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“When a man takes a mistress, he doesn’t turn around and divorce his wife.” ― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
What comes to your mind when you hear the word mistress? Probably immoral, selfish, home breaker you name it, all sorts of ugly words.
But is there more to the mistress than meets the eye? For instance, why and how does someone become the other woman or man?
- Did they even have a choice?
- Do they have a conscience?
- What about Karma?
- What are they thinking?
Too many questions, hardly any answers. For a million-dollar industry, what a shame if you ask me.
Many a day I wonder how a mistress lives through life because it takes balls to be something most women dread and some men dodge like a plague, yet still live your life unbothered.
Mistress Syndrome is a term used in social psychology to describe the phenomenon where the person who is not the primary relationship partner of an individual who is engaging in extra-pair sexual activity (cheating) is more likely to suffer from negative psychological outcomes than the one who is having the affair.
The syndrome was first identified by researchers at Pennsylvania State University in a study that looked at 122 women who were involved with married men. The findings of the study showed that, overall, the women who were not married to the men their partners were cheating with reported higher levels of psychological distress than those women who were married to their partners. Some of the most common symptoms reported by these women included anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Being a mistress is forbidden yet universally practiced, what a contradiction! You would have more luck finding a needle in straw than trying to decide who the root cause is because what came first?
Do mistresses exist because men like to step out of their marriages or do men have affairs because the mistress is available? You tell me. Whatever the case may be, what is clear is that affairs have existed as long as marriage has and for an act, as commonly practiced as adultery, very little is understood about it.
Who is a mistress?
A mistress is customarily a woman who has a secret sexual and to some extent emotional relationship with a man who isn’t her legal spouse.
She goes by other names too, none of them pleasant. Whore, slut, side chick, to mention but a few. However, there isn’t anything unpleasant about her because she is the nicest, kindest, and the loveliest person you know.
That’s how she hooks your men.
What is the male equivalent of a mistress?
The opposite of a mistress is a paramour according to the Urban Dictionary but can also be a male partner, manstress, gigolo, kept men, and so on. A male equivalent of a mistress has no formal counterpart.
You’d think that the masculine of mistress in every case would automatically be master, but the English language once again teaches us that rules can’t always be followed. With gender roles shifting towards gender equality, women have advanced in their sexual expression.
There have been toyboys as long as humanity itself it just wasn’t spoken about considering our patriarchal society but with women’s status being elevated since the gender equality movements of the 70s male escorts, kept men or gigolos whatever you want to call them are no longer in the dark.
There is generally a harsher judgment placed on boy toys than mistresses because again our patriarchal society biases us to think that a man cannot be a side candy to a woman. So when we see it, we waste no time in tagging the man immoral and his lover a disgrace.
Why would your man get a mistress?
While it is true that men and women have affairs for different reasons, the heart of every affair is always a desire for a connection and intimacy irrespective of gender.
It doesn’t matter what reasons you tell yourself, deep down we know the truth that we all cheat to fill a void our marriage can’t.
Here are the reasons why a man would get another woman.
You may also find the article what makes a man leave his wife for another woman interesting.
1. Their partner isn’t as nice to them anymore
At the genesis of every marriage – its sunsets and roses. Everything is easy and you like each other.
With time though, it gets old you have to put in work to be good to your partner and it gets worse as time goes by.
When attitudes change, the partners grow apart and this is a recipe for disaster should one of the partners decide to look outside for the attention the marriage is no longer giving them.
2. Their partner lost interest in their hobbies
When dating, we sometimes lie about liking certain things that our partners love. Well, no one can lie forever so later in marriage the truth comes out.
It becomes harder to watch ping pong or go moon watching without feeling burdened.
It won’t be long till the other partner feels unvalued and unloved and that is reason enough to go looking for love elsewhere.
3. They feel unappreciated.
It is easy to take people for granted especially when you have been together for a while.
I know it’s never intentional but when your partner stops appreciating what you bring to the table, it feels like death by a hundred cuts.
An unhappy person will not lose time if a chance to bring them even a glimpse of happiness manifests.
4. Their partner is a nag
Even the bible says that “you would rather be stuck in the desert than be with a nagging person” am paraphrasing.
It’s the most distressing thing – to be with a person who just won’t stop complaining. It makes everything worse than it already is, you know.
5. Their partner is no longer trying to be sexy
After years of marriage, the relationship tends to become a little comfortable, effort to look sexy for the other partner stops.
This is especially detrimental if it’s the lady who isn’t trying anymore because men are visual and the husband doesn’t like what he sees then he won’t find her attractive.
What happens when a man isn’t attracted to his wife anymore? You guessed it, he finds someone else he is attracted to.
6. Their partner isn’t as experimental as them in the bedroom
Some things get our blood boiling in the bedroom. If your spouse isn’t down for them it can be a real challenge.
Take oral sex, for instance, many men swear by it yet many conservative wives would never dream of it.
On the contrary, there are thousands of girls out there who will gladly go down on him so it’s only a matter of time before he finds one of them.
7. They have a higher sex drive than their partner
Marriage roles and adulthood can affect the frequency and quality of sex for any couple.
In addition to and during menopause, women experience a significant drop in sexual drive yet sadly men at that age experience an increase in sexual drive.
How do we reconcile that? No wonder many men of that age get themselves some younger side candy.
8. They are bored
Marriage and adulthood life can be rather mundane and monotonous and we all know that’s no fun.
Affairs can bring back the excitement of youthfulness and vibrancy which marriage tends to dull.
Why would anyone become a mistress?
In this era and age where love rules, it is difficult to imagine why anyone would go for the unconventional thing like being a mistress which isn’t nearly as emotionally satisfying.
Well in case you are wondering why I got you. Here’s a list of some reasons why some girls become mistresses.
1. To have the man without bothering about domestic roles
The mistress sure gets the better part of the deal when it comes to this. She doesn’t have to cook or clean for him and yet she still gets to be dinned, wined, and did I mention the sex.
The wife on the other hand has to worry about the man, the children, and all domestic work and still gets cheated on.
No wonder according to an infidelity study 60% of the women would rather be the mistress than be the wife.
2. They are in love
Love sure makes go round and it makes us do crazy things. What would you do if you fell in love with a man only to find out he was married?
Only the best of us could walk away especially if the feeling is mutual. In some cases she doesn’t choose to be the mistress, love chooses her.
3. They aren’t ready for a committed relationship.
I agree relationships are a lot of work especially because of all the masks we wear, you never know when you’re being deceived.
Naturally, some people are tired of being played for a fool, so they aren’t having BS anymore.
They simply want a no strings attached arrangement which is what you get with an emotionally unavailable man. And who is the perfect candidate for that job? You got it, the married men.
4. Married men are better lovers
I can’t count how many times I have heard the phrase “nothing tastes better than the forbidden”.
Having an affair with a married man is exciting on many levels. It’s a boost to the ego because he has a wife he doesn’t need you, but because he wants you that makes all better.
I still can’t say what it is about married men, that is so alluring:
- is it they are so sexy?
- Is it the hallelujah of his wife’s prayers?
- or the taunting of the forbidden?
Married men are something.
5. He lied about being single and it was too late to leave when she found out
You know those men who hide their wedding band. Those are the worst, they rope you in and before you realize it you are trapped.
Probably already expecting or you have a lot to lose if you walked away. So you’re stuck.
Common misconceptions about mistresses
Movies and books have made us believe that the mistress is the villain who is so selfish that she has no regard for the harm she could potentially cause to the family of the man with whom she is involved.
- But is it true?
- Are all mistresses sure as hell seductive as sin, ruthless, or mean?
That’s the problem with stereotypes, they are seldom true. Here is a list of some of most common ones
1. That they are always and more attractive and beautiful than the wife
This isn’t necessarily true because a man will only take a mistress who makes him feel good; she doesn’t have to look the part.
Many women get disappointed and annoyed when they meet the other woman especially when the mistress isn’t as pretty as them and yet somehow she is threatening her marriage.
That’s the point, it’s not about how she looks but how she makes the man feel.
2. That there is a specific “type” when it comes to women who are likely to be mistresses
- Do you know that innocent looking girl in your class?
- That girl at the front row in your church or that stranger on the street?
She could be a mistress. Virtually anyone could be, the hell it could even be you or me, there is just no formula.
3. That they are in it for the money
Now, this is laughable because not every man having an affair is wealthy.
If it was ever about the money, how do you explain – how your six-figure therapist is having an affair with your barely employed husband?
The truth is it’s not always about the financial benefit.
4. That they are home-breakers
Many mistresses don’t want to be the wife. It simply isn’t what they signed for.
They know that if he wasn’t cheating on the wife with them it would still be another girl so why not be the mistress because there has to be a mistress after all.
5. They get the best of both worlds
They get to have the man without having to do the wifely roles. But again while this is true, there is a downside we rarely notice.
The mistress gets to live by his rules and time. In reality, the wife has all the benefits and God forbid the man dies, the mistress gets nothing at all.
I guess that’s the price she has to pay for being the side salad and not the main course.
6. They do not want to be in love.
Affairs begin purely based on lust and it isn’t by intention that the partners fall in love.
It is not that the mistress doesn’t want to be in love but as per the arrangement she has with the married man she can’t afford to fall in love.
It takes emotional strength to not fall in love with a person you are fraternizing with.
7. They don’t care about the damage could potentially cause to man’s family
If this were to be true many marriages would have ended sooner. It isn’t rare that a mistress breaks off a relationship because the man was considering leaving his wife for them.
Contrary to common belief the mistress is not a monster and you’d be shocked how many marriages remain functional because of a third party providing what either partner couldn’t.
8. They are sluts
Sluts sleep around, the mistress not necessarily. We tend to think that simply because the mistress is sleeping with another woman’s man then she is whore but the truth is you might have even slept with more than her.
Everything you need to know about being a mistress (the whole truth)
What is it like to be the other woman? Here are 7 things you should know if you are curious.
1. You can’t fall in love
This is the golden rule every mistress must follow or there will be trouble. Falling in love will make the arrangement messy.
Otherwise, how do you remain detached even when you feel an attachment.
It breaches the whole “no strings attached” rule, sadly, this love thing isn’t for you. At least not with him.
He is cheating on someone with you, he’ll probably cheat on you with another. So, why invest any emotions here?
2. Never forget that nothing is permanent
I know it could get comfortable and feel normal being with your lover, however, a mistress must never even for a second forget that it all ends, just like that.
She has to always be ready for the worst.
3. You have work around his time
When he calls her, by God you better be ready, and if he says jump, you better ask how high.
You have no real power, even though the man has more to lose, you always have to live by his rules.
4. He likely will never leave his wife for her
If there is anything the mistress should know, that is – he will never leave his wife.
You have to take what you can get and that’s it. You cannot be greedy and ask for more or your lover will be livid.
5. Get ready for the hate
Everyone hates the other woman. Irrespective of the circumstances surrounding the affair, the mistress is to blame.
But what about the wayward man, isn’t he just as guilty?
As a mistress, you must be ready to bear the judgment and scorn all by yourself because apparently, the philanderer is never in the wrong.
6. She has to be nice, be a good listener and the perfect sanctuary for her lover
As a mistress, you aren’t entitled to anger nor exhaustion. You always have to be pleasant. The bottom line, you comes second, you are never the priority. Sad right?
7 Traits of highly successful mistresses
Well, there seems to be a particular breed if I may put it that way who appears to be successful in the mistress world.
These vixens are highly sought after and always avoid unnecessary entanglements and heartbreaks. They have some traits in common.
If you would like to know what these traits are, be my guest.
1. She takes what she can get
She knows where to draw the line and she might tread the boundary however she never crosses it.
Wayward men have a thing for women who realize limits and respect them. Many ladies are way too irrational to even notice.
When the mistress is content or at least fakes being content, it takes pressure from the man.
Normally affairs are cut short when one of the partners wants more. Rarely it is a man. So if the lady isn’t either then that relationship is going to last.
2. She is never pushing the man to leave his wife
Men will always be men and while they might like fraternizing with the side candies they seldom leave their wives.
A successful mistress understands this and never would she ever push her lover to leave his wife because she knows it is an impossibility.
3. She is always warm and attentive
Nice is her first name, Attentive her last. She embodies these qualities so that every man that comes near her is lured in.
She is exactly what every man would ever ask for in a mistress. Pleasant and peaceful.
4. She doesn’t take the hatred to heart
Every mistress is no stranger to scorn, ridicule, and hatred. The successful ones though know that taking all this negative energy to hurt will only do more damage.
It’s a lot better to either ignore or pay a deaf ear or even both.
5. She moves with the flow
Being a mistress means being able to cope with highly varying situations.
She never knows what she is getting and so she is always ready for anything. And that is a very handy character in this industry.
6. She keeps her feelings check
If you haven’t already guessed emotions and being a mistress do not mix.
She can’t like the man and somehow manage to play the fun and detached mistress all at once.
Love just won’t let her.
7. She knows her place
Being the mistress can be confusing because to some extent she does wifely things like warming his bed but she isn’t the wife.
But that’s just it. She isn’t the wife and as such, she can’t be demanding for wifey benefits.
A successful mistress knows that and more so how to use her position to get what she can get.
At the end of the day, a mistress will always be harshly judged regardless of anything.
Mama Nkima is a marriage counselor and relationship expert who has dedicated her life to helping couples build strong, healthy relationships. She has academic degrees in Education and Psychology. She has over 40 years of experience helping couples and individuals work through their relationship issues.
She draws on her own experiences as a spiritual guide but also from years of research to offer readers practical, actionable advice.