Most women don't start out wanting to be the "other woman" in a relationship ... they start out looking for a great relationship with a good man. Meanwhile, a man who is still "supposedly" exclusive in one relationship may not share this fact with the women he meets outside of his current relationship. When you're a single woman, there's no way to tell whether a guy is exclusive in a relationship so the likelihood that a seemingly, innocent woman could be the "other woman" is fairly high on the scale. And although this article isn't focused on married men who "forget" to wear their ring to meet single women, you can still apply the same principles here in those cases as well. This scenario also works in reverse when the woman who has been in an exclusive relationship with her man for a period of time becomes the "other woman" as a result of a new woman who enters his life and becomes his priority.
In general, men pursue relationships with the "other woman" when they become bored of their current relationships or feel they are no longer fulfilling their needs. Rather than risk hurting the woman in their current relationship and lose the perks and benefits of being in that relationship, they may decide to pursue other options until they feel the time is right to end their current one. At the same time, the woman who he has been exclusive with in the relationship has probably become far too relaxed and therefore, is completely blindsided by his actions since she never saw the infidelity coming.
When you're not married, you're free to date as you wish. There are no rings to prove you belong to someone else or laws to protect the relationship from outsiders. However, I want to give you a few "tried and true" ways to effectively determine your relationship status, help you to sustain your relationship status if it is a good one or avoid any instances of being the other woman (if possible).
Tips To Avoid Being The Other Woman
1. Accept more dates on weekends (preferrably Saturday nights). This is one of those old fashioned rules that still applies in dating. I must admit I learned this in the book The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, and was blown away immediately by how much this works in dating. Having compared the Saturday night date to an ordinary week night date, I will say that this rule still holds its weight in gold. From my own personal experiences, men tend to be much more serious about a woman he takes out on the weekends as they could be enjoying other activities or spending time with family and friends rather than going out on a date with you. You are considered someone special or at the very minimum someone with a lot of potential if he decides to take you out on Saturday. Interestingly enough, I have had guys validate this little rule saying that they take their time getting prepared for dates with women they take out on Saturdays as opposed to other nights, which indicates the relative importance.
2. Avoid just "hanging out" with him. This is the opposite of the first tip, but still important to mention as its own separate step. When a man only sees you as a "sex buddy" or no longer sees you as being significant in his life, he may just ask you to "hang out." If you're not conscious of the American modern day dating slang, this means either going out with him and his buddies (not on a real date) or come over to his house to have sex. Men don't invite their significant others to just "hang out" when they are serious about their mates. Sure, there are times when "hanging out" at home watching a movie are fun things to do, but when it becomes a regular activity in your relationship, it is time to question whether the relationship is going in the right direction for you.
3. Be aware of consistent or inconsistent phone calls. This is another little old fashioned tip that is worth mentioning. Men call women to let them know how much they care and are thinking about them, even when they're not on dates with them. They also know how much phone calls mean to their significant other and will call them accordingly. If a guy starts a relationship calling you every day, but then slacks off suddenly, there's no reason to go into panic mode. It should just give you a little nudge to evaluate the status of your relationship.
4. Notice his attention towards you on holidays and birthdays. Yes, ladies, that sick little feeling you get when your man does not acknowledge your birthday or give you a gift on a holiday such as Valentine's Day or Christmas may just be your intuition giving you a wake up call. I've observed men tell their supposedly "significant other" how much this old fashioned rule doesn't make sense in these harsh economic times, but then subsequently go buy their "main squeeze" a gift in celebration of them. Keep reading...
More infidelity advice from YourTango: