Being ‘The Other Woman’ [He Said/She Said]

If there’s one relationship topic I’m seriously passionate about, it’s cheating. I’m pretty firm on my beliefs – cheating is horrible. It is one of the most hurtful, selfish things a person can do. Is it understandable in some cases? Yes. Does that make it right? No. I’m also of the opinion that, although it’s really painful when your boyfriend has sex with a random girl he met at a club, it is devastating when your s/o is involved in anything stretched out over a period of time. That implies emotional involvement, it implies that it wasn’t just some dumb mistake he made when he was horny. So I think my thoughts on any guy/girl who cheats on their girlfriend or boyfriend are pretty clear, but what about the other party? Are they to blame if they’re single? What if they didn’t know their hook-up partner even had a girlfriend?

First off, yes, they are so incredibly in the wrong too. I will not listen to the whole ‘but I’m single and free to do what I want with who I want’ argument. In my mind, you can have sex with whoever you want until you’re hurting someone by doing that. And it’s the same with flirtatious texts, sharing personal, private feelings, or just helping someone keep secrets from their significant other in any way.

Here’s a quick message to any girl reading this who is currently helping a guy cheat on his girlfriend: stop immediately. I don’t give a sh*t if you don’t think they’re right together, or if you think that if you weren’t talking to him, he’d still cheat with someone else. No matter how crappy you think a guy is morally, or how bad you think a relationship is, stay the f*** out of it. If he’s going to cheat, why does it have to be you? Why are you even doing anything with a guy who is clearly not trustworthy?

Most girls will encounter cheating at some point, whether someone cheats on them, they cheat on someone else, or someone cheats on their friend. After you’ve seen the kind of pain it causes, how can you possibly be okay with inflicting that on someone else? It doesn’t matter if you don’t know this guy’s girlfriend – I can guarantee she doesn’t deserve it. Why can’t all us girls help each other out? If a guy with a girlfriend starts sending you weird messages, stop responding. If he hits on you while drunk, walk away. Don’t even let it start, don’t let yourself be ‘the b*tch/slut he cheated with’. That’s probably not who you are, but the second you get involved with a guy who’s taken, you are doing something very, very wrong. I have no sympathy for ‘the other woman’ who KNOWS she’s ‘the other woman’, and no respect for her either. Believe me, that doesn’t just go for sex. If you are sitting there Facebook chatting with a guy who has a girlfriend, and you know his girlfriend would be upset if she found out, just stop. Enjoying flirting, sexual pleasure, or proving you can get with a guy – none of these are good enough reasons to justify hurting someone.

However, there are some cases where it really doesn’t take two to tango. I actually feel really bad for any girl who has helped a guy cheat without even knowing it. They automatically get thought of as a terrible person when it’s not even remotely their fault. If they are truly unaware of what’s going on, they’ve been taken advantage of. Any guy who does this kind of stuff is an asshole.

I think my entire view of sexual relationships is pretty simple – do what you want as long as you’re not hurting people. As someone who has been cheated on, I can tell you that it hurts. A lot. Being cheated on changes who you are as a person. A person who has been cheated on kind of loses their innocence – their idea that the nice guys they date wouldn’t do this is shattered forever, and that can lead to trust issues, insecurity, and is just a really terrible process to go through. To sum up, anyone who is consciously willing to put another person through that is making a really crappy decision, and that includes ‘the other woman.’ ‘The other woman’ makes a really damaging decision every time she chooses to sleep with a taken guy, or take friendly chatting a little too far. I reiterate, all ‘other women’ out there, stop right now.

What do you think of ‘The Other Woman’? Is she equally to blame as the guy who cheats? Leave a comment below and click here to see what He Said!

[Lead Image via Edw/Shutterstock]



  1. glitter in the air says:

    I have been cheated by my ex of 4 years and I've recently been "the other woman" with a guy I was dating for 3 months. I know how devastating cheating can be and how hard it is to go through and I would never intentionally agree to play any part in a man cheating. The guy that I dated for 3 months told me he was single and spent every weekend with me. We talked constantly. Well come to find out he was going out with a friend of mines older sister. I had no idea he had a gf. I felt so bad and I ended things right then and there when I found out. His gf called me and we had an hr long conversation, I told her i had no idea he had a gf and I apologized to her. I told her I knew how it felt to be cheated on and I wasnt that type of girl at all. Luckily she knew I was good friends with her brother and she knew I didnt know. What a mess that was!

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      That's so horrible, I really feel for you. Well done for ending it when you found out, even though I'm sure by that point it must have been hard. Serious respect

  2. Me_Too says:

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and openly admit that I was the other woman. Once, so stone me.

    It didn't start out that way. Most girls don't want a guy who is taken. Who the freak would?

    In my case we actually were just pretty good friends in the same major and we both liked to run. So now and again, we'd go running together because the area was not safe to go alone. What ended up happening, is all that time changed opinions and feelings developed. I was his age, at the same stage of changes due to college as he, and she was super young, needy, and in highschool. She was the one he always thought he was supposed to end up with. But in the entirety of me knowing him, he suddenly found himself wanting to be there for me and he started neglecting her. It confused the hell out of him too, I got him in a way she couldn't because of the gap. He'd never had feelings that strong since her. I suppose the author would find me some sort of immoral bitch because I had a friend I cared about beyond just romance. At the end of the day I wasn't trying to hurt anyone, and I certainly wasn't a slut because I'm still a virgin which is more than I can say for some people.

    I'd like to ask the author, if they even read this, to step OFF their high horse. This was the most bias and judgmental article I've ever read. GROW UP, and stop pretending you know every situation and the TYPE of people this happens to. Stop thinking they are horrible "bitches/sluts/manstealers" and take a moment to reflect that the girl has nothing to lose but something to gain. You can whine about morals all you want, but you don't know the situation because everyone has a story.

    People are not "taken" until they are engaged. Relationships end. People aren't always compatible. Grow up and deal with that because that is dating. No matter what kind of romantic you are, not everyone is meant to be forever. Sometimes people get stuck in relationships out of convince or fear of being alone. Boyfriend and girlfriend is a very non-permanent thing. Think about it, how many have you had in your life? You usually won't end up just having one and keeping him forever. People change over time while growing up.

    Besides, I certainly wouldn't want to be in a long relationship with a guy who had major conflicting feelings for another girl to the point he was acting on them. I'd rather know about it so I could realize that his feelings were not that strong for me to begin with. Because then I'd really be wasting my time on him when he starts caring about someone else.

    1. Sara J. says:

      Sounds like you're trying to make excuses for yourself.

      Also, yes "growing up" is realizing that all relationships don't last, that feelings can be fleeting, and sometimes people cheat BUT it is ALSO realizing that valuing people's feelings and respecting boundaries is more important than all of that.

    2. svenerlandson says:

      Excellent reply!! You're right on so many counts.
      And I totally respect your courage to be honest!

      ps. I leave another post (below) you might find interesting. Or you might hate it! :D

  3. VKR says:

    The author made the point to say that she WASN'T calling anyone a slut, just saying that she didn't respect the choices of someone willingly engaged in any kind of affair with a taken person – sexual or emotional. Though you weren't trying to hurt someone, you were fully aware that had his girlfriend known about your relationship, she would feel hurt. And that's why the author says that taking part in cheating should be avoided at all costs. You're right, relationships end and people aren't meant to be together forever. But that means that people should have the decency and maturity to inform the other person of the end of the relationship before cheating on them.

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      Me_Too, I'd like to clarify, I wouldn't call you a 'slut', because I don't like that word. I wouldn't say I couldn't understand your situation, I wouldn't say it can't be justified. What I WOULD say, just like I did in this post, is that you knowingly took part in something that would hurt someone else. With the last paragraph, I actually cover that in my post. The second a guy has 'major conflicting feelings' he should break up with the girl. No girl should continue to engage in that kind of behaviour with him until he's broken up with his girlfriend and a respectful amount of time has passed. It doesn't matter if their bond isn't as strong, or she doesn't understand him as well, the same way you are not just a 'slut' or a 'manstealer', she is not just the bitchy girlfriend that deserves it. At the end of the day, the guy is with a girl through his own choices – you can either encourage his bad decisions and condone them, or you can respect yourself and respect another woman (and be able to respect HIM more) by not engaging with him until he has ended his relationship.

    2. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      VKR – LOVE your response, very well put

  4. JustSaying says:

    I do not agree that it is ok the participate in being the other woman, when I met the guy I'm currently dating he was in a relationship, we felt the initial spark (even though we started as friends) and neither of us acted on it. When he admitted he had feelings for me and was confused about what he wanted I made it clear nothing could ever happen if he was involved with someone else and he agreed. He made his decision and now we are together. I'm perfectly comfortable with how I behaved in this situation, no cheating occurred. Beyond having feelings, neither of us fed into them until we were both single.

    However, I think this article puts a lot of blame on the girl or 'other woman' in this situation. I understand even in my situation, someone got their feelings hurt. But shit happens in relationships, they don't always last. And if you're having feelings for someone else when you're with someone, I think there is probably something wrong in your relationship. I believe he handled it appropriately by ending it before any lines were crossed.

    Furthermore, I had made no commitment to that girl, but he had. I refused to be the other girl and participate in anything physical or emotional that would constitute cheating for my own personal reasons but was still made out to be a villain. I think in a situation where cheating occurs, the blame should be placed much more heavily on the person who is breaking a commitment. Not that 'the other woman' is innocent, but she certainly isn't the one you should be upset with. She didn't hurt you, your boyfriend did. He was the one you trusted and were emotionally invested in, before you knew about the other woman, she meant nothing to you.

  5. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

    agreed! The guy is definitely to blame, and definitely in the wrong. This post I just wanted to cover 'the other woman', I think if I started ranting about guys that cheat I'd be writing 10 pages!

  6. Me_Too says:

    I was pointing out the impossibility of me being a slut because of that. The author basically said that anyone who is the other woman is a terrible slut. Just pointing out the facts. So yeah the words she used was pretty much the same.

    "Don’t even let it start, don’t let yourself be ‘the b*tch/slut he cheated with"

    Yeah it was there, I was reading. And my main issue with this article is the fact that the "boyfriend/girlfriend" term relationship has become so crazy cemented by girls. It isn't solid. It isn't permanent, and you may find someone else. It happens and that's why we don't marry the first guy we date. My point is if you find yourself in a position for a really long time and you decide you really want something, you go for it.

    I firmly feel that the possessiveness that comes with boyfriend/girlfriend label these days is because people are also doing other things in their relationships which is why it is such an issue in the first place. That's their prerogative, but the reason why the trust/betrayed issues happen so hard is because of that in our generation. Otherwise it wouldn't be such an earth shattering deal if their guy decided to walk for someone else.

    Everyone acts like they are practically married while in a relationship. And that's just not realistic. There is still time for either party to change their mind.

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      no no no no no. Notice that 'the bitch/slut' is in quotation marks? I was saying that that is how whoever is getting cheated on will think of the girl who cheated with their boyfriend. Have I said that all relationships are permanent? No, of course they're not. Which means the guy is not being forced to stay with his girlfriend, he is choosing to date one person and get involved with someone else at the same time. If you find someone else, end it. Usually when people find my posts offensive, I'll immediately apologise. This time you're just completely misreading the post. People change their minds, people break up. That's all fine. Hurting someone by cheating on them – a very selfish, impulsive thing to do – is NOT okay. It's cruel. I won't call someone a slut that has been 'the other woman', I won't assume they're a bad person. But I will think that that particular choice they made is not right. While relationships may not be permanent, the choices we all make regarding them forms who we are as a person and can affect us in dramatic ways. People make mistakes, but the thing that leads to self-improvement is looking back and saying 'hey, what I did then wasn't the nicest thing to do – it may have had good outcomes, it may have worked out in the end, but it still wasn't very nice and I should accept responsibility for that.'

  7. Sam - Emory University says:

    Ellen, I couldnt agree more!

  8. PerspectiveHex says:

    So… according to a phrase in this article, the author believes talking to someone else about your feelings… is cheating. That's idiotic.

    If your partner isn't talking to you about his/her feelings, there's usually a reason. In my experience, it's because your partner doesn't feel comfortable, or you've been a complete jerk when they've tried to talk to you in the past. So of course they're going to go to someone else for the emotional support they're not getting from you. Of course, it's not exactly brilliant to stay with a person you can't connect with emotionally, but people have their reasons.

    I actually agree with most of this article. Flirting or getting physical with someone who's involved with someone else – exspecially on a long-term basis – is wrong. Sticking with a someone who was cheating with you after it's no longer cheating is stupid, too, because who's to say he won't turn around and do the same thing TO you that he just did WITH you.

    That phrase just struck a nerve and I felt the need to share my thoughts.

    1. Sara J. says:

      Are you talking about the phrase "And it’s the same with flirtatious texts, sharing personal, private feelings, or just helping someone keep secrets from their significant other in any way."? Because sharing personal, private feelings for emotional support and sharing personal, private feelings with someone you are attracted to and/or intending to cheat with are two very different things.

  9. svenerlandson says:

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    The book is the FIRST BOOK EVER WRITTEN on female infidelity from the FIRST-HAND, insider experience of a serial adulterer, who cheated with the wives/girlfriends of over 25 married men (and a few women), and who also happens to be a therapist (never cheated with clients)! "I Steal Wives" is a salacious, self-deprecating, at times funny, and penetratingly insightful look into what is now the very cutting-edge of relationships.

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  10. sista says:


  11. […] Being ‘The Other Woman’ [He Said/She Said] ( […]

  12. Luz says:

    I just really agree with you, Ellen. You're not calling anyone a slut, but you are simply pointing out the cruelty and selfishness in partaking in something that you KNOW to hurt someone. I've seen and learned the pain it causes and it truly is unfathomable to me to ever want to put someone in that situation. I think the point you're ultimately trying to make is one I have said for quite some time – why do you have to know someone, to care about someone, or have personal connections to them to not want to hurt them? You have to be someone's best friend in order to not parade around, taking what's not yours and at an innocent party's expense? It's not a testament to being a slut, it's simply a testament to morality – which is not about only sexuality. To do something you KNOW will, to put it lightly, DEVASTATE another party, just because you feel as though you don't owe them anything, to me, is immoral.

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