I Love The Freedom Of Being A Mistress, But I'm Scared Of Being Caught

What should you do if you're the other woman?
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Whether you like it or not, affairs happen all the time. Yes, they’re a taboo but there are some people who don’t mind dating others who are in relationships. In fact, some people don’t feel any guilt at all. This is the case for this week’s reader: Michelle.

Michelle has found herself falling for a married man. You might think this would keep her up at night, but she says she has no remorse at all.

“I’ve started seeing a man who is 30 years older than me, who is married, but I don’t feel bad,” she writes.

“I’m due to see him soon and I like the freedom of being the mistress but I can’t stand the idea of him and his wife being together. He spoils me but I have anxiety about her finding out, what should I do?”

Should Michelle wait for her secret lover to leave his wife or should she just call it quits?

Jessica Alderson, who is a relationship expert and co-founder of So Syncd, says Michelle should first ask herself how she would feel if she was in his wife’s shoes.

“Respecting other people’s feelings is a fundamental aspect of building a harmonious society, and it sets a standard for reciprocal treatment,” Alderson says.

What would you say to this reader?

Alderson thinks that ”participating in an affair with a married or committed individual is bound to impact the existing relationship and the commitments made within it”.

She believes that it undermines the respect for the partnership and the boundaries established between the two parties.

“Relationships are complex, and it’s impossible to grasp the intricacies of the marriage from the position she is in,” Alderson adds.

Michelle’s action could cause emotional pain, damage the trust between partners, and disrupt the lives of others involved – including children if they are part of the equation.

“A lot of people involved in affairs detach from these realities, so it’s important for Michelle to take a step back and ask herself if she fully grasps the potential consequences of her decisions,” says Alderson.

While she might not feel any guilt now, if Michelle breaks up the marriage she might be racked with guilt, shame and regret, suggests the relationship expert.

“These feelings may catch up with her over time. Michelle may also experience negative impacts on her self-esteem, as she may question her own worth and wonder if she deserves to be in a healthy, committed relationship,” Alderson adds.

Why don’t some people feel guilty when they’re seeing someone in a relationship?

The experience of guilt differs from person to person. Alderson states: “It’s influenced by a range of factors, including an individual’s capacity for empathy, personal beliefs, core values, moral codes, and life experience.”

We all have different moral frameworks and beliefs about what is right or wrong. Some people might see relationships as more fluid and prioritise their own desires without feeling guilty about it.

Additionally, we have a tendency to rationalise our behaviour to alleviate guilt.

“During affairs, people may try to justify their actions by emphasising the perceived deficiencies in the existing relationship, such as lack of intimacy, communication issues, or fundamental incompatibility,” Alderson explains.

Focusing on the negative aspects of the relationship will help the other lover convince themselves that their involvement is justified or even beneficial for all parties involved.

In some cases, people emotionally detach from the consequences of their actions.

“They might subconsciously deny that by being involved in an affair, they are responsible for potentially facilitating betrayal and causing a great deal of pain. This is essentially a coping mechanism that helps them to avoid feeling guilty about their behaviour,” Alderson says.

Michelle states that she doesn’t really feel bad for being involved with a married man, but without digging deeper it’s hard to know exactly why that is.

What advice would you give this reader?

Though Michelle might not innately feel remorseful for sleeping with a married man, she should take a step back to consider the impacts her actions may have in the long run, suggests the expert.

“She should also take the time to reflect on her own values and principles. Over time, acting in ways that don’t align with our core values can lead to harmful consequences,” Alderson says.

For example, if she truly believes in commitment and loyalty, then she should consider whether her choices are in line with her values.

Furthermore, being a mistress often comes with emotional consequences.

Alderson says: “The fear of being discovered, knowing you’re involved in an unethical situation, and the potential for heartbreak if the affair ends, can all take a toll on Michelle’s mental wellbeing.”

She should think about whether this is a situation that supports her long-term emotional needs and goals. “Just like breakups in committed relationships, it can be hard to end an affair, but it may be the right decision not only for the married couple but for her own well-being,” Alderson adds.

Alderson wants Michelle to be aware that affairs rarely turn into healthy, fulfilling relationships. “It happens occasionally, but it’s the exception, not the rule, and it’s important for Michelle to be aware of this,” she says.

“Before she makes any further decisions, she should honestly evaluate the situation and ask herself if it’s worth the risks involved. The deeper she gets involved with a married man, the more emotional damage can be inflicted on all parties involved.”

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Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost UK