If you know about the other woman, then you are the other woman. This is something I’ve learned over the last few months thanks to the latest trend in my life: having guys with girlfriends pursue me. This isn’t something I’m proud of, nor is it something I invite. Point blank: I would never go after a guy who I knew had a girlfriend. Period. However, when a guy represents himself as single, giving me room to fall for him, and then casually slips into the conversation that he’s taken, the situation becomes a little less black and white.
The pattern goes as followed: the cherished yet ever-absent girlfriend isn’t being told about me (obviously), but rather I’m being made aware of her existence, albeit past the point of no return. I’m the one being given the terms and conditions of the situation, while Girl #1 is blissfully unaware of how shitty her boyfriend is. Not only am I falling for a guy who I know I can’t have, but my conscience (as well as society at large) is telling me I should feel guilty about these feelings, despite the fact that he was misrepresenting himself.
We all pretend to be something we’re not to some extent at the beginning of a relationship in order to get the other person to fall for us – I always say, for the first three months everyone sends a representative. However, there’s no greater feeling of being duped than to find out the person you’re falling for has a whole other life that you weren’t made aware of. Not to mention, you’re not making a very good case for yourself as being decent boyfriend material: I would never be so naïve as to think that even though we met under these circumstances, there’s no chance you could do this again. I know of situations where people are in a relationship, or even engaged, and meet someone who makes them rethink their entire lives, and then they live happily ever after with the new person – but that is not the norm.
The most frustrating part of it all is that if something were to happen, and that something was found out by the afore-or not at all mentioned girlfriend, this erstwhile lover and definite boyfriend (to someone else) would be forgiven, and I would be relegated to the realm of “that slut who didn’t care that he was in a relationship”. There is no happily ever after to my story…not in any literary sense at least. The boy gets to go back to his girl, and I wind up with nothing but a bad name and the ghostly spectre of texted messages that had to be deleted. That sad but incredibly true fact has given me worlds of perspective, and it’s something I’ll carry into any new relationship, should I have the misfortune of being on the other end of this. The anger cause by a cheating scenario shouldn’t be directed at the other girl, or at least not entirely. She’s not the one with the commitment, she’s not the one holding another girl’s happiness in her hands. I’m happy to say that in the number of times I’ve been in this situation, I’ve never pursued past the point of being made aware of the girlfriend’s existence. But no matter what the case may be, nothing is black and white – the other woman is just trying to be happy, just like everyone else.
At least take a modicum of solace in the royally messed up fact that even if you’re the one being lied to, you’re the one he cares about more. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.
Oh, and leave his cheating ass.
Header Image by Vanessa Vai