For around 6 months, I was sleeping with a guy who had a girlfriend. In fact halfway through he changed girlfriends and brought me along with him. I was friends with both girlfriends. One day I would be with him and the next I would be with her. She would ask me for advice about their relationship. When she asked if I thought that he had ever cheated on her I said no. From my bed, lying naked beside me, he sent her a text to wish her happy birthday. I wasn’t the other woman; I was 14. I was the other girl.
He was my ex-boyfriend. The first girlfriend had been my friend, but then she set her sights on him and took him from me. Does this sound too much like high school? Remember, it was. I was young but I loved freely and fell hard. After months of crying I finally made up with her and then, later, with him. Sometimes I felt guilty because I’m only human and it was hard looking a girl who trusts you in the eye knowing that you’re picking away at something she loves. I felt guilty, but I never once thought that what I was doing was wrong. She’d had it coming to her.
One day she got fed up with me and shouted “I waited! I waited until you two had broken up!” “But you knew I loved him,” I stammered back. And really, that was what it came down to for me. Sure, it wasn’t the ideal situation and it wasn’t nice that other people’s hearts were getting battered in the process, but I loved him and don’t people always do crazy things for love? Doesn’t love make everything else worth it? Love was my trump card.
That was 6 years ago and I don’t blame my 14-year-old self for any of it. I was young and stumbling through some of the worst years of my life and he was pulling the strings every step of the way. I don’t blame myself but I’m not proud of it. I can see now what I couldn’t then; that it was wrong, and not only wrong on her (on SO many levels) but wrong on me too. We expect other people to do bad stuff to us but we’re meant to have our own backs. We’re meant to act in our own interests and sleeping with someone who has a girlfriend is never doing that.
I don’t need to tell you why it was unfair on those two lovely girls, it’s obvious. Their only fault was my own fault; falling for him. It’s obvious that I did a shit thing and the article that inspired this one has covered exactly what was shit about it. Here’s what I learnt about why being the other girl sucks.
It’s a cliché (but don’t clichés always ring true?); you can’t expect somebody else to respect you if you don’t respect yourself. He used to call me his girlfriend, he used to hold my hand and kiss me in public and now we were fucking in fields and not looking each other in the eye the rest of the time. Where’s the respect in that? I thought I had the upper hand over his girlfriend because sure, we were sharing him, but at least I knew about it. That stupid bitch had no idea. Knowing that there’s someone else, knowing that when he leaves it’s to go back to her, knowing that that he’s always going to leave… how does that make it any better? How does that make me the smart one? Oh, but I’m forgetting, I loved him so it was okay, it was worth it. Yet what we were doing was the very antithesis of love.
I still talk to those girls today and all 3 of us have moved on, bounced back, are happy. I don’t talk to him. I’m glad I made such a horrible mistake so early on because I have grown up and learnt from it and know now never to do it again. I forgave myself for doing it then because I was young and really didn’t know any better, but I could never forgive myself for something like that today. Maybe the universe owes us nothing, maybe every woman is an island and maybe we can’t rely on anybody, but if all that’s true than it’s even more important that we can count on ourselves. Don’t ever lower yourself to being the other woman. And if you love him, that goes double for you.