BY: CHRISTINE CELIS
Ashley Madison, an online dating site with the slogan “life is short, have an affair”, is a safe haven for the adulterous and like-minded. The site has attracted 22 million users, is available in over 16 languages and the site’s owner, Noel Biderman, has become a billionaire off the extra-marital affairs of strangers.
According to a research by Buss and Shackelford, 30% to 60% of married individuals in the United States will get tangled up in an extramarital affair during their lives. According to The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 74% of men say they would have an affair if they knew they would never be caught. This is not too surprising, considering the fact that United States researchers estimate that 40% to 50% of modern marriages will end in divorce. Most of the time, you only hear the stories of the individuals that have cheated or have been cheated on—but what about those supplying the demand?
Kaye (not her real name) is a self-proclaimed “professional” mistress and has been on different areas of the infidelity spectrum—and she’s only 24 years old. Thanks to pop culture, we tend to imagine mistresses as sexy vixens who only wear skimpy clothes with high heels and red lipstick. However, upon seeing Kaye, you wouldn’t even assume that she’s as wild as she is behind closed doors.
She came to our meeting dressed in formal attire, as if she’s just going to attend a business meeting. Her face was bare, save for a hint of blush on her cheeks and some mascara on her eyes.
I sat down with her and asked about her life and her reflections about everything so far.
First off, can you tell me a little bit about how you got mixed up with unfaithful men?
“Almost all of the boyfriends I’ve had were either cheaters or abusers. I always felt weak and uncared for. When I was 21, I met a dude that had already been in a relationship for five years and was living with her. We always met up for sex once a week, and knowing that I’m doing this behind another woman made me feel powerful for the first time in my life. There’s some sort of rush involved with it, and I got addicted.”
So, from there it all snowballed into something bigger? Did the girlfriend find out?
“She did. It was after I discovered that aside from me, the guy had other girls on the side. To top it all off, he was physically abusive. When the girlfriend, Rochelle*, tried to talk to me, I felt sorry for her and fessed up. I was trying to give her an out, to save her from this horrible person. Now, bear with me on this one: I lost respect for her and stopped feeling sorry when I discovered that he’s been doing this to her from the start. So many people tried to help her before me, but she still sticks with him. Why would you bother helping someone who wouldn’t even help themselves?”
“Again, the empowering feeling just never went away. I’ve been with an amazing guy, but fidelity is not for me. I’m too scared to get back to a boring and uneventful life. There were times when I would be with two or three different attached, married guys at one time and I wouldn’t feel guilty. I have been desensitized. “
How are the people who know what you’re doing reacting to it?
“Some of my friends who know what I do think that I mess with attached men because I have daddy issues. They assume that my dad cheated that’s why my mom divorced him. No cheating happened. They just fell apart in a snap of a finger, and I actually have a pretty amazing relationship with him up until now. Not all mistresses have daddy issues. I don’t get with attached guys because daddy didn’t hug me enough during childhood. I get with attached men because I feel empowered.”
If you could speak to the women in these men’s lives, what would you say to them?
“I would tell them to not blame me for a much bigger problem within their relationship. I’m just a symptom of an issue. Let me give you an example. Let’s say one guy loves a steak. He loves steak so much, he decides to eat it for every meal of every day. Eventually, there will come a time when he’d get tired of steak and decide that he wants a juicy hamburger instead. That’s what these men’s relationships are. Their lives are repetitive and they’re looking for ways to put some change into it. I’m the temporary change.
I have my limits, though. I don’t like it when men start to hint that they’re leaving their wives for me. That’s a messed up thing to do. I still have some standards.”
By the end of our brief interview, Kaye had admitted that she has had some regrets about her actions, but refused to go into detail about it. She mentions that she’s currently single and has no prospects yet. No matter how bent you may find Kaye’s moral compass and the trail of devastation her actions leave behind, Kaye is just one face in an army of infidelity. With the growing use of social media, and the rise of hook-up apps like Tinder and Grindr, an anonymous sexual menu now exists at the swipe of our fingertips. With opportunity, always come those who are willing to take advantage. Understanding the mentality of a cheater is the only way to recognize this behaviour in your partner—or yourself— before it begins. So wrote Oscar Wilde, “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”