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Why won't my friend look for a man of her own?

 I know she is aware the guy is married so why is she not bothered? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I was chatting to one of my friends the other day, and I suddenly realised she is some sort of an unofficial second wife! Is she crazy or something?

Why would a modern educated woman with a career enter a relationship like that? After all, there are plenty of men to go around! So why settle for sharing?

I know my friend's pretty sharp, and so I am sure she was aware that he was married from when they first met. So why did not she just look for a man of her own?

Second Wife

Chris says,

Hi Second Wife!

There have always been second wives, all around the world, and even in societies that do not permit polygyny, there are lots of unofficial 'extra' partners. Most people blame the men, thinking that they are somehow taking advantage of the women in their lives.

But that misses a fundamental point: it is the woman who chooses the man in a relationship, not the other way round. And all around the world women gather around the richest men. So second wives, mistresses and so on are all about wealth and success.

And it is having plenty of money which makes a man feel the restlessness that leads to a second wife! So it is only natural for women to lust after the 'high-status' men who lust after them.

This means that the best hunters, wealthiest merchants, and so on, have always had more affairs, wives and children than other men. And the reason behind that is that wealthy men and their wives tend to be more successful at rearing children. So choosing to be the second wife of a successful man can be an entirely rational choice.

Because although you would think choosing a husband was very individual and romantic, actually women unconsciously pick out the man who will help her be most successful at rearing her children. Consciously, she will talk about romantic feelings, but the real reason is his wealth.

Men choose a mate based on their looks. But women go for the men with the money. And everything that goes with it. Ambition, education, being tough, hard-working and having a high-status profession.

These preferences are shared by women everywhere, so for example, on average, the men who marry in any given year, and especially those who take a second wife, tend to be earning significantly more than those of the same age who do not.

What is going on is that women are choosy and have similar tastes, so the same few men get chosen, and maybe shared! So do not look down on your friend. One way or another she made a rational choice that was best for her. And maybe you would have made the same choice as her if you were in her shoes...

All the best,


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