The Other Woman Has a Good Reason for Wrecking a Perfectly Happy Marriage

Say What!? 51

Cheating husbandThere are two targets for hatred in the sordid storyline of infidelity when a man steps out on his wife: the up-to-no-good man who cheats and—unless she’s none the wiser that he’s attached—the up-to-no-good woman he cheats with. The reaction is almost involuntary. She’s wrong, he’s wrong, next page. But venom is usually reserved in especially large quantities for the mistress, for some reason.

My guess is because it’s easier to wag the finger of blame at the imposter and give the do-wrong male involved a pass for “being a guy.” Which is, in the minds of level-headed women, infuriating and quite lame because a gal shouldn’t be saddled with the Hester Prynne treatment simply because she's the female half of the pair of cheaters. Boo hiss.

But there’s an increasingly outspoken cadre of ladies who are emerging to tell their stories and proclaim that they’re OK with being the mistress. They don’t expect their jumpoffs to leave their wives—in fact, they don’t want them to. They like the stability of their arrangements but appreciate the freedom to do what they want when they want. It’s not “relationship” in the conventional sense, but they’re happy siphoning off someone else’s household, sometimes openly.

Take, for instance, this confessional post on Ebony.com, which is pretty interesting. It’s an as-told-to story from a woman who has been having an affair with a married man for the past 15 years and says she can hold her head high because she’s satisfied being the other woman. She’s tried relationships of her own, she explains, and has been burned and burnt out from the emotional devastation and disappointments of failed romance.

Fifteen years as a mistress, though? That affair has lasted longer than plenty of marriages. Sheesh.

The arrangement she has now allows her to go out and have fun and be catered to and doted on and do all of the things she might do as part of a real couple, except she doesn’t have the obligation to make it work and ask questions of herself like she would if she wasn’t the other woman.

To a degree, I can empathize with her disenchantment with finding that special man and getting married and doing the whole happily ever after thing. It’s so idealistic when you’re a kid, like she said. It seems so simple. Then you go through that first heartbreak, which is usually the absolute most devastating, and then the subsequent ones, which ain’t no cakewalk either, and lose faith in and surety about love each time. It chips away at you.

But that doesn’t justify the pure selfishness of cheating, the devastation it imposes on whole families—including kids who have nothing to do with their parents’ unchecked libidos—and the cycle of mistrust and heartbreak it creates in other women. It’s looking out purely for self and inasmuch as I can understand someone’s disillusionment with love and marriage, that doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to make innocent victims of the wife and kids who are none the wiser. She really isn’t doing herself any favors, either. Couch time for the homewreckers in 3, 2, 1…

Do you think the so-called "man shortage" is making would-be wives settle for being mistresses?


Image via denharsh/Flickr

breakups, cheating, commitment, love, marriage