A reader explains why she’s content being the other woman.
Most women grew up playing bride in their rooms and attaching pillowcases to their heads to mock long veils. How do I know? I used to be one of those little girls. But the reality of relationships was far different from the fantasy I had of love in my head. From the time I started dating, I discovered nothing but heartache. Love would be temporary, but the pain of lies, betrayal and hurt lasted a lifetime.
I used to want nothing more than to be a wife, to be the one woman that one man could love forever. The woman who married a great man just like her father, but it never seemed to be in the cards. After opening myself up and getting hurt again and again, I decided to make a change in how I approached relationships. No longer would I give 100% of myself to someone on the chance that things could go well, I had rolled the dice on love and came up craps one too many times. I decided to love on new terms. I didn’t want a relationship, I wanted company. I wanted dinner, dancing, late night phone calls like two high school kids, vacations, to be adored, taken care of and passionate sex. What I didn’t want was to let someone in, to be vulnerable and in turn put myself in a position to get be screwed over.
It didn’t take long for me to find “Jason.” He worked in the same neighborhood as me and we saw each other occasionally in passing during lunch. One day, he worked up the nerve to speak and from there we formed a friendship. But it was always obvious he wanted more. Finally one day, he came out and said what we both felt and began feeding me a line about his ‘terrible’ marriage. I knew this was garbage, but we were looking for the same thing: benefits without responsibility. Once I assured him there was no need for the lies, our romance began and 15 years later it is still going strong. Despite what many might think, life with Jason is wonderful. I’m loved, appreciated and nurtured in every way, minus the 24/7 attachment. As for him, he gets the fun, spontaneous, sexy, caring woman to come home to, minus having to be weighed down by kids and bills. I don’t want him to leave his wife and he doesn’t want me to become his wife. It’s a carefree romance, which is what we both want and have no complaints about.
I know there are women who are screaming at the page right now demanding to know how my self esteem could be so low, how I could allow myself to be second best. Who want to know how I would like it if the shoe was on the other foot. Who think I’m an evil b*tch who will get what’s hers. Those women are entitled to their own opinion, but this is my life.
No, it’s not the romance I envisioned when I was five, but then again, I’m no longer reading fairytales either. My love life doesn’t follow the normal standards, but it follows the standards I’ve set for myself and just because they don’t match up to someone else’s doesn’t make them any less valid. After numerous rejections and heartbreaks, I can honestly say that I’m happy and fulfilled in my love with Jason and in my love of self.
Being a mistress may not be the role other women choose to play, but I play it with my head held high. And as other women who chose the role of wife see their marriages crumble, fail or perhaps even become vulnerable to a mistress of its own, I’ll sit back with Jason and look forward to another wonderful 15 years of knowing that I’ve made the best decision for me.
-As told to Danielle Pointdujour