The “Other” Side of Infidelity: The Experience of the “Other” Partner, Anxious Love, and Implications for Practitioners

Paul DePompo, Misa Butsuhara

Abstract


Research on affairs has failed to acknowledge the “other woman” or “other man,” focusing only on the married spouses. The goal of this study was to explore the unique experience of the “other” partner to determine aspects critical to the navigation and healing process of these relationships. In this qualitative study, 49 participants, between the ages of 23 and 60 (N = 49; 31f, 18m), who were engaged in meaningful relationships with married partners completed a set of questionnaires and engaged in a semi-structured interview. Measures, which included the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and The Experience in Close Relationships Questionnaire Revised (ECR-R), indicated clinical levels of anxiety and maladaptive attachment styles among all participants. Seven themes emerged into a model that incorporates the role of anxiety, along with the origin and maintenance of these relationships. A protocol that combines areas of trauma, GAD, and social anxiety will likely be beneficial.

Keywords


affairs; anxiety; attachment; infidelity; other woman

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