“Marriage is like the rain—unpredictable, but there are warning signs before it falls.”
I have received many thoughtful responses and interesting feedback when I wrote the blog ‘Why Powerful Men have Extra-Marital Affairs?’ Many have requested that I research and write about why women are attracted to powerful men. I did and spoke to a number of my close friends, particularly female ones. They have provided me some answers and also real-life examples. Here’s what I found out…
1. Pining for Financial Security
From a young lawyer: “I don’t want to just survive. I want a better life; I don’t mind being a mistress if my man can provide me with a nice house.”
In a world where money speaks louder than anything, some women feel they need more money to live comfortably. They want to be financially secure, which is one of our most fundamental needs. They don’t just want to survive, but to have a sustainable life free from worries about money.
A retail manager confessed, “My mom is chronically sick with a hefty hospital bill to pay. I met this businessman in a bar and we hit it off on our first date. We had sex that night, and what I thought was a one-night stand because regular sessions in bed. He gave me S$5,000 after I shared about my need … Actually, I feel guilty after learning that he is married. But what can I do? That’s the only way I can think of to get out of my financial dilemma.”
Women who face financial crises in their lives, it can be another strong push towards having an affair with a powerful man, who can raise the money they need. Affairs are thus seen as an unfortunate necessity, a means to an end.
2. Hankering for A Branded Lifestyle
From a stewardess: “I love beautiful things and branded goods. In the beginning, I had to save for one year to buy my first LV bag. Since I met this tycoon, he buys me what I want. Do I enjoy his company? Honestly, no. But who cares? I get what I want and he gets what he wants.”
It is not enough to have the basics. Most women want more and powerful men can amply provide that to these women. This is the fast track to a ‘branded’ lifestyle.
The pull to pursue material wealth and join the rich and famous is strong. Look at any glitzy magazine or any lifestyle website, you’ll see persuasive articles and enticing photos of successful women being defined by the finer things of life. The message: We need this and we should live like them! What is a more effective way to reach these dizzy heights than finding the right men, who will generously dispense these luxuries on us?
Nowadays, women have become more conscious about the clothes they wear, the restaurant they patronize, the type of homes they live and the brand of cars they drive. They want to be seen wearing the ‘right’ things, eating and drinking at the ‘right’ places, and living in the ‘right’ districts.
That’s why high-end bars, glitzy nightclubs, lovers’ lounges usually attract women on the prowl of a better life. They want to find wealthy men who can sustain their lifestyles and move from one bar to the next in search of them.
These things validate their lives and status. If they haven’t been able to find that approval in their marital or family relationships, they’ll seek it in material things. As someone once said, “It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”
3. Fulfilling their Esteem Needs
From a personal assistant: “I enjoy all these cocktail parties my rich boyfriend brings me to. I feel so good hanging around all his friends. It makes me feel important. And it’s fun, drinking free wine and great food.”
A person’s self-esteem is often equated with what you have, how much you earn, what position you hold and more significantly, whom are you seen with. Nothing is more alluring than for nice women to be seen with the right crowd. This rubs off the self-respect that a woman desperately needs. Their mantra: “It’s the company you keep, stupid!” They believe that people will treat you well if they hang around powerful men and they are seen with the right company.
The truth is that no one can make us feel inferior without our consent. Finding our self-respect vicariously through others’ is a sure way of losing it.
4. Yearning for Emotional Connections
From a banker: “I worked so hard every day till 8 pm. I get so tired. It’s good to hang out and be emotionally connected with people. I found this famous politician. He was so kind and nice, seemed so understanding. One thing led to another. We became sexually attracted to each other. Very soon, we were hooked!”
Loneliness is the bugbear of many high-flying professional women. Emotional connection is more important for women than men. Without it, they feel lonesome and neglected. Many of them have discovered that loneliness is not simply a feeling of being alone; it is a feeling that no one cares when you are alone.
Our workloads have only gotten heavier. It has become more and more difficult to connect with our loved ones and find the emotional support we need. Married women may not feel emotionally connected to their husbands if both become engrossed and absorbed in their work. They simply don’t have time for each other. In short, they become emotionally disconnected. But, the deep need for connection is very real.
After a hard week of work and when these women spend time in bars to let their hair down, it is not uncommon for them to find their emotionally connection with suave, smooth-talking and understanding men. Drowned in some spirits, having a one-night stand and then slowly progressing to affairs become a natural consequence. These women see this as a cure for their loneliness and emotional neglect. Of course, connecting with men of means and power is a bonus.
Unfortunately, many of these women, after a few years of finding happiness in these short-term relationships discover that they are done with trying to have it all and ending up with not much at all. This makes them feel depressed and leave them in despair. They soon discovered that they have lost their personhood, self-worth and true relationships. But getting out of this pattern of life is extremely difficult, until they hit a crisis.
5. Exchanging Sex for Money
From an accountant: “I do it primarily for money. It’s simply transactional; they want my body and sex. They have to pay for them.”
This accountant sells herself for sex on the side. Her clients include wealthy businessmen and powerful politicians, whom she services discreetly at 5-star hotels. When she first started, she felt dirty and guilty—but soon became accustomed after servicing a few well-paying clients. For her now, it is a purely business transaction. Her friends and family are not aware of her double life.
For some women, they are attracted to and developed an attachment to powerful men. They are prepared to be their weekend mistresses. They soon realize that offering sex for money is not a profession that glorifies women and may cause marital break-ups. Deep down they know it is a confession of their desperation, alienation and loneliness. But, alas, it is an addiction that is difficult to get rid of.
In summary, the need for money, branded lifestyle, self-respect, emotional connection and sex are what drive this trend. This is exacerbated by how the world defines our self-worth based on our status and by the pressures at work, which keeps us from emotionally connectedness with significant other.
Before we judge these women, we need to look deep into ourselves, our values and how our society champion success. These women, like us, have real needs that are not met in real ways.
Perhaps you’ve felt that temptation yourself, or know of others who face this dilemma. How can we meet our needs the right way—materially, emotionally and spiritually?
What can women do about these needs? I’d love to hear from you. I promise to read and reply to every comment.