The Psychology Of The Other Woman: How Does She Really Feel? What Motivates Her?

By: Katie Lersch: One of the most common topics of the emails that I get are on the subject of the other woman. Wives often want to know how she feels and what could drive her to want to destroy another woman’s family.

Wives often just can not get how anyone would set their sights on a married man, especially if he has a family. I understand this. Because I am one of those wives. And I know that it is really easy to think of her as evil. You want to believe that she is without a conscience and that she is someone with no redeeming qualities.

Why We’d Like To Be Able To Stereotype Her (And Why We Can Not) Many people would like to believe that the other woman is easy to classify. This would be convenient if it were true. Because then we would always know what (and who) we are dealing with. But, I get a lot of emails from “the other woman” and I firmly believe that it’s impossible to classify or stereotype her. Just like wives all have different personalities, the same holds true here.

Every situation is different. Many of these women have very unique motivations. Some weren’t even told that the husband was married. They thought that they were getting involved with someone available. They thought they were investing in a relationship that stood a chance. And then they learn that he is married. They know that they should walk away but they can’t.

Some know that he is married and this bothers them greatly. The only way that they can continue on is to compartmentalize it. They try really hard to not think about the wife and the family. They tell themselves that his marriage is not their business. Sometimes, they are successful with this, at least for a while.

And then some “other women” actually prefer a married man because they do not want a committed relationship. Or, they may already be in one because they are married themselves. They aren’t looking for a relationship that is going to require anything emotional from them. They don’t want to make the other man their own.  They like having no strings attached.

Finally, there are some other women who truly think that they are in love with the other man and their ultimate goal is to eventually be his wife. They often will not tell him this in the beginning. They pretend that they are OK with the secret arrangements. But deep down, they have a plan. And that plan is to break up his marriage to make room for their own marriage to him. She believes that the two of them belong together. She may be really sorry that his first marriage must end for them to be together. She may feel horribly guilty about this. But, she is going to attempt to do whatever is necessary in order to get him for herself.

Should You Attempt To Know Who Are Dealing With?: Having read all of this, many wives will want to know how they can figure out what type of other woman they are dealing with, since there are so many. They want to know what motivated her and how she is feeling right now. I completely understand why you want this information.

But if you get anything from this article at all, I hope that it is this. The more you learn about her, the more you want to know. It doesn’t do you any good to “go there.” In terms of your marriage and your own well being, it often doesn’t benefit you to learn more. Why? Because we are so often not satisfied with what we learn. Because it only leads to more questions. And we only dig ourselves into a deeper hole.

She may be perfectly nice or she may be ultimately evil. It doesn’t or shouldn’t affect your bottom line either way. Because the gold standard for you is to leave her behind and to work on your marriage or your own life. The quicker you can leave thoughts of her behind you, the better off you will be. She has no place in your life. And even if she’s the nicest person on earth or you feel genuine sorrow for her, she has other friends, other support systems, and other places to turn.

Or, if you feel the opposite and hate her and want revenge, then the best thing for you to do is to trust that karma is going to take care of everything. You may think that this is easy for me to say, but it’s not.

I know the itching need to know everything. I know the need to intimately know the perceived enemy. But I also know that even when you have all of these things, you still feel empty. This knowledge actually makes things worse, in my opinion.

There are many people affected by an affair.  Some are hurt.  Some are angry.  All have their reasons.  But the only one that you should worry about in the equation is yourself and those who are part of your family.

Why It’s Nearly Impossible To Know The Truth:  The truth is, it’s very unlikely that you are going to get an honest portrayal of her. In order to do that, you’d have to be able to see into her heart. Your husband can tell you about her, but this is only his perception. And he has only seen what she has wanted him to see. She can tell you things, but again, she is slanting the information to her own gain.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter, as long as the affair is truly over. What is in the past should be left there. She may or may not have wanted to hurt anyone. But what remains hurt is more up to you than up to her. You have the ability to heal regardless of her own psychology.

I did have a lot of curiosity about the other woman.  But I made a very conscious decision to turn my attention to myself.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  If it helps, you can read about my own process on my blog at

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