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Do men really love the other woman, or do they just think they do?

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband has announced that he’s in love with the other woman from his work and he’s telling me that there’s nothing that I can do or say because he can’t help the way that he feels. Suddenly, he’s being affectionate to our children and kind to his mother. I feel like I don’t have any recourse or any way to fight back. My friends say that men just think they love the mistress because the sex is good and suddenly he has a little excitement in his life. Are my friends’ right? Are men just infatuated with the other woman? Or can it really be love?”

I have a definite opinion on this, but it’s probably not a very objective one. I have been the spouse who was cheated on, although my husband was under no delusions that he was in love. And I hear from a lot of people in this situation. As the result, it is my opinion that very often; men are infatuated rather than truly in love. I will tell you some of the reasons behind my opinion below.

In Order To Feel Real Love, You Need To Truly Know And Value The Other Person As They Really Are: I would argue that if you were to ask one of these men who were supposedly “in love” with their mistress what it was that he loved about her, you’d get some pretty predictable responses. Men will often point out her particular physical attributes (“she’s young and hot”) or they will describe the way that she makes him feel. Examples of this are things like “she understands me” or “she makes me feel alive.”

Rarely will you hear him say that she is an honourable person with a kind heart or that he admires her strength and courage. And there’s a very good reason for this. He often doesn’t know her well enough to even know about these attributes. He only knows her on the surface. And their interactions are only based on having as much fun together in the shortest amount of stolen time. So it’s unrealistic to think that they are going to develop a real or meaningful relationship.

It’s Easy For Him To Be Infatuated With The Person That He Wants Or Needs Her To Be: Men often see a very distorted version of the other woman. In fact, he will often mould her until she is who he needs her to be in his own mind. See, he has to make her into someone who is really special because otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense for him to risk his marriage or to be so deceptive. So he will build her up and he will project onto her the things that he wants her to be.

If he’s been feeling insecure about himself, then she is suddenly the one who gives him confidence. If he’s been feeling misunderstood or taken for granted, then suddenly she’s the one who really appreciates or gets him. If his wife doesn’t pay attention to what’s important to him, then suddenly the other woman is the most observant and attentive woman in the world. But here’s the thing. Although all of these thoughts and distortions feel great in the beginning, they often are not sustainable. The longer that the relationships lasts, the more likely it is that eventually reality is going to set in. One day, he’s going to see her in her curlers or without make up. Or one day, she will snap at him or make demands that show her true colours or the true nature of the relationship.

Reality Is Not As Exciting As Fantasy: The truth is that no one person and no one relationship is perfect. No one is going to complete your life except for you. And men will often think that adding another woman or a new relationship to their life is suddenly going to make them happy when they haven’t changed one thing in their life or their behaviours. Real love that is rooted in reality comes with knowing all the facts about the other person, including their attributes and their flaws, and loving them anyway. Real love comes from hanging in there when the other person needs you even when things aren’t perfect or easy.

“Love” that is built on deception and that happening while deceiving your partner isn’t real. It’s fantasy. It feels fun and exciting at the time, but often guilt and reality come calling. It’s very hard to feel good about the relationship deep in your heart where it counts. Because you know that you’ve lied and you’ve cheated the one that you’ve promised to love the most. And in the quiet corners of your mind (when you’re not with that other person and experiencing the high of the new relationship,) that starts to eat at you.

So to answer the question posed, I do believe that many men are infatuated with the other woman because they’ve built her up to be who they need her to be at the time. Of course, men sometimes tell me that their mistress is now their wife and that they’re blissfully happy with their new soul mate, but I believe that this is the exception rather than the rule.

Now, I fully admit that I am not the most objective person.  But I just don’t believe that true love can come out of deceit and fantasy.  I also believe that many men eventually come to their senses and return to reality.  Luckily, my husband knew that his relationship with the other woman wasn’t real, but we had other challenges in our recovery.  Thankfully, we were able to overcome them.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at

Katie Lersch 


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  1. [...] prior to the 1960′s would certainly have focused on the fact that a male was committing the adultery. It would have been assumed that he was with a woman, and, additionally, it would have been assumed [...]

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