The couples therapy we provide at Daniel Picave Coaching & Counselling allows a safe and neutral environment for each partner to air their grievances and views. It can be brutally honest. It is often upsetting. It is always cathartic. 
 
Our goal is not to fix couples. Our goal is to allow each partner to understand what the next chapter in their life should look like, sometimes maintaining the status of couple, sometimes not. 
 
In the course of our work in relationship counselling, we form a therapeutic alliance with lots of different people with lots of different stories. The alliance is confidential and is built entirely on trust in order that the client can confide in us. 
 
Amidst the cases we have worked with are a number of individuals who were the mistress to a married man or a lover to a married or civilly committed person. 
 
This short piece is shaped from numerous conversations with people on how it feels to be the other man, the lover… 
 
It is 9pm on a Thursday night and I have no washing up to do. No television series to catch up on; no children to tuck up in bed or chase in from outside; no discussion to have about juggling travel plans in the morning. 
 
No obligation to listen to the day's events and focus hard to remember names, connections, the intricacies of his work or hers. The office politics; the mention of his name or hers once too often to not cause discomfort; the need to satisfy family here or friends there; the perpetual pursuit of living life within the boundaries set by convention. 
 
I have no place in that world. I have tried, oh I have tried to wear the shackles of convention and immerse myself in the relationship but I am not wired that way; I am not designed for that. My role is different, my path is different, I am Tom. 
 
Who is Tom? Tom is the other man, get it? The other man, T-O-M? Tom is intriguing. Tom is funny and charming and enigmatic and a fairy tale. Tom puts a smile on her face which penetrates right through to your heart and chases its way to every tingle point on your body. Tom is perfect but only because he is not real, only because he is not within those boundaries set by convention. Tom is how life should be but never will be. In a world of normality and colour and drab, looking in there is always Tom. 
 
I am Tom. I exist to provide an escape. I exist to be what you want but don't ever want to actually have because the dream and the brief excursions into the dream could never be realised within the boundaries of convention. When life is functioning but empty, get Tom... 
 
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