All manner of counselling services are being offered in China these days, but how much money would you be prepared to spend to save – or break up – a family?

In China, family counseling can cost anything from 3,000 yuan (US$452) per hour to 30,000 yuan per class, and there is a lot of demand.

In Beijing, a training course is even advertised on how to become a mistress – “There is no family that can’t be wrecked”, that seemingly aims to coach anyone on how to be a proper family wrecker.

Welcome to the new generation of Chinese mistress, who has been given the modern name “little three”, which often refers to a young woman with a married man, and is an obvious migration from “second wife” in the orthodox one-on-one marriage tradition.

There is also an organization – the “China Mistress Caring Association” – that has formed, with over 700 members across China, to speak for the rights of mistresses.

The number of members is relatively small for a country of 1.3 billion people, but they were sharp enough to name March 3 as its inauguration and celebration date.

Through this forum mistresses discuss the current market price of gifts, including luxury items like cars and property, living expenses (between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan per month), and how to strategically get more from their men.

And as this has become a sort of social science course not currently available in university or college, some tuition schools stepped up to serve this “gap” in the market.

Women can now do the bluntly-named “Mistress training course” for an expensive 29,800 yuan and learn topics such as how to break up a family, how to tease a man you like, and how to respond to a phone call from your rival – that is, your lover’s wife.

Netizens have had a lot to say about the course, with many attacking it as an unethical money-driven business.

Some noted that the course can work both ways, because a woman can also sign up for the course to learn how to keep her husband and avoid extramarital affairs. Some might say that is like buying home insurance.

Dwelling narrowness_17 Nov 2017
Dwelling Narrowness, a TV drama about an extramarital affair, was released in 2009. Photo: Youtube.

Shanghai, China’s richest city, famous for its many gentle women, has ads for a course on “Talking down the mistress” – charging wives up to 3,000 yuan per hour to learn how to keep their husbands close.

The expensive fee shows that relationship-building exercises are needed to win the trust of a lady rival, by buying clothes, meals, gifts – and even traveling with them. And on getting that trust, a woman can eventually speak her mind and convince her rival about the drawbacks of breaking up a marriage – so they say.

Of course, there is always the old strategy, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. And they say it usually works.