The Other Woman: The Zoology


If the title of this post happens to conjure images of the other woman as a warthog or blobfish for you, that is:

a) your own imagination/interpretation/inference/prerogative 

b) entirely unintended and coincidental, and of course, nothing at all to do with this rather amusing picture insert of a blobfish.

The Other Woman

There are lots of articles out there that delve into the psyche of the other woman, many of which are sympathetic to the plight of these poor unfortunate women, who are being shamelessly used by a cheater. I can assure you that this article is not going to be in the same class.

You might ask why I am excluding the other man from this post. The simple explanation is that the experience here is overwhelmingly with the other woman. It’s rare to find the other man seeking support in a chat room (or forum) that is targeted towards the faithful partner or the cheater.

There are support resources out there specifically for the other person in an affair and again, the majority of members there are female. (If you ever feel inclined to take a peek into the world of an affair partner forum, brace yourself - it’s not pretty.) Similarly, the affair partners who venture into our midst at IHG are generally female.

IHG Biological Classification of the Other Woman

Exhaustive? No. Science? Not at all. These ‘classifications’ are based on nothing more than years of observation of the other woman in her affair habitat.

The Queen Bee

Queen BeeThe Queen Bee is a high maintenance other woman. She enters an affair because it satisfies and validates her own sense that she’s so desirable and sought after that even someone committed to another would abandon that commitment for her.

She thrives on (and demands) extravagant and/or public demonstrations of love and undying devotion, and gets petulant and difficult if she doesn’t get the grand gestures and Hollywood-esque romance that she rightly deserves. She’s will probably ‘out’ the affair so that she may bask in the glory of people’s jealousy of her inherent allure, and repeatedly threaten to end the affair if the cheater doesn’t capitulate to her and her desires.

She sees the wife as inconsequential to her own desires (a dispensable, unimportant, and perhaps irritating buzz in her world), and is rather disdainful about her. She feels entitled to get what she wants, and doesn’t feel the need to justify her own behaviors to anyone. She can’t imagine a circumstance where the cheater would choose his old battleaxe of a wife over her fabulousness.

Tagline: Die for love for me.

The Chameleon

ChameleonThe other woman Chameleon has predatory instincts and enters an affair because she sets her sights on her quarry and then pursues it. That quarry might be a specific person, but is more typically an ideal that she believes will validate her in some way.

The Chameleon holds a clichéd view of the life she wants to lead, wanting whatever fairy tale she holds as her ideal life for herself. This ideal could be sourced from Hollywood, religion, upbringing, or simple envy of the lives of others. She will set herself on a path to gain exactly what she wants, and will morph into whatever nature of person she needs to be to land her prey. She will profess an outlook on life that aligns with the cheater. She will feign her adoption of similar tastes in music, literature, and interests (which may be wildly different to her genuine preferences) to lull the cheater into believing that they have so much in common that they are soul mates. She is emotionally astute and coldly calculating, identifying who she needs to become in order to get what she wants.

The wife is a target to be brought down and devoured if possible. She’s the focus of the Chameleon’s resentment, ire, and hatred, because she occupies territory that should (by rights) be the Chameleon’s. She will probably embark on a campaign of poisonous whisperings, and will cajole, emotionally blackmail, and threaten the cheater in her efforts to get him to leave his wife. Any obvious pain seen in the wife is an added bonus.

Tagline: My name? What do you want it to be?

The Flea

fleaWe probably all know a flea. They’re the girl who can’t be alone. She can’t bear to watch movies alone, tackling the changing of a light bulb challenges her idea of her role in life, and she needs a man to survive.

The flea will, once she’s jumped onto her host (cheater), dig in and hang on for dear life. She will gush and be in awe of her man’s (ahem) manliness, and his capable manly hands, and his unsurpassed manly excellence as a lover. She devours self-help books entitled, “Make Your Man Feel Like a Man and Find Your Bliss”. Her heroine is Dr Laura Schlessinger, and she carries around “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” like a vade mecum. Her every moment is devoted to being indispensable, servile, self-sacrificing, and goodly. She irons his socks and lovingly gathers his toenail clippings from the bathroom floor to add to the collection she named, “Memories of All the Ways I Love You”.

The flea considers that the wife deserves to lose her man. The poor soul hasn’t been treated right at all, and it’s hardly surprising that he came looking for the flea and her right and reverential treatment of her man. The flea despises the wife and harbors the fantasy that this failure of a woman will get to see her man walk down the aisle with a proper woman … the flea.

Tagline: Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.


BambiIf anyone in the other woman compendium deserves compassion, Bambi is it. She’s the unwitting affair partner, drawn into an affair in the belief that her new boyfriend is single (or at least separated etc) and free to date.

Bambi believes that she’s found love with an honest and honorable guy, and has no idea that she is being duped into being an affair partner - the label ‘the other woman’ horrifies her. There are many that would argue that she must ‘know’, that there must have been ‘signs’, but if we don’t levy that against a wife who has been deceived by her husband then it’s unreasonable to expect Bambi to have super-powers of detection.

Bambi is the other woman who is more a clueless victim, and when the affair comes to light is genuinely distraught and upset. She might even go through the same feelings as the wife does, because from her perspective her partner has been cheating on her (with the wife as it turns out, but the concept for Bambi is the same). She is frozen in headlights and has to work her way through the same mess.

Tagline: How could you do this to me??

The Bonobo

bonoboThe bonobo is a sexually free and uninhibited other woman who is not seeking to settle down with any specific partner. This other woman is someone whose sexual freedom is something she embraces and satisfies with sexual partners from all walks of life and circumstances, relationship status aside.

The bonobo other woman won’t consider her one night stand with your cheater as ‘an affair’, and she won’t see herself as the other woman. She will simply see that she is having consensual sex with another consenting adult, without any emotional attachment.

The bonobo other woman isn’t looking for an emotional involvement with her sexual partners, and doesn’t consider someone’s existing relationship as a barrier. There is no malice or negative intent towards the cheater or the wife - she simply feels that the cheater’s choice to have sex with her is firmly and entirely his issue to deal with.

Tagline: A hard man is good to find.

The Ugly Duckling

ugly duckling1

Many faithful partners ask the question about why their cheaters have affairs with someone whom they perceive is somehow ‘lesser’ in the looks department.

The ugly ducking other woman isn’t necessarily ugly. She might have a poor self-image and is incredibly flattered to be sought out and pursued by a man who clearly (and perhaps surprisingly) finds her desirable.

When a woman has not received much flattery in her life, she will be seduced.

~ Melina Marchetta

While the ugly duckling doesn’t have to be ugly, if her new man (your cheater) is more attractive/successful/intelligent than she is, she may also be a little star struck and hold on even more tightly to her prize specimen of awesomeness.

Affairing Down

Many cheaters ‘affair down’:

The other woman isn’t necessarily a ‘better model’ than the wife. Affairing down can be about any number of  subjective perceptions of traits and characteristics of the other woman: attractiveness, education, intellect, personality … and it’s very common.

It’s also a question of availability - the available pool of ‘other women’ is limited because it is only populated by those who are open to having a relationship with someone already in a committed relationship. 

The cheater doesn’t cheat because the other woman is inordinately special. They are not ‘better’ than the wife; they’re new, available, meet something that the cheater wants, and is willing to be a dirty secret.

The ugly duckling other woman will tolerate being side-lined for a long time because she considers herself fortunate to have a partner at all (even if he is married already). She doesn’t want to push her luck and risk losing the stud that she has landed, so she accepts her snatched (and therefore romantic, of course) moments with the cheater. She probably dresses up her teddy bear in one of his old t-shirts and hugs it and revels in his scent as she goes to sleep.

She feels sure that one day he will leave his wife, and then their real lives together can start. The ugly ducking is the other woman who believes the cheater who tells her, “When the kids are older, I can leave, you wouldn’t want me to hurt them would you?” Or, “I am just staying for financial reasons until I can afford to divorce her - be patient baby.” She will wait and wait and wait, and wonder and dream and plan for her future.

She is generally consumed with unbearable jealousy for the wife. She wants the wife to just vanish and leave her and the cheater to live their lives happily. She believes the wife is holding onto the cheater out of spite (or financial dependence) and she believes (bizarrely) that she is centrally important to the wife, her life, and the children. (She also is likely to harbor resentment for any children that are the product of the marriage.) She has a dislike of anyone whom she sees as a barrier to her own happiness with her knight in shining armor.

Tagline: Back off bitch, I saw him second.

The Cheater

AntechinusI couldn’t end this post without at least a nod to the cheater in all of this.

If you’re looking at this picture and seeing a rat, I completely understand. But it’s not a rat. This little marsupial is an antechinus - one of the most promiscuous animals on the planet. Whilst promiscuity per se isn’t something I am judging negatively (if you’re single and it’s consensual, have at it!), what is remarkable about this little creature is that it will cavort with several partners at the same time, ultimately to its destruction (they die after marathon mating sessions).

Whilst affairs aren’t about sex (despite that being a popular concept), they are about engaging in behaviors that are ultimately destructive - not just to their wives and their affair partners, but also to themselves and their own lives/lifestyle/stability.

Regardless of the nature and ‘classification’ of the other woman, the cheater is the one who bears the responsibility for their affair and the assault on their relationship. They are not lured into it, they are not compelled, driven, or taken into an affair against their will.

It’s far easier to blame the other woman for the affair because you have no positive feelings towards her, and you are probably seeking to reconcile with your husband. It’s easier to believe the other woman is a heinous and revolting witch … but the truth is that she is no worse than your husband.

… But your decisions define you. I hope, for the sake of other women and their families, that you make a better one next time.

~ Amy Chan

This is my broad-brush view of types of the other woman - it’s not intended to be comprehensive, or to align with anyone else’s assessment of different types of other woman.

There are patterns to affairs and affair behaviors that are worth exploring, and that includes patterns in the other women in those affairs. These are some traits that I identify as common traits in the other women with whom I have interacted (and that’s a fair number, from which I exclude Bambi’s):

  • a cast-iron justification for their involvement in the affair
  • entitlement to be with the cheater
  • jealousy, animus, and contempt for the wife
  • spiteful and malicious interactions with the wife


You may well have encountered a different species of other woman in your life - if you have and wish to share it, feel free to comment here or in our forum. I’d be delighted to read it (for educational purposes, of course).

I call it as I see it … and if I happen to see a warthog, so be it!

~ Wayfarer



“I'm not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • MYR

    While the ugly duckling doesn’t have to be ugly, if her new man (your cheater) is more attractive/successful/intelligent than she is, she may also be a little star struck and hold on even more tightly to her prize specimen of awesomeness. - Pretty much sums up my cheater’s affair partner, and my cheater totally took advantage of this, and wines and dined her, giving her a taste of the good life. I am not having feelings of insecurity about her looks, personality, etc. just really pissed he took her to so many places I love.

    • Wayfarer_IHG

      Hi MYR - thank you for taking the time to comment. :)

      Yes, it’s curious isn’t it? It’s almost like a re-enactment of parts of your own relationship with him in a way. In my experience, this is actually quite common - frustrating and disrespectful, but entirely unoriginal!

      I am sorry that you’re having to deal with this mess in your relationship - if you haven’t already, you might like to register with our forum (and/or our Facebook support group) so that you can share and get support from the rest of the community. It’s difficult to deal with this situation and I think it’s important to get support where you can.

      Wishing you well. Stay strong.

      ~ Wayfarer

  • gettingusedtoitnow

    My husband’s affair partner was a cross between a queen bee and a flea. I guess that makes her a queen flea? Thanks for posting this article. It actually made me almost laugh while thinking about her. That was “almost” refreshing!

    • Wayfarer_IHG

      Hi GettingUsedToItNow

      Queen Flea! That made me laugh! :)

      Sometimes this whole infidelity mess can erode and puncture our sense of humor, and I am glad that the article brought you some amusement - that was its intent.

      There is often such disapprobation nowadays about faithful partners’ comments about the affair partner (typically, the Other Woman). Whilst there is validity to some of the foundational rationale of this call for faithful partners not to attack the other woman, I don’t agree with it in entirety.

      I personally do not find the OW to blame for an affair. I don’t find her primarily responsible for the assault on the relationship and the effects that has on the faithful partner. She personally owes the faithful partner nothing. She could not have inserted herself into the relationship without first being invited to by the cheater.

      However, I DO hold her responsible for being complicit in the harm to another. I DO hold her culpable for her abuse, disrespect, and enmity towards the faithful partner.I find her WHIOLLY to blame for her willing and knowing engagement in (or continuation of) an affair regardless of the consequences to anyone else. I find her WHOLLY to blame for abdicating reasonable and ethical concern for the impact of her choices on others.

      I have dealt with considerable numbers of affair partners in my years of doing this. I find that they are typically NOT duped into an affair; they are typically unbalanced, irrational, and inconsiderate of their contribution to the pain of another. It’s interesting that the easily identifiable negative traits in the other woman aren’t that dissimilar to the cheater: entitled, selfish, disrespectful and lacking in compassion and empathy.

      If we’re going to mock, shame, and be disgusted by the OW, then let’s at least be honest and objective and understand that if we levy this against her, then we must levy similar (and worse) disapprobation at the cheater, tenfold. Queen Flea vs antechinus. We don’t get to call her a whore without calling him a manslut, manwhore, douchebag.

      You might like to read this, too:
      She’s A Homewrecker

      Mistress of Self-Decelption

      The Obligation of the Other Person