The Plight of the Other Woman

zig when she zagsQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I am seeing a married man, who has a four-year-old daughter. He tells me that he loves me with all of his heart, and that his marriage is going to end soon, and for me to just be patient, and he will be with me. What should I do? I do love him.

The Other Woman

A Dear Other Woman:

When Nina Farewell talks, Miss Abigail listens, and you might consider doing the same. The following is from a chapter in The Unfair Sex, which closes with an utterly simple, yet ever-so-important thought: “If you settle for less, you will always feel cheated.” Now that’s what I call advice!

1953: Don’t Have an Affair with a Married Man

The most unsatisfactory lover in the world is the man who has a wife. A liaison with him is encumbered with all the customary inconveniences of a love affair, plus the irritation of having a rival who outranks you.

In every aspect of your relationship with him, you feel her influence. The very hours you spend with him are dictated by her tastes and her schedule. If she loves a gay social life, you can be sure her husband will seldom be at your disposal in the evening ~ you must content yourself with odd hours during the day. If she is the athletic type, it is unlikely you will ever get to go sailing, fishing, or golfing with him. Whatever her habits, you must at all times be prepared for the sudden cancellation of a carefully planned rendezvous and equally prepared for an unexpected message that he is free ~ just when it is least convenient for you.

You have no choice but to zig when she zags, and zag when she zigs. And heaven help you if she is a woman who frequently changes her mind!

Of one thing you can be sure ~ your lover will not spend Christmas, New Year’s, or Easter Sunday with you. All the important dates on the calendar belong to his wife and children, and you will be forced to celebrate with relatives or female friends ~ a sad prospect for a lively girl. Manless amid the festivities, you will look about indignantly at other women proudly displaying their escorts.

When you do get together, your married beau, with recommendable caution, will rule out all the nice places to which you ask to be taken, and you will pass the time tucked away in some little room or in your own apartment. This has the value of being economical as well as discreet ~ important considerations for a family man. . . .

The most cogent argument against having an affair with someone else’s husband, is that

Married men virtually never marry their girl friends.

Men hate divorce. They dislike the nuisance of moving, and besides, they resent paying alimony. If a man can possibly endure his wife, he will stay married to her.

In any event, the fact that a man takes a sweetheart does not indicate that he prefers the sweetheart to his wife. Not at all. Ninety times out of a hundred he would be aghast at the idea of trading his good old wife for some wanton stranger.

Can a girl really be happy with the humble assignment of amusing a man who belongs to someone else?

Source: Farewell, Nina. The Unfair Sex : An Expose of the Human Male for Young Women of Most Ages. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953.
~ pp. 205-208 ~