Call her the other woman, the homewrecker, the mistress, the “thot”; I refer to her as the side-chick. You’ve seen her, dealt with her, dated her, hell, you’ve probably been her once or twice before. The side-chick is a complex individual whom no one ever takes a moment to understand. Most of us usually just write her off as “thirsty” or “pathetic.” In recent years, television has done its part in further examining this complicated woman. (See: “Scandal” or “Being Mary Jane”) The side-chick is not just the second option; she’s also a human being.
My only involvement in infidelity has been as the victim. The closest I’ve ever gotten to becoming a side-chick was a couple years ago when my ex-boyfriend tried to spark something behind his girlfriend’s (who was the side-chick in our past relationship by the way) back. I turned him down; it was really hard to let go but I did. I could never share a man. That’s just not who I am. However, I admit that many times I’ve wondered what it would be like to keep such a steamy secret. How does it feel to be a guilty pleasure? I wondered if the side ever felt jealous of the main or did she find comfort in being the excitement to another woman’s man. I have many interesting types of friends. A few of my girlfriends are a bit more freethinking than I am in the love department. Some of my friends find nothing wrong with dating married men or men in committed relationships. And although they’re my girls, I still can’t co-sign with their choice of being the side-chick. Sometimes my disapproval is based on my sympathy for the poor clueless girlfriend but most times I just want my friend to respect herself.
After years of witnessing, experiencing and discussing the side-chick — and also a developed obsession with “Scandal” – I started to form some understanding of the side-chick psyche. I broke it down into 5 main thought processes. Keep in mind this is all hypothetical.
1. The Reason: It’s Innocent
Most times, it starts with just a flirty friendship. Both parties know where it will go but despite better judgement, they go forward. Innocent “friendships” and hang-out sessions rapidly snowball into an affair. The side-chick will say she meant no harm. Thus: “It just happened.”
2. The Addiction: Thrill and Desire
What keeps her engaged is that she is strongly desired. She is seen as danger, a thrill, a taboo pleasure. Who wouldn’t want to feel like that?
3. The Rationalization: Comfort & Denial
True, side-chicks can be heartless and there are many who have hidden agendas, like gold-digging. But not all are like that. Sometimes, these things happen out of poor judgment. At this stage, she may be either fearful of catching feelings or she may start to feel guilty. So she rationalizes: “If he really loves her then why is he coming home to me? Ha! I’m winning.” “I don’t care; he’s not my man anyway. I would never seriously date a cheater.” “He said he and his girl are about to break up. It’s not really cheating.” “We have something special. It’s so complicated! No one understands us but us!”
4. The Emotions: Hope & Jealousy
Things are getting hot and heavy. Oh no! She’s falling in love. Now, she is hoping that he’ll choose her as his main squeeze. Phone calls are now being made earlier than midnight. She is texting during the hours she knows he is with the girlfriend/wife. Instagrammed couple-photos are now a must. The demand for girlfriend treatment is rising.
5. The Fear: Please Don’t Leave Me!
For whatever reason, whether girlfriend #1 left and boyfriend resorted to the runner-up or the boyfriend actually chose side-chick over girlfriend #1, the side-chick has finally won her prize. No more secrets. She’s relieved and excited. She Instagrams the hell out of the relationship. All of her social media friends now know who “Him” is and why the constant statuses of love song lyrics. However, soon after the thrill is gone, the former side-chick starts wondering. Paranoia strikes. “Will he cheat on me like he did with me?” “How you get him is how you lose him, right?” “Who’s that bitch liking his photos?”
Like I said, this is just my theory. I can only say this is true for the side-chicks I’ve encountered and based on the stories I’ve been told.