Being the Other Woman and Getting Dumped

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Whether you unknowingly entered a relationship as the “other woman,” or consciously chose to partake in an illicit affair, being dumped can feel devastating. Being a mistress is a complex experience, creating unique challenges during the relationship as well as after a breakup.

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have worked with both the mistress as well as the cheated spouse and can attest, no one wins in an affair.

Here, we will discuss the effects of being the mistress, how to move on after a breakup, and how therapy can help you achieve closure.

The Effects of Being the Other Woman

Women are often the ones who are demonized most when discussing affairs, as men are typically held to a lower standard of morality.

The social stigma associated with being the other woman, in conjunction with all of the other complications of an affair, creates a plethora of negative effects.

The Emotional High

If you were the mistress and knowingly participating in an affair, you most likely experienced a rush of adrenaline, which felt intense, exciting, and intoxicatingly forbidden.

This experience is relatively typical at the beginning of most affairs and can feel very pleasurable and thrilling, further amplifying romantic feelings.

After feelings build, and the affair progresses, this high can suddenly transform into exhaustion and frustration, leaving the mistress feeling burnt out.

Guilt, Shame, and Jealousy

The other woman experiences conflicting emotions regarding the spouse or girlfriend of their partner. On one hand, the mistress often feels guilty and feels a sense of shame about participating in an affair. She may wonder how the spouse is being affected and hold herself responsible for any pain caused.

Feeling of Guilt

The mistress oftentimes also feels jealous of the wife or girlfriend, because they get more time with their partner.

When the mistress is having a bad day and needs support, she can’t always reach out to her partner, because he may be with his wife. The other woman is subsequently treated as a “backup” to the wife, creating resentment and jealousy.

Paranoia

Telling lies constantly, being someone else’s secret, and being afraid of being caught, can cause paranoia.

The mistress might fear the spouse will find out about the affair and seek retaliation or attempt to humiliate her publicly.

Every moment with this man is an opportunity to get caught, and the hypervigilance required to keep such a secret can cause a lot of stress.

Confusion

In the beginning, it may be easy to believe everything your married man is telling you. He makes you feel beautiful and desired, he’s willing to risk his family for you.

After a while, however, you wonder how much of what he is saying is true, or if he just telling you what you want to hear.

It’s hard to trust a man who is cheating on his wife or girlfriend, even if you are the one he is cheating with. You may question if he is cheating on his wife with multiple women.

You may wonder, if he can lie so easily to his wife, is he also lying to you too?

You may also ponder what your relationship might look like if it were just the two of you. Are you experiencing a fantasy? After all, every time you meet you are dressed in your best, every moment with him is special, what would it be like to be with him in the open, in everyday life?

Alone

When you are in a non-secretive relationship, you can share your experiences with your friends, co-workers, and family.

Feeling of Loneliness after getting dumped

When you are having an affair, you have to be very selective with whom you share the details of your relationship. This can feel very isolating and create a sense of separateness between you and the rest of the world.

All-consuming

When you are having an affair, you may feel as though you can’t think about anything else.

A lot of emotional energy is required to plot how the two of you will meet next, and you may spend a lot of time wondering how long it will be until you see him again.

You may notice you are not making plans with friends as often, neglecting work, or have ceased participating in your favorite hobby. Affairs take a lot of time, effort, and secrecy, leaving very little room for much else.

Low self-esteem

You may feel bad about yourself and wonder why he hasn’t left his wife for you. You may begin to question your looks, personality, and your ability to be a partner to someone else.

You may wonder why you can’t be in a “typical relationship” instead of being someone else’s forbidden secret.

Feeling out of control

You may feel as though you are in too deep and you can’t imagine not being with this person.

The highs of the affair lead you to do things you would never have imagined doing. Consequently, you may feel driven by your emotions and have difficulty making sound decisions.

How to move on after being dumped

As you can see, there is a roller coaster of emotions associated with being the other woman participating in an affair.

These experiences can lead to a more complex grieving process when the relationship ends than it would in non-secretive relationships.

Below, we will explore how to move on after being left and how you can find closure.

Cut off all contact

There is no point in trying to be friends at this point, it won’t be healthy for you to try and negotiate a different relationship, there are far too many complications.

If you work together or are in a situation where you can’t cut off all contact, set boundaries so that you only have to interact as needed.

Stay firm, it may be tempting to reach out, but use restraint as the more distance between you exists, the better off you will be.

Don’t cyberstalk

You may be tempted to keep tabs on him via social media. Resist the temptation as it will just reignite feelings and lead to resentment.

Don’t try and find out more about his wife or girlfriend, as this too will create complex feelings which may lead to regretful behavior. Out of sight, out of mind.

Put away mementos and reminders of him

If you are willing and able, I would suggest throwing all the reminders away as it will help you to move on.

If this is too challenging for you, box up your mementos and lock them away. There is no need to reminisce or pine over someone who didn’t want a healthy relationship with you.

Evaluate your relationship truthfully

Was your relationship really what you thought it was? Did he just tell you what you wanted to hear? Did he use you?

In answering these questions honestly, you may conclude this arrangement wasn’t healthy for you, making it easier to achieve closure.

Evaluate your self-worth

Did you agree to an affair because you didn’t feel you were worth more? Take a look at what got you to this place and see if a lack of self-esteem was a contributing factor.

Do you struggle with low self-esteem and is this something you can improve?

Self-care

Self-care is important for everyone but it can be especially helpful when going through a breakup.

Self Care as a Woman after Getting Dumped

Take time with friends, engage in fun hobbies, or simply pamper yourself. You may have experienced the effects of guilt and shame from being the other woman. Now is the time to start forgiving yourself and taking care of your needs.

Volunteer

As a therapist, I have found that when people volunteer their time, they are improving their own lives and mental health as well as helping others.

Volunteering can give you perspective on what is truly important and it can also make you feel grateful for what is going well in your life.

How online therapy can help

Being the other woman is a taboo subject and finding non-judgmental support in a therapist can be helpful.

Often, women don’t want to burden their friends with their breakup, so working with a therapist can be an opportunity to discuss the affair without feeling burdensome. You may not want to divulge to friends you had an affair and therefore, therapy can be a good outlet for you to process all of these emotions.

Regain online licensed therapists are affordable, available, and specialize in relationship therapy. They are experienced with the unique issues associated with infidelity and understand how to help their clients move on after a breakup.

Everyone wonders how long it will take them to get over a breakup, but unfortunately, there is no set time limit.

Grieving the end of a relationship is a normal process and includes various stages, none of which are linear. Grief includes anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Working with a therapist through these stages can be beneficial and help you to move on more efficiently and quickly.

Conclusion

Being the other woman is a complex experience and isn’t as straightforward as people tend to assume. Affairs are complicated and happen for a variety of reasons.

Ultimately, affairs are intrinsically difficult and everyone involved can be negatively impacted. When the relationship ends, it can be difficult to move on, but healing is possible.

Though you may feel guilty and regret your relationship, it’s ok to grieve your breakup. Everyone deserves to move on.

Though painful, the end of an affair can also be a very freeing experience. All the energy you once expended in keeping a secret can now be positively directed to more mutually beneficial opportunities.

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