Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Our societal structure supports our right to create the life we want for ourselves, and to work towards our dreams and desires - in fact, we are positively encouraged to pursue our happiness. Unfortunately, our single-minded pursuit of our own satisfaction often comes at a price - we sometimes make choices that hurt others. In our free society we are privileged to be able to behave improperly if we choose.
In getting involved with a married man, you know exactly what you are getting into. After all, you’re researching rules on how to be the other woman - you absolutely know what you are getting into but have decided to do it anyway.
Without diving into the obvious contradictions here, if you’re going to be the other woman at least try to do it with a degree of honesty, consideration, and integrity and follow some simple affair rules.
1. Don’t Do It
I know, rule number 1 is don’t do it?? Assuming you’re of the mind that this is your life and you’re going to live it how you choose regardless of how your choices impact others, then telling you not to do it will fall on your very deaf ears.
The ethical thing would be to sever contact with him until such time that he honorably ends his marriage to pursue a relationship with you. Instead, you’ve deemed that any harm caused by your involvement with a married man is an acceptable price for you getting what you want.
I won’t needlessly flog the dead horse, but it had to be said anyway.
2. Don’t Believe He’s Faithful to You
That might be a little ironic to point out in this situation, but it is what it is.
- While in our experience it’s not common for cheaters to have multiple, concurrent affairs (though it does happen), we observe that men always continue to have/try to have sex with their wives throughout their affair(s).
- If you happen to be in the unfortunate position of having a serial cheater on your hands (and it’s very common for a cheater to be a serial cheater) be clear that he will cheat on any woman with whom he’s involved, despite any love declarations.
Cheaters can be highly unoriginal and in our experience affairs are often shady facsimiles of their previous dating relationships. Trust that he’s used the same lines before, even if they were on his wife. Please take his promises, assurances, and declarations with a whole sack of rock salt.
3. Make a Condom Mandatory
Unfortunately, you both bring your own sexual history to the table and then he goes home and shares yours with his wife. (And refer to 2 - despite his declarations, you might not be his first or only affair.)
In all of this, none of you deserve to contract an STI. But you have an advantage over his wife because you at least understand that there is a third person in the mix - she doesn’t.
You might not give two hoots about her but do the ethical thing, in this at least, and use a condom. Not all STIs are curable.
4. Stay Away From Their Kids
Don’t weaponize kids or use them to try to curry favor or as convenient cover. Using their children as a way to facilitate their father’s affair -even if it’s at his instigation- raises red flags about who you truly are. Woman up here - they’re kids - gently refuse to get involved with them until after he’s divorced.
There is, if you like, an etiquette of the illicit which is vital to protect the innocent in these situations — his partner, his children.
Carol Sarler: I was a mistress three times
Don’t screw their children up by giving them an obvious memory of their father being unfaithful to their mother with you. It will cause a negative dynamic with them if you become part of their lives legitimately, as their father’s girlfriend or new wife.
5. Don’t Tell His Wife
In fact, don’t contact her at all, ever. There’s no legitimate reason to contact his wife unless it’s your spiteful, deliberate, and malicious intent to gloat or cause an uproar.
Many mistresses exact revenge not upon the miscreant himself, but upon his family.
Carol Sarler: I was a mistress three times
There is nothing you can say that will help her, mitigate what her husband is doing, or make her think better of you (or him). She will see through any faux concern or solidarity (especially if he has dumped you).
She does have a right to know about her husband’s affair but she will recognize your own self-interest in you choosing to disclose the affair to her and that makes you the last person in the world who should presume to inform her.
6. Observe a No Go Zone
Oh the thrill of having sex in their bed? Err … no. It’s seedy, it’s ugly, and it’s malicious. It’s the equivalent of a dog pissing on the carpet to mark its territory. Get a room. Seriously. Stay away from their home.
Whilst an affair is the opposite of respecting boundaries, at least respect property boundaries. Don’t spy, don’t stalk, don’t sit at the end of the drive craning your neck for a glimpse of him/them. This is her home, her life, her family, and her belongings with her husband. You are not invited or entitled to observe or experience their or her life.
7. Stop Justifying
You might postulate how monogamy is unnatural, how it’s an unrealistic artificial societal construct, and how you’re a free spirit and how you intend to carpe diem the hell out of life.
You might wax lyrical about soulmates, karma, free choice, and how a higher power wouldn’t have thrust you together (excuse the imagery) unless your love was for realsies.
You might indulge in invective about his wife’s inadequacies, imperfections, and unworthiness, contrasting those to your own stellar qualities, but please understand that you didn’t win in a competition with her - he’s involved with you because you are the kind of person who will participate in an affair.
You might genuinely consider any animus or vindictiveness you feel towards his wife as uncharacteristic and believe you are a good person. Does it follow that you’re a good person if you continue to cause harm while knowing that it is harmful?
Stop dressing it up: You are knowingly and deliberately complicit in harming another person because you consider it an acceptable price for your own satisfaction.
8. Pay Your Own Way
Cheaters are very concerned with how they are perceived and he probably delights in your thanking him for expressing his ‘feelings’ for you by spending money on lingerie and jewelry. However, we often encounter wives who are struggling to feed their kids (and that’s not hyperbole) because their husband spent the grocery money on a fancy dinner to impress his other woman.
You’re not impressed with dinner - we both know that because buying dinner is an unremarkable and easy thing to do - after all, you’ve been buying your own food for years! Don’t be part of that hideous version of prostitution where you expect to be showered with treats or gifts as the upside to the inconvenience of not being his wife.
You knew what you were getting into - if you expect gifts as compensation for the inconvenience of your choices, why not just put a tariff sheet above your bed?
9. Don’t Insinuate Yourself Into Her Life/Home
Don’t buy him a dog or give him a pet rock. Don’t buy him clothes or cologne. Don’t plant little mementos of you (love notes, lipstick marks, scratches, panties) on him. Don’t attend venues he’s attended with his wife and family, or try to hang out with his friends. Don’t send birthday gifts to his kids’ birthday parties.
First, you have no rights. Your feelings and your needs are at the bottom of the heap: below his wife’s, his children’s and their hamster’s. So no, you may not phone his home — ‘just to hear his voice’ — and slam it down if his wife answers.
Neither can you ask to hear from him during weekends, holidays or at Christmas, regardless of your loneliness or sudden illnesses. You are on your own. You will not send saucy emails or photographs that his wife could stumble upon on their home computer — even if he asks you to.
Carl Sarler: I was a mistress three times
Observe a clear demarcation between his affair (you) and his life (his family and home).
10. Don’t Indulge Your Affair Via Facebook
Don’t use social media to post pictures of the two of you together. Don’t post status updates about illicit love or passionate longing. Don’t post details of your hook up arrangements. It’s tacky, it’s unnecessary, and it’s smug. It’s also very unattractive to a married man trying keeping you on the down-low. If you feel the urge to try to get your relationship out from under the rock, refer to 5, 6 and 9.
It’s absurd to treat his affair with you like a normal relationship: If you want to do all those usual relationship social media things, hook up with someone single.
11. Don’t Get Pregnant
I know, you’d NEVER trap him like that and you’re insulted that anyone could suggest it. In our experience it’s abhorrently common for the other woman to try to trap the married man with a pregnancy. You might believe that you’re different but emotions can run high in affair land - and we’ve already established that you are prepared to throw your ethics out of the window if it means you getting what you want (refer to 1), so let’s not pretend here.
Oh, and refer to 3. Again.
12. Prepare Your Break-Up Song
I know - your love is different: It’s special; he’s different; he’s not a tawdry cheater; you’re not the stereotypical other woman; it wasn’t planned, it just happened. Refer to 7.
Unfortunately, if you have dreams of marrying him and living happily ever after, the odds aren’t in your favor. Understand that most affairs end - not all, but most. When you’re dreaming of becoming Mrs Cheating Married Man remember that his second marriage has a 67% chance of failing just because it’s his second marriage, affair aside. If you then factor in affair statistics, only 25% of the few affairs that become marriages actually last - added to the already dismal second marriage figures, it’s a rather sorry picture.
So, if you’re holding out hope that your affair-to-marriage will beat the odds, buckle up buttercup because only an approximate 0.13% of the population fits that demographic.
“A man who marries his mistress leaves a vacancy in that position.”
~ Oscar Wilde
Sobered by that incredibly tiny likelihood that your relationship with him will last, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting a breakup song for you:
While you’re wailing in anguish about how he wre-e-ecked you, refer to 1: You deemed that any harm caused by your involvement with a married man was an acceptable price for you getting what you wanted.