Heartbreak, Sex

There Are Only 3 Kinds Of Homewreckers In The World

Photo: Tero Vesalainen / Shutterstock
There Are 3 Kinds Of Homewreckers In The World

I'm going to be perfectly honest: what I know about the other woman is almost exclusively from hip-hop music (not always especially respectful to women). I've not spent time interviewing folks on Ashley Madison and I've never slipped my non-existent wedding ring in my pocket to do a little "hustling." (I'm not a married man and I'm not sure if I'll wear a ring if I do become one.)

But I listen to a lot of rap and have seen the show The Affair in its to-date entirety so thus, I believe I'm an expert. (Sarcasm.) As far as I can tell, there are three main categories of other women: Mistresses, Side Chicks and Jumpoffs. Let's discuss.

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1. The Mistress

You're familiar with the concept of a mistress. She's a woman who has a loving relationship with a man (or woman) in a complementary capacity to the man's marriage. Both parties know that the man is being unfaithful (in our traditional understanding of the word) to his wife.

While some mistresses appreciate that they'll never replace the man's wife in a legitimate/legal sense, other mistresses hold out hope that he'll come to his senses and leave the mother of his children. Semantically speaking, I'm not sure where to go with this but a man may believe he loves his mistress. His wife may know about her. And a mistress may also be married.


  • Some level of affection 
  • May receive thoughtful gifts or trips
  • Could make for a fantastic novella some day
  • Both parties know the deal


  • It sort of becomes a second marriage
  • He's not leaving his wife for you
  • Exposing the whole thing is kind of a dick move, even in the case of a breakup

Examples: Janice Rossi (Gina Mastrogiacomo) from Goodfellas. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) from Scandal.

Also known as: goomar (comare in Italian)

2. The Side Chick

A side chick represents truly the best and worst of all other woman traits. A side chick is entitled to things like dates and gifts on her birthday. She may or may not know if her guy is married; she isn't married herself, and treats it as a nascent relationship in any case.

Even if she knows her status, she may feel compelled to tell the original wife of the situation. The wife is likely unaware of the side chick's existence but may have her suspicions. Many of the man's friends know about the side chick and anxiously await one of three outcomes: she's "promoted" to mistress, she's unceremoniously dumped (often with the "ghosting" technique), or she decides to wreak havoc by exposing the situation to the light of day. A side chick may have a day of the week assigned to their relationship.  


  • The sex is dynamite, as you know each other's likes/dislikes and the novelty has in no way worn off.
  • While intense, the whole thing still has an air of casualness to it.
  • The dates are great because you're both getting high off sneaking around.


  • She could be young enough to be his daughter.
  • There may be money left on a dresser that muddies the water.
  • This will probably not end gracefully; the husband, wife or sidechick may end up stabbed.

Examples: Carly (Cameron Diaz) from The Other Woman. Angie Tucci (Annabella Sciorra) from Jungle Fever.

Also known as: side piece, side bitch, girlfriend-on-the-side, sidey (you get the picture)

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3. The Jumpoff

This term is slightly more nebulous. A jumpoff is a gal (or guy) who is just around for the sex stuff. The absolute closest things to luxury in this relationship are a ride in an Escalade, a stay at a Red Roof Inn, and possibly cab fare home or a hamburger sandwich from McDonald's.

This could be a repeated engagement, though irregular, or a single-serving bonefest. Meet-ups with a jumpoff are typically at odd hours, involve a text message along the lines of "u up?" and are fueled by alcohol.

The key difference between a jumpoff and any other unfaithful activity is that it's clear (explicitly or not) that this relationship will never evolve past SMS and smash. A jumpoff typically doesn't know if a partner is married nor does she particularly care. This is expressly a key-meets-ignition transaction. A jumpoff situation is in no way, shape or form exclusive for either party. 


  • This is just about the sex.
  • To say that the effort is mutually minimal would be an insult to the word "minimal." 
  • You'd have to be a moron to get caught.


  • She may show up in his phone as "Rick," which is, unfortunately, short for "Trick."
  • Y'all may be giving each other worse and worse strains of herpes.
  • You may be enough of a moron to get caught.

Examples: Alex (Glenn Close) in Fatal Attraction (though she didn't hold up her end of the bargain). Kara (Ella Thomas) from Ballers (roughly one-third of the female characters on this show could possibly fit this description).

Also known as: slam piece, one-night stand, f*ck buddy

RELATED: Why Women Cheat: A Married Man Goes Undercover On Ashley Madison

Now that you know your other woman tropes, it's probably best to avoid the whole thing altogether.

Tom Miller is a writer and performer based in New York. He's been the general manager and coordinating video producer at YourTango for 12 years. His side-chick is acting and improvised comedy.

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