It is said that anywhere from 30-60% of married men will stray outside of their marriage at some point. The reasons for their infidelity vary but typically they find themselves bored with the day to day and craving something clandestine and illicit. While much emphasis is placed on the act of cheating or the number of men or women that cheat what about the people they cheat with? This is a population which compromises of men and women who vary in intention. Some may simply be looking for some enjoyment and companionship which doesn't occupy their entire lives whilst others believe they are in love and desire a full relationship. Its the latter portion which is the focus of this article as we attempt to highlight some of the dangers and situations which can result when we try to turn our mister/mistress into a boyfriend or girlfriend.
For the sake of argument and frame of reference this article with use the personal pronoun "she". Obviously not all who cheat are men but this is my frame of reference as I read mainly for women who find themselves involved with married men. Switching "she" with "he" while reading allows for this to fit your own personal situation.
Physical Intimacy Detached from Emotionality.
There are some who find the ability to detach emotion from physical intimacy quite easy. Sex and physical touch are about the arousal, the chemistry, the passion and that doesn't necessarily mean the inclusion of emotions. For others this is impossible. The trouble arises not always from the sex which occurs in an affair but rather the frequency and the moments in between. Most men who stray from the relationship are looking for multiple needs to be met. Their marriage provides them with certain needs and they look to you to meet the others. They come to you frequently, warmly, showing great desire and passion and sharing deep conversation with you as you lay next to one another. For many women this is very difficult to resist. While some may be able to remain unattached emotionally others find the temptation just too great. The intimacy both physical and "emotional" is just what they are looking for! Slowly they begin to feel that they "know" this man, that they can help this man. But does he want to be "helped"?
Is He Really Unhappy?
While enjoying one each others company he expresses the differences between how he can be with you and how he is with "her". He paints a picture of his marriage that leaves you feeling its quite unhappy, but is it? There are some marriages which are dead in the water, totally devoid of any emotion, passionate or otherwise, and generally lacking a pulse on all levels. Sometimes they are genuinely unhappy with their partners but are they unhappy on all levels? In my experience while there are a select few who genuinely wouldn't help their wives out of a mud puddle if they walked by and they were stuck in one most find that while there are certain aspects which are bothersome that as a whole the marriage works for them. Men do not necessarily cheat because they are that displeased with their marriage or even because they are no longer in love with their wives. Make no mistake, though like butter melting on toast, their love may be more habit than passion there typically is still some emotion there, even if they profess otherwise (if they said they still loved them would you still open your bedroom door to them?). Likewise the marriage, whether untenable or not, still fulfills a purpose for them, otherwise they wouldn't be there. Though they may use the old standby excuses of children, and money issues have no doubt that the routine, comfort zone and security provided by that marriage is important to them. This goes back to what was mentioned earlier in that both the marriage and the mistress play very important roles in the married man's life. Each of you fulfills a purpose.
The Role of the Mistress.
So what is the purpose of the mistress? Generally speaking they are seeking newness. They want to feel desired and attractive and wanted. They want to receive the passion and lust that perhaps is missing from their marriage. They are not robots, on some level there is emotion and care for the mistress but in terms of genuine love, often times their love is not an unconditional one. They are seeking fun and enjoyment and they are seeking a break from the responsibility of a relationship. The ability to come to you, enjoy and devour you and then be able to go home is a freeing one. They do not need to bring you chicken soup when you are sick. They do not need to listen when you discuss your Aunt Agitha's hip replacement surgery. Most importantly, they are not beholden to you. They are not obligated to call each day or to take you out to dinner or on vacations or to offer growth or evolution to the relationship. Its a string free enjoyment of two mutually consenting adults, for them. Sometimes, however, it becomes more than that for the women involved. They mistake the way he is with them as the real him when in reality they are only seeing one facet of the diamond. Basing ones emotions on just one of those facets to the exclusion of the others leaves these women establishing emotions and perceptions which in truth are only partial at best. They do not see how he leaves his socks lying around, or the dismissive attitude he may have towards his wife's needs. They do not see him when he is stressing and climbing the curtains because he has the car note, health insurance and utilities all due on the same day. They are not there when he is sitting on the couch, one hand down the pants, flipping through channels. They have an impartial view of who this man is and thus while many claim they "love" this person in truth they love an aspect of him, and the rest they manifest based on that perception.
He is Going to Leave Her!
Its year three, you have been enjoying the off and on relationship with the married man of your dreams and you are certain that any day now he is going to leave "her". You convince yourself every day that all that you are putting into this is worth it because of what fruits may come some day. You assure yourself that he loves you, that what you two feel is real and that excuses A, B and C are why he refuses to make good on any of his promises to leave. In short my advice? WAKE UP!
Men, like women, go after what they want. They will go to the ends of the Earth to get their desire. If they want it bad enough no wife or supposed obligation will hold them back. Though rare there have been 1 or 2 cases in my career where I saw the man leave his marriage for the mistress. Mind you I have been in this business for 10+ years, so clearly the odds are not in your favor. Those two examples, however, are proof positive that if they truly wanted to share ALL of their life with you they would. In truth many of them do not. They want the comfort and routine of their marriage with the security that all their years has provided them and the enjoyment of something passion filled, lustful and string free on the side. They already receive all of you so for them there is no loss from not letting things evolve further. You on the other hand are stuck with half a relationship that meets only half (if that) of your needs.
What Do I Do?
Simply put? Treat him like a hotel fire, walk, don't run, to the nearest exit, stay low to the ground and GET OUT! If you are up for half a relationship, perhaps you have a busy life that is already quite full and this arrangement works for you then by all means proceed. But if you are putting yourself through the inconsistent contact, the sporadic visits, the emotional roller coaster of "I want you, I don't want you" because you are expecting a return on your investment you are in for a very sad awakening. In the cases that have been witnessed of men leaving for you its occurred within the first year of the affair. Anything after that and you are holding on to a dream. This is not to say its easy or that you should be able to breeze out as easily as you breezed in. By now you likely do not know what was real from what was contrived. You may not be able to separate the perception of him you projected from the real man. Its confusing, gut wrenching and horribly painful and a blow to ones pride to accept that you invested so much of yourself into someone who is not going to give back as much. The realization, however, is a crucial one. Though it may be the hardest thing you have ever done you will not experience the healthy, reciprocating and healthy relationship you desire from ANYONE, until you clear this plate and heal. You can hold on for as long as you like, until you are but a mere shell of your former self but in the end the outcome will be the same. He may very well be a great man. He may be kind to all those he meets, treat you like a queen when he is with you, he may help rescue animals who have no homes. All of that amounts to very little to your emotional sanity if you are not able to get the relationship you want, deserve and worked for from him.
Everyone comes to this realization on their own time frame and in their own way. I am sure many of those who read this will scoff and think they are the exception to this rule while others will sit back and see themselves in all that has been written. I'm not passing forward judgment, to each his or her own. My goal with this, as it is with all that I do in my work, is to empower women to make the decisions that are right for THEM. To see perhaps how they are buying into a romanticized version of their situation or how they may be standing in their own way of a healthy and long lasting relationship. There is no need to feel foolish or feel angry, everything we encounter we do so for a reason. Though the relationship may not pan out as you had hoped or expected there were still fond memories shared. There were still lessons learned between you two. Treasure what you were able to learn from the connection and apply lessons learned to the next relationship. Though it may seem impossible this too shall pass.