If there’s one thing we’ve learned from TV shows these days — scripted and unscripted — it’s that it’s not as hard as you may think to find yourself the other woman. According to data from the recent General Social Survey, 20% of men and 13% of women reported that they’ve had sex with someone other than their spouse while married, the Institute for Family Studies reported. If we’re talking Black men specifically, that figure jumps to 28%. But just because a man steps out on his wife doesn’t mean he leaves her forever.
Infidelity is a leading cause for divorce, but that’s often because the partner who was cheated on sees the breach of trust as a “final straw” in the breakdown of the relationship. Anecdotal evidence shows, however, that left up to the man, he would happily stay married — and likely happily stay cheating. As one woman put it in an article on Today: “Men don’t leave. They just want it all.” That means if you’re clinging to a situation with a married man, it’s pretty inevitable that things won’t end in your favor.
If you’re struggling to cut ties, here are a few tips that might help you let that toxic relationship go.
Go Cold Turkey
Delete his number, de-friend him on Facebook, cut off his friend circle, then keep yourself busy with friends until the sting wears off. And when you feel like backsliding…
Tell Your Mother
Take a page from Mary Jane’s book and open up to your mama. You may be too old for her to cut a switch, but hearing her opinion and judgment may bring on some healthy guilt that’ll pressure you to move on.
Know That Real Men Get Divorced First
Full stop, period, every time. Not every marriage is happy. Sometimes you find real love after the ring is on. But if that happens, you do the right thing right away.
Hang Around Married People
His marriage might not seem real to you because you never see them together. Time with another married couple can give you some insight on the damage you’re causing between two people who should be working it out on their own.
Look at Photos of Their Kids
You know you’ve been to her Facebook page before. Do the hard work and think about how your actions impact them and how stepping back might keep their family together — or give them a divorced dad instead of one who left their mother for another woman (you).
Tell His Wife
Maybe over the phone. Not every woman will be as poised as Avery when hearing you’re sleeping with her husband. But talking to her gets things out in the open and stops the sneaking around that makes the affair feel exciting.
Talk to a Professional
Lord knows Mary Jane belongs on somebody’s couch. A few sessions with a therapist can help you take a long, hard look at yourself and why you feel you deserve to be number two.
Listen to Your Clock
That ticking is sense warning you that this man will use your youth and let you go when the clock is running out on time for you to have a family of your own.
He’s been telling you his wife is crazy, but she could be off the chain for real. And when crazy finds out you’ve been sleeping with her husband, you might find yourself in an episode of When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong.
Make an Ultimatum
Tell him to confess to his wife and file for divorce today or you’re out. Either you’ll find out he’s not committed, or you’ll get a chance at continuing your relationship the right way — after the divorce is finalized and everyone has had time to heal.
Think About the Future
Even if he leaves his wife for you, the long run can be rough. Steal another woman’s man and you’ll wear that mark for the rest of your life. Your kids will hear it about their mother. And his kids will know the role you played in one of the worst periods of their lives.
Know That You Could Be Next
You feel special, but it might not be your stunner status that lured him away from your wife. He could just be a cheater who found you when he was looking to stray. And when the itch strikes again, he could be on the prowl again.
Watch Divorce Court
It’s full of women who were the other woman getting divorced for the next “other woman.”
Take a spa day. Get a massage and a pedicure. Start eating better. Treating yourself can boost your self esteem and remind you to put your needs first. Then…
Go On A Date
Ask the married friends you’ve been hanging with to hook you up with someone they think you’ll like. When you find the man that’s right for you, you’ll wonder what you saw in that cheater in the first place.