Of the three parties involved in a love triangle, I think the other woman is the most misunderstood and more importantly, the most blamed and hated. I’m sure the other man also gets a lot of rage directed toward him from the man his lover betrayed, but I don’t ever remember hearing of the ‘other man’ being blamed when a woman cheats on her husband.
Maybe the reason people are so quick to blame the other woman is because of her stereotype. You know–the super-hot, irresistible, gorgeous woman with huge breasts who lounges around day and night, wearing a teddy, high heels and tons of makeup. She lurks, lying in wait for an innocent, unsuspecting family man who has no interest in her. She forces herself upon him and seduces him against his will! After she has had her way with him, he quickly flees from her, feeling completely violated. 

 Absurd, right? So how do you see her? How different is your idea of the other woman? Of course, you think of her as being beautiful, with a great body, right? She’s crazy hot. She’s evil and selfish, never caring about anyone or anything but herself. Can you deny having at least some of those kinds of thoughts about her?
The truth is that the other woman is just that–another woman. She might be beautiful, but she might also be plain. She could be sexy, but not necessarily any more than any other woman. She might wear a teddy and heels, or she might wear sweats and running shoes. She might pursue your man, but even more likely, he pursued her. She’s not a monster… she’s just a woman. And she, too, has a broken heart.
The other woman is usually someone with low self-esteem who might have trouble finding a mate. Regardless of whether or not she’s aware he’s married, she’s just thrilled to have someone show her some attention and affection.
In many cases, she had a father who was either absent or emotionally unavailable to her. She’s subconsciously drawn to men she can’t have and/or men who aren’t capable of loving her. Also subconsciously, that type of man (unavailable) is instinctively drawn to her.
The other woman is just like any woman–she wants love and security. The problem is that she doesn’t know how to find them. She knows that she probably won’t find what she needs in a man who is married or in a serious relationship, but he’s there, and he wants her, so she gives in to him.
Another myth about the other woman is that she’s happy in her relationship with a cheater. She usually falls hard and fast for him, and suffers deeply during the relationship, and in some cases, for years afterward. She might be happy when she’s actually with him, but even then, it’s short-lived.
In the eyes of the other woman, the cheater’s wife is the one who has it all–the nights, the holidays, his name, his children, his home, his love… All the other woman gets is a few stolen minutes (or hours, if she’s lucky) and a lot of time alone to grieve over the fact that he’s at home with his family, not with her.
Of course, there are a few women who seem like mutants to me. No, actually, they seem more like men. They can have sex indiscriminantly, separating sex from emotion, and take advantage of whatever a man is willing to give them, while going on with their lives, unaffected. Those are the exceptions–not the rule. They do exist, but I think they’re few and far between.
In case you hadn’t noticed, men have a tendency to be dishonest if that’s what it takes to get what they want. (Sorry, guys, but I’ve even had men tell me that, not to mention my own experiences.) Often, the cheater tells the other woman he is single. She has no idea he has a family at home. She usually becomes suspicious, but by the time she finds out, she’s head over heels in love. She can’t let go, and he gets to continue to have his cake and eat it, too.
Another reason I think so many women blame the other woman when their partners cheat is because the cheater blames the other woman!! How convenient! Also, very cowardly! The betrayed woman loves him and wants to hold onto him, so rather than placing the blame where it should be, on the cheater, she directs all her rage toward the other victim in the triangle–the woman she sees as her enemy.
I know what you’re thinking. She should’ve stopped and considered the wife and children of that man! You have to remember that she might not even know about them. Even if she does, he’s told her a hundred different reasons why he’s cheating on her and why he’s getting a divorce. It doesn’t have to be true. It just has to sound good.
Okay, I realize that almost all the focus of this article has been on the other woman, as opposed to the other man. That’s because I believe that men’s experiences as the ‘other’ are very different from a woman’s, as are any of men’s other sexual encounters or relationships. Men usually tend to focus more on the physical aspect of the relationship (sex), whereas most women are more emotional. Therefore, in most cases, a man’s experience as being an ‘other’ is not as painful and/or traumatic as that of an other woman.
That’s not to say that the other man doesn’t fall in love or get hurt sometimes by a cheating woman. I’m sure it happens, but most men are much more analytical when it comes to matters of the heart. They are much better at building protective walls around their hearts. And they are much more likely to be in it just for the sex.
Being the other woman can be just as painful and traumatic as being the partner who is cheated on. The reason for this is that when a woman is in love with a man who is married or otherwise committed, it’s as if the other woman is condoning his cheating on her on a daily basis. This destroys what little self-esteem she might’ve had going into the relationship. She craves validation of her love, but rarely ever gets it, because most cheating men who do leave and/or divorce their wives do not stay with the women with whom they cheated.
Because being the other woman in a love triangle can be so painful and traumatic, I suggest that you see a therapist if you’ve been involved in this type of relationship. Do not let your shame about the type of relationship you are/were in stop you from getting the help you need. Trust me–they’ve heard it all, and then some. It’s difficult, but you will survive, and you will be okay.