Members of this online community recently shared their stories about being the “other” person in an affair. Not the cheater, not the significant other, but the one participating in (willing or no) the affair. People were insanely honest and the stories are incredible. Check it out.
Fair warning: most of these are stories told by women and the men’s behavior borders on abuse.
1. History of cheating
“He was single at the time and had a history of cheating on his girlfriends. I developed major feelings for him but kept them to myself. A few months later, he went back to school, got a girlfriend, and messaged me over the holidays to hang out. We hooked up. Now, I figured he’s going to cheat anyway, I may as well enjoy it — my shitty 18-year-old reason. He has been with his now-fiancée for more than eight years. She has caught us through texts and Snapchats about three to four times over the years. She continued to stay with him, so I stopped feeling bad — until they got engaged a month after our last hook up.
“For the last 11 years, I put my love for him away. I never asked him why. I never asked him to leave. I never cheated. We never dated, but we were there for each other. We could never give each other up. The chemistry between us was so strong and intense — a connection you don’t find often, and I haven’t found since.
We don’t talk anymore. I miss him. I feel so bad for her. I still love him.” —justagirlandherdog
2. Love of my life
“He was a salesman 10 years my senior and trained me at a new job. I was instantly drawn to him. He was charismatic, funny, and friends with everyone. He also had a girlfriend of nine years, whom many of our coworkers knew. After a month of strictly professional interactions at work, a group of us went out for drinks. The two of us stayed long after the others left and laughed all night. We joked about the ‘chemistry’ that our coworkers teased us about and even laughed about how we wish we would’ve met 10 years ago. When we said goodnight, I impulsively kissed him. I kicked myself and chalked it up to one too many beers, but he texted me later that night. Over the next few weeks, things quickly spiraled into constant texting, flirting, and, finally, sex. We both felt guilty, but he was adamant about separating from her, and I was truly in love. He told her and moved out shortly after, and I justified my behavior on our ‘once-in-a-lifetime connection.’
“We stayed together for four (mostly happy) years. Unfortunately, I just never got over being the ‘other woman’ and was constantly insecure about not being good enough; that he’d regret blowing up his life for me, that he’d change his mind.
After a particularly emotional argument, I ended things. I’m not proud of how we started, but to this day, I consider him to be the love of my life.” —Anonymous, Minnesota
3. The friend
“I was the best friend before I was ‘the other woman.’ I was even the woman ‘Best Man’ at the wedding. I had recently had a really bad breakup. It felt like I was never going to find the right person. Out of the blue — right after I had been dumped and informed that I had been cheated on and everyone knew — my best friend told me that he didn’t love his wife like he loved me and said, ‘I should have married you.’ That’s when I became the other woman. He fed me lies that he was going to divorce his wife and that I was the person he was supposed to be with. He led me on for over a year, and I was such an idiot to put myself through all of this agony and turmoil. Our relationship was known by everyone, and while I didn’t care because I don’t live my life for other people, I felt myself turn into the villain everyone believed that I was.
“I was miserable, alone, and my mental health suffered. I didn’t care the wife knew and that I was causing her pain. I ended the relationship and moved out of state.
Now, I’m in a wonderful marriage to the most wonderful man, who truly loves me and wants to be with me. I found my soulmate during the worst time in my life.” —Anonymous, Alabama
4. Not the only one
“I was in graduate school and fell head over heels for another student who was rumored to be engaged to his long-distance girlfriend. When I asked him about it, he insisted that they were on a break. Cut to the moment she called while I was in his bed, and he told her he loved her. He thought I was asleep. Even though I was shocked, I kept the affair going because I wanted to believe that they were done, and he was in love with me. They ended up breaking up six months later (she dumped him), and he was officially my boyfriend. Until he cheated on me with someone else.
“Suffice to say, he was not a one-woman kind of guy. I happen to know that he cheats on his wife. I never again slept with someone in a relationship — what goes around comes around. Lesson learned.” —Anonymous, Washington
5. I’m ashamed
“I was in university. My mother had just died. I met an older, married student, but his wife lived in another city for work. The first time we met, he said, ‘There’s something special about you.’ One night, we all had too much to drink. I couldn’t drive home. We shared a bed and started sleeping together. It started off as filling our sexual needs. But on weekends he was with his wife, he’d call to complain about her. A year later, he talked about leaving her. I encouraged him to try counseling while I backed off. It didn’t work, so I started to legitimize that it was over and I wasn’t the cause. Then, I got an STD. I asked him who he’d slept with; he denied it. After weeks of questioning, he admitted he’d gotten drunk and slept with someone. I then started getting horrific emails from an anonymous account. I assumed it was his wife and tracked the IP address. It was another woman. He was telling me he was seeing his children when he was with her.
“There were four women he was sleeping with — his wife, me, and two other women. Prior, there had been talk of us getting married and what our life would look like. Admittedly, things started to change as I began working through my grief over my mother. I was becoming less needy and didn’t need to fill a void.
For various reasons, all four of us — the women he was sleeping with — were vulnerable. As soon as I started doing the grief work and was no longer as vulnerable, he moved on to someone else. He was only attracted to women in some sort of crisis. We used each other but in different ways. He’s now married to the woman who’d been emailing me. I dodged a bullet with him.
I am ashamed of how I acted and had to work really hard to forgive myself, but it’s a process. I know in other people’s minds I’m still that other woman. I went to counseling to understand why I acted the way I did, but it doesn’t make what I did right. I am a changed person now, and, in some ways, that experience sobered me up — figuratively and literally. I am now a grief counselor because grief, if not processed well, can make people do some f’ed up shit. Like I did.” —Anonymous, Ontario
6. Kinda selfish
“We were both in college in our mid-twenties. When we first met, I didn’t know he had a girlfriend. We had this intense connection right away. Our classmates noticed it and always commented that we were perfect for each other. One night, our classmate threw a party, and we hooked up. Honestly, it was one of my best experiences. A few days later, a friend of ours told me he has a girlfriend but never talks about her, so none of us knew. I confronted him, and he said he didn’t say anything because he’s unhappy, she’s at another school, and he doesn’t have this kind of connection with her. I threw caution and morals to the wind, and we continued to hook up for months after that. He and his girlfriend eventually broke up for other reasons. Apparently, she never even knew about me. We stopped seeing each other when we graduated and moved away from each other. Now, we live a couple of hours apart, and he’s truly one of my best friends.
“I can’t say that we were ever IN love, but I know we do love each other. I’d never felt a connection like that with anyone before, so I couldn’t pass up on that feeling, and I’m kind of glad I did it.
It gave me the experience of a lifetime and someone I’m planning to have around the rest of my life.” —Anonymous, Ontario
7. I was his ego boost
“I worked as a server when I was 17. One manager would always compliment me and sought out time together at work. When I turned 18, he started asking to hang out, kissing my cheek, and showing affection. He had a wedding ring, so I knew he was married, but I liked the attention and felt special. We exchanged numbers and began talking. He would often whisper things to me at work like, ‘I can’t keep my eyes off you, you look so hot in that skirt,’ or, ‘You would be the cutest pregnant woman ever.’ This went on for a couple of months. Eventually, he stopped wearing his wedding ring. He told me they’d been having problems and she cheated. He assured me that he kicked her out, changed the locks, and was getting a divorce. We began hanging out and hooked up a few times. It felt like we were really starting a relationship. Later, I found out he was not getting a divorce. They came into our work together and were seated in my area.
“It was awfully awkward all night. Then, when it came time to pay the bill, he gave me a more than 100% tip and left a note on the receipt. They were in counseling but they were very much still together.
We had gone out to dinners, gone on dates walking around the city, hosted a dinner party, etc. One time, we had been at his house and his neighbor walked in on us, but he played it off and made me leave right away. This was strange to me, but then I started to realize how careful he was about all of our time together.
I’m pretty sure she never found out. I stopped hanging out with him and texting him, but I couldn’t avoid him at work. He still gave me a lot of attention and inappropriate compliments like he wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was young, naive, and preyed on but still became the other woman and was asked how I could do that someone by friends. I thought I was in a real relationship, but really I was just an older man’s ego boost.” —Anonymous, Oregon
8. I didn’t know about her
“In college, I met this truly amazing guy. We had a couple of classes together since we shared the same major. We started spending time together outside of our classes and eventually scheduled our classes so we’d be together. He made me feel like I was the most important person in his life. This was in 2005, so social media was just starting to take off. A few months in, he bought a small gift for his female coworker’s birthday. He had mentioned her before, but always as his coworker or a friend of the family. A few months after that, he joined Facebook, and I saw her on his page. She didn’t have much on her page, so I looked her up on MySpace. Not only did I find her, but I found out she was his girlfriend of a couple of years. Her most recent blog post was about how he broke up with her because of some girl he met at college. The more I read, the more I realized I was that girl.
“I went from disbelief to devastation to anger and back to devastation within a matter of seconds. I had no idea I was the ‘other woman’ in this scenario. The next time I saw him, I told him what I knew. He apologized profusely for never telling me he was in a relationship because the relationship had started to break apart before we even met. He said he felt more for me within days of meeting than he ever did for her.
I told him I couldn’t see him anymore because in breaking his ex-girlfriend’s heart, he ended up shattering mine. We remained friendly throughout the rest of college, and I’ve only seen him once since then when I ran into him at the store.
All these years later, the hurt is still there. I’ve never been able to trust anyone else. I sabotage every potential relationship because I don’t want to get ‘too comfortable.’ My self-esteem has never recovered because I was once the other woman. The shame and disgust I felt about a situation I had no knowledge of or control over will always haunt me.” —crazycatmom
9. One sided
“He seemed sweet, funny, and handsome. He pursued me even when I backed off after finding out he was married. He made me believe his marriage was over and would often vent to me about how bad it was. I was single, and, in my mind, he was an adult choosing to continue a relationship with me. I was no temptress. It ended when I asked when I might see him again — everything was on his time — and he blew up about how it wasn’t easy to just ‘drop everything,’ which isn’t at all what I was asking.”
“It was all VERY one-sided because he was the one taking the risk, and I was expected to do everything on his time and only respect his feelings. In hindsight, he was very manipulative, lying to me the entire time, and I feel stupid for falling for it.” —Anonymous, California
10. Shit happened
“He was with his girlfriend for six years. They’d moved to California from their small hometown in a completely different state together. He and I met at a job and hit it off as friends right away. Seriously, we just CLICKED. I didn’t know he was with anyone and started to develop a crush on him. I didn’t think the feelings were mutual and found out he had a girlfriend, so I knew I wouldn’t make a move. He then started to open up about their relationship and how, basically, she was a horrible person who treated him like absolute garbage. We continued our friendship for several months before, one day, he told me how he felt about me, and things escalated. We knew it was wrong, but we fell head over heels for each other so quickly. He was going to break the news to her but literally days before he planned to do it, she found messages between us on his Apple Watch.
“He told me that she would take last-minute trips with her male friend who was bi but wouldn’t invite him (huge red flag); when he had problems with family, she would ask him to take the phone calls outside and not give him any emotional support; she would waste all of her money on Starbucks and food, and make him pay for absolutely everything (even though he only got a little money a month from his student loans). I didn’t only take his word for it, I saw many texts.
They ended up breaking up, and he moved in with me. Three years later, we are getting married this October. A lot of people judge the ‘other person’ in these situations. I got messages from her friends calling me a homewrecker, and it made me feel like absolute shit. But you really shouldn’t judge until you get the full story.
Yeah, we should’ve waited until he ended the relationship, but guess what, shit happens. Things worked out for us, and we’re happier than ever. His family also loves me (she was never invited to family functions).” —bgggggg0813
11. Naive and dumb
“I was the other woman in high school. I was naive and dumb. I was so happy that a guy was finally paying attention to me — because I was pretty unpopular — that I lowered myself to be okay with being the side chick.”
“After some time, I felt disgusted so I avoided him as best as I could. In the end, I experienced sexual assault for the first time. Long story short: Love yourselves, guys.” —robairsarai
12. Nooooo thank you.
“We worked together and were both in relationships. My fiancé at the time was doing hard time, and he was unhappy in his relationship because it was toxic, and she treated him poorly (belittling him, calling him names, possessive, etc.). He started texting me, and I tried to keep it on the surface because I knew he had a girlfriend. One night, he had a party. We got messed up and hooked up, and that one night turned into a year-long relationship — dates, sex, going to each other’s houses, buying each other gifts, saying ‘I love you.’ We eventually fell in love. He plotted to get me to break up with my fiancé, which I did, but he never left his girlfriend.”
“I eventually told his girlfriend everything, even providing receipts. That sent him off the edge, and he said everything and anything you could that would hurt a person to me, in front of her.
I left that job, found a better one, and am in a healthy, loving relationship.” —layari
13. I was his boss
“I was his boss. He’s super smart and awesome in every way. I really fought against the feelings, but I fell deeply in love. We both did. I knew he was everything I’ve ever wanted. So at the time, it didn’t matter to me if our story was short — as long as I could be with him even for a while. I know it sounds cliché, but his relationship was a little forced because she got pregnant a few months after they met. He was unhappy; so was she. A year after she found out about us and they broke up, we got married. We’ve been together almost six years now, have a baby of our own, and are madly in love! To be honest, I can’t say I regret it. He is the love of my life. We just met in a weird moment.”
“I never expected him to end things with her. I knew it would be hard for him to tell her the truth because of their baby. We had our little secret for almost a year until she accidentally found out.
Then, he told her that it was time to accept that he wasn’t the one and neither was she, and they finally broke up.” —Anonymous, México
14. Fueled by adrenaline
“I was 18, and he was 26, as well as my boss. We worked in remodeling/maintenance for apartments. He said he was separated from his wife at the time and had two kids. There was a thrill of heavy making out and groping on the job site with the possibility of getting caught. We didn’t do much outside of work besides text or talk on the phone. One day, I was out to lunch with a friend, and his wife called me and told me to leave her husband alone. I quickly hung up and asked him about it later. Apparently, they were reconciled, he never told me, and she found out about us. That didn’t exactly stop us, but we did fizzle out when I found someone else and committed to them.
“It was a very in-the-moment relationship fueled by adrenaline.” —Anonymous, Florida
15. Circle of life
“I had just gotten out of a four-year relationship after finding out my ex had been cheating on me the whole time. I got on Bumble to feel a little better and see what else was out there. I end up meeting this very sweet guy, and we hit it off. We hooked up that night. Then, we began texting every day, FaceTiming — and he keeps trying to see me again. One day, I get a DM from his girlfriend of THREE YEARS. They were doing long-distance. When she saw we were texting, she confronted him. He said we only kissed. We did not.
“So I go from being the girlfriend who finds out about other women to accidentally being the other woman. Circle of life.” —misstimberrose
16. Another selfish one.
“We’d been work friends for a few years. He was a super sweet, doting father and thoughtful husband — the kind of guy I hoped I would end up with one day. We had great conversations. I was always excited to see him and be around him, but I figured it was a silly, one-sided work crush. When I left my trash, long-term boyfriend, he was surprised because I’d never complained about my relationship publicly. When I explained what had been going on, he seemed really sad and said, ‘I guess no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.’ It turned out, he was absolutely miserable and being mentally, emotionally, and financially abused by his wife. She caught him sending me a text that said he couldn’t talk to me anymore because he was developing feelings for me.
“He moved out three months later. We had started seeing each other when he was still living with his ex, and now we’ve been together for the best two years of my life.
He still has his kids 50% of the time. He is the most amazing, loving, and supportive boyfriend I could ever imagine. I cannot believe my luck in being with him. I would do it all over again, even though it definitely felt like I was crossing a line to start with. But I didn’t feel guilty for long at all.” —Anonymous, Unknown
17. Guilt will be with me for a long time.
“I met my now-husband when he was with someone else. They had been together for seven years (not married), so when we met, we tried so hard to remain friends. But we fell in love so quickly that, before I knew it, we were living together and planning our futures. When he left her, I felt so awful. I’d never done anything like that before and so it tore me apart — let alone imagining how she felt. We moved to Italy together and got married pretty soon after. Honestly, I regret nothing. I’m sure there are many people who would hate me for this, but at the end of the day, if you find the love of your life, wouldn’t you do anything to be with them?
“I still think about how awful she must have felt, and I’m sure the guilt will stay with me for a long time. But in the end, they weren’t right for each other and had been having problems for years.
He’s my best friend in the world, so although I hate how it happened, I have no regrets. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” —Anonymous, London