“The mistress doesn’t owe the wife anything”

I hear it time and time again. People who defend the rights of the mistress to sleep with whomever she pleases, that it is her right to foster a relationship with anyone she wants, and then say “the mistress doesn’t owe the wife anything…it’s the husband who is breaking the vows so he is the one at fault. The mistress has no contract with the wife”.

I suppose in a twisted way, I could see this point, but for the sake of discussion, let’s say for a moment that Susan is married to Tom. Susan discovers that Tom has been having an affair with Susan’s best friend Lisa. Does Susan have a right to be angry at Lisa for sleeping with her husband? Can Susan hold Lisa partially at fault? If yes, why? If no, why not? Does Lisa owe her friend Susan anything, or does she have a right to sleep with her husband if she wants to?

I guess the way I see it, If I’d been asked 5 years ago, does Lisa owe Susan anything, my response would have been “yes, Lisa owes Susan a big apology”. All things aside, does The fact that Lisa is a friend to Susan mean that on some level she owes her more than a stranger should? Does her friendship status require her to be more compassionate, more honest, more trustworthy? Does it require that she be less sneaky, less deceptive, less deceitful? Why?

Why should Lisa being a friend to Susan make a difference when the same act was committed? Why do our jaws drop when we learn it was a friend, or a sibling, or a neighbor, but not a complete stranger? Is it because the degree of proximity that a person has to the betrayed spouse dictates that a higher level of compassion and care be exercised, or that they be more worthy of trust?

My answer would have been that yes, because Lisa is a friend to Susan, a certain level of compassion should exist that should inhibit Lisa from desecrating Susan’s boundaries of her friend and hurting someone who trusts her. Because she is her friend, she should care about not causing her harm, not destroying her family, and wanting instead to protect what rightfully belongs to her friend. No?

So then it gets me thinking: why should friendship or proximity to others be the only reason we do the right thing, the only reason we show compassion to another, the only reason we respect someone else’s marriage and strive to protect it, the only reason we give a shit about someone else feelings, their lives, their families? Aren’t we ALL called to act compassionately to others, to avoid harm, and to be humane? Why does being someone’s friend change the landscape?

I fully believe that any woman who knowingly involves herself with a married man is desecrating the sacred marital ground of another. That doesn’t absolve the married man, – don’t get me wrong – they are both doing something abhorrent that violates another, and he is the one violating vows, but if a woman knows that a man is married, is it too much to expect that she will show respect to the bonds of matrimony that you have entered into, and not contribute to a man violating his wife, their vows, and their lives? After all, when we walk through a museum, and see the sign that says “please do not touch the artwork”, do we touch anyway, even though we were asked to respect the work and not contribute to its degradation by touching it, simply because our needs come first, and we’re selfish assholes? Are we entitled to do as we please just cause we want to?

So I pose the question…what does the mistress owe the wife when she knows that a man is married?



  1. Great question. First would be an apology. She owes her respect for living with the man that she chose to cheat with. You know..the wife that cleans up after him, washes his underwear and socks, prays that he makes it home alive after driving stinking drunk after a night out with the skank and has put up with his crap for any number of years. End the affair IMMEDIATELY. Why do the statistics show that most affairs that end in marriage end in divorce? Because the fun is over and real life kicks in. When the mistress gets a look at that dirty underwear, things change and that man just doesn’t look quite so good anymore.

    • Actually, Shirley Glass said it well in her book “Not just friends”. She talks about the affair as a fantasy. The affair partner isn’t connected to real life issues like mortgages, child rearing, bills, taxes, etc. Instead, she is connected to fun, carefree sex, agreement, flattery, etc. But, once they live together in the real world that bubble pops, and they soon realize that it wasn’t the PERSON who made it fun, it was the situation which was a false reality.

      • I know someone that had an affair with a married man (not his first affair). He left his wife for her. She is so incredibly jealous of any woman that gets near him, especially her own friends. I can’t imagine spending my life being that unhappy. I guess that old saying is true, “Anyone that will cheat with you, will cheat on you.

      • Yes, and people fear most what they know. Thieves fear being stolen from. She deserves to live each day fearing for the very thing she committed.

  2. The pysvho who had an eight year affair with my husband befriended us for just that purpose and that’s what she’s done many times. It took her five years before my gullible husband succumbed. She’s so sick that she even got her father to tell my husband that affairs were no big deal and he (along with another so called friend) knew about this the whole time. I thought these people were my best friends but we were just used for her sick pleasure. the tio of the iceberg of her evil pursuit of married men only came to light when my husband left me for her. Someone from out ofntown heard and forced her to confess a number of affairs to him and he left. Her husband just turns a blind eye, takes her back and along with her father helps spin a twisted set of lies after an affair is found out that makes the men and their wives look like bad people.
    I’m lucky to still be alive following her abuse actually and that whole family and their friends are just carrying on their lives as though nothing happened while we are still working on recovery. My husband is still recovering from what he did too. He is guilty of everything he did, but did he ever have a lot of help getting there and now he has to live with it as he should. We also have had a lot of coaching and mentoring from Anne and Brian Bercht and without them, I’d still be disabled from my post traumatic stress symptoms and my husband might not even be functioning yet.
    So yes….many times the mistress owes a lot to the betrayed wife and the children and sometimes the husband too.
    Oh ya…she bragged to my friend when confronted by her that she finds it very easy to get married men to pay attention to her (my friend didn’t know that thisbwhire had also had an affair with her husband and mine was next)

  3. The title of this post really hit home with me, it is exactly what the whore said to me when I confronted her. As a matter of fact it was the only words out of her mouth “I OWE YOU NOTHING” I believe that all women who are knowingly with a married man have SERIOUS mental issues!
    My husband always told the skank that he loved me and there would never be anything more for her, that doesn’t stop selfish,demented whores from forging ahead with their manipulation!!! I think any attention they get…..texts/phone calls, in my case meeting in parking lots ( pretty pathetic) makes them think there is more. Even if they are told otherwise!! They only care about what they want, they are too sick in the head to think like a normal woman. This man is not hers and she knows that, she thinks she can change that even though she has been told the opposite time and time again!! They have no morals, respect for themselves and no respect for others. They are just to sick in head!!!

  4. In a perfect world, my answer would be yes, the AP would owe the betrayed spouse an apology at the very least. However, in a truly perfect world, we wouldn’t be dealing with betrayal & infidelity.

    My sister was my husband’s AP. In my opinion, she doesn’t owe me a damned thing. I used to want an apology & acknowledgment that she hurt me, my husband and my children (her nieces & nephews). I have come to the conclusion that the only person she owes anything to is herself.

    She owes it to herself to be a better person so that she can set a better example for her children. She owes it to herself to repair her relationship with her parents, siblings & lifelong friends with whose relationships gave been severed.

    I learned that the only person who owed ME anything was myself. I owed myself respect for myself, I owed myself time to heal & get to know myself again. Through that process I learned how strong I truly am. Through that process I learned the power of forgiveness & of being forgiven. I also learned that she took from me what wasn’t hers to take. I refuse to give her anymore of myself. I expect nothing from her. To begin with, I never expected this kind of betrayal from her (or him) in the first place.

    Most women who go after married men are lacking something within themselves. They cannot give what they don’t possess.

    You, like me, owe it to yourself to take care of yourself & spend your energy on making the best possible life for yourself. I wish you much luck & happiness in your journey.

    Make Your Own Adventure.

    • Kate I am so sorry. That is tragic on two counts – a double betrayal. What transpired with your relationship with your sister? Do you still speak? Did other family members know? Are you back with your husband? So many questions, and you don’t need to answer them. I’m just sorry that happened to you. You’re right, this completely tests your strength and self care is so important.

      • I’ll give the abbreviated story. She essentially tolls me in anger something my heart already knew. Then he confessed. She has not apologized. If you have time, I invite you to read my blog Start with

        No, I do not speak to her. Yes, family found out -humiliating experience, yet very supportive. Yes, we are together my husband whole-heartedly regretted hurting me. And I regret hurting him too. He has done everything in his power to prove to me how sorry he was, but most of all how much he loves me. Rebuilding has not been an easy road, but it has it’s rewards. I’ve been following your blog and feel your pain. My only advice is that you are responsible for your own happiness. And your own sadness. Embrace your inner strength and keep your head held high.

        Make Your Own Adventure.

  5. I love this so much that I could cry, and that does not happen easily! I am so glad you wrote this. When I first started reading, I thought you were going to conclude that the friend could act just as poorly as a stranger and it would be okay. It was so wonderful to find out that you believe that everyone owes even strangers a higher level of integrity! That is, if I understood you correctly.

    Personally, I believe in treating strangers with respect (beyond simple politeness and up to putting yourself in their shoes!) and that you DO owe your friends love and protection. After all, if you didn’t then you would just be playmates and not real friends!!

    Here is the example I use regularly: Nobody should hurt you. If a stranger hurts you, then they’re a jerk. Your friends are the ones who are there to help bandage you up. If a friend hurts you, then it goes beyond being a jerk to betrayal! They have now taken advantage of your bond and everything good you have together and broken your trust.

    Whenever I say that I get met with, “Oh, so you gave in the friendship SO they would be good to you–you tried to buy their friendship! They don’t owe you for what you’ve done for them!” I think people with this mindset don’t understand love, appreciation and reciprocation. I am good to my friends because I love them, not because I am trying to buy something. But if they shit on me in return, then the fact that I have always given of myself to them DOES matter! It makes it so I deserved the bad treatment even less. It shows that they took advantage of my love instead of appreciating it. Friendship includes reciprocation. It doesn’t have to be in kind, like cooking dinner for me because I did so for them. But it does mean that if I help you through your divorce this year because I hate seeing you miserable, then ignoring me next year when my parent dies is pretty shitty and unfriendly, especially when we have been nothing but good the whole time!

    So yes, the mistress owes quite a bit for messing up the wife’s life. She’s a fellow woman. A fellow human citizen of this world. And Lisa owes protection and concern to begin with, so what she owes after sleeping with her best friend’s husband is almost immeasurable.

  6. LifeHasTaughtMe says:

    I know this is an old discussion but I just found it and had to add my two cents.
    Yes a person owes that respect. I truly believe that these women suffer from different psychological problems seriously effecting their judgement and actions. They in a nutshell are batsh*t crazy.
    In my personal experience and journey through a similar situation I came to this conclusion by the OW actions and words. She was a co-worker to both my husband and myself. She had a reputation for chasing married men but denied it vehemently to me so I was an idiot and gave the ” wolf in sheeps clothing” the benifit of the doubt. I honestly did not see her as a threat because she was very unattractive and whiny. She always proclaimed I was the sweetest person and bla bla bla. Then started the begging to come to our house every Saturday for dinner. Then started calling on his days off for work advice. Soon constant texting him to help with this and that. Well at this point I knew what she was about and opened my eyes and stopped letting her come over for dinner. Oh but then she would call and text constantly all weekend to keep hubby and I from having any alone time. Little did I know she was telling hubby I was cheating on him with a married male friend of hers and did’nt love him and so on. Long story short I busted them and when caught she kept saying “I didn’t hold a gun to his head” and I’m sorry I did this to you. I will leave him alone and let you two work on your marriage. But that didn’t happen. She kept parking in front of our house, driving by, texting him, and calling him at work. We changed all our numbers and moved 3 times before that stalking nightmare ended. And she still finds ways to try to find us to this day.
    I know she manipulated and lied to get her way. I was showed all the texts on his phone as well as hers. He is at fault for believing her lies and trusting her and sleeping with her. She is at fault for manipulating people for her own sick pleasure. When all was said and done she was convinced she was the victim. He told her it was just sex and they were friends and he loves me and she accepted that. Then when it ended she lost her mind and still sends boo hoo emails about how she trusted him and he ruined her life. Nuts I tell you lol it’s been 7 yrs and she still can’t let go because he ended it. She is still having an affair with another married guy she was seeing before and during her and my husbands affair. Yet is madly in love with my husband. Hilarious.

  7. anonymous says:

    A lot of people always say that the mistress doesn’t owe the wife anything, and that you can’t be mad at the mistress. But, I say the wife then doesn’t owe the mistress anything. The wife can confront her if she wants. If the mistress can do what she wants then so can the wife. Basically when people say this it makes me think they are saying the wife has to respect the mistress but the mistress doesn’t have to respect the wife. What the hell! A friend is someone you share your life with. I would b so hurt if my best friend were to ever do something like this, and probably more hurt because I have known her for longer than anyone. Since basically childhood. I can’t imagine a family member. Why do we help strangers if we do not owe them anything? People who believe this should not expect anything then. If their car breaks down they shouldn’t expect anyone to help them. If they need 50 cents they don’t need to ask because no one owes them. People that think a mistress doesn’t owe anything should apply that to everything.


  1. […] a recent article, the writer invites readers to address whether a woman contemplating entering into a relationship […]

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