I was having a few drinks with the girls a little while ago and we (inevitably) got onto the subject of men. We discussed all the usual dramas in a scene typical of Sex in the City (with wine instead of cocktails) when one blurted out that she had started seeing a married man from her office.
I sat back and listened for a while to all the usual excuses…why she thinks her situation is different from most and why he really is a “lovely guy”. And as I watched her doing her best to make us see her point of view I couldn’t help think that, for the first time in my life…I am friends with The “Other” Woman.
She is a kind, fun, outgoing girl who would be there in a flash when times got tough for any of us. I didn’t judge her but I felt overwhelmed with a mix of surprise, concern and disappointment. I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that she thought what they were doing was OK. She certainly felt it was only him who should feel guilty and her morals suddenly became incredibly ambiguous.
I reminded her of when previous boyfriends had cheated or left one of us for The “Other” Woman…how that made us feel, how we hated that woman…but she didn’t seem to “get it”. She was utterly convinced their situation was unique and special.
Naturally she was defensive. But the three of us laid out the facts as plainly as we could and I thought I’d share…in case you have found yourself in a triangle or…you are thinking about it…
1. Every woman who is The “Other” Woman thinks that their situation is unique, thinks they are somehow different. Often The “Other” Woman doesn’t see themselves that way and why?… because they are the woman none of us want to be, we all despise and we all think we will never be. However when you discount the excuses, reasoning and slanted view you have, every “unique situation” has the same core elements.
2. Men who cheat are selfish and show no respect for the woman they are with. These are not the kind of men you want to be involved with. Men are especially good at compartmentalising their life but it’s scary when they are too good at it. You are in one box and his wife is in another…and who else?
3. Still The “Other” Woman six/seven months down the line… this man is comfortable with the set up as it is now. If he really loved you and he respected his wife, he would make his choice and be happy with it. But he isn’t making a choice, he is happy just plodding along and he gets want he needs from both of you.
4. These men think they are good people. They are very good at justifying their actions and are unable to see they are in the wrong.
5. Holy! The sex is good, right? Guess what…it’s because the situation wrong! – awesome dysfunctional sex. When you’re The “Other” Woman all you feel for the man is heightened and exaggerated because of the situation you are in. You want each other all the time because you have to pretend you don’t to everyone else. You are in a secret club with only each other and that is exciting and sexy. In the back of your mind though…you will start to wonder what are his feelings? Will he leave one day? Who is more important? Is it just a matter of time? Is he sleeping with her? Blab la…all of this and more will play on your mind and on your heart.
6. Don’t you want to be his number one?
7. But he moans about his wife, doesn’t he? She doesn’t understand him or listen to him or give him enough attention. Men will always carry a little boy around in them and the ones that cheat are the least mature of them all. How easy for him to think that you do all of the things that his wife doesn’t. Do you wash his pants? Or cook him dinner? Are you raising his children? Live a “normal” life in a balanced relationship and see if things don’t go the same way…marriage and long term relationships can get stale. You are not the answer…not the long term one anyway!
8. Would you ever be able to trust him? If he did leave her, if he really was in love with you, honestly, wouldn’t you just be waiting for it to happen to you?
9. Are you really that happy? Is this what you wanted from a relationship?… Is this how you saw yourself?
I was pleased to learn a few days ago that she had ended it, she realised we were right and that what we had said was out of love and not because we judged her. However, I have to admit I am slightly…wary now. It has left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I am a firm believer that whether your the one doing the cheating or the one the cheater is cheating with…you are betraying a basic moral code and acting selfishly and thoughtlessly. If you are willing to do that, can anyone trust you? And isn’t that an incredibly sad thing?