10 Things to Know About the Psychology of Being the Other Woman

Sometimes in relationships, affairs happen. They can happen in short relationships, long term marriages, or anything in between. The hard truth is, a large number of people are or have been unfaithful to their partner. Affairs are deeply intertwined to our inner psychology for a multitude of reasons. We want to discuss the individual that often gets forgotten. We want to discuss “the other woman.” This effortlessly leads us to the topic of the psychology of being the other woman.

How does it feel to be the other woman? Why is it so difficult for most women involved in affairs? Do some women like it? How can it affect a woman’s self esteem? Can it promote unwanted health issues? How is this woman perceived by others? We’re going to dive into these questions and more. Here are 10 things to know about the psychology of being the other woman.

Guilt is the most common feeling.

psychology of being the other woman

If you have ever felt immense guilt, you know that it is an exhausting feeling. It often affects many areas of our lives without us even realizing. When it comes to the psychology of being the other woman, studies have shown that guilt is the most commonly felt emotion both during and after the affair – regardless of how it ends. Feelings of shame and guilt can be due to:

  • feeling like you are solely responsible for the affair
  • feeling as if your family and friends are judging you
  • knowing that you played a role in hurting someone else. 

The unpredictability can create sadness.

psychology of being the other woman

Studies have also shown that being the other woman can make an individual very sad. Not knowing when or if you will be able to be with the one you love can be sad. It can make someone feel as if they are always living in heartache or on the verge of a breakup. 

Being the other woman can affect your self esteem.

psychology of being the other woman

People get into relationships with “taken” people every day. Why each party chooses this could be for a multitude of reasons. But how it affects the other woman is always clear – it is draining. Unfortunately for the other woman, they are always going to be put second. The person having the affair knows that what they are doing is wrong but they never want to be caught and or tarnish their image. Because of this, being the other woman can drastically affect one’s:

  • self esteem
  • confidence
  • feelings of self-worth.

They will forever be wanting to feel chosen by this person. 

Being a secret can be lonely.

psychology of being the other woman

While you may not initially link loneliness to the psychology of being the other woman, it is a very common feeling. One of the most joyful parts of love is being able to express it. Sharing your love for someone with your friends, family, and social media is exciting. It can make you feel stable in your relationship. Since affairs are a secret, there is no sharing happening. Being the other woman means keeping quiet and that can be very lonely and isolating. 

Mental health conditions can arise from being the other woman.

psychology of being the other woman

As we mentioned, one of the biggest psychological effects of being the other woman is feeling guilt. With that comes:

Featured Programs

  • pressure
  • insecurity
  • sadness, and more

It’s easy to see how being the other woman in an affair can be draining and hard for our emotional well being. These psychological side effects can lead to mental health conditions such as:

  • Constant emotional stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anger management issues

Physical health conditions could arise as well.

Mental health conditions can sometimes lead to physical health conditions. If the other woman doesn’t like herself due to guilt, shame and insecurities, she may neglect caring for herself. Her physical health may start to spiral. The stress and pressure of due to being the other woman can lead to physical struggles such as:

  • Chronic stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse

When we fear the future, it can be hard to be happy.

It’s natural to want a future with the person that you love. You may dream of:

  • introducing them to your loved ones
  •  buying a home
  • starting a family
  • traveling, etc.

Unfortunately for the other woman, this future is extremely unreliable. Being the other woman may mean never feeling assured and stable in the relationship. This can make it hard to ever feel truly happy and fulfilled. 

Trust issues often come with being the other woman.

Being the other woman can pretty much always guarantee to leave you with one thing – trust issues. On the rare occasion that a woman does actually end up with the person who was having the affair, it may not be all sunshine and rainbows straight away. She will likely have trust issues and have a hard time believing that this relationship will be different from his last one. If she chooses to move on, she may carry these trust issues into relationships with other people. In her perspective, if someone she loved could act that way, anyone can. Being the other woman can make it hard to trust someone again. 

People talk and sometimes it’s mean.

Being the other woman is hard enough as is, but what happens if other people find out? The social stigmas that come with being the other woman are often quite judgmental, hateful, and unfair. Woman are often referred to as “home wreckers” and now feel even worse than they did when their relationship was a secret. 

The “other woman” could technically be either woman. 

In our society, the “new woman” or the one that a partner is cheating with, is often referred to as “the other woman.” However, the woman being cheated on could be considered the other woman as well. Learning that your partner is unfaithful and/or being left for someone else, can be extremely harsh. This woman will likely all of the same psychological symptoms we discussed, but in her own way. 

Related Resources: