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          The Other Woman

          June 04, 2003

          If you think putting a ring on a man’s finger will keep “the other women” away, think again. Dr. Phil goes face-to-face with women who have affairs with married men.

          Ingrid says she can count on one hand the number of single men she’s dated. “I don’t go looking for these men. They naturally present themselves,” she says. “If I wanted, I can bring home a different married man every night of the week.”
          She makes no apologies for what she does. “I don’t think I’m the keeper of every marriage,” she says. In fact, she blames the wives of married men for allowing their husbands to stray. “I think married women need a wake-up call,” she says. “A married man will not make himself available if he is happy at home.”
          Dr. Phil doesn’t buy it. He asks: “What the hell right does that give you to inject yourself into the relationship?”
          Ingrid continues to justify her actions, saying that “if a gentleman is willing to invite me into it, he is telling me that relationship is not solid.”
          Ingrid, who’s been married and divorced twice, says she’s “pretty certain” that her husbands cheated on her, though they denied it. Asked how that made her feel, she says, “I took a little ownership of it, meaning something must be missing.” 

          When Erin found out that her husband Alan was cheating on her, she blamed herself, especially because she was busy with work, school, raising their two children, and was exhausted from being pregnant with their third.
          “Had our communication been better, had he felt that he could talk about the things that were bothering him, he wouldn’t have struck up a “friendship” with someone like Ingrid,” she says, “and then it wouldn’t have developed into something more.”
          Ingrid says Erin is “right on the money,” but Dr. Phil is unconvinced. “What a complete and utter load of crap!” he says. “Women can do things to set themselves up to be victimized in this way. That much I agree with. That doen’t mean you own it. It doesn’t mean it’s your fault!”
          Women should be attentive and plugged into their mate, suggests Dr. Phil. “But you know what you need to do if you’re not communicating? Start communicating!”
          Dr. Phil tells Erin the affair her husband had was not her fault. “Do relationships get in tough places? Of course they do, ” he says. “But the way to fix that is not to turn away from each other and go to someone outside the relationship.”  

          After a long-term affair with a married man, Annique turns to Dr. Phil for help. “I’m just so afraid that I’m going to wake up 10 years from now and it’s going to be too late for me,” she says. “I don’t know how to break out of it and where to go from here.”
          Annique explains that the man has left his wife for her before, but he’s always gone back to his wife. “You’re getting played for a fool,” Dr. Phil tells her, pointing out that even if he did leave his wife, the chance of a relationship that begins in an extramarital affair succeeding long term is less than five percent.
          After Annique admits that she hangs on to the relationship because she fears being alone, Dr. Phil tells her: “If you’re going to have to take a risk of freefalling into a world where you have no committed partner, wouldn’t you rather do it now than later?” asks Dr. Phil. “You might meet someone wonderful out there, or you might even discover that ‘If I’m going to be alone, I’m not a bad person to do it with.'”
          Dr. Phil adds, “The only thing worse than wasting eight years of your life is wasting eight years and one day. So what you need to do is give yourself permission to walk out the door and say ‘I’d rather take the risk of being alone than stay here and be used and abused.’ And then you can begin to forgive yourself for ever being in this to begin with. But that can’t start until you get the guts to walk out the door.”

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