Mistresses confess why they do it, how they do it and more-Julie Ryan Evans, BettyConfidential.com
From Jenny Sanford to Elizabeth Edwards to Jennifer Aniston, women scorned are in the headlines regularly. It's for them that we ache and empathize; we become outraged on their behalf and at the men they once considered their "better" halves.
But behind every one of these marital meanderings that happen every day in every city is a mistress, and it's about them we wonder - how could they?
So we asked them, and they very candidly told us.
Managing Life as a Mistress
Trisha*, 35, is having an affair with a married man with whom she works. It's been going on for a little more than a year now. She no longer wears her favorite perfume, and she dyes her hair in a shade similar to that of her lover's wife so that telltale hairs won't be so telling.
"There will be no trace of me on his person," she says.
They go to great and creative lengths to make sure their communications aren't discovered - no text messages, no IM conversations, no credit cards. They use a blogging platform to transmit messages to one another - the same platform both for their personal blogs, so as not to arise suspicion, should his wife see him on the site. They never publish the posts, just save them as drafts for the other one to delete as soon as he or she reads.
What makes her want a "taken" man so badly to perform such an orchestrated affair?
"I love being the mistress," says Trisha. "It grants me all the benefits of a relationship, a confidant and sexual partner, without bogging my own growth with the more mundane aspects of a relationship or taking up an excessive amount of time."
As for the man's wife, Trisha feels she's actually helping her.
"I respect his wife and what they have together," Trisha explains. "I see my affair with her husband as a sort of service. She is no longer responsible for his sexual pleasure. As a result of having found a suitable outlet, he is better able to focus on his duties and responsibilities as her mate."
But will he leave his wife her? Isn't that what all mistresses really want?
"I hope he doesn't leave her for me," she says. "That would be absurd. Affairs should never become monogamous relationships. How can you ever trust someone who has so clearly demonstrated such a lack of conscience, such a talent with lying and stealing? It's not a trick question: you can't. A foundation of lies - even if they belong to both of you - is no foundation at all."
Lisa*, 38, has been a mistress twice - once in her early 20s and once in her early 30s, both times while she was married as well. One affair lasted almost two years, the other just a few months. Both times she says that while she had to sneak out on occasion, the hardest thing was not letting her husband know where her "brain was".
"I loved being around my husband, but the thrill of someone new who thought I was mysterious and interesting just trumped that commitment I made to my husband," Lisa says. "I was really happy and inspired being around M, and so it was tough to not be able to share that with my husband. That might sound weird ..."
She says her husband never suspected the affair.
"I think my husband had become more of a roommate than a husband. I don't think my husband ever realized what was going on - he probably just thought I was eating better or had joined a gym or something."
Why a married man?
"I think if I would have gone and had an affair with a single guy, it would have felt more empty," she explained. "I think because of our shared experience, it still seemed scandalous, but it didn't seem as bad."
Lisa says she's not certain that she wouldn't do it again. "I would like to say that I wouldn't do it again, but I really can't say that. I think once something like this is acted upon, it's just easier to revisit."
What she wants you to know about the married man: "He's no different than the single man - you just don't get as much contact as you would if you were just dating a single guy. At least in my experience, it really was about sex, in both cases. So if this is something you might be seeing on your horizon, please know that, chances are, it's about sex, it's about an experience, it's about getting out of their reality. If you're looking for long-term, this is probably not the road you want to go down."
Rachel*, 43, met a man online and immediately connected with him on their first date over lunch. After that they spent nearly every day together for months - including weekends- but "we always parted ways in the evening because he had a sick dog at home."
She had her first inkling that something may be amiss during a romantic birthday weekend when he received a series of phone calls that seemed be of the "yes dear" variety. A few days later he broke the news.
"I noticed he seemed nervous and emotional. On the verge of tears emotional. I asked him what was going on with him. He said, ‘What's the worst thing I could tell you.'"
"You're married," she replied.
He nodded and started bawling.
"Why he was bawling I have no idea why. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do and getting exactly what he wanted. What the hell did he have to cry about?"
Our thoughts exactly as we watch the politicians and others apologize over and over and over again.
*All names have been changed