On Shame, Guilt, and Letting Go: 7 Lessons I Learned Being the Other Woman

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I was the other woman. That’s it, I said it. I was the mistress of a married man. Come on, go ahead, you can judge me. Someone told me that since I am a coach and a leader in my community, I should never tell. I should keep it a secret.

I’m up against my self-judgment. It’s time to write a story about it because the one thing that would hurt me more than your condemnation would be to lie about it. I’ve seen too many ashamed women living with this secret. So, let me share seven lessons I learned along the way.

1. Sometimes you go against your values.
It happened four years ago. I met this man at a business networking event. He was attractive, and I was disappointed when I noticed his wedding band. We started a conversation that I tried to make as platonic as possible, but there was definitely chemistry. He told me about his life with a wife who was gone most of the time and about his kids who had left the nest. Today, I may find a ton of excuses: I was vulnerable and recently divorced, he was lonely, his marriage was not working and mine was gone…but, let’s be honest, there was no excuse. It was against my values. I said yes when he invited me for a coffee. From that point, one thing led to another and we became lovers. I didn’t feel I had a choice. I didn’t decide to fall in love with him, but I did. At the end of the day, I’m guilty of the choice I made, but no matter what society says, that doesn’t make me a bad person. Ignoring your guilty feelings doesn’t make your choice easier. Acknowledging and accepting your choice is the only thing that can help.

2. Being the mistress is not glamorous.
I had been married for 20 years and was faithful to my husband. My husband cheated multiple times, and it hurt me badly. So I never imagined myself in the role of “the other woman.” But here I was, meeting him secretly. Seeing him during the day when he would come to my place and work next to me, only to say goodbye by the end of the day when he would go back home. I went on business trips with him and had to say goodbye on the plane because “she” would pick him up. Each time it was hurtful. I had chosen the situation, but that didn’t make it easier, even though I stayed in it for six months. Being the mistress, you are always aware you’re not the chosen one. For me, it created shame on top of the guilt.

3. You will never be as mean as I was to myself.
I told a few people about it and had to face their judgment. My son knew of the relationship and one day told me: “Mom, if you were not my mom, I would tell you you’re a bi**h.” I still remember how bad that made me feel. My single friends kept their arms open. My married friends shut their doors, as if I would steal their husbands. Are you kidding me? I was in love with this man, not the fact he was married. But no one was as mean as I was to myself. After my divorce, I had promised I would always be proud of the person I was. However, the months I spent with this man were the only ones when I hated who I was. I looked radiant and happy, but inside, I felt so disappointed in myself. People might judge you, but the worst judge is often you.

4. Guilty pleasure can make the relationship even more passionate.
Over the six months we initially spent together, we wrote over 40 pages of texts and emails. The forbidden fruit is obviously the most tempting one. Because we couldn’t see each other as often as we wanted, every moment became special. We went on trips together, but during the time we were in town, our time was limited. We stole each moment we could out of the day. His wife was not often there, but because one of his kids was still at home, the nights were never mine. The days became our time for passion, and as lies and deceptions started piling up, the joy of seeing each other even for five minutes became more intense.
Sometimes I wonder if having to struggle for something you want doesn’t make it more valuable.

5. Uncertainty hurts more than heartbreak.
I tried to be okay with the situation, but after a while, it poisoned me. There were moments of pure joy when we were together. After all, I was in love. But I never knew when I would see him, when he would have to be back home for the weekend because his wife would be back. Would he call me or not? Would he write me or disappear? For each moment of joy, there was one of despair. I tried breaking up many times, but he was my drug of choice. I was torturing myself. No regrets, it was a sweet torture. One I chose. I enjoyed this relationship. The reason people are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or sugar is because it feels good during the time you’re using it. The reason love, sex, and passion are so addictive is because the pleasure rush is better than the withdrawal moments…until it’s not. Over those six months, I tried to walk away many times, and so did he. Each time, we would spend a few days apart, only to come back closer. Each of those back-and-forths became stressful. A friend of mine asked me a very powerful question: “How much of the pain/joy ratio can you live with?” My ratio was 70% pain and 30% joy. At some point, I passed that level and I left. If you are in this situation, ask yourself: What is the ratio of pain to joy that will be acceptable to you? If you go above that number, take action. After all, as Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”.

6. Guilt and shame can make you sick.
The reason I left was totally selfish. Guilt and shame are extremely powerful emotions, and like any emotion, they express themselves as thoughts in your brain and tensions in your body. When I think of guilt, my throat gets tight. When I think of shame, I feel a knot in my lower belly. Those tensions create toxins, and over time, those toxins can make you sick. During the time of this relationship, I was constantly fighting a cold and was barely eating. I quickly realized my emotions were putting my health in danger. Those sensations increased when after a couple of months apart, he decided to ask his wife for a divorce. We moved in together and I was so happy and so sick to my stomach at the same time. After a month, he was also sick, and he decided to go back to his wife. The heartbreak of him leaving me to go back “home” almost felt like a relief. Finally, it was clear. I would have to deal with the sadness, but surprisingly this emotion, as painful as it was, never felt as bad as the guilt and the shame. Listen to your body. If your body is out of alignment, it will let you know. Ignoring it for too long can make you sick, so let go of the self-blame or change the situation.

7. Learn to let go and forgive.
Nine months. That was the time of the relationship from start to finish. Nine months from the moment we met to the moment he moved back with his wife and kids. This includes the back and forth, the six weeks we spent apart after I stepped away, the ups and the downs, the guilty pleasure moments, the amazing joy, the passion, and the buckets of tears. It took me over a year to let go of most of it. Letting go of the relationship was easier than abandoning my own self-judgement. I’m French, so you might think having an affair is part of the culture. But actually, being the other woman was never on the list of things I wanted for myself. I’m far from being the only one who made this choice. Some believe they would never do it, while others become the mistress and never feel bad about it. Wherever you are in the spectrum of shame and guilt, never let it poison your life. I got lucky to meet his wife and to apologize for the pain I had caused her. She forgave me, and I was so grateful for it. It took me more time to forgive myself. If you have been in my shoes and can’t move on, it’s time to let go of self-judgment. Do you believe this crime is worth years of pain? Let it go. Face the woman who made those choices and realize that she did what she could. She deserves your forgiveness. You deserve your forgiveness. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Nobody is. You had to learn this lesson, and now it may be time to move on and live your life.



Previously published: https://bit.ly/2tMVNGF

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About the Author | Fabienne Slama

Fabienne Slama is a Core Energy coach and hypnotherapist. She works with resilient women disappointed by life and guides them from Heartbreak to Breakthrough so they can become the leader of their lives. She is the author of Renaissance Woman: A Feminine Midlife Crisis from Loss of Identity to Rebirth.

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167 comments to "On Shame, Guilt, and Letting Go: 7 Lessons I Learned Being the Other Woman"

  • Why Guys Come Back When You Move On

    Awesome blog! I like it a lot! Thanks and keep up the great work!


    • Val

      Please, could I have your email so you could talk to me briefly about my circumstance. I need some advice please

      • Siu

        Hi, interesting but always shocked and dont undertand why some women are the willing party. They knew the consequences. When they realised they will give all sort of excuses.
        Some men are also the same but women are supposed have dignity.
        I had experience when my girlfriend that i have provided for out of sudden admitting her love for a mature married guy and starts to revealed herself being a mistress and even knew the consequences, still praising him.
        Obviously, I broke up and she got angry with me and a traumatic experience when the innocent person is involved. Some will managed and moved on and some dont seeking revenge.
        Its always a long story, Mistresses stories will always be around, it wont be the first or the last.

      • Vanjatdot

        Every mistress should read this.

  • Carol

    Hi Fabienne,
    It would be such a pleasure if I could actually speak with you on this very lesson, Lesson 7. I feel such a need to unburden my heart and mind by speaking with you. Could you please email me so we could connect. Thank you.

    • Fabienne Slama

      Hi Carol,
      I just emailed you. To address your question, the letting go is like in any transition starting with the end. You cannot let go unless you’re clear that the relationship is done and behind you. There is one thing more painful that the breakup and it is the back and forth of uncertainty. Once you decide there is no way back, you can rebuild yourself. I look forward to talk with you on that and more.

      • Net

        Ma’am could you also send me your email? I just want to ask you something. I know you would be of great help.

        • S050

          Hello. I’ve just had a situation where I realised I was the other woman and had my heart broken. There isn’t much support for someone in my position so if I could get your email that would be great.

      • Sucrerechy

        Pls can I get your email

      • Daphne

        I had an affair with a married man in late 2018. It lasted 4 months but we didn’t sleep together. They say the hottest love has the coldest end, and that’s exactly what happened. We fell in love so fast. He became my best friend overnight. I loved every minute with him, but I hated when we’d part. We would cry in his car because we missed each other all the time. We’d spend half an hour together maybe 2-3 times a week but we’d text, email, call each other constantly. My intuition told me to stay away and like an idiot I didn’t. All he’d tell me about his wife is that he was unhappy, that there was nothing left, that he was miserable, that he would rather be at work than be at home with her, yet he stayed for his daughter. He claimed she was the type to take his daughter away from him if he tried to leave her. On top of that financially he is bound to her because she barely works. One random February day he just ended it, told me he could never walk away from his daughter and that he knew I deserved better.. I was so depressed I lost 15 pounds because I wouldn’t eat and I’d spend all day crying. It was horrible, I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worse enemy. I would keep tabs on him through social media, we would talk and then he’d go silent. It was torture, a constant hot and cold. It got to a point where he completely ghosted me after I threatened to expose him. It took me months to feel myself again. And just as I felt I was beginning to get over it, I find out in March that his wife was pregnant, two days after we went into quarantine due to Covid. It was like having my heart ripped out of my chest all over again. After all he told me, about how much he hated her and wish she was dead so he could keep his daughter and his house, he impregnated her again. That was what really woke me up. I questioned everything he ever told me, I felt stupid and ashamed. I feel angry and hurt that he got to go back to his life unscathed while I was left picking up the pieces on the floor. I honestly feel bad for his wife because she suspected but she never had proof. He is a bus driver that picks up women all day, I can bet my life he will cheat on her again down the line when he starts to feel bored in his marriage once again. I’m disgusted that I went that low. I’m educated, attractive, I deserve someone that is available and loves and respects me. Affairs are fantasies, they cause nothing but pain. I’m so traumatized from everything I went through with him that I don’t see myself opening up my heart to anyone else anytime soon.

  • Shelley J.

    Thank you for the insights shared in this article. I am an educated, open-minded and thoughtful woman. I never imagined I would be writing these words: I have just ended a 5-year affair with a married man, and the ending of it has brought me to my knees. I don’t know how people get through this. By its very nature, the shame and secrecy of an affair are isolating. I didn’t tell many people about it, so the pain I now feel is one I feel very much alone in. Since the affair existed in the shadows, the pain is there as well. I have scoured the internet for words of advice, success stories of life “after” the affair, support groups (are there any?). It is all utterly surreal. When one has an affair, one does, despite the strength of one’s personality and self-direction, eventually become dependent on the married partner. His schedule, his availability, his desire for sex on his timeline. Before one realizes it, months and then years have passed and the strong woman who could take or leave the love-struck married man, is, in many ways, defined by him. What to do now that the person who told you what you both would be doing and when it would be happening, is no longer in one’s life? When one’s life is shockingly unrecognizable from what it was before the affair? I am that person right now, in that place right now, and I cannot find the words to express just how foreign the world looks to me.

    Anyway, all of this to say thank you for your thoughtfully written article. At least I know others have felt the pain and come through it.

    With gratitude.

    • Fabienne Slama

      Thank you for the beautiful description on how one can slowly but surely get robbed from her own value. The pain when the relationship ends is not only about grieving the person you loved but also about grieving yourself . I look forward to talking with you.

      • Mag

        Thank you,
        I’m not there yet, still stupid that after the kids are raised he will have me with him and her at their home…in what world.

        • Just Me

          Thank you for sharing. I was the OTW for 23 years. Had he not retired and went home I would be still keep my position as the OTW.

          We will always be best friends and stay in touch. I am at the age (62) it is ok now to enjoy life for me.

          Some ask why? Most ask how could it have lasted? All I know is given the chance I would do it all again.

          Yes we are called horrible names, rightfully so, but my heart was shut out to typical, I chose to live the spontaneous!

          We met online back in Yahoo chat room times, lol very long ago. We talked for ten years before we ever met. Crazy maybe but neither of us wanted to hurt anyone, and we didn’t. The time for him to go home for good was approaching and we had time to part as best friends.

          It is funny we kind of right back to where we started texting and emailing because we still depend on each other to deal with everyday stuff.

          Thank you for sharing this and allowing others to share. It is not a place for the weak at heart to be that is for sure.

    • Isabella

      I just ended a year and six months of affair today. I can no longer take it! He impregnated his wife. Is there a support group for this? It’s so painful and I don’t want to go back but it’s hard! Help me.

    • Anonymous

      I have very similar story. I had a 6 year affair with a married man. The affair was discovered when his wife saw a text that I sent him. He lied to her at first about it but later admitted. Like you, I’m educated, independent and described as thoughtful by family and friends. I knew he wasn’t going to leave his wife even though he told me that I was wrong and he couldn’t live in a loveless, sexless, no affection marriage for the rest of his life. He and I promised each other that we will not tell this to anybody and that we will take this to our graves. I never told anybody, a secret that I’ve kept for years. It was almost like having a drug addiction and he was mine. There were many times I wanted to end it, but I couldn’t. The love I had was very deep. And I believe he felt the same. I never asked him to leave his wife nor gave him any ultimatum. He told me he was unhappy with his marriage. To a point he referred to her as his roommate or an extra luggage when they went on family vacation. He didn’t need to tell me this. He knew I was already in love with him and in the 6 years we were together , if he wanted to leave her, he would have done it a long time ago. I had no expectations. I was just enjoying my drug. But now this drug is gone. The last conversation I had with him was when he called me while his wife was next to him to tell me he didn’t care about me and it was over. I knew it was over but hearing him tell me that he never loved me or cared about me was like having someone rip my heart out. I couldn’t remember what I said maybe I didn’t say anything . I just remember feeling numb. He called the next day to apologize and that he cared and loved me.

    • Confused as Heck

      Hi Shelly I deeply commend you for this I myself am stuck in this relationship only 3 months for me I think I’m ready to step out of the picture but I know he won’t like it. Since you know I make his life so happy and complete haha

    • Samantha

      Dear Shelly. Your words hit me deep, as I’m going through the exact same. I feel just as you described. I’m also a very well educated woman, beautiful lookinh, holding a high-level govt job. The affair lasted 2.5 years. He decided to break up after the scare of having our affair discovered at work. We work together, which makes everything SO much more painful. He called me on a Saturday morning to tell me people had found out at work, and that we could never speak again. Just like that. I said OK, and suddently drowned in tears and fear of losing my job on top of everything. It’s been 5 weeks since this. Work is fine, as if nothung ever happened. And we never spoke again. It kills me to think he may have lied to get out of our affair. Or maybe not. The doubt hunts me all the time. I’m completely lost in my feelings, sensations, decisions. I’ve lost myself and don’t know the way back.

    • Jen

      I feel for you. I too have had affairs with married men. I am also attached but in an open situation. I am currently still in an affair with a married man. It has been 1.5 yrs. We see each other more often now than ever before so of course I am having some feelings for him. I do not want or expect that he will leave his wife though. But sometimes I feel like I am in too deep. Like he could cut the cord at any moment and then BAM its over for me. I would be a mess!! I know it. It makes me want to be the one to leave before I get hurt!! BUT I can’t!! It just seems too hard to let go. If you ever need to talk let me know! Keep your head up. You will get through this!!

      • Hazel

        Hi, I am in need of support as well and would love if someone could reach out to me. This is the most recent comment I have seen so I’m taking a leap in hopes to get thru this. Didn’t even know that there was support like this out there. If willing, can someone, anyone email me to help. Thanks in advance!

        • Judith McGrath

          I just got out of a 7 month affair, and I am doing my best to move on. I could no loner take the uncertainty of how when I would hear from him. As well, it was presented to me in the beginning that it was over for him, over for her. That is not how it is now, so two nights ago. I texted and said I could not go on, be patient or hang in there. I released myself from this as it was to hurtful for me and I needed to protect my heart. I love him but there is no place for me in this situation of his. No movement on divorce or anything in that direction. Leaving all memories as far away or out of mind site as much as I can, and move FORWARD now! I deserve way better and I would never do this to someone else if it were turned around. Intolerable,unfair,dishonest and screwed up…..no more for me. I feel better and its only been 2 days., No more gut aches, nor more waiting and wishing and hoping. I am an intelligent smart, pretty woman and I fell into this……cannot beat yourself up girls…just be self compassionate and get out of it ….now!

        • Shaun

          Hey there. I just came across this article and am reading through all the responses. Your timeline and mine are pretty lined up. After 2 years of an affair I ended it and walked away. He came back a month later telling me he loved me and couldn’t live without me. It only got worse from there. Unfortunately I let him leave me and then come back. He just recently left me for the last time last Saturday. I’m doing better but it still makes me feel so lost. Feel free to reach out

      • philippa cooper

        Dear Jen,

        I really need to talk to you. Two days ago I ended an 11 year relationship with a married man. I had no idea whatsoever I was going to do it. A dear friend of mine told him that she knew and that if he ever contacted me again she would tell his Wife.!! How can I ( an educated middle aged single woman) have ever allowed this one way addiction to go on for so long ? I Keep oscillating between desperately wanting to contact him….and blame my friend and then keeping going. I became so enmeshed even though I didn’t want sex but loved dressing up and becoming a “fantasy” perfect woman that I just do not know what to do. I am utterly confused as to why this attention seeking has gone on for so long. I feel destroyed. Please help

    • Brit

      @Shelley J

      You worded what I have also felt and questioned, being in a two year relationship where he pursued me passionately and fell in love and it was deep, passionate, so loving, we fell head over heels for each other in the most extravagant way. And like you said…it was all defined by his timeline and availability and willingness…all going against everything I EVER thought I’d ever be a part of. He is currently trying a couple counseling sessions with the wife for the sake of their young daughter who he is good to but swears it’s for her and he still isn’t happy at home. He makes me feel like a queen and most special woman in the world but the truth is this IS the most lonely and isolated kind of relationship one could ever be a part of and I have never felt pain and suffering like I have being in a situation where he told me he’d give up everything to be with me and how (strategically) he’d get a divorce lined up and how he’d propose and where he’d take me….to attempting a reconcile after all these years while still telling me he can’t let me go and cares about me so much. The mental gymnastics day to day and sleepless nights can be exhausting. It’s physically and emotionally taxing and devastating and I fear I’m not only going to be mourning a loss of a man I thought might be the one, but the loss of the dream life I thought was unfolding in front of me. I don’t know what I’m going to do as I navigate him (likely) staying with her (at least for awhile), and having strength to walk away and devastate myself. I can’t imagine not talking to him every day and having him in my life after everything weve said and done. We’ve tried taking small steps back and can’t stay away from each other. These are NOT normal breakups. I don’t how people deal with the uncertainly of it all but alot of days I feel consumed by it. I commiserate with so many of these stories. Xx

  • Abhi

    I need to talk or write to you. Please help

  • Cricket

    I was praying just a minute ago and believe it or not, the Lord lead me to this site. I am the “other woman” right now. Have been for one year. Right now we are both doing the guilt phase and we should not be doing this phase. I feel like he is my drug. I thought I had a great relationship with the Lord until “he” approached me to have a cut of coffee. Well – many cups of coffee ago – here I am – in tears and feeling very alone. If there is some way for you to contact me via email, I will consider it a miracle. I am not married – always had terrible abusive relationships but this guy is so different, sweet, kind, passive. I am a very young 74 and he is 61. Would be great to hear from you – Thank you so much.

  • Anonymous38

    Its so hard for me to let go as well…it especially hurts because he can walk away with no consequences…and just forget about me like nothing happened…

    Can you send me an email so we can talk privately..

  • Helena

    I had the same but it lasted two years. More heartache than anything. Someone told me that he went to bed with someone 5 or 6 times during our relationship. That threw me overboard. I went to his flat several times and moved stuff around outside. His wife saw me. Someone saw us leave a hotel and told his wife. He admitted our affair. Asked me if i wanted us to carry on and i said NO. Iam suffering depression and cannot trust. I am on medication and wanted to end my life. I want revenge. I want him to suffer too. 3.5 months on I still love him and although the pain is a little easier I am still suffering.

    • Fabienne Slama

      Hi Helena,
      Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Get your life back and move on. Let Karma take care of him. Happiness is more important than revenge. Your revenge will come from you becoming the best you you can be, from becoming successful, proud, joyful, radiant. You deserve it.

  • Shelly

    Hi Fabienne,

    I am the other woman (long-distance) to a married man for the past six months. He lives in Arizona, I live in North Carolina. We met in High School and re-connect three years ago. We began texting each other just about daily stuff, what his kids were doing and misc stuff. Our relationship started to develop after he said he was thinking about getting a divorce in October 2017, and is definitely one-sided always on his schedule. He calls and texts me everyday for the past 10 months, and has come to visit twice. Two evenings ago, we were face timing and he had his wedding band on. I instantly asked him about it, and he denied it. Saying it was tape, because he cut his finger. I asked to see it, and he would not show it to me and hung up. He hasn’t wore his ring for the past 9 months, and I’ve never seen it on him until now. I was instantly hurt, thinking what else was he lying to me about. I have since called blocked him on my cellphone. I couldn’t sleep all night, took yesterday off from work to grieve. I’m trying to remain strong for myself. This man became my lifeline, and I’ve forgotten about myself. But, I know cutting him out of my life is what’s best for me.

    • Mary

      Yes Shelley, I agree. I’m having a hard time cutting him off. Good job!! You deserve better.

    • Lizzy K

      We’ve been seeing each other for 6+ years. He and his wife do not live together. They only see each other on Saturday’s. She lives across town. I live 5 minutes from him. I can see him Sunday thru Friday everyday if I want. Or if he wants. I’m saddened knowing that we have so much in common and it’s so great and I spend so much more time with him then his wife, but he will never leave her. He takes her places and on vacations. Me? I get to spend time with him. I’m totally justifying myself. She doesn’t seem interested in him and I voice my opinion about their relationship but he believes one day they will move in together. I say he’s a blind idiot to believe she will move with him one day soon. But then I realize I’m also a blind idiot believing I will matter to him one day. I’ve broke it off many times and I’ve always went back. I don’t want to want him anymore. It’s driving me nuts. I want a real relationship. I feel like I’m being punished for something I may have done in the past. What do I do to leave him alone?
      I cry all the time but when I calls I jump.

  • Defmanny

    I understood and can totally relate. Would really appreciate a chat with you, Fabienne.. Thanks for telling your truth. ☺

  • Pink Dandelion

    I am also the other woman. It’s so wrong on so many levels and my health has been impacted. He has 4 young kids. I feel ashamed and guilty. I trust him with all my heart but I know I should be the stronger one and walk away. The thoughts of ending it kills me as he’s my rock but the guilt is too much, this has been going on for 9 months. I would rather be single and alone than together and ashamed. Being the other woman is a lonely life.

  • Finally Over it

    Yesterday, I finally decided to end my affair. I’ve been the other woman since December of last year. My guy is in a happy marriage – they travel, they go on work trips together. He prioritizes being home by certain hours and maintains close boundaries of when he’ll contact me – nights and weekends are seldom options for contact.

    He never utters a bad word about his wife or marriage. There have never been any illusions to us being more than an affair couple. We don’t take trips, we don’t go out to eat – we kinda exist as a weekly phone call and the occasional sex at my apartment – we may grab a cocktail or coffee once a month (if even). So it’s really hard to understand why we found ourselves in this situation and why every time that I try to end it, he comes back or I back track. We don’t do much for each other to justify this exhausting situation.
    This weekend was my breaking point, he and his wife are with his family and of course he’s silent and unavailable. I cannot take the loneliness, the fact it’s all dependent on his schedule, and the shame of this situation. I am a wrecking ball to a perfect union and a man’s temporary distraction from his stable union.

    I am a high level executive, I am independent and pretty damn fearless – I don’t know for the life of me how the hell I ended up here. Why in the hell I’ve allowed myself to be used. Why in the hell this man, who’s older than me and does absolutely nothing for me, has this kind of control.

    We do support each other’s work (we’ve been able to get some kick ass work victories achieved by supporting/amplifying each other), we have great conversations (our phone calls can go on for hours and we can lay in bed in talk endlessly about goals and family) and the sex is pretty intense (I will admit he made me come alive sexually, I am so much more exploratory and open with him).

    But, all of that I will gladly trade to have him out of my life and this chapter closed. We don’t spend as much time together, and I praying this can all fade away with as little harm and hurt as possible. I’m hoping that he never reaches out to me again – I tend to do most of the reaching out. My only challenge is that we do work in the same space, but if I try, I can avoid him moving forward. Hopefully, the affair fog will wear off soon. How long does it take to process this loss? What listens do women find after this?

    • Fabienne Slama

      Dear Finally Over,
      Thank you for your sharing and congratulations for taking action toward what you want.
      This man may have hurt you tremendously but you also learned so much from this relationship:
      – you became alive sexually
      – you had great communication
      – you supported each other and created more success from being with each other

      Today you learn:
      – to create boundaries
      – to stand up for what you want
      – to put yourself first

      You are not a victim. You are a woman you had to leaned those lessons and you learned them a very hard way. You will bounce back. You will move forward.
      Feel free to contact me directly in you want to talk. As you can see from this post, you’re not alone.

      With kindness,
      Dr. Fabienne Slama

    • Rebecca

      Hi Finally Over it. This could have very well been written by me. I currently just ended mine about a week ago, and am wondering how have you been coping? Has he tried reaching out since then. I too work with my ex affair partner and will have to be strong in my convictions to let him go. He adds absolutely no value to my life, in fact I will be better off without the shame and guilt of being with a married man.

  • Justyna

    Beautiful,smart and simply written, thank you

  • Jessie

    Your story is literally describing each pain I am going through. At this moment, I resent myself and wish I was never born to experience this. At the same time I also do resent him for saying he knows how I feel. But he doesn’t, he gets the cake and, eat it too.
    What a completely f^^^* up situation, and I am the one who made me this way.

    • Fabienne Slama

      Hi Jessie,
      You were two to create this fxxx up situation. I understand the guilt and the blame and at the same time, there is nothing wrong with you. The situation is bad but that doesn’t make you bad. Btw, he is the one cheating.
      Time for you to decide what you want. No judgment. What do you want for yourself? You can do it!!!
      If your choice is to stay. Fine.
      If your choice is to go. Fine.
      You are strong and as painful as it feels like now, you will survive.
      Contact me if you want to talk. As you can see with all those comments, you’re not alone.

  • Jan

    I so desperately needed this. If possible I would love to be able to email you with a few questions. I completely understand if you are busy with all the responses.

    Thanks again!

  • Sarah

    Wow… I can empathise with this story so much so that I could have written it myself… I am almost 2 years into my relationship with married man who I am completely in love with and who keep telling me he’s going to leave his wife.
    I too was vulnerable after leaving my emotionally abusive husband. It was only a year later that I met MM.
    I am completely infatuated with him our time together is absolutely perfect. But, the times when we’re not together, which is most of the time, my heart hurts deeply. I have tried to leave but I can’t. Help.

    • Jen

      Actions speak louder than words!! They often will say they will ‘leave their wife’ but most NEVER actually do!! Why would they? They have the perfect scenario going. Home life as normal and sex on the side!! We set them up for this and we allow it to continue. If it has been years he WILL NOT leave her!! If that is what you are waiting for then just get out. Honestly. They have way too much to loose financially and otherwise if they go! They know this. They will lead you on to keep you around. Save yourself from wasting anymore time.

      • angie harris

        m the mistress… we know we will never be #1 , we are kept a secret, treated like shit, and then they trash us…at least mine did.. now he happier than ever… I fixed his marriage

  • Lisa

    I just ended a year long affair with a married man, the pain is debilitating. I’m trying hard to let go, I want to reach out to him and save it, but then what am I going back to? We never went out, never did anything together all we did was have lunch once and coffee once in a year. We had a very powerful connection and we made each other feel alive. Like most of you said, the time we had together was amazing but we were apart most of the time and it was awful. I tried to be strong and be ok with it, there was even times he suggested just being friends? But I would still be his secret. I’m still very much in love with him and I’m scared of life without him, which seems so odd to say cause I didn’t have much of a life with him.

    • Filli

      Hello , if you want to vent feel free to reach out to me. I know how you feel. Can’t stop crying.

      • P

        Hi, I’m in a similar position to many of you here. In a different forum the woman attacked me viciously. Saying that I’m to blame for creating fantasies and having intimacy isuess, etc. It made me want to kill myself so I could really do with some helpful advice.

  • Danny

    This was right on time for me!! Is there anyway you can email me?

  • Ziggy N

    Dearest Fabienne-
    I know this was written a long time ago but at the off chance you may still reply to your readers, here goes…..
    My pain is surreal. I’m married. So is he. I am married to a man who for the first 7 years (8 years now) of our marriage tried repeatedly to push threesomes, sex clubs, Making his porn obsession justified. He told
    I withhold sex and I’m the reason men cheat. I would scream names, not speak to him for weeks, destroy the lives of our two boys who witnessed this. I never had his help in raising my kids, even though we both work. I manage his offices, I care for the kids,
    Cook, care for the home, etc.
    until two years ago I met F in the grocery store. He said he has seen my in our childrens’ school before. We chat, he’s sweet, I laugh. We say goodbye. Until next week, in the grocery store. More chatting and he asks for my number. I didn’t hesitate. He pursued me relentless for a year and a half while I refused anything physical. The most we did was chat, flirt, and have meet ups in secret to hug.
    But as my marriage grew more abusive and lonely I found myself seeking solace with F who also has a very bad marriage to which in the two years he refers to as his roommate. They have sex infrequently. He feels no love. She is the mother of his kids. But tells me he’s falling in love with me. How?
    As my husband routinely obsessed over porn,
    Complains about me and tells me my purpose is to make his life and sex life hell I die a little more inside.
    But now I ask F to meet me. I leave the house after a fight with my husband and I’m sobbing and F leaves his home quickly to console me. But that’s where we share our first kiss. Then for one month after continue meeting for a kids. And another meet up involves more heavy petting and finally one day, sex. There’s nothing like it. It made me feel like a woman again, after my spouse telling me I’m
    The reason men cheat. After reminding me that I purposely don’t give him threesomes to torture him. Meanwhile my husband is the most
    Passive and quiet and unassuming man so nobody suspects what he does is abusive.
    But back to F. For one month we meet weekly. We go on bike rides. Motorcycle rides. Lunch dates at the beach. We have sex five more times until I decide I can’t do it. I can’t juggle the guilt. The emotion of two men. The lying and deceit. I cut it off.
    F is sad and understanding and gives me my
    Space. But in our small town we run into one another often. We start texting again. We meet up. A kiss and a hug. But I say I can’t do it. We stop talking again.
    It’s the most painful feeling every time I cut it off. He calls expressing the loss he feels. The desire to be with me. Talk to me and his wish to be with me
    Permanently. I remind him it can never happen. We are off and on. The pain increases each time I tell him to stop texting. We never had sex again. A couple of kisses. But I need to move on. The guilt I feel is nauseating. I think of what I’ve done and never thought I could Ever do to someone. But I long for him when he’s gone and push him away with guilt when he’s near.
    Help please. Any thoughts. Suggestions. Words of
    Warmth you can share. How do I get over the guilt of
    Deceit and how do I move on?
    With love-

    • Jen

      You should have nothing to feel guilty about!! If your hubby is as awful as you say, hell, he deserves it!! Do not blame yourself for need and wanting positive male attention!! Yes it was secret and sneaky but so what!! You ended it and are a stronger person than I am that’s for sure! I would have kept it going for my own selfish needs! Yes I am selfish that way I guess. If you can leave your abusive marriage than you should probably do so, if not then at least get into some therapy for yourself to cope. Let the past go. You did what you did in a time of loneliness and weakness. That’s all! Don’t beat yourself up about it anymore. Xxxxx

  • Barbie

    Hi! I enjoyed reading your blog. I am going through the same experience at this time and I would really like to talk to you about moving on and finally walking away. Thanks. Hopefully I can hear from you soon.

  • Cheryl

    Thanks for sharing! It’s a great article that really helped me.

    Just found out that a guy I’m dating for more than a year is married. We’re on the phone together all day and all night and there never was a period when he wasn’t contactable. We follow each other on social media and was tagging each other in pictures and posts. I was completely blindsided. Although there were red flags like him only staying over at my place. I only found out through his friend. He claims that he is separating from his wife although they’re still living together. I was mad and upset that he never mentioned that he has a wife.

    After I found out, I’ve cut all communication with him. But he’s still calling and texting me and I was searching the internet to consider if I should answer his calls and to even give this relationship a chance. This article helps me make a decision.

    • Fabienne Slama

      I’m so glad it brought you clarity and strength <3

    • Layla

      This is an old thread but I need to write somewhere. I’m not expecting nice remarks but here goes, there is so much to my story but ill keep it brief.
      I’m married , to a man similar to an above post. I never realised how emotionally abusive he was, mental health problems for which I always felt obliged and responsible for, he always made me feel that way, but I worked to make a lovely home and to the outside world we were a normal couple. Then during a very difficult time I met and had a very long relationship with someone also married, someone who has the same things in common who entered my life as my confidante and who took over my time never giving me a minute to take a breath. I fell deeply in love with him, and he with me. The connection we shared went very deep and was intense to say the least, physically and emotionally. There were times he would slow it down which would leave me confused and pining for him, but he’d always come back saying he couldn’t be without me. It continued for a few years like this but always with constant contact and talk of how one day we’d be together. I spent the whole time on overdrive. High when I was with him but anxious if I wasn’t. There were things though that would always have me doubting myself, he’d talk about his horrible unhappy marriage, say awful things about his wife, and then it would change here and there with the odd sweet fond comment about her and I’d expose little lies here and there, ones which weren’t even necessary, usually on the times he was pulling back from me. He’d be leaving her, then staying, then leaving, then staying.
      I’d find myself feeling pushed, then pulled by him but he always said I was the love of his life and we were meant to be together. I never dared to question him for fear of losing him. Eventually it was all taking its toll on my wellbeing, the intoxication, back and forth, questions going round in my head. Then we were exposed. I spent the next few weeks in a daze running on autopilot, alone, waiting to be told what was coming next. It became clear that he was at home so I ended it and it totally broke my heart but I couldn’t cope with having no closure and being in limbo land. I couldn’t get over it. I tried carrying on as normal being a dutiful wife with no intimacy whatsoever, but I knew I’d never love like that again.
      Two years later he came back. Said he’d tried but wasn’t happy without me, and it all began again. Constant emotional talk. I was cautious, worried at first that I was a back up, once again listening to his stories and awful things he said about her and how unhappy he was, always being there for him and with him every chance we had, arranging my days in advance so I didn’t miss a chance. It went in like this for three more years and then he pulled back again. I knew, in my pit I just knew that it was her turn again and I was being put on a hook. I know now after researching that this behaviour has caused deep trauma bonds for me, he says he loves me and I do believe he loves me, just not the same way as I do him. His contact is very minimal now, always telling me how much he loves me and misses me but I finally realise you can’t have any relationship based on messages and here I am feeling a total fool all over again.

      • Dede

        Perhaps you and I could support each other. Your email is recent and I am currently going through a situation very similar to yours.

        • Layla

          Hi Dede
          I wouldn’t know how to p.m.?

          • Alicia

            Layla and Dede,
            I saw your posts were both more recent and I am currently in a similar situation. Why is walking away so hard when we know it’s the right thing to do? I have a young daughter and I hate myself to think what kind of role model I am for her. I never set out to be the other woman and I could try to justify it to myself all I want but the fact is I made a choice that night he kissed me after a work function and I could have dismissed it immediately. I hate myself often that I didn’t. I really have no one to talk to about this because being a “mistress” is something no one really understands until you’ve been one yourself. We as humans are all quick to judge. I once was one of those people. He told me he would never leave from the beginning but yet we hold on to that little glimmer of hope that maybe one day I’ll do that ONE thing that will make him choose me. Like many of the other stories, he led with love. In fact he told me he loved me and had always loved me since we first met through work before any real physical intimacy took place. Today I asked him what he wanted and he said “I want you but I know it’s not fair. I can only give you part-time.” At that moment I knew, I deserve full-time love. We all do. I’ve cried all night and haven’t left bed. His wife and him are doing their usual weekend getaway with another couple for the holiday and here I sit. Alone. I don’t want to be alone anymore. I know if I choose to accept this “part-time” love, I’ll continue to feel lonely, depressed, and physically ill. I know it will take time to heal but a friend to talk to that understands would be great. Please reach out if you would like and I please know I will greatly appreciate it.

  • Racheal

    Hi Ms, Fabienne

    Reading your post makes me cry so much I am on the same boat as you for 4 years and up to now still can’t let go totally I can tell you everything if you can email me privately.


  • Cheryl Logalbo

    This is so me right now….But Im stuck at number 5…knowing full well whats coming.

  • ManyNamesManyThings

    Holy Cow! So many of us here. I didn’t expect this article to have a lot of comments. We should all connect and create a group support.

    I actually look like the girl in this photo, can you believe that? LOL

    I enjoyed reading your article Fabienne. Kudos to you for sharing your story and letting everyone know who you are.

    • Fabienne Slama

      Isn’t it amazing? I have been so touch that my little story helped so many women in past years. I hope more will know they are beautiful and have nothing to be ashamed of. And more will stand up for what they want and deserve.
      With Love

  • Stacey W

    Thank you very much. I’m his mistress and I feel like I can’t get out of this at all. I feel afraid to leave him because of how I will be so lonely w out him. I hope that I can do this. I’m a strong independent woman who really achieves so many goals but I feel so weak when it comes to this. I need help… it’s gone on for 16 months he calls it love I call it lust. I’m ever so exhausted by this

    • Fabienne Slama

      Stacey, listen to you: You are a strong independent woman. List everything that make you say that. Everything you have accomplished. Everything you stand for. Everything you value. Every compliment from your friends and loved one. And when you’re ready. Decide what you want to do and do it!
      With love 

  • Kim

    Thank you for helping me make sense of my own feelings about my relationship with my married boyfriend.
    It really has been a heartbreaking experience.
    I’m no where near making any final decisions on leaving or staying but your words and experience meant so much to me.
    Thank you again.

    • Fabienne Slama

      It’s okay Kim, you don’t need to decide today or even tomorrow.
      Take the time to rebuild yourself, to recognize your strength and your value.
      When you will see yourself in the mirror and see the beautiful, powerful, amazing woman you are, you will have no problem deciding what to do.
      Our role is not to judge but to make decisions from a place of peace and not from a place of fear.
      With Love

  • V

    When you moved in together after he asked for a divorce, why did you feel ‘so happy and sick’ at the same time?

    • Fabienne Slama

      Good question V
      Happy because I loved him and sick because there was this part of me who never wanted to destroy a marriage.
      I hope this answers your question and is helpful.

      • Nora

        Hi Fabienne,

        My experience was very similar to yours, except I had it at such a young age (21) and it ended last year, gratefully, when his wife found out. I apologised to her sincerely, but have been struggling ever since. I would appreciate it if I could have your email so I could ask you a few questions regarding this.

      • R

        Hi Fabiennw can i email you my story so you can help me.

        • Avatar photo
          Women For One

          Dear Rushanara,

          Thank you for your comment, please keep in mind that while we encourage our authors to respond to comments as they are able to, this is not always possible. If you are in need of additional support and/or someone to talk to about your situation, we encourage you to check out Wf1’s Crisis Resource List, which we created especially for our community. The list contains a number of resources that are meant to empower people who are dealing with a variety of life circumstances.

          The Wf1 Team

  • SMC

    Hello Fabienne,

    If this is something you still respond to, please may we have a conversation? I don’t know who to turn to.

    Thank you x

  • Rhonda

    Ive never been the other woman but I remember talking to my ex husbands mistress and reassuring her that the problems were there before her. Whilni didn’t like what she did I did not blame her – she was not the married one after all – she was merely weak and felt she was in love. She gave me a gift. The strength to walk away after years of infidelity that I just didn’t want to see. Sometimes the hardest lessons are a blessing. Thank you for being brave enough to share xx.

  • CK

    OMG! I am glad but not glad that there is other women going through this and understand my pain. This pain is so real. I haven’t been able to let go. I tried ai many times. It’s like I’d rather have the drug than go through the withdrawal pains. I cry everyday. But why cant I just walk away. Thank you so much for the article. Thank you ladies for the testimonials. Its food for my heart.

    • Lost

      Omg girl I am in the same boat and totally understand. I want to walk away but can’t because he makes me feel so alive and wanted when I am with him. I do not feel or get that at home. Even asking for a simple hug from my spouse is painful because he makes it out to be a big deal and why should he.

    • Tulipe

      Walk away asap! trust me. It was hard for me too but i’m tired crying of uncertainty. I end it up fast by telling the truth to his wife, bam! its totally over. Guess what he’s not at his cool infront of his wife, he bravely say he chose his wife and love her. While infront of me he mocks his wife. Indeed its drug, fun at first but u’ll suffer from it later on. Save your self pls. thank you

      • Cathy

        Omg I am so glad I am not alone, I had an affair with a married man, I also told his wife, because everytime I tried to end it he would talk me out of it. I feel awful , I know I hurt her and I was mean for telling her everything. He will not talk to me or answer any of my calls. I think if he would tell me to go to he’ll it would be easier to move on. I still love him after nine months.

  • Lost in Emotions

    I just found your post and have to say everything you said is 100% true. Back story: my husband quit his job and his co-worker messaged me asking about him and we started talking and then eventually met. I am married as is he and been seeing each other for the last two months. We spent 3 weeks apart because he was sick and had to finish the semester for school and had no time between two jobs and school. When I finally seen him the other day it was great and I didn’t want him to leave, but at the same time those 3 weeks we spent apart was a relief. I’ve been running out of excuses why I need to leave for hours at a time and my husband is starting to suspect something is going on. The hardest part was last night when he said “remember we are just in this for fun so chill out.” That hurt more than him ignoring my texts all today because he was with her and “busy.” I’ve wanted to end it so many times and get the courage to and he just talks me out of it. Ugh I feel so hopeless and cry all the time. I was so depressed before I met him and then happy and all depressed again. I hate feeling this way! Why is it so hard to walk away?!

  • Lisa

    I had an affair to a married man and for 6-7 months and worked for him for 2 years. After he told his wife about us he fired me from my job and got a restraining order. I am severely hurt, was in depression, and feel lonely and traumatized. I need guidance and help in moving on and not thinking he is a good guy.

    • tulipe

      my lesson a cheating guy is not a good guy, period. I know how it feel, you’ll find someone amazing later. i believe ;)

    • Jess

      Hi Fabienne, As I write this I have a tightness at the bottom of my throat that feels as though it’s strangling me and it has been there all day. I was feeling my heart beat too fast all day and my anxiety at an all time high. After some soul searching I realized that my affair is what is makes my body sick when the high of seeing him wears off. I am married with a son and my “boyfriend” is married as well. We were friends who used to work together, but after I got married and moved away he would still contact me every now and again as a friend. We have been, what I consider cheating, either by emotional infidelity in the beginning (sexting, deepest darkest secrets, brightening up each other’s day with conversation) all the way to having sex once or more a week for 7 years now. He’s told me from the first time we were together that he loved his wife and never wanted to leave her and that I had to take this to my grave. Since day 1 of our “relationship” it’s always felt like he has done this before. Like he knew how to cover up things and just what to do and say it seemed like but he said he hasn’t. I cried for days after our first encounter, but then found myself craving and missing him only days later, and missing his companionship by text.
      My marriage at the time he contacted me initially was miserable and he confessed he had always been attracted to me. From that day on, this new relationship with my friend ignited something in me I never knew existed. He awoke me sexually and I began to feed on his attention and still do.
      It has slowly broken me down that his nice comments that I’m beautiful or him admitting how much he cares for me has gotten less and less over the years because he doesn’t want me to get attached. So we still talk a lot over text, and he’s helped me through some really rough times in my life, and I him, but when we see one another once a week now it’s just for sex. If I’m honest it’s always been for sex when we are together. Over text we can get deeper and be supportive when we need it. For me it’s always more, I want him to kiss me, to look at me, to touch me lovingly but he never does. He’s emotionally guarded and has issues with intimacy..and I do too but I want that with him.
      I know the guilt gets to him but he always says he shoves his feelings down into boxes and can get by like that for a while. Over time I got better at it, or so I thought because here I am again feeling sick and thinking I don’t know why. I can’t breathe. I can’t focus or think or move some days. Some days I can’t even cry through the pain I feel soaked into my body and some days I can’t stop. I wanted to commit suicide at one point, I took a ton of pills but didn’t really want to die, I just wanted the pain to go away. It did and I slept and was in and out of consciousness for a few days. I don’t think my husband knew or cared about what I did, but I’m not really sure. It was a stupid thing to do not knowing what the outcome might be and I’ll never do that again. I never told my married boyfriend about this, I don’t tell him a lot for fear he will leave me. But most days that’s all I want. Because I can’t leave him. I need him to leave me. I’m so addicted. I base my self worth on his attention and i need to stop. But I can’t. Whenever he shares his struggles of feeling he needs to be an better man, I keep telling him that if he needs me to go away I can, and that I care for him deeply and just want him to be happy and I never mention the pain and suffering I’m going through because I pretend even to myself that I can handle it. Over the years I’ve told him how painful the guilt and shame were to me and how sometimes he made me feel like a whore because he will meet me and have sex and run out and not message me for days. Whenever i do share this deep pain i have with him he wants to step back and says he doesn’t have the capacity to deal with that. That has caused me to never tell him when I’m hurting and to act like i don’t care that he doesn’t actually love me. When he does message me to come back into my life, it’s a joke or something light. He can’t handle my real emotions. I feel I am slowly dying and not giving my current marriage a chance nor am I giving my son my full attention. To he honest my son gets the best of me because he is my whole world, but when I’m feeling ashamed and worthless I worry it will show and my son will know and I want to be a happy confident mom and human being so I can give that to my son. I’m always depressed and can never talk to anyone. I’m only happy when I am talking to my married boyfriend. There was about 1-2 months where he went silent and i thought I may die from the pain I felt from that. The pain I couldn’t share with anyone. But after they subsided I did a lot and started to actually feel happy again. And right when that happened, he messaged me. And just like there, my plans to start a new happier chapter dissipated and here I am again but feeling the worse i have in a really long time. The physical pain is unbearable but I have to hide it to continue on with my life as a mom and a wife and an employee etc. but I can feel myself, my soul and my spirit slowly fading. As though I’ve been living my life outside of my body this whole time to deal with all of these feelings. I don’t even Know who looks back at me anymore. It’s as though I’ve seen myself for the first time in years and I’ve aged and I don’t recognize when I did. All those years of hiding in shame and just roboting along with life finally caught up to me. The sad thing is I can feel all of this and he will message me tomorrow and I’m so addicted to him, any amount of time I can get with him, 10-15 min of just sex, I’ll take it. I am pathetic and I have to pick myself off of this floor but some days I wish I didn’t have to so i could feel this pain and try to work through it. I’ve been in therapy for it, tried a life coach, and I realized I’m so fucked up and broken and I fear I’ve fallen so low I can’t trust anyone to confide in fully to heal. I don’t know I have the emotional maturity and strength to figure out what is wrong with me. I just dont know how much longer I can keep this up. I never ever thought I would be a cheater, and I can’t believe it’s gone on this long. I fear I don’t know how it story will end and i fear of how bad it may be. I dream of being being to let him go and feel any amount of this burden lifted so I can pick myself back up off this cold floor. I don’t know how to close the door on him and I scared I never will.

  • Ruffslitch

    Oy, this it hitting on all cylinders! After 3 years of stolen moments and grand passion I’m reaching the tipping point on the pain vs pleasure ratio. I need help. The dismount is going to be rough.

  • Whoaminow

    This reallly hit home! Ive been trying to break off this now 2 year relationship for the past 2 years without success. I nearly succeeded last year. Broke it off and walked away. He cried to hell and back and i took him back after he said his plan with me was to build a future for us and our individual kids. I fell for the bullshit. Why i dont know.. i guess its what i subconsciously wanted to hear and he gave it to me exactly how i wanted it. I justified it , i guess, cos he showed me conversations between him and her with agreements regarding how they would split things in their divorce. That’s how it started actually. We work together, he came to me asking for divorce advice. I shared with him my journey and reasons and he shared with me his “unbreable” life.. i felt for him
    Wanted to heal him. But i did not date married man so i gave him advice on how to save his marriage instead. He wasn’t interested in that. He was getting a divorce. Our affair started after the lady moved out – or so he told me. I guess i justified it that they were separated. In hindsight i realise this had to have been agreed upon as the wife started work elsewhere. But i was blind – i saw only rhat which i wanted to see
    It started slowly, with me helping him through the “emotional pain” then with the kids then bam were in a relationship. I dont know how i got myself in this position. Im a strong independent, beautiful woman. I divorced my ex for this very same reason. Infidelity. And today i find myself being the very same reason why my marriage ended. I feel like i should have known he was lying to me
    Because 2 years later hes still married to that “burden” i have him an ultimatum last year this time. Told him he has 1 year to sort himself out and decide between is because i cant go on like. Hes 2 weeks away from his deadline and he certainly isnt getting a divorce. Hes planning a birthday party for his kids with his wife instead. I am ashamed, i feel like the worst hypocrite, the guilt kills me and i feel ashamed to even ask God for forgiveness because i keep going back. My self esteem is to the dogs and i cant even look at myself in the mirror without seeing a h*** .But i need to get out. I deserve better than stolen time and a relationship i can’t even tell my friends about. A relationship based on lies and lust and deceit that. There was a time when i truly wanteda future with him. But im beginning to see now that this is not a future i want. Hes a cheat and a liar and je will do the same to me.. please help me pray for my release from this man. The internal conflict is killing me

    • Amparo

      I know this comment is old but would like to know how did it go and what helped to move on this is comment sounds like my story please help me if you see this msg thank you.

  • tulipe

    Whoaminow — i can feel you! it hurts yes…a lot! definitely can feel everyone here. Cos i’m having it right now. When you want to let go but its hard but also hard to keep goin with the affair. I will never want to be in between anymore. I decided to ended the toxic relationship by opening up to his wife and it got messy…they had a fight and he said he chose his wife and i was a huge mistake for him. It hurts me but my intention is to break free from the lies he has made up all the time…and tell her the truth! It hurts yes but its the right thing to do. I dont care how messy it would be when i’m open up…i want to end it, better to have this big hurts and get over it rather then having it every night, in years… hoping his promises come true. Let be brave lady, you and me deserve the best. Fabienne…please email me, i’m so messed up. Trying so hard to get up.

  • angela d harris

    Wow, I am the mistress… we know we will never be #1 , we are kept a secret, treated like shit, and then they trash us…at least mine did.. now he happier than ever… I fixed his marriage

  • Tebogo

    I am in soo much pain and confusion….2.5 years being with was graet and fun…but deep inside the guilt and shame is killing me..this is not right. I wish to be in a normal relationship..
    Wis for a partner who wud love me freely..wish to be in a real relationship where l wud not be a secrete

    We fight a lot back and forth l need the courage to walk out…l know l have to..l have tried but the bond seems so strong…l feel like m stuck and can’t be honest with my feelings with anyone because of the shame. M busy looking at advice on how to walk and let go.. Thank you for sharing

  • Paula

    little over a year ago I met a guy at a wedding reception. At the time we were both in relationships and were not looking for anything, but we clicked.

    We kept in touch through social media as he lived in a different country. Eventually, I ended up breaking up with my then fiancé helped along by feelings of guilt and loniless as he was and still is living abroad. Essentially, swapping one long distance relationship for what was then another long distance relationship.

    Quite a few hundred if not thousand messages, video calls, etc. back and forth later and a few disastrous if somewhat romantic trips to visit him I started asking for more than just words, more than just promises, secrets. Sadly, despite having many talks with his current ex-wife or whatever she is he wouldn’t move out.

    As time passed laughter turned into tears and I grew more and more desperate. I explained over and over that a sexless marriage where one of the parties is essentially nothing more than a glorified housewife and a nanny is not a healthy environment for children to grow. I fought relentlessly to make him understand that his fears of hurting the children by leaving, though valid were insufficient reason for him to stay on the fence, waiting for her to break it off.

    We broke up a number of times, but we’d always come back running into each other’s arms shortly after. There were many ups and downs, but I loved him like I’ve never loved anyone else. Then after spending a weekend together in his home country and just after Valentines, he broke up with me as I’d pushed and pushed for him to finally move out.

    Like at other times, he sent me a message through Messenger, but this one felt different, colder, more real. Scared and aided by a compulsive need to have an immediate answer, I reacted like the crazy ex, but it was hopeless.

    Since then he wasn’t contacted me even once no matter how much I begged him to at least give me some closure by saying it to my face.

    Hurt and heartbroken, I deactivated my Facebook account and muted him everywhere else on social media.

    Sadly, deep down I still hope he will regret his decision because I know he really loves me.

    My question is really, am I being foolish to believe things might still change. That love should conquer all and love alone should be sufficient for him to see the reality of his life.

  • Sophia

    Can I have your email , please?
    I would like to just talk

  • Grace

    Hi Fabienne, it would be good if I can chat with you offline. I tried but I can’t let go and I need your help and advice. Thanks and hope to chat soon.

  • The Wife

    The only thing I have to say about this blog and all of the comments on it is this; As a married woman of 29 years who has suffered unbearable trauma, the feeling of being raped, paranoia, the gut wrenching throwing up, nightmares, thoughts of suicide, heart palpitations, chest pain, rage, depression the fear of HPV and STD’s from discovering her husband having an emotional affair with a co-worker you have all helped me to understand that an affair is one of the most selfish things a person can decide to indulge in. All of your pain is nothing compared to the pain of the one betrayed. Yes the husband is at fault, however it takes two to Tango baby and it warms my heart to know that all of you feel shame and pain for your own sexual deviance. Let me make this perfectly clear, none of you were “in a relationship” and none of you are “dating”. You all are partaking in the abuse and violation of another. You are abusing and violating another without their knowledge and permission and deserve all the pain that you yourselves have put on yourselves.

    • Another wife

      I too am on the other side. I am the wife. My husband told me after 19 years and 10 months, that he is not happy with the way things are between us. That we are in a routine for the las 3 months. I than asked him about his co-worker, I saw him chating with her and told him at that time that it’s a bad ideea to flirt with your collegues. He said nothing happened, after 5 months, they started flirting and more. They slept together once (so I understood, it makes no difference), but he said he had feelings for her. She is 32, i am 35 and he is 38. She has 2 kids and 2 months prior to their first chat, split up with her boyfriend. I was devasted. No, torn apart, ripped in pieces and contemplating death. He was/is the love of my life and the only man I see me with. The one whom I want to have sitting next to me when I will be old and wrinkled. He has been a part of my life for the last 22 years. I’m 35, again, you do the math. I can’t put it in words how this destroyed me. He than said he wants to stay with me. Than again no, it doesn’t work. We took a break for 5 days, I was away. I said no contact but he wrote daily, after that told someone that he missed his coworker. He did not have any contact to her the 5 days. I came back, he said he wants to make thing work. I said ok, because I knew that we both took our relationship for granted and did not invest any work, it was a routine. He said that she was the symptom and if it wouldn’t have been her, it would have been somone else. I wanted to make it work and told him that we have to comunicate because he never told me he was bored, he kept everything for himself, or maybe they shared their relationship experiences. She would chat with him and even give him advices like “if you love someone let them go”. He did not want to quit his job because of her being there and neither did I. Because I knew that if he wants us to work, we will work and if not, where she is is irelevant. After 10 days I could tell something isbup. I asked him and he told me that we gave it a try but “nothing happened”. I told him we have to make it happen, not the Holly spirit. And he cried and begged me to stop saying that I love him because it hurts. He was a mess, a wreck. After we discussed this again where he cried and said he would rather day and how he hurt me and this girl, I put my pain aside and decided that my ego is not so important to me as his health. We have to live together, so instead doing no contact and ultimatums, I decided that I will let him go and be happy with the other woman. I acted like a friend, we had long conversations about everything and anything and hung out on the balcony (Corona virus, we are not allowed to go out). Now he is with his co worker and still is depressed,started drinking and smoking over the limit. Because we suffer and he fucked up. I told him that people fall in and out of love and if he is in love with her he should go be happy.
      I don’t know if you from the other side can imagine what this is for me and on how many levels it ripped me apart. Knowing that he did not fight for us after 20 years, that he had an affair with someone, that he left me for that one and now, that he is depressed and not the man I know anymore. He was the king of the world for me and now his self esteem is down. You girls said you suffered. He told me that too, she will suffer. Well imagine how it is to suffer after a sex relationship vs after 20 years where he is the whole world for you, you have all those memories, all those plans and have to completely change your life.

      I watched so many youtube videos sbout relationships and one dude wrote something that makes me cry like a baby….it was anout making your ex regret leaving you and this guy wrote that regret is the toughest feeling in the world and why would you want to heart like thst someone who at a moment jn your life was all that you needed. My husband was 20 years all that I needed, everytime things got bad I knew that he is there for me. And he always was. So no, I won’t fight for him anymore, I won’t make him feel lower, I just want him to be happy even if this hurts like hell. I will be ok…somehow, i will be able maybe to love again. But now, his well being is more important that my ego. I get this, his co worker doesn’t.

      I would never let myself to be in a relationship with a married man. How could I trust someone like that, when I see first handed what he is capable of?
      I know that you are never supposed to say “never”, but I couldn’t trust a man like that and I would always have in the back of my head the thought that he will change his mind in 1,2,5,8 years and go back or find someone else.

  • Cheska

    Hi Fabienne, thank you for sharing these insights it was helpful. I appreciate it. :)

  • Paige

    Why do people say the wife should never know? I had one affair with a married man who was French. The guilt and shame almost killed me. I was married to my ex for almost 20 years. I was faithful so I know the pain an affair has on someone. I am still trying to forgive myself but my ex French lover I am afraid this is a common game for him. Why shouldn’t his wife find out?

  • Jenny

    Am I allowed to ask you a question

  • Ana

    Hi, I’m a college student and honestly, something like this is such a painful experience. I am struggling so much with not letting it define the rest of my life. I’ve not found anything that I relate to as much as this. I don’t know if you still respond to this article after so many years or would be down to help, but I’d really appreciate a talk.

    • Ruth

      Hi, I’m in my mind-twenties and 100% relate to this experience as I’m in the middle of it. If you want someone to message I’d definitly be up for that, it’s such as isolating experience. X

    • Nora

      Hi Ana,

      I am also a college student and am in the same shoes as you. Would sure be nice to talk and support each other during this healing process.

  • Alex

    I cried reading that last paragraph. I work with the married man I had an affair with. My brother died, I had been suffering from depression and I found pure joy in this human. I wasn’t trying but I fell in love and we kept this up for a year. It’s been 9 months and since we work together it feels almost impossible to move on.

    I have been trying unsuccessfully to move on for the past 9 months since we stopped having sexual relations but my heart still feels in it.

    But I want to forgive myself… and move on. So thank you so much for this. From the bottom of my heart.

  • Devika Bhonsale

    Can I talk to you I need it! After reading this 7 lessons blog. I need to talk to somebody.

  • Hera

    How to let go if u fall inlove with a married man with2kids in his first mistress and one child from me.? I gave up everything for him even proposed marriage with an american guy who was willing to annul my marriage from my ex husband and adopt my 3 kids…2 from my ex husband and one from the man im inlove now but he is not doing anything for me he is still in the affair of his first mistress as ive found he was out lying .. for the reason that he couldnt leave his kids . He wants to be a father all the time for his kids Me as his gf…hopelessly expect he would do the same thing in return just to be together but he let me stay in our province .since my kids are here but i felt he doesnt have the plan to be together ….we r long distance relationship. im tired of being jealous ..in pain. I want to rest. How cpuld i.pls advice

  • Jacqui

    Wow amazing story, it’s like me all over at present . I’ve been with a man for 2 years as a mistress. He calls me 4 times a day and more every day. And we spend twice a week. The connection is strong ( twin flame) tried to break away many time’s and explain to him my reasons. He’s been with her 31 years , she definitely controlling. I tried to break it off today. He drove straight over to mine .. for some reason he doesn’t want to let go. But I told him I don’t want to remain like this, because it becomes more painful and it’s a drain. Many of us get judged , but they don’t see the heartache of it all , Yhamk you for sharing your story .

    • Mary

      I totally relate! It’s been 6 years for me and half of that has been back and forth. Every time I walk away, he he chases….but will not leave his wife. Why do they think it’s ok?

      I finally had enough and threatened to tell his wife (I wasn’t going to btw) and he must have gotten spooked and told her himself, but only that I wouldn’t leave him alone. Anyways I feel so guilty for her heartbreak, yet like a weight has lifted off my shoulders because now hopefully he will let me go so I can pick up the pieces and move on with my life

  • Mary

    Hi Fabienne, thank you for sharing your story If you have the time could you possibly email me and maybe help me with how to forgive myself for what I’ve done? I am filled with guilt and shame and self hatred and I don’t know what to do?

    Thank you,

  • Julia

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I have been “the other woman” for Close to seven years now. My lover and I definitely have a deep connection and it is so hard to see him struggle. He has continued to hold on to his wife only because he’s afraid of destroying the” perfect picture”. And also he has conveyed to me that his life would be completely ruined his rib Tatian would be destroyed and so forth. His wife has caught him about three times texting With me and one of them was very suggestive. Yet she continues to choose to stay married with him although she knows there’s something going on.

    • Jennifer

      Agreed, this is a good article. In honesty, he doesn’t want to be “the bad guy”; she doesn’t want to lose her “security”. People portray staying as other reasons, but either the relationship isn’t as dead as they declare or my previous statement is the truth.
      Yes, I have been the other woman (more than once).

  • Crista

    Your article is extremely helpful in my current situation. I would love the pleasure of getting to speak to you via email if possible. Thank you

  • Janeen Michelle

    This article spoke to me. I had the same experience long distance too. It was a euphoric trip and 12 years later the man still reaches out to me. I almost let myself play in his imagination again, but I decided I deserve a real relationship with not only my best self, but someone solid whenever that timeframe works for me. 2020: The year of solitude and self care, and fine tuning

  • N.I

    At first, this man was “separated” and during lockdown, we fell head over heels in love.
    He moved in to my home.
    I then found out he was going to rebuild things with his wife for the sake of their 2 year old daughter.
    I bowed out, heartbroken and on self destruct.
    During this time, I was raped by someone. This married man was my support network. We began seeing each other, getting weekends away whenever we could and texting every day telling each other we loved each other and that he will leave her soon.
    The whole relationship evolved around him and it infuriated me how little remorse or consideration for anybody he had. We ended things… but still kept in touch.
    Eventually like magnets, we were seeing each other again when his wife’s mum passed away. This guilt struck me like nothing ever had.
    I thought, if he could cheat on her whilst she’s going through this; then he’s a horrible twisted man. I thought, if I go anywhere near him again I’ll go to hell.
    Last night he spent the night at my house.
    I feel so ashamed of undoing all the progress I had made in rebuilding myself and gaining some self respect and processing the sexual assault. I hate myself.
    I feel like I either need to punish myself or do a million good deeds. I feel like karma will take my mum away from me too.
    I feel dirtier now than I did after I was raped by a stranger.
    The guilt, shame and self loathing is so intense and he doesn’t feel any remorse.

    Really needing help with lesson 7

  • Fabienne Slama

    Hi Crista,
    Thank you for your message. Please email me at fab@fabyoulicious.com

  • Iris Yap

    Hi Fabienne,

    I am in a somewhat the same situation right now as with your story. Can you please email me? Because I really need someone to talk this with. I am on the verge of giving up on life because of this kind of relationship. Please I really need your help and to take this burden off my chest. Thank you

  • Nikki A

    Wow! thanks for sharing, I never knew the other woman felt any pain at all actually. I am in this situation now, but as the wife to a man that is cheating with another woman. I had been cheated on a year prior and this new person I was just fed up. I don’t take it out on the women, I blame the man. I did get in touch with her soul and asked her why she wanted a man that she could only see when he had time? She didn’t answer of course. For me though, I made her dreams come true. He never wanted to leave, but this time he had to go. He decided that he would hit me and I had him arrested and then put a restraining order on him. Which meant his only place to run was to her or his mom some 400 miles away at the age of 42. So she has him now. I miss him and still love him because it doesn’t go away like that, but many times as a woman you have to let a man go so he can be with who his heart desires. Sometimes it works out for them and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t know yet, but I do know that he knows I am serious and cheating won’t be tolerated.

    • Jes.

      Good for you Nikki, I too am a wife whose husband has cheated on twice (that I know of). This time I kicked his sorry backside out. Unfortunately, he refused to stay away from the marital home. He now thinks its ok to stay at the MH in the week and with his mistress at weekends! Divorce papers lodged at court!

  • Clairabel

    Thank you so much for writing this Fabienne. I ended my ‘relationship’ today and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more heartbroken. Because I didn’t fall out of love with him, I had to do it for my own morals and my sanity. He came into my life as a friend which developed into more. He’s Filipino so told me he couldn’t divorce his wife because it was illegal but they lived in separate rooms. It soon became a routine of Saturday’s together, whereby it would end with him returning to his wife and children. I ended it today because of a number of reasons but namely because I wasn’t prepared to be a part of this awful deceit any longer. I’m left with this enormous hole in me where he once was and I miss our friendship. I had a breakdown two years ago that’s left me in a very vicarious place in my recovery. It has set me back hugely and I wonder if I’d been more stable I’d have accepted this in the first place. The worst part is having no one to talk to about it. Because as you say, the sympathy isn’t expected, but the shame and guilt I feel are overwhelming.

    • Mel

      A month ago I ended a year and a half affair I was having with a married man. It hurts like heck but I know it’s for the best. The guilt, shame, insecurity, secrets and lies were tearing my head and heart apart.
      My question to those on here who are the wives. Would you have preferred never to have found out?
      Would you prefer to live in ignorance of what had happened?

      I have been told that I am likely not the only person my ex married lover has been intimate with and whilst he told me him and his wife never had sex anymore or got on together she is due their second child in a few months time. I am utterly convinced that once the baby is born he will be back out (on the dance scene) finding another person to have an affair with whilst she is stuck at home with a toddler and a new baby.

      I never wanted him to leave his wife for me and never asked but the more I search my heart I feel like she deserves to know the information he is withholding from her (he lies by omission a lot) and then if she ever suspected or does suspect in the future she will know to believe her intuition and can make a decision about her future properly.
      I never want to see him again so I wouldn’t be telling her in order to see if he’d run to me. I’ve deliberately burnt that bridge.

      Is it just best to let her live in blissful ignorance and he can carry on deceiving her in the future?

      I am so back and forth on this decision and some insight from a betrayed wife’s perspective would be so welcome and helpful. Thank you.

  • Cheryl

    Such a courageous story to share. I haven’t been the other woman but have had to deal with affairs in two relationships. I often wondered how the other woman felt. If i was hurting was she hurting as well? No one every apoligized to me so you should be proud of yourself for having the power to do that for her. Just so you know all that you spoke about we too feel as being the person being cheated on. As we feel did we cause this in someway. It’s a hard thing to deal with and except. But thanks again for your isight if helps me want to forgive the other woman.

  • jennifer

    Hi Fabienne,
    I’m going through a situation like this but I am the wife. I would love to chat with you about some of the scenarios. thanks!

  • Kerry

    I have this heavy burden and I need some help. Your blog is so relatable. I’m falling apart

    • Layla

      I wrote a little of my story further up and want to add to it.
      Throughout my relationship with my MM, I often felt really bad for his wife, obviously when you are in deep with highs you haven’t felt for years, and you’re hearing all the time that they’re unhappy, stale etc, you believe every single word they say. I did because I was unhappy and stale but my marriage was a very young one to somebody who was controlling, which I didn’t realise being so young. I would listen to horrible similar stories from MM, but had lots of times when I’d feel ashamed and wrong, not for my own marriage, I was never wrong about my own, but for his wife. When DDay hit for us I was heartbroken for myself, feeling I was losing the love of my life, but also heartbroken for her too, I took a lot of her pain on though she never knew and I can’t describe how many times I wished I could say sorry to her for hurting her, but instead I chose to let her believe the things he told her, many of which weren’t true. I wanted to say I’m so sorry for hurting you, I know how you must feel about me, but I love him too and I didnt do this alone.

  • Claire Gallagher

    There are so many similarities between our stories that it’s almost like we are related! Forgiving myself has never been one of my strengths. In fact, I’m very, very bad at it.

  • Adelle Stevens

    Hi Fabienne. You kindly offered to speak to me via email a while back. I wasn’t ready to leave. I left for good two days ago and I’m beyond heartbroken. Just wondering if you still have my email?

  • Alisa

    The bastard lead me on like he was going to leave his wife I still have regrets for talking to his ass in the first place

  • Edwina Taylor

    Hi Fabienne

    I have recently connected with a man I knew 20yrs ago
    He is married but not living as a man and wife. He is in my age group he 64 and I 67.
    We live 300 miles away we both want to meet and have discussed June 2021.
    We chat every day messaging through wassap, and have shared two phone calls which were both lovely and really super messaging conversations. Last week he stopped messaging< i sent a message just saying if did not want to continue to let me know, he responded in absolutely no that was not the case, and commented chat tomorrow. However he did not message me yesterday at all. I am confused has he decided to withdraw because maybe he finds himself getting in too deep, or maybe he has had sex with someone and feels guilty, or just as he said in the message, and he does have a large family 6 children 4 adult and 2 youngsters plus 3 grandchildren, and says he just is finding difficulty spreading himself around. From what I have told you what do you think is going on. Thank you for reading. Kind Regards Edwina

    • Layla

      Edwina, please be careful especially as he lives so far away, you only have his word about the platonic marriage.
      This was my biggest bug bear, constant all day messaging and every night he was alone. As soon as they don’t contact it leaves you wondering, waiting and doubt creeps in. This alone made me feel picked up then rejected.
      Don’t be like me, ten years in total down the line spending every minute with someone in your head who isn’t actually with you. It will crush you living on highs and lows and the longer it goes on the harder it is to leave, even if it is only texts and calls.
      Mine has changed his whole life, new job making it impossible to see me, no more contact, but if we do see each other around he is all over me saying its me he wants and thinks about. He’s never officially ended it and wants me hanging around missing him. Its taken me ten years to even begin to realise that its all just been a big ego boost to him. The initial thing feels wonderful but anything else hurts like hell.
      Friends if you must but be careful about putting anything in that you don’t get back.

  • Rosa Ulrich

    Hello your story hits home I have been the other woman for almost 11 years. When we met it was like I heard bells crazy we were friend for several years like five maybe a hug or he would kiss men on the forehead. After a long hot summer and he had a lot of honey dos we decides maybe we should do some time apart. So that worked fir about a year then he called me out of the blue and said him and his wife had a bad fight he needed sometime to talk to so we met and had a beer.. It was like there was no time that we didn’t see each other then that next year i went on vacation with him for the first time. And every year since.
    I am head over heals in love with this man. He is the man of my dreams if ya will. In march of last year I heard that his house was om the market. Yes it was and he was moving to a different state I was crushed, heart broken. But he was unable to physically move until February of this year although it has been rough I still text him and he call every now and again we went on vacation thus year such a wonderful time but now I’m home with my son and he is on his way home to his wife. I need help to say goodbye I deserve to be sometimes number one not second best but I just don’t know how please help
    Thank you in advance
    Heart broken

  • Renee V Wilson

    I am ashamed for being a homwrecker.

  • Jacque

    Hello Fabienna,

    Am distressed right now.
    Am typing this soo late in the night simply because i cannot get sleep
    Am stressed out.

    Please help me. I feel i wonna blowup.

  • Stephanie

    I am sleeping with a married man. How do I let him go.

  • D

    I feel so horrible for your son. At least, when my father cheated on my mother, I still had one moral role model left. That allowed me to feel that I could be stronger than my base urges and that, as her daughter, I wasn’t all weak within — like him.

    It is pathetic to see intelligent people using the “but I was in love” excuse, as if your feelings are supreme and have to be obeyed. Your married friends broke off with you because they saw that you had no empathy for the wife and harbored a zero-sum mentality. They weren’t worried that you would steal their husbands. Rather by choosing to remain allied with you, they would have been conceding to your relativist argument: “I do bad things but that doesn’t make me a bad person!” Okay, then what does make someone a bad person?

    You say you were your harshest critic but I doubt that is true since you carried on anyway, and blame people who did harshly (and correctly) judge you. The fact is that you were tested and you showed your true character. There is nothing more to it.

    • Fabienne

      Dear D.
      Thank you for voicing your feelings.
      May your heart be always filled with love, joy and forgiveness.
      With kindness,

  • Valentina Karacic

    Sad story!

  • Renee Wilson

    I was the other woman, I want to tell his wife I am sorry.

    • WildlandFF

      I am the other woman, I didn’t know he was married when it started, I was in love when he finally told me. I really would like anyone to talk to that understands what I’m going through. I want to break it off but he keeps telling me he his dealing with trying to end things on a good note. I am beyond confused. Please anybody contact me

  • Anna

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been through the worst two-three years of my life watching my love fall for the other woman and I was searching for answers on how to let go of my absolute hate for the other woman. She broke my family and the hearts of my beautiful children. They will never look at their dad the same again. I didn’t want to bring my children into it and I let him go as peacefully as I could without involving them but the truth comes to light eventually. My daughter found a well hidden journal trying to figure out answers and I was writing to desperately trying to heal. It’s absolutely amazing to me that women go after each other. The other woman built up to be a home wrecking whore and the wife a cold hearted crazy bitch. Neither is true and I suppose both are just real victims of the same person. Just so very tragic. Again thanks for the perspective.

    • Layla

      To have someone who has been betrayed say that both people have been hurt by the same man makes a stark change. No one knows what its like to be the other woman, its always her who is blamed and shamed. I’m sure my mm whilst telling me his wife was an ungrateful, nasty, selfish and cold person( I’ve kept that mild), also tells her it was me who chased him, wouldn’t let him go etc. None of that is true, i tried to end it more than once but he’d beg me to stay saying I was the only good thing in his life.
      Unfortunately he had walked away from me when DD day came without closure but came back two years later saying he’d made a mistake and regretted not ‘going with his heart’ I guess I didn’t trust him enough not to hurt me again and felt deep down that he came back because she couldn’t forgive him. He knew I still loved him. I knew when he was okay with her, he would refer to things in terms of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ and id feel a kick in my gut.
      He made a few hurtful comments and passed them off as jokes which alerted me to the fact that things were improving for him and then whilst slowing down on contact but lying to me about finding time for me, I knew he was backing away.
      I should hate him for the things he’s done to me, but also know what he’s said about his wife, there is no way he has any love for her if he can say those things and I’m just so sad that he puts on a show.
      What I do know is that despite still loving him, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be me whom he portrayed as all those horrible things somewhere down the line.
      She thinks they have a good marriage, I feel sorry for my part in it, and also for the things she doesn’t know, things I could never be the one to tell her.

  • Renee Wilson

    I went out with and sent inappropriate messages to a married man for 4 or more years. We both lied to his wife and hurt her deeply. I feel like I ruined a beautiful marriage and family. If I was married. I would not want my husband involved with anyone else. The marriage vows are sacred. I want to beg her for forgiveness. I know God does not approve of what him and I did. I have a son and I don’t want want him to grow up disrespecting women especially married ones.

  • Stephanie

    I am in this position but I am the spouse and my partner was having the affair. Thank you for the post. As painful as it is to read it is also refreshing to get a glimpse into the other parties potential thoughts and feelings.

  • Jenny

    I don’t expect a reply, I’m sure you are very busy, however if you ever have a moment with any words of advise, they would be welcomed.
    Long story short, even though their marriage was nearing the end I still had an affair w a married man, who later became my husband. We have been married for 11 years, the most beautiful relationship I’ve ever known As I’ve grown older, (40 year old) I spend more time trying to be better than the person I was yesterday. I love my husband and I love my marriage, however the shame I carry for causing another woman such horrible pain and then forcing her to have to deal with me the rest of her life because of the kids eats at my soul. Even after she is happily remarried, I could never ask for her forgiveness only because its not deserved.

  • Essie

    Hi Fabiene, this is a wonderful lesson story. I’d like to have a chat about this topic I know someone in a similar situation but they don’t know what to do and I’d like to help them.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Lily

    Hello . I just want to thank you for writing about and helping other women in similar situations.
    I also have a story to share with and I’d would really appreciate your advice.
    Thanks you

  • Dr. PB&J Mistress

    So many women experience this heartbreak, shame, and pain. Society says, we are the demon and the cheater is our victim. This man lied, manipulated and broke me over the course of two years. I moved to another city to get away from this toxic relationship and years later, I’m still tying to heal. I was not his first affair and probably won’t be his last. There is a missing link between the shame of being a mistress and the men who target vulnerable women to fulfill their desires and the lies they tell, to keep you exactly where they want you. Thank you for this frank and insightful information. I wish women like us had more resources for healing.

  • Cat

    I so identify with everything yiu wrote. The guilt and shame finally caused me to end the relationship.4 years later I heard his marriage ended and we have now been together for two wonderful years and yet the guilt and shame still creep up. I might not have been in the picture when the marriage ended but I definitely played a large part in hurting another woman. Any advice would be appreciated

  • Ghosthollow

    I read the article last night looking for anything that would help. While the article was a great read, I also read every single comment. I felt EVERY SINGLE COMMENT. I have been in love with a married man (AP) since 2009. It was a friendship turned emotional affair turned love affair. We were both married, both unhappy. Our spouses had both had affairs and were both alcoholics. In 2012, my husband went into rehab and came home looking like the man I married. I knew I had to try for my childrens sake, and I ended the affair. It took 2 months to begin to try to engage in life. I recall one day in 2015 that I didn’t cry at all that day over my AP. It was 2-1/2 years of crying myself to sleep. So many memories, so many triggers. Mid 2015- Feb 12 2018, I was myself but with a hardened heart. My husband relapsed, lost his job, had more women. I remained married and carried all of that on my shoulders telling no one.
    5 years, 4months, and 11 days after we said goodbye, on 2/12/2018, my AP called me. We picked up like no time was lost. The love was so pure, so real.
    I ended my marriage after a second job loss and 2 hospital stays for alcoholism.
    AP and I were in it full blown, making plans for future, marriage, love. But he is still married. I’ve struggled with this differently since my separation/ divorce. I need to move on. I read every post on here and while I know every affair story has different circumstances, they are all very similar with painful outcomes. I ended it today. I pray for strength to stay true to myself as I navigate the second time in 13 years letting this man go. I pray I can survive this round of depression and self loathing. I thank each of you for your posts so that I know what I must do and that I’m not alone in this. I thank the author for sharing.

    • Avatar photo

      Thank you for your courage in sharing!

    • Fabienne

      Thank you for you beautiful share.
      May you be blessed with the courage to stay true to yourself.
      May you find kindness for yourself every step of the way.
      May joy and light guide you in this journey.
      May you be surrounded by people who appreciate you without judgment.
      You’ve got it!

    • Empowerment

      Please keep posting on your efforts to end the relationship. My circumstances are similar. My 9 year relationship with a married man (MM) began as I was going through my divorce of my husband who had serial affairs. However, as a PhD with, to the best of my knowledge, no self esteem issues, I have no idea how I got myself in this situation. I told him point blank: “I am not getting involved with a married man”, believing it was just “wrong”, but here I am 9 so-painful years later. He became my best friend and confidante, made a point of saying good night every night, we talked every day and he knows me better than anyone else. As others have commented, I made a point of rearranging my day, my schedule, to accommodate him since everything revolved around ensuring his image of an upstanding husband. He is a sweet man but it is so painful to watch him go through life with another woman he loves. How is it even possible I know so much about his adult kids and they don’t even know I exist? How is it possible-after 9 years- we have no mutual friends/famiy with whom we spend time together? How is it possible he travels all over with his wife while I stay at home out of loyalty? Unbelievable. I have been fully invested every way possible, emotionally, physically and financially believing we were a unit, a team a partnership. If I were looking in from the outside I’d say “What is WRONG with you?!!!”. I do not have a third eye, can still wear my jeans from college, am considered attractive by many and accepting lying while hiding in the shadows is not how I envision myself. I am a very conventional woman- and just want a committed, monogamous “normal” relationship. I realize how difficult it is to disrupt financial and family stability especially later in life and I can’t hate him which makes it easy for me be drawn back in by him over and over after trying to break up literally dozens of times. At this point I am considering moving out of the state because I don’t know how to bring closure to the relationship and cannot accept the terms of the relationship without gut wrenching pain. It seems that as uniquely special as I believe he is to me this situation in not so unusual. Perhaps a virtual, anonymous support group would be helpful. I don’t have specific ideas on implementation but there has to be a way to move beyond the staggering pain that sits in the core of those of us who find themselves in this situation for whatever reason. Life is too short not to be empowered to move past the pain one way or another.

      • Fabienne

        Dear anonymous,
        This article was written years ago and each time a new comments arrives it touches me like the first day. Like you I have a PhD and am a “traditional” woman who would “never go for a married man”. Like you I did. I was fortunate to find the strength to end it early (nine months instead of nine years) but it was not easy.
        It was not one single thing that helped me but more a combination of many: seeing a friend whose mother was “the other woman” for fifty year (yes 50, until his wife died), another friend who was in a similar situation and who I could confide to without fear of judgment, my self work day after day, some work I did on his and my past lives where I got to say goodbye…

        At the end of it, the how and why doesn’t matter, I left and it was not easy.
        Blocking him, moving away are part of the solution. I don’t know how it’s possible to stay “only friends” after such a relationship.
        Since then I have helped many in your situation and none of them managed to stay friends, but they moved on.

        Seven years later, I am engaged to be married to another man. He is different. Less passionate, softer, kinder. He chooses me and only me day after day, and we get to go on those magnificent trips around the world together. It’s a choice. I can breathe whether he is in the room or not. There is no anguish, no hurting anybody, not hurting myself. It’s simple. I choose this type of love today also because I know the cost of being trapped in a no issue situation.

        You have a choice to make. Feel free to reach out if you need support making that choice.
        With kindness and immense respect.

        • Carolina Grace

          Dear Fabienne, by a weird twist of faith or irony I came across your article as I was looking for some comfort or explanation, any kind of light at the end of the tunnel to recover from my husbands affair and somehow let go of my rage and hate I have been feeling toward the OW. they had a year long affair, he ended it with her the day I found out. I made contact with her and she apologized to me but I have not been able to forgive her for what she did to me. she was the devil in my eyes and never saw her as anything else but a horrible wretched woman who was trying to lure someone else’s husband away. reading your article and all the comments, It opened my eyes to the reality of it. she is not a monster by any means. she is a human being that made a mistake, a very big mistake that broke us all in different ways. never thought of her as someone that was in love with a man that has lied to her while lying to me also. i was finally able to not only forgive her but even feel empathy for the heartache she went through being cut off over night from a love she thought was hers alone. of course he told her we were over and perhaps promised her a future after he left me. did she make a mistake believing a MM? of course she did. hardly any MM will leave their wives for the OW and i hope the ladies reading your article and maybe my comment will realize their own self worth. we all deserve to be the one and only to someone. we all deserve to feel special. a MM will never be able to provide emotionally. being kept a secret is demeaning, strips away self-esteem, respect and dignity. i can tell you with all certainty, and all the ladies reading this, he is not going to leave his wife. the whole time my husband was having his affair, he was coming home to me telling me he loved me and we were going to couples therapy to work on our marriage once a week. i asked him twice, not knowing he was having an affair to move out and continue with therapy but he never wanted to leave. he had the chance to get his own place and carry on his relationship with the OW, spend all the time he wanted with her but he refused to leave and swore he wanted to save his marriage. his affair started august of 2020 and lasted through July 2021. we are still together, still working on things and it is going as well as it can be at this point. my biggest hurdle was my hate for her. i could not stop obsessing even though it has been 1 1/2 since he ended it for good, zero contact with her. i was finally able to see her as a misguided but vulnerable human being who also got hurt in the process and she never received any closure. regardless of what the outcome for my marriage, at least i would get closure and that makes it easier to move on. i am so sorry for all the ladies that are going through this. you all deserve better than what a MM is able to and willing to give. i hope you can all find a way to heal. but i want you all to know that no matter what he says and how real it feels, when push comes to shove he will most likely chose his wife. you are all wonderful human beings, friends, mothers sisters etc you deserve the world. love to you all and take good care of yourselves!

  • Jennifer

    I need some help?
    ..I am 16 months involved with a married man
    The break up/ make up
    My revenge
    His feelings about his family, wife


    I am running out of friends to talk to

    They are sick of this

  • Lisa

    This was so refreshing to read. I appreciate your honesty. I am the wife that’s been cheated on and it’s good to see your perspective.

  • Laura

    Thank you. I’m in same situation. 10 years. The most telling thing was your friends question:” How much of the pain/joy ratio can you live with?” Just had a painful night where he was to call and didn’t. Away on business trip so he could make all the time in the world for me…. But he didn’t. We’re due to be together next Tuesday but no arrangements yet made which he promised to. I am really hurt so the pain/joy ratio is hitting critical. How to extract self … being hurt is so miserable and that will continue either way – if I walk away or if I stay with this. Lots of women here I can see in same situation. It’s so painful – we all love these men. It’s that we do care. You can’t choose who you fall in love with. Just wish it was not so painful and easy to walk away.

  • Andrea

    I was “the other women “ and I loved him so much his wife found out.. the feeling him and I shared was so intense. Like we belong together. After it was over he said I’d hear from him.. This love “ went on for 7 years”.. he never contacted some . Year later I’m still sick from missing him… I need to let go. How?!! I am Ashamed, guilt. Feeling lost without him.. sorry for his wife and family.. how can I write a book about this I need to..  thanks

  • Betty Robbins

    Why am I a homewrecker?

  • Brenda

    Pretty much the only men that have pursued me have been either married or separated. I’m on eighteen years of being celibate and alone now, Yet the last time I had feelings was of course the only one that showed any interest in me, and of course he was married, happily yet not happily enough to not want to mess with my head. I think that I had better luck being the pursuer in life, when I only wanted some fun, That’s when the actual single men came, yet not for marriage. I think our society more so pressured some of us into thinking that we needed a mate so badly that I chose to avoid people for longer and longer periods of time whenever I accepted being a doormat just to have a boyfriend to ward off the questions and assumptions, and often for a small amount of protection from the players, Because I wasn’t exactly ugly I was expected to be hooked up, God forbid being single and happy might become like a threat or make someone realize maybe they aren’t as happy as they always tell themselves. I think married men are attracted initially to my independence, An Independence that was actually forced on me from people always letting me down, Yet that same independence is what sets them off in the end because I’m not being as needful as their wife when she cry’s at the drop of a hat I’m out of tears to shed, Therefore I must be untrustworthy. They demand trust yet don’t do anything themselves to be trusted by me. Not all married men are horrible people, Some are simply doing what was expected of them before they really knew themselves, That’s not my problem though. I had to be alone for most of my life, The least they can do is get a divorce, Find themselves and then maybe I will consider them safe. They are all unsafe and unstable no-matter any otherwise good or loving qualities that might exist, If they can’t be alone for a minute to know themselves? Then they really don’t have the time or the courage to know me. I’d rather be the pursuer to a certain degree, Sure it can backfire sometimes, But nearly as much as falling for a married man can though.

  • Giu

    rebounds are for the desperate

  • rebecca

    Having my broken relationship back has brought great joy in my life, this is one thing that I have always wished for in my Life and I got it so easily through The help of {solution temple. info}

  • Karyn Cupan

    My 10 year affair with a married man is probably going to give me a breakdown. I. Never Ccome first.