8 Things I Learned About Being the Other Woman

One of my closest friends has this little habit of lusting after, sexting with, falling in love with, and hooking up with guys who are anything but single. Whether they are in long-term relationships, are in the process of getting into one, or are stuck in a loop of will-they-won’t-they with anyone besides her, it almost seems as if any situation that makes those men unavailable is a situation she craves. To me, it sometimes seems as if the less a man can be hers, the more she wants him. Over endless hours of conversation and gossip over endless glasses of wine, here is what I have learned from her about what being the other woman is like.

1. You are never their number one

Whether or not they promise you the world is irrelevant, because if you are sexting with them and their girlfriend calls, they will pick up. If you are horny and desperately want them and their girlfriend just bought some new lingerie, they’ll rip it off her, not you. If you need a shoulder to cry on, his is already occupied.

2. It is flattering

Of course it is! Here is someone who has a significant other (or something close to it) who they are devoted to (at least in some ways), and yet they give you attention! You are desired; they want you. They will break their principles for you, disregard society’s morals of what’s right and wrong, acceptable and not. In a situation where they should not be wanting anyone else, they still want you.

3. It protects your heart

Sure, there are always those men (and women) who will promise to leave their partner for you (they rarely do, by the way), but most of the time you know exactly where you are at. You know how much of them you can get and you know better than to give them your heart.

4. Yet you always end up giving them your heart anyway

It is either great sex or characteristics within the other person that make you keep coming back to the one that isn’t yours, that make you pick up the phone time and time again, even when you know deep down that you shouldn’t. You know better than to give them your heart—they already have someone else’s, after all—and yet you do it anyway.

5. It is lonely

When it feels like all your friends are in relationships or bae-ed up in some way, it can suck. Sure, you are happy for them, but you still wish you weren’t alone in your singledom. However, they are your friends, and again, you are happy for them. But when the one who isn’t yours leaves your bed or signs off on the chat to be with his girlfriend, the loneliness that grips your heart is a particularly sucky kind.

6. You question your character

My friend is a wonderful person with many remarkable qualities, but her consistent involvement with unavailable men is something that even she admits makes her question how good of a person she is.

7. Justification becomes second nature

Those moments of doubt are always followed by justifications. Well, I’m not the one in a relationship, it’s on him not to cheat. It’s different because they share a history, so it doesn’t really count as cheating. If it weren’t with me, it would be with someone else, so I may as well be the one having the fun. Everyone cheats—it’s just a fact. I’m not the one who initiated it—I would never! It was all him, I merely responded. The justifications keep coming, the excuses piling up. And I can’t even say I wholeheartedly disagree—they’re good points.

8. It’s addicting

I am not sure if my friend just adores being wanted—who doesn’t?—or if she is addicted to those guys in particular. But no matter how many times she tells me, our friends, the guys, and herself that she is done, she never really is.

Put together, yet occasionally a hot mess – a 20 something writer.