My passion is individual satisfaction and joy. In learning about that, I am also interested in why people do what they do and how they sometimes get stuck in patterns or habits that are bringing them the opposite of what they want. I also love words and look for the best way to say something. My goals are to identify and not condemn. I am going to look at the mistress concept, give some examples of the realities of being a mistress, talk about how to get out of it if you are in that cycle and how to show virtue when hit on by a married man. I am also going to present at the end why women may sacrifice their virtue when it comes to professional athletes.
Recently, many women have been getting a great deal of press and possibly money for having supposedly been mistresses to Tiger Woods. There was an article by one concerned father about how this glamorizing being a mistress might impact young girls. That somehow being a mistress could be something that might bring attention, fame and money. First, let's look at the definition of a mistress and then I will present some of the realities of being a mistress.
According to the dictionary, a mistress is woman with whom a man habitually fornicates. The dictionary defines fornication as human intercourse other than between a man and his wife; sexual intercourse between a spouse and an unmarried person.
We've heard the things Tiger supposedly texted and said to these alleged mistresses. Telling them each that they were special, they understood him better than his wife and each of them believing him. Even to the extent that the mistresses were upset to learn that there had been other mistresses. They believed that a man who would take a marriage vow before all his family and friends and supposedly break it with his wife would show better integrity and honor with them.
Two sayings come to mind. The first one, I don't know where it comes from, says "ignore what a man says and watch what he does. He will tell you who he wants to be with his words and show you who he is with his actions."
The next came from Ann Landers a long time ago. "What do you get when you marry a man who cheats on his wife? A man who cheats on his wife." He won't change for you if he didn't change for her and he wouldn't be with you if he had character. Remember, a man who has honor does the right thing no matter how he feels. That means even if he is lonely and mad at his wife and attracted to you, he would wait until he is divorced or had filed for divorce to pursue you. How come? Because following his feelings no matter the cost is not honorable.
So, for anyone who thinks being a mistress sounds glamorous, here are some realities to consider.
1. He may tell you that you are the one, how special you are, that he wishes you had always been together, how you are so much better than his wife at understanding him, but when his wife or kids call, you will be outranked every time. And, rightly so. And, if he turned his back on his wife, kids and duty and obligations for short-term pleasure with you, would you ever feel safe knowing that he has that behavior habit?
2. You will enter hotels separately and have to pretend you do not know each other if you bump into anyone he knows. He will never be able to have his guard down when you are in public. He will need to withhold affection until you are alone. So you will play friends or strangers in public, lovers in private. Eventually the hide and seek and the "fun" of sneaking around will wear on you because you are his secret and inside he is ashamed of what he doing with you. The more well known he is, more games you will need to play to keep your reality hidden.
3. When you are in the shower or step out for a minute, he will call his wife and kids so when you return from the bathroom and he looks like he was caught by surprise or if he takes longer than he should to meet you, yes, he was talking to her and reassuring her. Her feelings outrank yours. If you are both upset one day, he will most likely take care of her. And, rightly so. He made a promise to her.
4. You will wait for him because you are outranked. If work needs him or his wife is upset or daughter has homework issues, you are not included in this. If his mom is sick, any family emergency, you are neither welcome not included. Your presence causes his wife and children pain and creates family chaos that he is allowing to impact those who he is supposed to treat as precious. If you are sick, his health insurance will not provide for you. When you get old, his pension or investments will not come to you, unless he had made special arrangements. You are giving your heart to someone who is providing security to someone else when there are other good men out there who are available to appreciate and be there for you. And, if you arrange getting pregnant, it does not mean he will leave her to take care of you. He may choose to be a father to the child and participate beyond financial support, but you cannot force a man to love or want you by getting pregnant with his child. In one study, they found that of the top 7 things that were a factor in a happy long term marriage, not being pregnant leading to the marriage made the list.
5. You are spending your precious life waiting for someone who is confused and has not grown up. You are allowing him to use your body. He took vows to be faithful to another women, he is breaking those vows and has split loyalties. He feels healthy guilt and shame about it. Is this really what you want? You will spend holidays alone, most weekends alone, your birthday alone, if a family issue comes up. He will tell you how hard it is for him but remember the first rule, ignore what he says and watch what he does. His actions say that it is a lot harder for him to upset his wife and family and face a potential divorce and societal judgment than to disappoint you and make you cry again. Rent the movie When Harry Met Sally and watch the woman character who year after year, keeps realizing he isn't leaving his wife.
So, if you are in a mistress or otherwise unhealthy situation, here are a few tips to help if you decide to make a change.
First, women bond with oxytocin, called the love hormone, which is produced in your body. And, bonding can start before you have any physical contact. Oxytocin is good when it bonds women to their babies and good men and troublesome when it bonds women prematurely to men who are not good for them or to men whom the women have not known long enough to assess the man's character. So, when you have great chemistry with a guy and especially if you allow any penetration at all of your body, oxytocin increases your sense of trust, even if the person does not warrant it. And, you can go through withdrawal symptomswithdrawal symptoms when you try to leave.
Before moving onto how to extricate yourself, I want to acknowledge the abundance of virtue that does exist today. I want to give credit to the many men, including wealthy men and famous athletes, and many women who stay faithful to their vows. Many people do take marriage seriously and understand and keep their promises and agreements. I also want to give credit to the many single women who exhibit virtue by saying, "No" to married men who are looking for extramarital affairs.
When asked, I advise single women approached by married men to decline involvement until he is fully divorced. A psychologist I know suggests waiting until the couple has filed for divorce to date him and not having intercourse of any kind until the divorce is final. She considers the divorce filing the spiritual end of the marriage. I think it isn't over until the divorce is final.
What is the reason for avoiding getting involved married men? Well, outside of the impact on his family, for the woman's sake, she needs an available man who can be there for her and, with his being married, he can't. If he is going through a divorce, it is a very difficult experience and he won't be available either. If the single woman starts dating him, what happens when his wife calls three months into the divorce process and his new relationship and the wife says she wants to get back together? And if there are kids begging daddy to come home? It's messy.
If a single woman is approached by a married man and he hits on her, I advise her to thank him for the compliment and tell him that the attention he is giving her would be better spent on his family. Keep in mind that these days couples may live separately, have a legal separation, have filed for divorce, etc. There are so many stages of separation that it is wise to really wait until the divorce is final, with financial and custody issues resolved before going on that first dinner date.
So, if you are a mistress, how do you get out and unmistress yourself?
First, know that if you are having intercourse of any kind, you are chemically bonded to him and it won't be easy. No other man will appeal for a little while. It will hurt for about 60 days, but you need to go cold turkey from all contact with him. I suggest in preparation you read three books. He's Just Not That Into You and Its Called A Breakup Because It's Broken, both by the same author, Greg Behrendt. You will need these to get through the 60 days of "HeTox". Next, purchase Dr. Patricia Allen's, Getting to I Do, and read about Duty Dating. It doesn't matter if you never want to marry, the part about duty dating is important. It is in staying away from Mr. Wrong completely, not listening to his voice, deleting messages, putting photos away, taking him out of your cell phone, not answering his calls, not opening emails, that you will start to be free and heal. Your last statement should be over email or text before you go cold turkey, and you do not do this in person because you will end up in his arms. "This is too painful for me and I am unwilling to have any contact with you until you are divorced." Let your friends know you are ending it, stay at their homes if you need to, get all the support and help to get through those 60 days. Make a calendar and cross off days. Know the first three days are the worst and it will get better. Start virtuous daytime dating immediately and do not talk about married guy with your new dates. Nice short dates with nice men. You may cry before the date and after it because you are "hetoxing" from Mr. Wrong and only want him, but getting healthy attention from available, kind men will help you heal faster, even if you don't have chemistry right off the bat with them.
You may also want to purchase Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas, PhD that helps you to unblock what has been interfering with your ability to meet the right one. She also does workshops and private counseling in Los Angeles. I know several women who met their husbands after doing Katherine's book.
And I am going to close with a few more thoughts and a question.
Allison Armstrong, who developed Celebrating Men Satisfying Women, talks about how three factors impact a woman's decision to marry. In her Men and Marriage workshop, she discusses the importance of ranking things in the order you want. A man's finances can make a woman feel materially secure. His health and physical strength can make her feel physically safe. However, it is his integrity and compatibility and that he brings out the best in her and she in him that is what will make her happy. So, when a woman places money or physical strength above how she feels in her heart around him, she may always feel physically safe or materially secure, but she will tell you she isn't happy. That is because she married from her human animal not her human spirit.
I know women who have a check book and experience daily pain due to their choosing a husband this way. "He'll buy me anything but I do not have his loyalty or his love" and it makes them feel ill. They married from their survival instinct not their thriving spirits. They ranked happiness ranked third and did not listen to happiness. I am not saying that health an finances are not important to consider, however, you may want to consider his character and how you feel slightly above the other two. Alison Armstrong asks women "Do you want to live like a queen or feel like one?"
The richer, stronger or more powerful the man, the harder, yet, more important it is to really pay attention to how you feel around him. Sure, the money and status is great, however, how do you feel around the man? Does your body feel at ease or on edge? Are you selling out your instincts by mistake to satisfy your inner cave women's desire to survive? Are you sacrificing your inner peace and joy for possible access to power, more money or a strong body? If you are okay with this, don't bring up that you are unhappy later. You did not choose from happiness and chose to sacrifice that.
So, I wonder if that is why successful professional married athletes may attract women who seem to set aside their long term well-being and virtue to be with these married men. Is it because these men combine money and strength in a way that, in a primal sense, makes women unconsciously feel safe in a cave women type way. "If another tribe attacks, he is strong and can protect me" and "He has many resources so I will never starve" and they completely bypass the fact that he is married and will be providing and protecting for another person. And, they bypass the questions of "Who is this man? Do I feel cared about? Is he showing good character with me?"
Another reality I want to share with women is that in interviewing men, I asked them what leads them to pressure women for sex. What I heard from many men is that they ask for sex but won't pressure women. However, men who did admit they had pressured women for sex said they only did it when they didn't care about her and didn't see a long-term relationship with the woman. If they really cared about the woman, they never pressured her because they didn't want to scare her off. If they didn't care if they scared her off or angered her, they would pressure her and try to guilt her and "maybe get some sex out of it."
So, remember, any man pressuring you doesn't really care about you anyway. If he did, he would not be doing that. Walk away.
If I could give advice to a daughter, I would say listen to your instincts, feel what your body is telling you, date multiple men to avoid prematurely bonding, take your time getting to know a man, always think safety first and never be afraid to say "No." Our government, country and legal system support a woman's right to say "No."
So, my question: What is the best advice you would give to a son or daughter to help them live a good life with regards to their romantic and sexual relationship(s)?