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Support group targets Vancouver mistresses

Gordon Ramsay's 'other woman' launches reality TV show

One of the most infamous mistresses of the past decade has a message for women involved with married men: You are not alone, youre not a bad woman and you dont have to keep living this life.

To better drive that message home, British-born and Los Angeles-based Sarah Symonds recently launched a support group, Mistresses Anonymous, in Vancouver for women involved in such relationships. According to Symonds, Vancouver was chosen because its a hotbed of infidelity.

I can help get them onto a better path, Symonds told the Courier during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon while on a break from filming her new reality TV show based on her support group.

Symonds said the idea for the show, which will air on the Slice Network this fall, originated from the overwhelming response she received to the first round of Mistress Anonymous sessions held in Vancouver.

These are real stories about real women, said Symonds in a soft British accent. Who knew theres so much infidelity in Vancouver.

Symonds had previous relationships with married men, but it wasnt until her long time affair with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was made public three years ago that she said she realized the damage adultery can cause.

Infidelity hurts, said Symonds. But often the wife forgives her husband and puts all the blame on the mistress because she doesnt want to face truth. I wouldnt want to be that wife.

Symonds has developed a 12-step program for women serious about ending an affair, including take inventory of all the lies the married man has told, and making a list of all the lies shes told to family and friends.

Symonds said after going public about her affairs and penning the book, Having an Affair? A Handbook for the Other Woman, she made the talk show rounds including the Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, Larry King and Dr. Drew. Symonds also appeared on the Dr. Phil Show four times and said the straight-shooting talk show host was initially not impressed with her history with married men.

But then the last time I went on the show, Dr. Phil gave me a big hug. He knew Id reformed, said Symonds.

Symonds said she now wants to help other other women do the same.

Her advice today to women having affairs with married men?

Get out. Run for the hills, she said. You deserve more than a second-hand relationship.

Twitter: @sthomas10