Why Being The Other Woman Sucks Sometimes…

I was once the other woman. I was in love with a man who would never love me back, who would never prove to be interested beyond the casual (and wonderfully different) sex that cheating would provide. He told me the things that I wanted to hear, of course — notably that he was no…

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I was once the other woman. I was in love with a man who would never love me back, who would never prove to be interested beyond the casual (and wonderfully different) sex that cheating would provide. He told me the things that I wanted to hear, of course — notably that he was no longer in love with his current girlfriend and would soon leave her — but he stayed in the end. She never found out, so I feel very lucky in that way. I know that it’s almost always the other woman who bears the brunt of the disdain, of the judgment. It is always universally her fault that the relationship faltered or dissolved. She is always a homewrecker, no one considers that the very foundations of that home were crumbling long before she got there.

They broke up a year or so later, not that it mattered to me at that point.

And more recently, I was the girlfriend. The good one. The one for whom everyone has limitless sympathy. It didn’t happen in the same way, of course. I found out. He is gone, and to my knowledge, they are still together. I did not have the privilege (or maybe the burden) of living in ignorance about what the people I love had deemed it capable to do behind my back. In the interest of transparency, I will admit that I hated her more. I wanted him back. I wanted to win against her, even though every conceivable prize worth something had already been lost. It was ugly, and we were all ugly for engaging it.

Part of me will always believe, even if I find the overall concept a bit ridiculous, that this has something to do with karma. I don’t think that it has a 1:1 ratio, or that I necessarily deserved what I got, but I do believe that something of what we put out in the world does come back to us in some way. Though this isn’t the reason you shouldn’t be the other woman.

Something truly ugly happens in people when we feel that we’re losing something we love, something that we put in the work for and cared for, such as our significant other. This happens to all of us, but it is so often amplified between women because society as a whole is eager to see us fight. To paint us as good and bad, Madonna and Whore. And the woman who was slighted is filled with irrational hate, with jealousy, with a desire to have some kind of victory over the other. The other is hateful of the girlfriend because she represents everything that she cannot be with any trace of dignity. Both of them are robbed of their respect, of their empathy, of their sanity.

It brings out the worst in us, and makes us distrustful of the very same love around which we base so much of our happiness. It creates rivalries where there should be understanding, even friendship. And though both parties can end up doing ugly things, there is only one of the two who makes the choice to enter into and complicate things. You are not a homewrecker, you are not the sole wrongdoer. You are not the reason why it isn’t working between them. But you are making a choice to hurt another woman, to pit yourself against her, and to make her unable to trust again for years after it’s all over. You are stealing something from her, and it’s not her boyfriend. It’s not her husband. You are stealing her innocence, her desire to see the good in people, and her ability to be calm-headed about the problems in her own relationship. You are going to reduce her to someone who only sees in betrayal and lies.

There may be a million things wrong with her, but no one ever deserves this.

And none of us should ever be the other woman, the one who drives the both of you past the limits that you had always prided yourselves on having. It’s not fair to her, and it’s not fair to you. And even if you think you love someone who is in a relationship, it’s always better to love yourself more. If they really want to be with you, they’ll leave and start things the right way. And you know it.

Responses

  1. Cavey
    This is…*exhales*
    Amazing.

    “…And none of us should ever be the other woman, the one who drives the both of you past the limits that you had always prided yourselves on having…”

    Never before, have i looked at being the other (wo)man like this. Thank you, Amyn, for liking Caprisonne and for giving me something to mull over for a very long time.

    2+
  2. Olayinka
    Come here.. *hugs* *more hugs*.
    I was the other woman for such a long time. He didn’t leave her. She left him. And I still didn’t have him. It sucks. And it messed me up big time. I still cannot bring myself to forgive him. And today, most of my relationships are patterned like that; me fighting for the complete affection of the man. And of course, I get hurt at the end. It has become an addiction. This need to win the complete love of a man.
    5+
  3. butterflymind
    “. I wanted him back. I wanted to win against her, even though every conceivable prize worth something had already been lost.”

    The sheer honesty of this ^ and the whole piece tugged at my heart.
    It’s beautiful Amyn… amazingly beautiful.

    And you’re right, no one deserves to be the one who has to fight for his love. I was there once (I think I was) but didn’t stay long enough to find out if my suspicions were true. You just know when someone is drifting.

    …………..
    I hope we all demand our men — and women– to do the right thing.

    4+
  4. Countess
    “And even if you think you love someone who is in a relationship, it’s always better to love yourself more. If they really want to be with you, they’ll leave and start things the right way. And you know it.”

    No truer words than these. Lovely piece.

    2+
  5. MIA
    The day I decided to stop fighting for a man’s love and attention was the day I found myself. I found peace from within. Now I don’t need anyone to complete me, I complete me. The boo is just there to compliment me.
    14+
  6. Uberhaute looks
    I always say one prayer…that God grace me/hubby with the strength to uphold our marital vows…being in either position test ones patience to a limit that only God can heal!
    Today, I pray for crumbling marriages that God will bless and revive these marriages so that divine love and peace will reign.

    Uberhautelooks.blogspot.com

    4+
  7. Olushola
    That initial hope (the lie you tell yourself that things will soon change, that the table will soon turn), that everyday denial of the obvious, telling yourself the you’re happy, reassuring yourself that everything will be alright… *skip forward to reality*…
    Then you wonder nd ask yourself how and why you got into the mess. Then that hurt, the hurt frm self disrespect, from the wasted energy, knowing you may never be able to forgive yourself.
    You wish you understood from the onset that you don’t (or didn’t) deserve to be the other (wo)man
    Nice post Amyn, please preach it!!
    1+
  8. MissO
    The whole world might look upon you (the other woman) with disdain and obvious judgement, but even that doesn’t begin to compare with the hurt from self-disrespect, the daily struggle of realizing that you may never forgive yourself, the derision with which you look upon your decision to persist in a relationship that is futile at the very least and terribly hurtful to someone else, someone you may not know personally but know exists; Someone who is a woman like you. And the knowledge that were you in her shoes, it would kill you to be subjected to what you are putting her through. It’s ironic really how inhuman it is to choose to be the other woman and yet how very human it is…

    I feel you Amyn…

    3+
  9. Winifred
    I love the honesty in this piece. You are so right! It’s not the loss of a husband or boyfriend; it’s the fact that you will never see a little problem in ANY relationship as just what it is.
    6+
  10. Ajoke
    Wow!!! Very honest piece. I was the other woman once…well the relationship was crumbling for real and I got the guy. But I still feel like i should have let it end before being with him….now I’m afraid of karma
    3+
  11. kachy

    Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of choosing who We love. Letting go after finding out you’re ‘the other woman ‘ is really hard.
    Worse still when that person understands you. …
    2+
  12. Prime Babe
    “You are stealing her innocence, her desire to see the good in people, and her ability to be calm-headed about the problems in her own relationship. You are going to reduce her to someone who only sees in betrayal and lies.”

    THAT is the truth sisteh!

    0
  13. Toby A.
    This article is wonderful. Cheating brings out the worst in everyone involved- even the person being done wrong will become paranoid.
    The best thing is to not attach to already attached people, or to make a clean break and start something new.
    But since when do we human beings do what’s best for us?
    0
  14. S.I Ohumu
    Sometimes, you don’t want the guy in the end. Has anyone ever felt that way here? You’re both together regardless of the fact that he’s married and you’re in a relationship because somehow it just works. Granted at some point the emotional toll becomes too much or unnecessary. And you grow out of your need for each other but you don’t always want him all to yourself, it’s sort of an aunty abeg cut small for me from your husband.

    And yes you do feel guilt. In all though, Amyn, very nicely done.

    0
    1. gurlnextdoor
      That’s exactly the position I’m in right now. He’s not married thou, but I’m aware he’s got a fiance. Do i like my position as the side chic? I actually don’t care because right now it just feels good to have a companion. I know I may/may not be a crack in their relationship but how can I help myself out when my introverted nature won’t let me meet people.
      I’m stuck yea, but I wish to loose myself when I find the right person.
      0
      1. Miss James
        And how are you gonna do that if you are investing your emotions somewhere already? (You dunno right?) Don’t blame it on being an introvert, i’m an introvert but I somehow manage to catch people’s attention when I go to the store to buy something or something, sometimes we just give excuses and enable cheaters. Imagine having your fiance cheat on you?? I can’t even begin to imagine .
        2+
  15. Heshomoney

    I understand how you feel having a companion, but I am afraid to tell you as long as you hold onto this guy you might will be too busy to notice another guy green light, let me tell you something you are beautiful and very interesting young lady; how do I know this guy is still in your circle, you best bet is to let him go before he let you go.
    My suggesting about finding the right person just require you to be the kind of person you want to be, your introvert nature is not a problem, count it as one of your blessing and you have got to be nice and read a lot because it is what you know about you can talk about very well…
    Goodluck

    Nice write up dearie
    0
  16. Heshomoney

    , I understand how you feel having a companion, but I am afraid to tell you as long as you hold onto this guy you might will be too busy to notice another guy green light, let me tell you something you are beautiful and very interesting young lady; how do I know this guy is still in your circle, you best bet is to let him go before he let you go.
    My suggesting about finding the right person just require you to be the kind of person you want to be, your introvert nature is not a problem, count it as one of your blessing and you have got to be nice and read a lot because it is what you know about you can talk about very well…
    Goodluck
    , Nice write up dearie
    0
  17. maigizo
    Relationships are just a waste of tym,my boyfriend of 5yrs just left me for anoda girl and is getting married to her February 27th.
    0
  18. Adora
    I have been the other woman a couple of times. They didn’t leave their women for me neither did i want them too. And no, the women didn’t find out. I excused it to my “commitment phobia”. But then again, there was always that feeling of self derision at the end of the day. Why am i the 2nd fiddle to these men, probably wouldn’t even date them if they were single. Why was i only good enough to be the side dish. Then there is the law of karma that actually bit me in the ass because my now ex cheated on me and i found out. It was so painful. Felt bad that i wasn’t given the courtesy of ignorance like the women whose men i cheated with. Turns out the other woman was playing for keeps unlike me. They are engaged now though. Don’t want him back but i wish it was something else that ended the relationship. Being the other woman is definitely never enough.
    0
  19. Jaybaby
    #situationrightnow!! I got involved with a guy who told me he was Single. I had a gut feeling he was in a relationship or even engaged to be married, I had to just ask him straight up and he confessed he was in a relationship but she was treating him badly and all that bull crap.

    My question is why stick with her if she’s hurting you so much and he couldnt answer me without sounding ridiculous. As painful as it was, I just had to let go cos God knows i deserve better or maybe i’m just not cut out to be a side chic.

    0

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