Mistresses need support, says expert 'Other Woman'
Published Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:32AM EST
Even mistresses, it seems, need a support group. Just ask infidelity and relationship analyst Sarah Symonds.
In 2007, the U.K. author wrote, "Having an Affair? A Handbook for the ‘Other Woman.'" This controversial self-help manual, plus Symonds's own self-professed experience as the "other woman" attracted huge media interest when she confessed to an affair with Gordon Ramsay, which the celebrity chef vehemently denied.
Her book and past turned the former PR and marketing executive from Newport, Wales into an overnight celebrity of sorts and a real-life "Dear Abby" for women loving men they could never have.
Now this self-appointed adultery expert has launched a foundation and website called Mistresses Anonymous. Her mission, says Symonds, is "to get women out of their affairs."
"I only ever hear from women who are having a terrible time in life. They're really mistresses who are in despair of their affair, Symonds said Wednesday on CTV's Canada AM.
Indeed, Symonds claims that her email is bombarded with pleas from women seeking her advice on how to disentangle themselves from toxic affairs.
"Every single day my email box is full," Symonds said.
"‘I need advice.' ‘I'm at my wits end.' No mistress that I have ever heard from is happy living the life she's living. She's in love with a man she can't have," she said.
That fact becomes crystal clear once the holidays come and go, or on other important occasions when a lover's family interests always come first.
"We've just done Christmas and New Year's," said Symonds.
"She's heartbroken sitting at home alone while he's having he's happy family life. That why I want to shake these women up," she said.
"They're not alone. They don't have to be ashamed. Yes, they've made some bad decisions. But I can help them get out."
To that end, Symonds has travelled to Canada to host workshops in Toronto on Jan. 12 and 13, as well as in Vancouver next week.
Symonds is encouraging women to share their stories with her, some of which may find their way to a new show this head mistress of adultery will be launching this fall on the Slice network.
To Symonds's critics, this "mission" she's on to transform women's might seem suspect. It may also seem like a distasteful cash grab and yet another example in today's world of people being rewarded for questionable conduct.
Symonds doesn't back down from acknowledging such assertions.
In her 2007 book, Symonds almost seemed to defend her time spent as a mistress, writing that these women get all the fun of a relationship and none of the responsibility.
Today, Symonds has changed her tune.
"When I wrote that book I was very toxic myself. I'd been in an affair which broke my heart. I was just another woman for way too long," Symonds said.
"My message, actually, in that book was to say don't do this. It's ridiculous. Why be second best in life in anything? However, I can't stop the rain falling and the world turning," she said.
"If you are going to live as another woman at least don't go crazy. Don't have a fatal attraction moment. The man is using you. That's all he's doing. He's using you for sex. Use him back if you want to."
Men, it seems, have also sought out Symonds's advice over the years, but in smaller numbers.
"Men are wired differently," she said.
According to Symonds, men want sex and get it. That is their biological makeup.
Still, the life and pain of "the other person" is the same, regardless of gender.
"When you're in love with somebody we cannot have it is very toxic and it rots you to the core," said Symonds.