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October 1st, 2009 by Dr. Phil

And Now, the Other Woman

iStock_000005623898XSmallYou ready for a little controversy? OK, you ready for a lot of controversy? Then get ready for Monday’s show, because you may be yelling at the screen for this one, but it is important and really interesting!

On the show, I’m going to be interviewing the fabled “other woman.”  Five of them, in fact, and all of them members of the online group “Mistresses Anonymous.” All of them openly talk to me about why they became mistresses to married men. They also talk about what they have to endure as mistresses. And I have to tell you, what they have to say is so intriguing that I think this show easily could have gone three hours in length.

In fact, when we were taping the episode, I kept glancing at members of the studio audience, noticing just how many of them had their mouths open in shock. What clearly stunned everyone in the audience was the “other women’s” complaints that they are victims as much as the wives who are being cheated on.

iStock_000001130579XSmallThey believe they are victimized by how their married lovers lie to them and string them along for years at a time.  They have a unique point of view on how the wife carries a lot of the blame for the situations.  I’ll let you hear those arguments for yourself. The “other women” also bitterly describe feeling stuck on the sidelines, always looking in, but don’t seem to own the fact that they, in most cases, are knowingly in a relationship with a married man.

Needless to say, I’m dying to hear what you think. As you watch these other women, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they really victims, or are they just whining?
  • Do they truly want marriage themselves, or is there some part of them that is actually very content with a secret, part-time, taboo relationship?
  • What do you think about their comments that wives need to behave more like mistresses?
  • Why, in the end, do you really think men have affairs? And what about married women who have affairs? Are they cheating for different reasons than men?
  • Finally, can a marriage survive infidelity? Should it? And if one wants the marriage to survive an affair, then how exactly does one go about it?

I look forward to your comments. I’ll be reading and responding, as I love our conversations.

Here’s my video reply to reader Donna, who says, ” … I also think Dr. Phil was wrong in giving advice on how to keep your husband from cheating. How come everyone always blames the wife?”

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759 Responses to “And Now, the Other Woman”

  1. [...] this response to a Dr Phil blog made me chuckle, the core of her point has the solution dead to rights. What she is pointing out is [...]

  2. Connie Clawson says:

    Dr. Phil, I have been dating a guy for two years that left his wife in Feb.2009 and was divorced a year later. He have told me about the 28 years of his marriage many things that I just can’t let go. He states that he dated his wife for three years before he married but after they married, she completely changed. He says he was berated and harrassed verbably and that she was insanely jealous and also that she started denying him sex and affection. He says that he talked to preachers, councelors and for years tried to please her and make the marriage work. Two children were born during those years. He also states that after he prayed over and over that God would change him or Cindy but that never happened. He says that for the last 10 to 15 years of his marriage he started meeting his needs for attention and sex outside of the marriage..mostly with married women like on your show. It is hard for me to accept that he feels that he deserved and was entitled to the affairs he had with those women and there were many…he did say that he got to know a woman before he had the affair with her and that he did not let “feelings” become involved since he was not going to leave his wife and those women were really “not his”. It is ironic that he finally did leave his wife, after the children were young adults, because he found her cheating on him (with another woman). He also had a fling at the insistence of his brother with his brother’s wife (a threesome) for a couple months just after leaving Cindy (his wife). As far as I know he says he loves me and has not given me any indication that he is unfaithful to our relationship but I worry and am so concerned about the past behavior that I find it hard to trust and it really makes me sick to think of all he has done. Sometimes I wish I just did not know and he had not confessed all the dirty secrets in his past. He was married another time very early in his life and says that he did not cheat on his first wife (3 years) but that she cheated on him during the entire marriage he found out later, even with his brother. I need your advice and opinion…I love him but find this all hard to accept…What is your advice? Oh yes, the brother has since left his wife hoping that his lover (who is married and still living with her husband) would leave her husband and live with him…that affair has lasted for 6+ years. I am a widow and my deceased husband was such a saint compaired to all of this. Do you think that this relationship has a chance? Connie

  3. An Other Woman says:

    Dr. Phil, I went back and found this topic and I thought it was so interesting. I am married, and have been the other woman to two men during my marriage.

    Many things were said in this show, but there was one point in particular that I want to clarify: what Sarah said about the affair actually helping the marriage. I know what she means, I have experienced this both as the cheating spouse and the other woman.

    The benefit is not, in my opinion, that needs are being met elsewhere so the cheating spouse is more accomodating in the marriage. While that might be true short-term, long-term this allows the spouse to “escape” the issues in the marriage, not deal with them.

    Understanding the benefit starts with understanding that long-term affairs, like other long-term relationships, include a mix of romance and friendship. A trusted friend can provide real benefits to someone that is struggling in their marriage. The friend provides a safe place to talk things out, and a fresh perspective. A friend of the opposite sex can help you understand your spouse’s perspective better. My first lover and I called this part of our relationship “girlfriend mode.” We set the fact that we were lovers aside, and discussed our lives as close friends. I always walked away from those conversations understanding myself and my marriage a little better, having a better appreciation for where my husband was coming from, and with something new to try or discuss at home as we were working through our marital issues. He expressed to me that he received similar help from hearing my perspective.

    Does this mean that the net effect of an affair is positive? Absolutely not. Obviously it would be better to have that sounding board, or outside perspective, in a friendship that didn’t carry with it the damaging effects of an affair. But I hope that this clarifies a bit of what was being said, because I know it sounded nuts at first pass.

  4. Cher says:

    I have been married 41 years and up until about 2 years ago there was not a problem – at least 1 that I knew of. He travelled for business many years and I never mistrusted him. He would havetemper trantrums at times for when I would say something that he didn’t like. He would never apologize of even acknowledge what he did. He would walk out & go to a bar, stay in another room, etc. This could go on for months until I would finally start to speak to him.

    About 2 years ago he told me he was not sure he wanted to stay married. By that time he had completely shut me out the only conversation we would have is what I initiated.

    I found multliple phone calls to her. When I talked to him about what I’d found he said they’re just friends and he just called her back. He told me to block her # from his phone so I did. Then I noticed calls to her from Skype that he initiated again – they’re just friends. The phone calls stopped because I was watching the billing. Next – he would tell me he was 1 place and actually he was with her – I told him what I knew and he denied everything. I now have found emails back & forth from them indicating that they’re meeting and being intimate.

    He has changed his email passwords so I cant get into them to see what is happening. This leads me to believe he’s still hiding something. How do I save my marriage and reconnect with him. If I ask him for the passwords I’m afraid he will get mad and turn to her even more. I did email her & tell her I know what is going on and to stay away from my husband of course she denied it too – they’re just friends according to her – not true based on the emails that I have.

    This is making me sick – I picked up the relationship rescue book and am trying to follow it but he is clearly not interested. I told him I will never stop trying – he now says he loves me and is not going anywhere but until he admits what has gone on I just do not believe or trust him.

    How do I get him to acknowlege what I know is true and have him want to reconnect with me.

  5. Lani says:

    Dr. Phil;
    I have been married almost 15 years and I don’t believe that my husband has ever cheated on me, but there is one time that I’m not sure about when we were separated for about a month. A woman e-mail my mother in law and said that she received an e-mail from this woman stating that she was my husbands new girlfriend. When I confronted my husband and asked him if he cheated on me with he denied it and said that he had some sort of fixation on him and had stolen his address book which had his mothers e-mail address. I had to choose to trust him to continue in the relationship and to move forward, but it always nags me in the back of my mind. about seven years later and our relationship is almost sexless…when he’s not at work he grumpy and sometimes verbally abusive. He never tells me that I am pretty, sexy, desirable, etc. Recently I had a service man at my house after my hot water heater busted. He was in around mid thirties and I am early 50’s though I am told I look younger. He told how beautiful I was, sexy, and he would treat me like a queen. I soaked the words up like a dry sponge. He wanted me to cheat with him and he was married too! Because of his wonderful words I was sooo tempted, but I didn’t not want to ruin my marriage. I still love my husband but I feel like a wilting flower. I have sexual needs (that he rarely meets) and emotional needs that he never meets. I try to communicate my needs but it does no good. I have never been the other woman and I don’t want to be, however I feel so vulnerable. I don’t know what to do. Lani

  6. Juliet Peters says:

    This is interesting debate so I’m weighing in because I have changed my opinion on this now I am older (51). There are different types of love and sometimes one person isn’t both. Now obviously when one is young and in a new relationship that sex is an important part of the relationship and if one’s partner had an affair it would be a sign that the relationship was no longer working. But I don’t feel that having an affair is abad thing now (and I’ve never had an affair). That doesn’t mean I absolutely wouldn’t either. Nor would I mind if my partner had an affair. That is because I am so comfortable and in love in my relationship. I like that I am so relaxed that I do not make an effort with my appearance (other then when we go out). Because we love each other’s soul. We are comfortable and happy in sharing our lives. However the downside (and its not such a bad downside really) is that sex isn’t what it used to be. We have grown in one type of love and the other type of love has disintegrated. You see I don’t think one should make an effort for sex so I don’t agree with you Dr Phil that both parties should nurture the garden to keep it health and discard the other tracksuit. I love the fact that I don’t have to discard comfort. I think the strength in our relationship is that we our completely comfortable in our old tracksuits (not literally) and that nothing I say, do, wear will alter how comfortable we are and how much we love each other in a warm, happy to be with each other, way. But I don’t feel sexy with him and that is thre tradeoff and I happily accept that tradeoff because comfort is so important to me. It is strange that I think this but I would be happy if he had an affair because it would mean I could even if that meant a risk that that love affair could end ours. But I also wonder if that affair would be better if it remained an affair and they didn’t actually live with each other that could kill the pation. I think great sex can come from outside the relationship and I understand how good that could be where there was love and respect for that lover. And I wouldn’t feel insulted in any way. Because his ultimate happiness is what I want more than anything and maybe true love is just that. I can’t give him everything and I like the fact that I don’t own him and that we share a life that is happy but I don’t mind in the least if I am not the only women in his life if it brings happiness to him. And there really isn’t anything that would improve our sex life and to me trying to improve something is so unsexy. My husband is the most wonderful person in the world but not the sexiest man in the world. Would I have an affair if I met the sexiest man in the world. Yes. If there was love there too. I doubt I would want to live with that person because the excitement would not be the same living with that person. Yes its a bit unreal but sex is a bit shallow, a bit fantasy. But so good. I can get passed that what you do may hurt someone else. Probably best to keep it secret. Its not a conversation that is going to be easy. If my partner had a secret life – good for him. I don’t own him. I love an independent person. I would not be insulted that he chose to have sex outside the marriage. If it made him happy. And I don’t have any pretence that I can fulfulll all his needs in his life. I’d take the risk he would stay with me despite an affair and same viceversa. But I have learned they are different types of love and some people never really reach the highest feelings of either. If my partner, or myself, can find both great. I’d take the risk of the consequences of that affair and bet that our love would be just as strong, even stronger. Because being happy and fulfilled makes you able to give even more to those you love. Weird I should think this but I do. You can love 2 people in your life for different reasons. It is possible. And it could be very beautiful and fulfulling. If one can get past that you are partners in life and being fulfilled makes that partnership all the stronger. I agree it could be done in a distasteful way but it could also happen when its no-one fault and there should be no blame. That the solution maybe to accept that you have fallen in love with 2 people for different reasons and denying it has happened isn’t the best solution if it makes you unhappy. If it doesn’t effect the love you have for your husband it is absolutely fine. Sex is only one part of a relationship and spending one’s life with a person doesn’t mean that that relationship will fulfull what you need and want. It sounds a little selfish but I don’t think it is. If you’re not fulfilled in love in your relationship that isn’t an insult at all just life, just the fantasy isn’t there anymore and that is a good thing because you have a real relationship. That doesn’t mean a fantasy love wouldn’t be really good for someone. I can’t work at having sex with someone where that part of the relationship just isn’t there.

  7. Angel Coco says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    I started a new job three years ago, for two & a half years I’ve been involved with a married man who works with me. We got on like a house on fire, our personalities matching to a tee. Then, out of the blue we agreed to the cliche, ‘friends with benefits’. It didn’t take long before things became much more than that…mainly on my part, you see, I had fallen in love with him, hook, line & sinker! Oh, he was so charming, & still is…there is one small problem, he is married & won’t leave his wife.

    He has no children, has been married for six years, & instead of improving his life, it has gone down hill…you see, his wife is mentally unstable, & a drug addict. They do nothing together!! But she holds this emotional blackmail scenario over him, that if he leaves she will kill herself. He would never forgive himself if that eventuated.

    I hate all the sneaking around…however, there’s no romantic weekends away, no lovie dovie texting, we only get to see each other at work, period! We do occasionally go to the local park, on my days off I will bring him lunch or dinner & we have a picnic for his break.

    The situation kills me at times, he loves me & I love him, but there is one small problem standing in the way!! All I want is to have a normal relationship with the man I am truly in love with…

  8. Evadne Morgan says:

    I think that temptations will always be there. But as a christian there is always a higher power than you to keep you from falling. I have been married for 37 years. I have had no sexual relationship with anyone except my husband. I am an attractive woman, and throughout my life as a single and married woman men are always seeking out my company. I have always had a good exercise program and
    kept my weight within the optimum range and I like to dress well.
    After about 15 years of marriage I discovered that my husband was having an affair. After lots of arguments and probing he acknowledged the affair. This continued for a number of years and eventually discontinued I think the woman decided to stop that relationship. I do not think he is honest about his sexual relationships and do not like to discuss it. He will talk about almost any topic but becomes quiet when sexual relationships are discussed. What I can say is I can always feel the presence of other women in my life as his behavior changes. He is a bit more critical, tends to withdraw and watch a lot of sports on the TV. I am now 62 years and he 63 and he is about to retire. I can again feel that change again. I caught him with a skype contact the other day with a young woman I did not know. When I asked him about it he said its nothing, just someone he is coaching. Our relationship does not feel right, and I do not think he is honest. I feel I am at the end of my tether and I do not want to go through any long drawn out arguments anymore. I feel so disrespected. I do not know how to proceed. I will appreciate any suggestions.

  9. Evadne Morgan says:

    I think that temptations will always be there. But as a christian there is always a higher power than you to keep you from falling. I have been married for 37 years. I have had no sexual relationship with anyone except my husband. I am an attractive woman, and throughout my life as a single and married woman men are always seeking out my company. I have always had a good exercise program and
    kept my weight within the optimum range and I like to dress well.
    After about 15 years of marriage I discovered that my husband was having an affair. After lots of arguments and probing he acknowledged the affair. This continued for a number of years and eventually discontinued I think the woman decided to stop that relationship. I do not think he is honest about his sexual relationships and do not like to discuss it. He will talk about almost any topic but becomes quiet when sexual relationships are discussed. What I can say is I can always feel the presence of other women in my life as his behavior changes. He is a bit more critical, tends to withdraw and watch a lot of sports on the TV. I am now 62 years of age, he is 63 and is about to retire. I can again feel that change. I caught him with a skype contact the other day with a young woman I did not know. When I asked him about it he said its nothing, just someone he is coaching. I also feel there is one other relationship with a married woman. Our relationship does not feel right, and I do not think he is honest. I feel I am at the end of my tether and I do not want to go through any long drawn out arguments anymore. I feel so disrespected. I do not know how to proceed. I will appreciate any suggestions.

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