The scene: You’ve been talking to this guy for a little while now. Maybe you met in person, or maybe you met on a dating app. The two of you immediately hit it off and started texting regularly, with him clearly flirting with you. You like him a lot, and you think you might’ve just found the perfect guy.
But sometimes, he’ll go hours without texting you back. Other times, he’s shifty about why he can’t hang out. And he never posts anything about you on social media, or introduces you to any of his friends. As far as you know, they don’t even know you exist. You start to wonder what’s going on with him.
Then, one day, you’re looking through his tagged photos on Instagram, or maybe you happen to see a text pop up on his phone, or maybe you spot something only a girlfriend would’ve left behind in his bathroom, and it suddenly dawns on you: He’s already in a relationship.
You find her social media profile, and she’s clearly under the impression that they’re exclusive. You feel betrayed, disgusted, and guilty. You were the other woman without even knowing it! Then the question comes: Should you tell the girlfriend what he’s been doing behind her back? Or is it none of your business?
What Are Your Options?
Obviously, it’s time for you to break off the relationship with him. The kind of man who’d trick you into being the other woman isn’t one you want to give a second chance to. That aside, what exactly are your options going forward?
First, you could simply ghost him. You could block his number and remove yourself from the situation entirely, staying out of the drama of a preexisting relationship that you don’t have any context for. This option certainly protects your own well-being and is the least messy. However, it's also a bit of the coward's way out. He may be duplicitous, but that doesn't mean you have to be shady too.
Your second option? Confronting him and telling him exactly why you’re ending things and that you’re cutting off all further communication.
Your third option is to out him. You could reach out to his current girlfriend and tell her everything. This would definitely create a mess, but it would also allow his girlfriend to make an informed decision, whether she chooses to stay or not.
The kind of man who’d trick you into being the other woman isn’t one you want to give a second chance to.
Does It Matter Whether They’re Dating or Married?
Should it matter whether he’s only been with his current girlfriend for a few months? Or maybe a little over a year? Or if he’s engaged? Or married with kids (which is obviously the most devastating)? Should his current relationship status matter when deciding how to move forward?
Probably not. The fact of the matter: He’s actively being unfaithful to the woman he’s with. And however long they’ve been together doesn’t change that. When you’re deciding whether or not to get his wife/girlfriend involved, it’s important to ask yourself: What would you want if you were in her shoes?
If You Decide To Tell Her
Say you decide it’s best to tell her, what should you say? What would be the most helpful to her?
First, ask her if she’s in a relationship with him: “Hey, are you dating so and so?” This way, you can gauge whether or not she’s under the impression that they’re in an exclusive relationship.
Once you confirm their relationship status, keep it short but kind, making sure she understands that you had no idea he was already taken: “I’m really sorry to tell you this, but I recently met him [insert situation here], and he definitely gave me the impression that he was single. We’d been talking/seeing each other for [insert timeframe here] before I found out about you. I broke up with him once I realized he was already in a relationship, but I thought you should know.”
Don’t forget to include receipts, screenshots, or anything else that’s relevant so that if she decides to confront him, he can’t deny it.
Be prepared for a myriad of reactions. She might get mad at you, or start asking questions, or not even reply. Whatever her response is, just remember how heartbroken she probably is.
Finding out you’ve unknowingly been the other woman is devastating. But there are a few ways you can handle it wisely. First, take the high road and break things off with him; don't just ghost him. Then, decide if you want to reach out to his girlfriend. If you do, remember to stay classy and kind; while it's been difficult for you, you know it can’t be easy for her either.
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