Being the Other Woman.
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2011
Subject: …excuse me?
Can I just vent to you for a half second?
Excuse me, but if you’re that dude who is all UP in my business in public, flirting your lil fanny off, bein’ all in my personal space – and I’m responding and keep coming back for more?
Don’t let me find out via FB (when you add me that night) that you HAVE A GIRLFRIEND.
Look. It’s not that I consider flirting to be cheating (although it makes me mildly uncomfortable to think back on it, because 1) don’t think your lil blonde GF would like your hand on my lower back like that OR the fact that you gave me your card and 2) *ahem* we’re in public, where I am acting in a somewhat leadership role around our peers – and I DON’T KNOW you’re partnered so… now *I* kinda look like an ass) but… Man! You were good at the flirting and now I’m all bummed out because there will clearly be no follow-through. And I thought for sure there’d be some humping in my near future.
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Oh, Mr. B. B.
A girlfriend? Really?
You know, I’ve always wondered why women in particular go all ape-shit crazy on the Other Woman – when all that anger should be directed at the Chick/Dude Who Cheated. Actually, no, I get why – but that isn’t really the point of this post.
One thing I think we rarely think about is what it might be like to be the Other Woman.
I mean, maybe you do appropriately direct your anger at The Cheater, but we also have a pretty clear image of what the Other Woman looks like (and, it’s always the Other Woman… we don’t do that nearly as often or as viciously to the Other Man… interesting, isn’t it… a whole other post in that somewhere, too…)
She’s probably Slutty, has Low Self Esteem and questionable Moral Character. Not someone we’d think about being friends with, really.
Whether or not we outwardly blame her, we inwardly personify her with every bad slut-shaming stereotype we own – probably as some defense mechanism to avoid thinking about why we were cheated on in the first place… and, I suspect, to shift some blame away from our [ex]-partner.
But… I have to wonder… how different is she from us, really?
Think about it: You meet someone. Although the other person is partnered – sparks fly. It’s not intentional. Sure, part of it could be because the other person is bored, or because this is illicit, or because you’re new blood. Or maybe, it’s simply because The One doesn’t exist, we don’t have that perfect partner, and it’s entirely possible for chemistry to just. happen. Even when one of you is already partnered.
Ah, chemistry. We all know how it feels. Fucking great. And having to walk away from it? Well. No matter the reason, it is always going to blow.
But. Add to it this enticing little thought: What if this chemistry, this connection, is so strong, it puts cracks in someone else’s commitment?
What if this person wants me so badly, or we have so much in common, or we have such an amazing connection, that they would leave their partner to be with me? That they would renege on their monogamous commitment, not because they’re a douchesicle or because they don’t value commitment, but because a commitment to me would be so much better that what they have now?
Before ya get all uppity about that statement, just think about how that sounds. Think about how that feeds into the fundamental message of every chick flick you’ve ever seen, into every bullshit mantra you’ve been told about True Love and The One. How that might connect into self-esteem, self-worth… in this crazy, competitive, self-promoting yet self-doubting culture that we live in. Think about what that kind of statement could mean… the kind of hope it might bring.
Just for half a second. Consider the shoes of The Other Woman.
They may not be the stiletto-ed fuck-me pumps you thought they were. And, walking that mile in them, the one while you’re figuring out how to walk away? It’s probably more difficult, and more complicated, than we ever consider it to be.
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I’m sorry (for both of us), Mr. B. B. I think this might have gone past the my my are those my panties on the floor? I think there might have been more here than just the humping, to tell you the truth. Sometimes, you just know.
And, no, I don’t think it makes Mr. B. B. a dick, nor do I assume he would cheat on his GF if given the chance. Sometimes… chemistry just. happens. Even when one of you is already partnered – and it doesn’t make them any less committed.
It is against my moral code to become involved with someone who’s committed to someone else. I may have my own thoughts on monogamy, but they don’t include destroying someone else’s. It’s also against my moral code to cause pain to a fellow human being, if I can help it. Furthermore, it’s against everything I champion to start a relationship all dramatic-like, and without a clean slate.
So, no, there will be no more, Mr. B. B. I’ve seen this thing that could be between us, even if neither of us ever acts on it, and I’m not going to wait around to see if you will.
Like Kayak, it’s time to let this one go. And, as I am sure y’all know, letting go of something that looks good, pretty much sucks.
And yeah, I get that the difference between me and real Other Women is that I am letting go, that I am walking away. But, you know what? Just because I am being rational about it doesn’t mean I don’t understand why they don’t walk. Why they wait around to see. Doesn’t mean I don’t hear the little voices that say “Well, maybe they’ve just been together so long, but she’s just not that great for him… maybe I’d be better for X, Y, and Z reason… Maybe he’s just with her because it’s convenient… I mean, it is long distance and why aren’t they engaged yet?… Maybe there is something here he can’t ignore… Maybe he’ll get in touch with me… Maybe if we just hang out more, he’ll realize…
….Maybe they have an open relationship and she’d be ok if we humped a little… ”
Doesn’t mean I don’t get why Other Women stick around and, you know, hope.
And the thing of it is? Those Other Women probably want a relationship, want the Love at First Sight and The One and Happily Ever After… when me? Right now, I just want to bang… and if something good transpires past that? Sure, why not. I’ll take that too. But I don’t need it to be happy or fulfilled.
However, Other Women might really need that. I think most human beings need it more than I do.
So. Even though I do not condone being the Other Woman… I have to admit that I get it.
It’s hard enough walking away from that spark in fuck-me pumps.