • RG says:

        I know what you mean. Although it’s obvious why the emotional aspect becomes the deciding factor. It’s because they are selfish enough to start the affair in the first place. If there was any sense of ‘putting yourself in the other person’s shoes’ or any consideration for a fellow woman, the affair wouldn’t happen in the first place. It’s sad that human emotions are so strong that they let you give up your morality and ethics and allow you to stab someone in the back. I hope people realise the pain they inflict on someone due to this, but maybe all you can feel is your own pain.
        It’s sad that most people’s happiness on this comment thread lies in the breaking up of a family and helping decieve someone.

        • wakeup says:

          RG: you have said everything on my mind in perfect words!! Amen!

          Let’s hope for a better world where ladies (and guys) won’t participate in these affairs with married people!

          • Outergirl says:

            So it’s always the OW’s fault? How convenient. I’m not saying she’s blameless, but it’s the guy who started sniffing around her first and talk till you are blue in the face, nothing changes my opinion on that matter.

            • Josie says:

              I have to agree with Outergirl. This has been my one and only foray into being the OW, because I met, was pursued relentlessly for six months by a man who (by his own admission), had never been faithful to his wife, in all of their 12 year relationship. I stupidly thought I was the exception; the woman who had at last captured his heart as he had captured mine. I can see now what a total fool I was, but at the time, his words, his declarations of love seemed absolutely sincere. In retrospect, it was the chase he loved….and has done since he was a teenager. I take full responsibility for the part I played in our ‘relationship’, and while I was living at the other end of the country his wife didn’t seem like a real person; just a girl in a photograph on facebook who we rarely talked about. It wasn’t until I moved closer that she became real, which was when I started to face up to the reality of what I was doing to her and their children. Not nice.

              I feel dreadful that I have played my part in this deception, but my point is that the MM flirted, romanced, chased down and pursued me. I should have stood my ground, but I fell for him hook, line and sinker…..but I fell for HIM, not the fact he was married.

            • Mymble says:

              This goes back to the Victorian double standard whereby men were believed to have lustful animal natures, which women had to control by being pure. If they “sinned”, the woman was made to suffer for it. Even today this lingers on, all the abusive words for women based on sexual behaviour. None for men.
              I think anyone who has been hurt deserves sympathy, which isn’t to say that at some point they do need to have a good look at how it happened, who else was involved, and accept responsibilty for their own actions, if nothing else to avoid making the same mistake again.
              I am really glad to be free of it, and I no longer care too much what anyone else thinks. He on the other hand is likely pursuing some other woman behind his wifes back.

            • RG says:

              Of course not! No one is saying that it is. The man is the biggest fraud in this entire ‘heist’. But one party knows about it, and the other doesn’t. Even a man is chasing you, you are responding to it. That’s how the affair is happening.
              The comments above are more from the persepctive after reading all the comments above about how it’s so wrong that the man didn’t leave his wife for me. I’m a poor little girl.” A sense of “How could he do this to me?” which is not fair.
              If an employee from a bank plans a robbery with an accomplice on the outside..doesn’t make the accomplice any less of a robber than the employee himself.

              • Mymble says:

                Interesting example, because actually under criminal law they are NOT in the same position. The employee is in a “position of trust” therefore would get a heavier sentence, due to their breach of trust, all other things being equal. But your posts focussed the blame and resentment very much on the OW barely mentioned the man.

                • RG says:

                  My post was a small portion of my thoughts, not an attempt to write my entire ideology on people who cheat. Just like all the ‘other women’ here only talk of their pain and barely on the repercussions of their actions on the wife and children of these men. Me barely mentioning the man doesn’t mean I believe he is not to blame. Emotions are running high while we read these posts and it’s natural to think from your own perspective depending on which side you come from. Sometimes both parties are hurt and sometimes only one. Hope my comments have not offended you. :). Peace. Let’s take the positives from what’s being said in the article, instead of trying to prove our point to seek validation for our behaviour.

                  • wakeup says:

                    RG: i agree with what you said. Very well worded! :)

                    I do not mean that it is only the woman’s fault. I think both parties are responsible. Both are consenting adults who KNOW that the affair is damaging the marriage, and that it is very unfair to the wife.

                    As RG said, I think that it would be nice if the OW on this site would try their very best to see this situation from the wife’s point of view. Imagine that you are married and that your husband is seeing someone else….

  65. Tinkerbell says:

    Have you read Natalie’s book Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl? If not, I would say that should be the first thing on your agenda. While, you are waiting to get the book in your hands, I would strongly suggest that you block him from your land line AND your cell phone, so that he can neither call or text you. You need to be the one to take over control and prevent him from being able to rope you back in. The great thing I loved about doing this is that should you weaken, the block works both ways so that you can’t call or text him. While things are quiet and you have peace, do all you can to work yourself out of obsessing about him. Don’t allow yourself to wonder how he’s doing or what he’s doing. Make it all about YOU. He is GONE. You are FREE. Be happy that you woke up and don’t ever, ever, ever put your self in that situation or anything similar like that again. It won’t work, you’ll feel like sh*t, and it is hard as hell to get over it and back to normal. Good luck.

    • Josie says:

      I have ordered Natalie’s book and will be standing by my letterbox monday to get it into my grubby little hands! xx

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Good for you Josie. I got the first edition as well as the 2nd and I’m on my second re-read. Every time I re-read Natalie’s books and posts, I discover something new about me. It’s like she knows me and we’ve never met. I can hardly wait for you to get your grubby paws on her book. Keep us posted?

  66. stella says:


    BRAVO! it’s the truth. i was once pursued by a MM(didn’t know he was married – took his ring off & lied – well, never really lied – was very “gray” about his life) – of course now i would see the signs…um…maybe…ha. well, he would e-mail all this future-faking stuff from his work e-mail(red flag). lo & behold, one day i get an e-mail from a woman with the same last name as him. she was reading his work e-mails. told me he was married & that he was lying to me. needless to say we joined forces & called and end to his ridiculousness. my point being – i put myself in her shoes – i would have been DEVASTED. what ever happened to the golden rule here! if he is cheating on his wife, girlfriend, whatever – it is no prize you have won. this speaks very loudly about his character. and, why would you do to someone something that would destroy you – if the tables were turned. i just cannot feel sorry for someone that goes into a situation knowing this information. “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” the Beatles!

    • Allison says:


      Did she divorce him?

      • stella says:

        hey allison. OF COURSE NOT. about 6 months later she calls me – begging me to call him(yeah, i about fell over) & tell him i had met someone else that i was in love with. i asked her, “are you sure about this?” she stated ever since whatever he was doing with me ended – he is so distant toward her & she knows he is thinking about me. i told her i was very sorry & that if she was sure i would call & tell him this(even though it wasn’t true…ha). my problem was that we had not spoken since he was busted by the two of us. quite frankly i didn’t want to talk to the creep – but, i did it for her. so, i called him and he tried to “weasel” his way back in. i reiterated i was in love with someone else. promptly called her and let her know that i didn’t want to be involed with speaking with either one of them anymore. he’s her problem….poor thing.

    • RG says:

      I admire you for doing that Stella! And atleast you didn’t know he was married. Please don’t bother being in touch with this creep. His wife has to acknowledge that the moment he tried stepping out of their marriage, it was broken anyway. So even if he stayed with her, it doesn’t change him as a person. I am very young, 22, and was cheated on by my long-distance boyfriend, which seems so trivial in comparison to so many stories I see here. In my case, the other girl knew everything and still did it, after I caught them out, had the guts to tell me that I was his ‘friends with benefits’. Talk about having illusions. What she didn’t know was that we had been playing hooky on skype throughout, and the same messages were sent to me which he claimed to only send her. When I told her of this, she blamed me for “separating them”. Talk about being selfish!
      But I give her the least importance now, of course there are the jealous, immature times but they pass. The fact is that my bf betrayed me, not her, and regardless of whether he chose her or me, my relationship and trust stands broken. I now concentrate only on letting go of the anger and hurt, as that’s what will be best for me. As for them, what goes around hopefully shall come around very soon.

  67. Confusedd says:

    Thanks everyone.

  68. runnergirlno1 says:

    Natalie, I just clicked the link to your post from April 2011 “Do We Really Need to Forgive” (brilliant) and read the comments, including mine. This has been a wonderful, painful, and heartbreaking journey. I can see last April that I could see the goal, forgiving me, but wasn’t anywhere near it. I may be closer as April 2012 approaches? You are a saint. Thank you for all you do and for your patience as we struggle through. This site has allowed me to work through so much anger. Thank you.
    Ladies and gents, click on the “forgiveness” link.

  69. Complicated says:


    Thanks for this great article. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here, but lots of good things are going on. After 4yrs of the fantasy relationship or whatever it was, along with the disappointments I had with the MM, I’m finally on the road to recovery focusing on me. Yesterday was 30 days No Contact for me!! That’s a first. I started attending Love addict meetings in addition to meeting with a counselor. I’m doing lots of reading and focusing on me and why it is I even got myself into this predicament with a MM. At first I thought, I don’t belong in a group about love addicts but after my first meeting, I realized I very much needed to be there. Lots of the women in the group had similar experiences as myself. I was looking for someone to rescue me, someone to fill the void of that ‘father figure’ I never had. I still miss him and think of him but it’s getting better as time goes by. I realize that what I miss are the qualities I projected onto him…not the man he was in reality. I miss the man I wanted him to be – caring and thoughtful of my feelings…not the married man who disguarded me (or took what was on tap) at his convenience. I am better than that and deserve better. We all do. Thank you for this site and bringing all of us together. For those of you who may be reading this and hurting, please know there is hope. It will get better with time and no contact.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hey Complicated,
      Congratulations on 30 days NC. That’s excellent. Do whatever it takes to get through. Natalie’s post regarding the anatomy of an affair, being double crossed in a heist, and what it means for and about the OW has been enlightening for me.
      It’s good to hear that there are lots of good things going on for you. Stay focused and keep up the good work on you.

      Did you hear, Natalie has a new book coming out!

  70. hope says:

    after two years of not seeing him, after a year i’ve blocked my number and went no contact with him, yesterday, we arranged to meet..,and we met,,i do not know wth i was thinking,,, i’ve heard he has a new gf, for a year already, and they are living together,..what did i think it would happen? that it will not hurt me to hear about his gf? that he will suddenly realize it is me he loves…? how could i disregard everything i know, and agree to see him, telling myself it’s gonna be just a friendly chat…believing him, that he just wants to see me and hear what was going on with my life…but, then of course, we started kissing and he wanted me so much and blah blah,..it is a small comfort i’ve managed to say no and insist i that i am not gonna demote myself to a booty call..i’ve told him that i do not want to sleep with a guy who has a gf,,.i am still sooo angry with myself that i blew up1 year effort of nc into a thin air…and even though i ultimately said no last night, i woke up this morning miserable and yearning for him…and i have no idea, what to do and how to help myself

    • rosenfire says:

      I can hear how sorry and torn up you are over all of this. Please don’t beat yourself up. Yes, you know you made a mistake. Yes, you know he’s bad news. Yes, you know you knew better than to be in contact with him. Fine. Stop beating yourself up and get back on that No Contact wagon. The only way you’ve “wasted” that year effort and the only way all your hard work will have been for nothing, is if you DON’T get back on that wagon. Don’t believe the lie that “you’ve fallen so you might as well keep contacting him now” and don’t believe the lie that you haven’t really made progress and grown as a person. You HAVE grown–you told him no when before you would have told him yes. And now you realize that you’re human; too human to be in contact with him without violating your boundaries. Learn from the mistake; be kind to yourself; and get back on that wagon!!! :o)

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Hope, I’ve put my hand back in the fire again and again too. I totally understand how you want the guy to own up. Only we get the opposite. So, your guy is involved with another woman and kissing you and wants you so much? Yuck, total Yuck and FLUSH.
        My exMM always said “we belonged together”. When I got a clue, I asked him if we belonged together, why weren’t we together? Cyberspace didn’t have enough space for him to answer that simple question.
        Here’s how you move on: 1) NC, totally. 2) Focus on YOU; 3) Scream, Yell, Howl, but don’t contact him. 4) Post on BR about how angry you are that you’ve been betrayed by a lying cheating MM. 5) Do NOT email him to tell him that he is a lying, cheating lower than life scum bucket and has caused you to doubt yourself. 6) Scream, howl, and get it out…but don’t go back. 6) Read BR and everything related to self-esteem. 7) Scream some more.

  71. Daisy says:

    I very recently saw the ex-MM with another woman. I can’t say that I am suprised, but I am still devastated. Just seeing it with my own eyes . . . . It validates my decision to leave him, and I am so thankful that I never slept with him. But, I thought I was special and this means that I wasn’t. I guess deep down I knew that all along. It’s been over a year and I’m still not over this. What can I do to get on with my life. The next few days are going to be very difficult. I am friends with him and his wife and mutual friends on a social network site. So I can’t unfriend him, but should I just deactivate my account? It’s the last remaining contact. I need advice. Please help me.

  72. AssclownCentral says:

    Why don’t they ever leave? I am younger, hotter, more ambitious, more intelligent, classier, sexier, and just all around better than the stupid f***Cker’s wife. Makes NO sense. I do feel that he conned me. He knew I didn’t know what I was getting in to and knew I was incredibly naive about men.

    • Tulipa says:

      doesn’t seem like you used your intelligence to stay away though, nor to learn about men and dating rule number one should be if he is not single and free to be with you stay away far away….

    • Mymble says:

      But you knew he was married, right?
      The reason they don’t leave is because they prefer to be where they are. They are comfortable in their nice family home, with their wife and kids, joint savings account, and their family life. Why would he leave all that behind, just in order to have sex with you? Which he was able to do anyway, without leaving.
      Sneering at his wife is in poor taste too.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I am younger, hotter, more ambitious, more intelligent, classier, sexier, and just all around better than the stupid f***Cker’s wife. Makes NO sense.

      I agree with Mymble. Why buy the cow when you can drink the milk for FREE. He didn’t have to be in a relationship with you to collect all the benefits you offer. He was getting them for free anyway.

      He’s MARRIED

      MARRIED x 1000

    • Allison says:

      How could he con you, if you knew he was married????

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Classy? The classy move would’ve been to ever-so-classily tell him to go fuck himself when he tried to get with you. End of.

  73. hope says:

    thank u both rosenfire and runner girl…just for the record, not that it changes much: we were once together, before he started breakin’ up with me… it was like, he didn’t want to be me, but he also didn’t want to leave me alone. as nat would call it, your typical flip flopper… it went on and on, until i couldn’t take it anymore and had to change my number because he was driving me mad…we were nc for a year until now..
    but i guess despite that, it is i ,that haven’t moved on..and what is killing me now, is that he did.. i am all alone, and he’s gotten himself a gf,,that he loves!!!!
    it’s pathetic, though- that as he was telling me about his new gf, how they’re good together, and how he’s planing a trip together for her bd, -at the same time he was trying to get me to sleep with him, one more time, just because he wants it so much…i told him, go home to yr gf and sleep with her, i told him you choose to be with her not with me, so f off to your future and he says, ha ha get this- i can not imagine never ever sleeping with u again (duh, hello i’ve said for the 10th time that evening i am not sleeping with a guy who is with somebody else) … i will go nc again, technically i have no trouble to do it again.i never contacted him first anyways..i haven’t given him my new number either… and i don’t think he would bother me at work…email, i could block him easy…the problems is- how to forget him and not think about him and how he’s building new life w/his gf..the problem is how to stop focusing on him and really move on…i guess that i also have to figure out what’s wrong with me that the only men that sniff around me are ones that want to screw behind their gf/wife’s backs…BR is great help,,thanks to it, i still hope not all men are dogs and there is a guy somewhere, out there, who will really love me..hugs to u all

    • Allison says:

      “how to forget him and not think about him and how he’s building new life w/his gf.”

      This is how you forget! This creep is attempting to screw around on the gf that he claims to love. This guy cannot be trusted!!!! Do you want to waste more energy on a man who is incapable of being faithful?

      No prize here!

  74. hope says:

    ps. rosenfire thanx for telling me not to beat myself up…and runner girl- i am screaming :)

  75. hope says:

    daisy, without a hint of a doubt: deactivate your account, start from there

  76. NeverTooLate! says:

    You all were right he wanted to fly in or was in town (couldn’t tell, it was one of those flirtatious texts) for a booty call. He has tons of money, price is no object. When I told him I had plans, he asked if he could take my mother to dinner. When I asked him why, it was because he has spoken to her, but never had the chance to meet her. He wants the three of us to go to dinner sometime. I cannot make heads or tails out of that one, That is just plain nuts. Why is he trying to win over my mom? I am this close to telling him off, but you are all right NC is best.

  77. Cameron from Ghana says:

    Nothing good comes out from anything bad,a hard lesson I had to learn in my own case. I’ve known my EUM for eight yrs,we were friends initially,we had the same friends and our family even knew eachother. Perfect except 4 dat little snag,he had a Gf. I will admit dat d first time I was out to av a good time but I stopped it after a very short while cos it didn’t feel right n I was so guilty( we didn’t av sex only heavy petting n hangin out at his place). Then a while later,he ends things with her,we started talkin again n before I knew it our mutual friend informs me to stop callin him cos he was now in a new relationship. I felt bad but I chucked it up to everyone had deir life to lead. Throught d next year,he called me n came to see me once in a while. I never called him back n made sure things were plactonic. Then his dad dies,I call him to offer my condolences,he comes to see me,tells me he would never disappoint me again,he would always please me n make me happy. His relationship was a scam,he d only asked her out cos something had happened btw dem n he felt he owed her something. Foolishly,I assumed he was gonna break up with her. I even travelled for his dad’s burial. And so began an affair dat was tasking with me waitin n waitin thinkin if I just loved him more,acted nice, never really complained,he would decide I was worthy of his time. He caused me so much pain,pulled disappearin acts,came back n a apologised sincerely each time sayin it was not his fault n dat she won’t let him go n dat he might av to involve his family. Each time I fell for it cos I loved him so much,I wanted to believe in him,wanted to be d exception n he just kept breakin me,takin away a crucial part of me n leavin me in d lurch without lookin back( his gf was in my own class,I hated her n hated myself cos I felt I was not good enough or as beautiful. Truth be told iv been told I’m actually very goodlooking but dese guys av a way of makin u feel like nothin). Each time I went NC on him claimin I had enough,he would come back just wen I was movin on. It was like I had no sense wen it came to him. The fourth n last one was d last straw,I practically lost my dignity. He told me they were practically broken up,we were together for four months,I saw no sign if her( he came back at a crucial point in my life wen I was goin through…

  78. Lilly says:

    I had an affair with MM for a year and a half. I came across BR about 7 months into the affair. I paid close attention to every article and to the relationship I was in. I realized everything he said was a lie and the articles were giving me the strength to end it. It took some time for me let go because I did truly love him but saw that his love for me was only sexual and only words.
    I finally got tired if the lip service and feeling terrible everyday about what I was doing. I did end it. Heartbroken and feeling empty but it had to be done. I waited three months then I called his wife and confessed to her. Many say it’s the wrong thing to do and it wasn’t about revenge or wanting him anymore. It was a path I took to make myself whole again. I could not sleep at night knowing what I did and had to confess it to feel better about myself. I don’t feel bad about telling her because I did not do it to personally hurt her. I have no responsibility to her, he did. Everyone says to forget “them” and get back to thinking about you. If we continue to let them hurt us and slide by without any consequences of the things they do and say to us, doesn’t that make us just as bad. If you knew someone was a thief do you let it go? If you know someone is harming others do you let it go? What would that say for us? Yes you can turn my life upside down and break my heart and get away without a scratch and go out and do it all over again? Absolutely not.
    I told her, and I feel so much better about myself since I did. I stopped crying, and am able to sleep now.

    • Josie says:

      Hi Lilly

      Thank you for being so brave enough to share; I can’t say that I agree with what you have done, but I am sure you thought long and hard before making that type of decision. I don’t believe that what you did was right for anyone except yourself, especially not for the wife of the man you had the affair with, or their children (if they have any). She is totally innocent, and I don’t believe she deserves to have had her life shattered by being told that you have been involved with her husband. I am an ex-mistress of a MM and there are times when I am haunted by his wife, what she looks like, the life she has with him, the years they have had together and everything they have shared….BUT that is the consequence of CHOOSING to have an affair with someone else’s husband. She did not choose for him to have the affair with me, and deserves to be left alone to enjoy the life she has with him until such a time as the true nature of his character is revealed…which lets face it, if he is clever enough, may be never. But blowing a hole in her life so you can sleep at night is not the answer. You and I are free of the relationship and, given time, will heal from the effects of playing with fire and getting our fingers burned. All his wife is guilty of is falling in love, and marrying a man who cheats on her, lies and betrays her trust every time he gets into bed with another woman.

      The wife of the man I was involved with clearly adores him, and his two children clearly worship him……why would I want to be responsible for changing that? The responsibility for the way we, as ex-mistresses behave lies solely with us….and the consequences of our deception is that we lose sleep for a time, feel guilty until we learn to forgive ourselves for making the mistake of falling in love with a married man. Personally I think its a small price to pay; we have paid the price. The wife is not so lucky is she??

  79. NeroliJasmine says:

    I’m quite shocked at how many women will get involved with married or attached guys. They say there’s nothing more attractive than a guy with a wedding ring. O.K guys aren’t always truthful, but if you get involved and then find out, you have to finish it.
    It’s not a game there are people’s lives and future’s at stake here. It’s not about who ‘wins’- the guys a loser and would do the same TO you if he does it WITH you!
    How could you ever trust him anyway?

  80. MonaLisa says:

    NML is everyone actually worth better though? I know that’s the line to OW- you deserve more than crumbs, you deserve to be happy etc etc. but do they? Does Mia’s husband and OW deserve happiness after inflicting such pain? I don’t think so. I think some people do cruel things and they deserve pain as a result. I am glad to see OW suffer when they are dumped and I don’t think they deserve better, I think they deserve to be dumped by everyone in their lives until they are completely alone. Tht way they won’t hurt anyone else and they will be properly punished for the pain they’ve inflicted.

    It’s such a copout to say they feel guilt and remorse and become better people- who says? And at whose expense? No pain is enough. They don’t deserve love having interfered with another woman’s love.

    • Polly says:

      I think to describe Other women as cruel and deserving of pain because of what they are inflicting on the wife or girlfriend shows little insight or empathy. Yes, the partner of the MM doesn’t deserve to be mistreated in their relationship but that relationship is about them and their husband. The other woman isn’t responsible for that relationship or damaging it. It is the two people in the relationship who do that. Other women will often be attracted to married men precisely because they are unavailable and they get that high of being granted crumbs from the situation. Which we knows leads to a cycle of pain. I think if you asked most women who have been in a situation of being the other woman most of them are not cruel, uncaring and deserving of pain. They are emotionally unavailable people looking seeking a healthy relationship in all the wrong places. They don’t want to hurt another woman deliberately. They often won’t know the wife or have ever seen her. And their actions won’t be about the wife at all.

      • Allison says:


        No. They simply don’t care. It is self-serving.
        I’m sorry, but cheating is a selfish act. and both MM and OW are equally responsible.

        The kids are rarely mentioned: the emotional damage from an affair is life long for a child and creates serious trust and intimacy issues.

        • Polly says:

          Hi Allison,

          Yes of course affairs cause damage to all around including the children. I’m not defending other women at all. I am just saying that they are often not uncaring people and to write them all off as deserving of everything they get is very harsh indeed. Reading all the posts and comments on here from women who have chosen to have affairs and the reasons for it for me illustrates this. It isn’t that black and white for me.

  81. Wifey says:

    I applaud Lilly for what she did. The OW has already interfered with the relationship by having the affair. Giving the wife the information to manager her own choices is really the least you can do. Yes she will be devastated. But ignorance is not bliss, it is powerlessness. She has already been stripped of all power during the affair, she deserves to control her own life.

  82. SameoldStory says:

    I have been there and done that. Preparing to end something that I thought was so beautiful and pure because he lied in the beginning, saying he would take care of his divorce. He and she live in separate states. I know he loves me as he had done so much for me but she holds on to him by the balls.

  83. Karen says:

    Everything I read for the other woman, is always so self-centered, and self-absorbed. Engaging with someone’s husband is Wrong. It’s Wrong to assist in the break-up of his wife’s marriage and family home. It’s a really terrible thing to do to his wife and children whether you give a **** about them or not. You are in a “triangle”, there is someone else in that “relationship” that is being deceived and betrayed by him and you.
    These articles confirm the feelings of a distraught, suicidal, betrayed wife who struggles to understand why this “other woman” did something so purposely hurtful to her. His wife wonders “what did I do to this woman to deserve this?” The betrayed wife wonders how anyone could be so cold-hearted, cruel, SELF-ABSORBED, SELF-CENTERED, and SELFISH. The other woman cares only about herself, and to the extreme level that she is capable and willing to destroy another human-being, and possibly children, to get what she believes she wants- another woman’s husband.

    • FX says:

      Karen, I’m not an OW but I have to reply. As angry and hurt as you or any spouse deserves to feel, there are only 2 people in the marriage. If one of them steps out on the other, they are breaking the vow. The other woman/man may be guilty of poor judgment but she/he is not guilty of breaking a vow nor responsible for a cheater’s cheating. If he she wasn’t the OW/OM, it would just be someone else. You said yourself “You are in a “triangle”, there is someone else in that “relationship” that is being deceived and betrayed by him and you.” “Him,” in your sentiments seems to have been minimized.

      I suggest you direct your upset at the only people in the triangle who have actually made a commitment to the marriage before blaming a third party who may or may not know the truth of the marriage. The cheater may have spun things in a way that does provide some absolution for the other party’s choices. Or maybe not, either way the spouse is the cheater and where the problem really lies. I don’t believe it serves a purpose to blame someone outside the marriage for one of the partner’s choices within it.

      • FX says:

        I just want to add that the stock and trade of ACs and EUs, whether married or not, is self-centered deception. They use it to ply all their victims, including the OW/OM as well as spouse. Everyone who is being taken in by their BS is being used by the apex of your “triangle.”. Maybe not equally in your book but, perhaps, you can have some compassion. You believed his lies, right? Who knows what he was telling the OW about his situation. HE was/is the crux of the problem. In current vernacular, please stop hating on the OW to allow yourself to cut an AC user slack.

  84. Starling says:

    I’m new here. Hope someone will read this because I really have a lot to get off my chest. I’ve been involved with a MM for over a year. He pursued me. He said he’s never done this before and in the beginning, had a lot of trouble with guilt … but he continued to see me. Honestly, the sex between us is wild and explosive, still. I am very adventerous sexually and all the men I’ve ever been with in my life have become addicted to that part of me. He tells me that while the sex is fantastic and I’m the best lover he’s ever had, it’s not about the sex. He claims he loves me, but I remember him telling me once that after his father died a few years ago, he made it a point to tell everyone he loves them so I really doubt the sincerity of it.

    He is over 50 with kids grown and out of the house. His wife drinks a lot, but he won’t call her an alcoholic. She’s even been physically abusive at times. She is a BIG woman. They have a lot of friends though and he’s afraid to leave her. He’s afraid of change, afraid of looking like the bad guy and afraid of hurting people. He says he loves her though. Once, he told me he would never leave her for me and that he thought of me as his “contingency” plan. At first when he said that, I was flattered like an idiot. He was pleasantly surprised I wasn’t angry. Now I’m wondering if I should be.

    He’s said that I make his marriage better because now he isn’t so hurt by his wife’s rejection of him and her emotional frigidity. It’s like I make his bad marriage tolerable enough that he can stay in it comfortably now.

    I am crazy about him. I wear my heart on my sleeve so I show it. I shower him with attention, praise and affection and he laps it all up, but he doesn’t return it … at least not to the degree I give it. It seems like he does things to keep me going so I will still be in is life. He gives just enough.

    I have to say that I am married as well, but I’m in an emotionally abusive marriage. I have no feelings at all for my husband and we’ve talked about divorce. We have one child left at home who is almost finished with school and I don’t know what will happen then. The idea of spending the rest of my life alone with him makes me sick. All of my friends and my mother too urge me to leave. Even our kids want me to leave him. MM knows all of this as I’ve cried on his shoulder many times, confided in him and asked his advice. MM is the ONLY one who wants me to stay married. Why?? I don’t get it. He’s met my kids and he adores them and they just love him. He has a strained relationship with his children so I think he kind of sees my kids as honorary kids of his if that makes sense. He’s spent time with them alone without me even.

    In some ways, he fills needs in my life too, but I feel that most of the time, I’m at the bottom of his list. He’s got an incredible ability to compartmentalize things. A month or so ago, an old boyfriend looked me up and MM was slightly jealous about it or so he said. I just don’t know how much I can believe of what he says.

    He once told me that he’d never leave his wife for me, but he often tells me that he believes we will be together “some day.” When I question him on how he thinks that’s going to happen, he says he doesn’t know what God has in store for us but that he feels God brought us together for a reason. Then he’ll tell me that he’s proud of himself for not stringing me along with a bunch of empty promises like some guys would. He said he thinks a lot of guys in his position wouldn’t be able to handle the guilt and would walk away from the relationship altogether. I wanted to say, “But don’t you think maybe some would leave to be with me? Do you think no one would find me worth that?”

    All of these things just make me think it’s all about the sex. He told me that what initially attracted him to me was how affectionate I am and that’s true. I am a very affectionate person. I give hugs to people easily and I always try to be encouraging of others.

    Sometimes I think I should leave him, but then what will I have? A very empty, painful life with a man I do not love and who does not love me. If I stay with MM, I’m going to have different kinds of pain, but I will also have moments of pleasure. My current plan is to stay with him until my youngest is finished with school and then leave them both.

    These thoughts have been spinning around in my head for months like dogs chasing their tails. It feels good to finally get them out and I look forward to anyone’s response who can give me some perspective. I am so tired of FEELING.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.