“He cannot stand her. They haven’t lived together in years. They don’t get along” are the most common phrases used to justify being a mistress. Women reason that because their boyfriends are separated or unhappy with their marriage, it makes it okay to have a relationship with someone else’s husband. However, any woman presenting herself as a girlfriend when in a relationship with a married man is deceiving herself because the only title best-fitting her is mistress.
Take for example aunty Ihuoma, (called aunty out of respect-no direct relation) a 47 year old mother of four children. Her boyfriend of seven years has an estranged wife who he has been legally married to for more than 20 years. While the two have been separated for 10 years, it was no mutual agreement-he abandoned her. Despite knowing about his relationship status, aunty Ihuoma has had two children by him. Furthermore, she presents her boyfriend to people as her husband and even wears a useless ring on her left finger to throw people off. Her need to pretend shows that she is embarrassed about her situation and as a result she lies about the family she wishes to have.
In recent conversation, a former colleague explained that her boyfriend of six years has yet to get a divorce. It’s strange because anyone would think that six years is plenty of time to legally end a marriage. She continues to be with him because she expresses she cannot see herself with anyone else and whether he is married or not, she is in love with him. Though many would ask, if made immediately aware about a man’s relationship status, why get involved because naturally, emotions start to develop as effort from both parties are made. Before pursuing relationships outside of the marriage, the practical thing to do is to end it if it is truly over.
To outsiders looking in, they would assume that their relationship is perfectly legit. She and her boyfriend live together, go grocery shopping together, sleep together in the same hotel bed whenever they travel, and do everything else in “perfect” harmony. Obviously, the two act as a normal couple though in actuality their entire relationship is a lie. The truth is that as long as he is married she will never be his wife whether she chooses to propose for a second time. YES, a second time. Her proposal to marry her boyfriend led to nothing-he dismissed her gesture by laughing it off and the two clearly remain unmarried. As long as he is married, another woman bears his last name and a more respectable title other than mistress.
A well known public figure, R&B singer Fantasia was the center in a huge scandal that involved a married man for the last three years. Some months after dating her boyfriend Antwaun, she learned that he was married and took to the public by explaining that she did not know of his relationship status. As expected, her first reaction was to get upset with him. However, she obviously got over it and went back to him. Her excuse for continuing the relationship was that he was separated and going through the divorce process. Clearly, as long as she was promised by her boyfriend that he would get a divorce, it made it okay to continue being with him because eventually he was going to officially be unmarried.
Women in these relationships have the audacity to have demands such as deadlines on when they would like to see a divorce happen. There would be no demands of that sort if in an honest relationship.
Regardless of whether a husband and wife hate each other and are completely over their relationship, or they both have moved on and live separately, marriage is still…marriage.
By: Ashley I. Okonkwo