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TOW FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

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TOW = the other woman
OW/M = other woman/man
MM/W = married man/woman
BS/W/H = betrayed spouse/wife/husband
Mx = married man or woman
Ox = other woman or man
EMR = Extramarital Relationship
OC = other child
MOM/W - married other woman/man
WS - wayward spouse
D-Day - discovery day
STBxW/H - soon to be xwife/h

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Overwhelmingly, we meet them at work, or through a business contact. The classic boss-employee affair is alive and well, with both genders showing up in both roles.

Second most common place is over the internet, through chat groups, message boards, and personal ads.

Some of us also met our lover through mutual friends, or he/she is someone you have known for several years before starting the affair. At least one of us met our lover at the gym! ----Lovesick

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About eighty percent of us knew that our lover was married when we got involved. The ones who did not know usually found out within the first few days or weeks. Occasionally, it went on for a few months. ---------Lovesick

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  • I believe that there is never just one thing that prompts an affair. I think that there are several issues involved here.

    1) Tired of the relationship - there is nothing stimulating or exciting happening either in conversation, or sexual. Tired of the routine.

    2) break down of communication - needs not getting met, being frustrated with always striving to get needs met.

    3) Marrying for the wrong reasons - Lust instead of Love, too young to know the difference, tired of being alone, it seemed like the RIGHT thing to do, fear of being alone or failing.

    4) Sexual incompatibility - one partner more "needy" in this area. One partner stoic and unresponsive to sex - not "needing" as much physical intimacy.

    5) Growing apart - one person growing and maturing while the other still stuck in the mud - not wanting to change or grown as an individual.

    6) Spiritual incompatibility - one person a believer, the other not. Most people do not think this is an issue, however, in some relationships it is.

    7) Wrong idea of what marriage really is suppose to be - people don't want conflict as a rule, however, as we all well know. . . . marriage is something that has to be worked at. . . and there is conflict. If we have a rosie image of marriage being all fun and games. . . . we are decieved.

  • There is no perfect marrage without problems,All couples have problems and that is what commitment is all about,staying and working those problems out.All couples will have lows and highs but if you stay and work through those lows ,you can come through closer than ever.I think a lot of you and the men you are dating from what I have read come from families with divorce or several marrages,I don't think you can totally commit because you are afraid of it.Theres always an excuse for what we want to do ,oh but his wife doesn't love him you say.Well shouldn't that be between him and his wife,send him home to talk to her to find out how she feels instead of saying come to my bed I'll love you.I think there are a lot of reasons people look and I've heard some people tell the wife well if you were doing your job at home he wouldn't be out looking,wrong some people will look no matter what just because of the problems they have handling issues. you can always find a reason or excuse to do it but it still not right .If he is married he belongs to someone else he is not your MM .And I think how on earth can you get mad because he is with his wife instead of you.So he made you a bunch of promises so what you knew he was married from the beginning,you are both just as much at fault.Most married people who start finding someone attractive would avoid that person unless they were looking for an affair.I don't think it's something missing in a marrage,I think it's something missing in the person doing the wrong.I know this will make you mad but its what I think.I think some of you women have such low self esteem that you think if you can get him to leave his wife for you its makes you feel better about yourself for awhile.One of you said that your father had an affair and he was now married to the OW and they were happy,I wish you would sit down with your dad and ask him if he had it to do over again if he would change anything.

  • I believe it can be a combination of the two. In my case, opportunity presented itself and before we knew it, the attraction became an affair.

    It was not until we really bared our souls to each other that it became apparent there were some things missing in his marriage that he was getting from the affair.

    9 months have now passed and I feel my MM is benefiting from both the marriage relationship, which provides security by virtue of its mundanity; and also benefiting from the affair relationship which provides excitement,communication and love which the marriage does not. Where does this leave me as TOW? That depends on the day - sometimes I am comfortable with the arrangement as I am notready for another live in commitment. Other times Imiss my MM like crazy and just wish he would leave his wife.

    But for him to do that would mean giving up a lifestyle thatis quite opposite to mine - I'm not sure he would be happyin my world - nor me in his.

  • I honestly think that every person has a different reason for seeking an affair. I don't think that it's always a goal that is set out. It could be for just that little bit of something that is missing and then they realise that they've had that all the time but forgot to look. Sometimes I think it's for the sheer excitement of trying to live on the edge.

    In my case, my XH looked for what was missing without approaching me first. I think it was more of a growing apart type of thing and the feeling of not meshing anymore. He found what he thought he was missing with someone else and found a happiness there. He found someone more like himself and unfortunately for him, he lost me and gained a person who after 4 years still hasn't left her husband. I wouldn't have wanted him to stay with me if he wasn't happy, but I hate to see him with the person he traded me in for still not commiting to him. I guess if I was a nasty person I would be happy about his situation and laugh, but I think it's sad that he made such a mistake.

  • I didn't set out to have an affair. It wasn't premeditated .. Opportunity does play a part - if he hadn't given me the chance I wouldn't have taken it. There were many different factors involved that led me to my final decision for I did agonize over it before actually embarking on the affair. Sure it could indicate there are problems within the marriage - if one is completely happy with their W or H why seek someone else ?? Sometimes there are problems and we, as human beings, tend to reach out to those who give us what we need ... It may be wrong but I've never regretted it.

  • In my case I have found out through therapy that our infertility was hitting me much harder than I thought. My self worth was at a all time low. (work wasn't going well either) Lastly I lost my only sister when I was 10 years old and have found a pattern in my relationships with woman regarding leaving and being seperated from. I had problems not with my wife but with me. Now that I am able to see myself better it helps me understand why I did this not excuse it. Hope this helps.

  • question: In my case, at first I would have said just opportunity,but as the affair progressed I came to realize more andmore that my marriage had had some serious problems forquite some time that I'd been basically ignoring. A friendof my "other" man shared the opinion that no "other" personcomes between two people who are content and have a healthyrelationship and I feel this is true.

  • There is something wrong, but it may not be the marriage. Most times it is a selfish notion that one mate should be receivingmore than what the mate is giving. If the mates talk then someoneis not listening. It comes full circle to being selfish!

  • I do not think he was seeking a affair, I pursued him. He is missing sex and intimacy in his life and found that in me. I don't know if "wrong" is the word to use. They grew apart, changed and lost each other.

  • Lack of attention. Yes something is wrong with the marriage.

  • I think he specifically had low self-esteem, a relationship that was wearing after a number of years. He was insecure and needed affection that his wife just didn't seem to provide for him.

  • Personality differences and doubts about my feelings for my husband are probably the most important reasons I started an affair. My husband is quiet, non-talkative, and although smart and talented, not my intellectual equal. My H. doesn't read, doesn't enjoy debating current affairs (no pun intended), and is entirely too predictable.My friends kept me excited intellectually, then one day I fell for one of them sexually.

  • In my MM's case, I think there were three reasons. First, I think he was getting even with his wife. They have a very unhappy marriage and fight daily. He says she is cold to him and is unwilling to go to counseling to fix the relationship. Secondly, I have began to recognize that he has very low self esteem. I think our relationship gave him a boost to his ego. Thirdly, I think he likes to live in crisis. When I met him, his relationship was on the rocks with his wife, he was unhappy with his job, and he kept adding other problems and commitments to his life - including me.

  • . I believe that an affair is a result of problems within the marriage and needs that are not being met within the marriage. Some affairs might be just opportunity and physical attraction, but I think most affairs, like mine, are the result of something missing in the marriage. After getting to know my married lover it was easy to see their problems: 1. It was the second marriage for both of them. 2. They have had several major fights and she has left him once over a disagreement concerning money for her children. 3. He told me that they have nothing in common, that they come from two different worlds. 4. They have only been married for 2 1/2 years and we began our affair before they even had their second anniversary. Their anniversry is the same month as my birthday and he seemed more concerned with by birthday present that his anniversary. But affairs don't just happen, they are the result of a marriage that is in trouble.

  • My MM and I met at work. He being married, and I being in a relationship. We were good friends and he always made me feel good about myself, something my current beau wasn't doing. My MM expressed to me his problems with his W, that she didn't listen to him, days he would come home from work exhausted (she didn't work) she would complain about him not doing anything around the house, having no compassion for him - he didn't feel loved. She also would blame him for every bad thing that happened in their marriage. He was lonely, insecure, and felt as though he was the cause of all their problems. The last straw was when he bought her a birthday gift (ever hear the old saying, "it's the thought that counts?") and she told him to return it because it costed too much money. He'd had plenty of money, and it was a picture frame for $13.00.

  • As a happily married M, I'm still not sure what has caused the relationship I now have, other than the fact that after meeting the other W and cannot stop thinking about her. We see each other (not intimately) each working day, we talk for ages on the phone at least 2-3 times a day, and go out for a meal at least once a fortnight. This has gone on for 18 months now! Why? I don't know, I love my wife and kids dearly...but at the same time think the absoloute world of my "friend".

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  • I think low self-esteem had a lot to do with my H having an affair. I know he felt like crap at the time.He felt unloved and worthless, and it was because I did nothing to make him feel otherwise. I believe the OW had low self-esteem too, because she had just been dumped in a relationship. I guess the affair boosted the self-esteem of both of them while it went on. The irony of the whole thing is that in the end, all three of us ended up with worse self-esteem. He felt guilty ridden and lousy for hurting herand me, she ended up losing out again in a relationship and my self-esteem was wrecked by his betrayal.

  • When I got involved with the MM, my self-esteem was at a low point. I never ever thought I'd be an OW. But my self-esteem is not low right now, and still, here I am! When my self-esteem was low, I could have chosen to be with someone else, but no one else attracted me. I don't think I was attracted to him because I was at a low point, but because he is who he is. What a tongue-twister!

  • I think there must be a link to low self-esteem and affairs, otherwise we would all be happy with what we have at home, without needing validation from another person that we are desirable, wanted, needed.

  • I don't think there is really a link between low self esteem and beginning an affair. Alot of us didn't know the Mx's were married and those that did know probably felt that they could "handle it". BUT I do think that the affair itself really saps self esteem. Could it be that we subconsciously feel that the W has something we don't have? (lol besides the Mx) It doeseventually become a competition in one way or another. And every time the Mx goes home to the W...it is like a little loss. That has to do something to you....

  • I'm not convinced there is a link between low self-esteem and having an affair. I don't think we consciously choose who we fall in love with. But, I'm not trying to shirk responsibility for my actions. I do think it is our choice whether or not we pursue the relationship. I think the self-esteem link really comes into play when you look at how much a person is willing to tolerate. If you think that no one else will ever want you, your much more willing to hold on to the relationship despite the emotional costs.

  • I DID NOT KNOW she was married when I started pursuing and bedding her. It was a shock to my soul when I found out. And what an agony to find that Iwas surely to end up being denied the love of the one woman I wanted to be with! Although I DO have a low self-esteem, it was nowhere evident when I was with her or thinking of her. As you said...surely after the affair is entered into...then it beings to take its toll. My self esteem is suffering from the continual rejection I feel from her. That is not her fault and itwould be unfair to lay that on her. On the one hand, I have met a gorgeous and fantastic woman I'd give my life for and she loves me (at some of the time) and on the other hand she leaves and goes back to her house and bed shared with him. It does feel like a competition and it feels like a loss every time she leaves to return 'home.'

  • I wholeheartedly do NOT believe so. My self esteem was at a highlevel or I don't believe that I would have been able to seekout the company of another man. I think that being involvedin an affair and being married as well, especially provideproof that to carry out these two relationships successful, youhave to have good self esteem.

  • I don't think so.

  • People who suffer from low self-esteem will do anything from staying in a bad relationship to killing. For some, low self-esteem may have something to do with getting involved in a dead-end relationship, for others it could be the opposite entirely.

  • Yes, I think that an affair is a masochistic act on the part of the woman. It is like reaching for the stars when you know that you can't have the moon,even.

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