When discussing affairs and disloyalty in relationships, people often overlook the other woman and her struggles. In fact, she is often villainized and thought of as heartless, evil, and a home-wrecker.
However, there are severe consequences that come with being the third wheel in a relationship. From the immense guilt to the development of trust issues, here are all the important psychological effects of being the other woman.
5 Important Psychological Effects of Being the Other Woman
1. The Guilt
In most cultures, women are usually seen as the sole culprits in situations where a husband or boyfriend cheats on their significant other. They are the ones who lure and seduce men into affairs, and people often think that they do it just for fun.
Yet, it is clear that it takes two to embark on a relationship of any kind, meaning that the man is just as guilty as the woman. In some instances, they can be even more to blame. That is especially the case if the other woman isn’t aware that the man is in a relationship.
Most of the time, the guilt-tripping and disrespect the woman receives from everyone around her results in immense anguish. The guilt then leads to anxiety, insecurity, a strong sense of inadequacy, and low self-worth.
In other words, the guilt becomes so strong that romance and intimacy become impossible to enjoy. Also, it makes every subsequent relationship different, as the lack of self-worth can deter the development of a strong connection.
2. The Mind Games Are Tiring
At the beginning of an affair, everything is exciting. The thrill of forbidden love makes both parties feel giddy, while the attraction seems to be almost irresistible. However, as time passes, the affair starts taking a toll on both individuals.
The woman has to lie to those around her and accept that she will be lied to as well. Lying and keeping up the deception gets exhausting quite quickly, draining the woman’s energy.
Furthermore, she has to settle for the fact that she will most likely never be the man’s first choice. Most men are not ready to walk out on their wives or girlfriends, wanting to have both options available for as long as possible.
These circumstances result in exhaustion, depression, and low self-esteem for the other woman. With time, these symptoms can progress and lead to serious mental disorders.
But apart from being tiring mentally, all of these symptoms can also make one physically exhausted and fatigued. For example, a woman might find it hard to get out of bed some mornings. In addition, even just going about ordinary tasks can be too burdensome.
3. Trust Issues
In essence, an affair is based on lies. As such, this type of relationship brings about a lot of trust issues that affect every aspect of a woman’s life. For one, she cannot trust that anything the man says is true.
Plus, she knows that the man has a tendency to be unfaithful, which leads to doubts about whether there are more women involved in the whole story. Is she really the only one the man is cheating with? These insecurities can remain long after the affair ends, making every future romantic connection more likely to fail.
Finally, such an affair can also lead to a lack of trust in others. After all, the woman has to keep the affair a secret from everyone, constantly look over her shoulder, hide her emotions, etc. All of that can result in hiding even the smallest and inconsequential detail from the people in her life.
4. Anxiety and Depression
Keeping an affair a secret and always settling for being second best can take a big toll on one’s psyche. In addition, if the fling persists without any hope of making things official, matters may become even worse.
The hiding and deception can lead to anxiety. The constant pressure of keeping track of all the lies, secret meetings, and hidden feelings results in one’s nervous system going into overdrive. As a consequence, the woman becomes prone to anxiety and panic attacks, as well as intrusive thoughts.
If left untreated for long, these symptoms may lead to depression. The fact that the pair cannot go out, have dates, or do any other activities which regular couples do can make those symptoms even worse. Moreover, the woman may constantly think of the wife or girlfriend, and the myriad of conflicting emotions toward her can become too much.
5. Low Self-Esteem
Getting used to never being someone’s first priority can do a number on the woman’s confidence. For example, she might start feeling inferior, like she is not worth fighting for or committing to.
In addition, she may be led to believe that the man is only keeping her on the side because something is wrong with her. After all, why else wouldn’t the man just end their current relationship and pursue something serious with her?
In turn, these assumptions result in self-esteem issues. Thinking that she doesn’t deserve better, a woman might continue pursuing taken men, only worsening her issues with time.
The lack of self-esteem in relationships can also translate to other aspects of life. The woman might think of herself as an inadequate friend, family member, employee, parent, and so on.
Lastly, if the affair is uncovered, the woman will most likely take the fall for the indiscretion. The relationship will paint her as a home-wrecker no matter the circumstances, making people judge her harshly. The judgment can only make the woman’s confidence plummet even further.
Being the Other Woman: What Should You Do?
If you ever find yourself in a relationship with an already committed person, you have a few choices to make. For one, you should try to understand the person’s point of view and find out why they are cheating. Are they unhappy in the marriage? Is something else the matter? How do you fit into the equation?
It is best to sit down and have an honest conversation about the entire affair. Both partners should be fully forthcoming about what they expect from the relationship and where the limits are. If one of them isn’t comfortable with the conditions, something has to change, or the relationship won’t survive.
Finally, it is pivotal to listen to your mind and body. Is the affair making you lose sleep, confidence, and trust in yourself? Are you anxious and depressed every day? Or is going about your routine extremely difficult? If so, no relationship is worth jeopardizing your health and wellbeing for, no matter how emotionally involved you are.
Thus, try to pay attention to your body’s signs and maintain your mental health. In addition, remember that you do deserve to be someone’s first choice and that your perfect relationship could be closer than you think. By doing so, you will protect yourself from heartbreak and get ready for something new, exciting, and healthy.