Ginger White is a different type of “other woman.” The alleged mistresses of Ashton Kutcher, Tiger Woods and countless other men in the public eye, tend to be 20-something, hold a job in the service industry (waitresses are favorites) and are fond of giving pouty/sexy photo shoots with gossip magazines with at least one remorseful looking glance in there for good measure.

White, on the other hand — the self-proclaimed mistress of 13 years to former presidential hopeful Herman Cain — is a polished and sophisticated looking, divorced, middle aged, entrepreneurial woman who is also a college-educated single mother of two. She describes her alleged affair with Cain as completely devoid of love and strictly about sex. According to her, he plied her with gifts, money and trips for years.

This woman is not a naïve youngster barely out of school, unaware that she was falling for a married man. White admits that she knew full well that Cain was married and didn’t care too much about that fact at the time. In her first interview going public with the allegations, White characterized the affair as “exciting.”

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Why would a woman who seemingly has other options and resources at her disposal, make the conscious decision to sleep with and accept gifts from another woman’s husband for over a decade? Some might call it a less formal version of prostitution or at least escorting. She disputes that notion.

Ginger White happened to have her affair with a man who became a public figure, but her story is not so unusual. For some people, the basic dynamic of male/female relationships is that women want to be provided for and men want sex. Women who knowingly play the role of the other woman often point out that even women with the official title of girlfriend, fiancé or even wife are doing the exact same thing, just in a more socially acceptable context.

A no strings attached affair where both parties get exactly what they want without having to bother with things like feelings, piles of dirty laundry, in-laws or other things that go along with traditional relationships, might sound ideal to a middle-aged woman who’s burned out on the idea of romantic love. After a long day of work and taking care of children, perhaps White was looking for something more efficient than romantic.

It’s less a happily-ever-after ending that she strives for as much as having basic needs met forever in a mutually beneficial arrangement type of ending. You are not likely to see the latter phrasing on any fairytales, but it is the reality for some people.

Being a long-term mistress like White or like Mildred Baena, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mistress of over 20 years and mother of his teenage son, is not an enviable situation. I’m not one who believes that every woman wants to be married, but I do think that every human being wants to be loved and cared for and made to feel special.

How special can you possibly feel knowing that your guy is going home every night to the woman he pledged to be with forever? No matter how many gifts you get or how much mind blowing sex you have (You might even have a “secret” child like Mildred), you are not the chosen one. Good enough to — insert physical act of choice — but not to

It’s interesting how some people can be so smart in some ways, brilliant even, and be utterly clueless in others. Ladies and gents, do what makes you happy when it comes to relationships, but not at the expense of spouses and children who never agreed to be a part of your arrangement nor at the expense of what you know to be right.

Ginger White has since apologized to Cain’s wife and children. Perhaps an apology to herself is in order too.