Mistress-dispelling services, increasingly common in China’s larger cities, specialize in ending affairs between married men and their extramarital lovers.
Typically hired by a scorned wife, they coach women on how to save their marriages, while inducing the mistress to disappear. For a fee that can start in the tens of thousands of dollars, they will subtly infiltrate the mistress’s life, winning her friendship and trust in an attempt to break up the affair. The services have emerged as China’s economy has opened up in recent decades, and as extramarital affairs grew more common.
Well this is something. Coming this fall to ABC, the explosive new series from Shonda Rhimes: The Dispeller, starring Halle Berry.
Mistress dispelling typically begins with research on the targeted woman, said Shu Xin, Weiqing’s director. An investigation team — often including a psychotherapist and, to keep on the safe side, a lawyer — analyzes her family, friends, education and job before sending in an employee whom Weiqing calls a counselor.
“Once we figure out what type of mistress she is — in it for money, love or sex — we draw up a plan,” Mr. Shu said.
The counselor might move into the mistress’s apartment building or start working out at her gym, getting to know her, becoming her confidante and eventually turning her feelings against her partner. Sometimes, the counselor finds her a new lover, a job opening in another city or otherwise persuades her to leave the married man. Weiqing and other agencies said their counselors were prohibited from becoming intimately involved with the mistresses or from using or threatening violence.
Even the term is spectacular—mistress-dispelling—like some overly literal translation of a Chinese phrase.
At first blush, this seems like a ridiculous solution, but understand the social context and there is a Coasean efficiency, an almost ingenious elegance, at work.