Affair Etiquette: Dos, Don’ts for The Other Woman

Having Grace

Grace who? Most people in your shoes were duped. They didn’t know their partner was married or were lead to believe they were living separate lives. Perhaps you knew his status, but did not think such feelings would develop over time?

Do have grace with yourself. Your intentions are good. You found each other at a time when something in both your lives needed to change. Don’t spend time beating yourself up. It already happened. It is how you handle it now that is most important.


He can’t be “daddy.” That power-dynamic may be attractive initially but over time what initially feels like being “cared for” will ultimately result in feeling “controlled.”  Partnerships can be lasting. Reciprocity means being invested in each other.  True partner share the control and power within the relationship.

Do make this a collaboration. Communicate your hopes, hurts and fears with him. Look for signs that he is able to listen and validate your concerns as you are to him.

Don’t be the “good girl” or the “demanding girl” believing this will get him to make the “right-choice.” This will either buy him more time to avoid action or avoid his part by focusing on you “bad” behavior.

Time Don’t Give me Time

Time doesn’t give you more clarity. Under stress, humans avoid-avoid-avoid. Most people do their taxes in late March not January. When is your limit for him leaving or filing for divorce?

Do make a decision on your limit. It is not easy. What would recommend to a good friend?  How long should she “wait” for him to be ready for his next step. Set your end-date and re-focus on your personal goals outside of him. Be the best you in the relationship during this period – no regrets!

Don’t kick that timeline down the road or avoid making one altogether. The relationship (and you) will eventually hit the wall without one. If your GPS is not set on course you will get lost in his world.

Avoiding the Ponzi-Love

You have sacrificed, showed patience and understanding in the hopes it will work out. Perhaps against your own best judgment you have accepted and tolerated less that you deserve. Be careful not to get into Ponzi-love. This is where you focus so much on winning at the cost of giving too much (with little to no returns).

Do accept the time and energy you have put it and he fact that it absolutely does not have to work out. This puts you in the driver’s seat over your life. It keeps you moving forward in life-regardless of his conflicting wants and values.

Don’t tell yourself this has-to work out or else it was a “failure.’ You will tried and done your best. When past your timeline, your relationship is now upside down. It now becomes a poor emotional investment.

For questions or help in your relationship visit: Our book The Other Woman’s Affair: wagering your heart & reclaiming your life due out February 14, 2016.