By: Katie Lersch: This is a very common question and I’m asked it on a very regular basis. Today, with the release of the photo of the woman Arnold Schwarzenegger had a baby with, I’ve been asked it several more times. Needless to say, the other woman wasn’t what every one expected. And we often are left to wonder why a man with a beautiful, talented, and accomplished wife would cheat and have a baby with his less than beautiful alleged housekeeper. Wives often ask me what husbands see in the other woman, especially when she’s not particularly beautiful.
I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “my husband cheated on me with an overweight, underachieving woman who is much older than both of us. She’s not attractive or accomplished. She doesn’t have a particularly good personality. I just can not understand what he could possibly see in her or want with her unless the sex was just mind blowing – which is hard to even imagine with the way that she looks. What do men see in the other woman, especially when she’s not even attractive? This whole thing depresses me because it makes me think that my husband would have sex with anyone that’s willing at this point.”
I can’t answer these questions on behalf of every husband or every man. If you asked a random sampling of men this question (and they were able and willing to give you an honest answer,) you would likely hear a wide variety of responses. But I often hear from men on my “surviving the affair” blog and many will discuss or even defend their choice of the other woman. Much of the time, there’s a common theme in what they have to say. So, in the following article, I’ll share with you what men often say about what they see in the other woman.
Men Often Say That They Get Understanding, Appreciation, And Enthusiasm From The Other Woman: As I alluded to, many men aren’t willing to discuss what they saw in the woman that they cheated with. And many are embarrassed or ashamed. And looking back, they realize that their perceptions at the time were incredibly inaccurate and misguided.
However, here’s the types of comments that I often hear. Many men will finally break down and admit that, although they know that the other woman wasn’t necessarily a beauty queen, she did make every attempt to listen to and understand him. Often, she puts his needs ahead of her own. For a man who may already be vulnerable because of his own self esteem issues or doubts, this can be very appealing. You’ll often hear comments like “my wife just sees me as the guy who brings home the pay check, takes out the trash, and mows the lawn, but she rarely listened to me. The other woman took the time to find out what makes me tick. She remembered the little things and always made me feel important.
Here’s another theme that I often hear – that of acceptance and appreciation. The husband will say that the other woman was appreciative of anything that he could offer her. In other words, she didn’t make demands on him or have high expectations. She was always happy to see him, even if she didn’t get to see him enough. Many wives interrupt me when I’m explaining this and say something like: “how pathetic is that? Basically, she let him use her at his whim?” And this probably isn’t that far off of the mark. When a man is vulnerable or struggling, not having to meet anyone’s high expectations or demands can be tempting. (Of course, as the relationship progresses, this usually doesn’t last. Eventually, most women will begin to expect more from him or want something in return. And this can be when the relationship turns sour.)
The final thing that I’d like to mention is enthusiasm. Many men will tell you that what the other woman didn’t have in looks or status, she made up for with enthusiasm. This can encompass sex as well. Many wives assume that the other woman has some sort of hidden sexual tricks or prowess. (And sometimes, even men are under this impression.) But, much of the time, when a man is being honest about this topic, he will tell you that she was simply enthusiastic. You’ll often hear comments like: “it just got to a point where it was clear that my wife saw sex with me as a chore. It was obvious that she was only going through the motions and didn’t enjoy it. That’s why it was so tempting to be with someone who obviously wanted to be with me and was turned on by me. Having sex with me was never a chore for the other woman. She actually enjoyed it.”
This enthusiasm will bring about those other feelings that I talked about. It makes a man feel worthy, desirable, and alive. “Alive” is a phrase that you hear men use ALOT when they’re talking about an affair. They’ll tell you that she made them feel alive. What they’re trying to say (and often aren’t saying very well) is that she made him feel like he was worthy of her attention, appreciation, and enthusiasm. And this can a be a boost that he thought he needed at the time.
Just Because A Man Sees Something In The Other Woman At The Time He Cheats Or Has An Affair, This Doesn’t Mean That His Feelings Don’t Or Can’t Ever Change: Many wives make the mistaken assumption that a man’s feelings about the other woman don’t change. Quite often, they do. Once the affair is out in the open and these men have to return to reality, they often see things much more clearly. And this is when they’re usually embarrassed, ashamed, and aware of how wrong they were about so many things.
They often don’t see this as clearly as we would like until they’ve had some time to reflect and the distance to have more perspective that isn’t influenced by their swinging emotions. Many men tell me that their wives won’t listen (or don’t believe them) when they say how wrong they were about the other woman. I often hear comments like: “I don’t know what I was thinking or what I saw in her. She doesn’t hold a candle to my wife. I suppose I was just feeling unappreciated and unloved, but that’s no excuse. I don’t think that my wife will ever believe me about this. The sad thing is, if we could just repair our marriage and she would show me a little bit of enthusiasm and appreciation like she did when we were first married, then we could recover and this never would’ve happened in the first place. But she’ll never be receptive to me now after what I’ve done.”
Whether you want to repair your marriage or not is really up to you. But hopefully, this article has given you some insight as to what your husband might have seen in the other woman and why it’s not a given that he still feels the same way.
I know that understanding or dealing with any issue that has to do with the other woman is difficult, but healing really is eventually possible. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read my very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/
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