Never again in my vocabulary is usually followed by “never say never”. I know it is cliche but I have found it to be the truth. I have said “never” a million times to be smacked with the reality that I should not have said “never”. One of the things that I am 99.9% confident about saying “never again” is being the other woman. This should probably have been on the Confession prompt on the Erotic Journal Challenge and I will write more about it from that perspective on the catch-up week. It’s been a little crazy around here and I missed that, but it is a big one and very much linked to this topic for me.
Where it began
I have touched on this before but to give a little background to help make this make sense. My very first boyfriend and all boyfriends, relationships, husband and wife were in relationships when I met them. It seems to be my unintended process of getting into relationships. We become friends, and then the rest is obvious, I guess. I didn’t always entertain intimacy. To be fair, it wasn’t intentional and it didn’t happen with ease. Looking back, I feel horrible about the times I was the other woman. While I feel horrible I also feel I can justify some of it with one excuse or another. I was young (high school boyfriend) We were friends and I was counseling them on their relationship issues (Ex-husband, but also in high school). They gave me the attention I wanted and needed (a little older but still nieve). There were lies of not being in relationships (I know, I said I was nieve). Regardless of the reasons, I was the other woman. I give myself a little girth for the times it happened when I was younger. As I got older I knew better.
Why it happened
This is the million dollar question. I have been doing a lot of self-assessment lately and I am still not sure why. Partly, unattached people don’t seem to be interested in me. That sounds silly, but it also is the truth as I see it looking back. Recently, I was talking to a friend and brought this subject up as we were discussing the woes of online dating. I ran down a little history for him and stated I didn’t know why this always happened to me. “Its the challenge,” was his response. What?! I don’t have a competitive bone in my body! I still think that both teams in the super bowl should get the rings! It is horrible watching the losing team all sad and crying on the sideline. And, yeah, I do believe in participation awards for youth groups, because sometimes it is just as hard to show up as it is to make a basket or a goal.
Having said that, I wanted him to elaborate. He said it is human nature to want what others have. It is also human nature to be interested in having things that you aren’t supposed to or that belong to someone else. Well fuck! While he had a point, I still wasn’t completely convinced that was my MO. Certainly not consciously anyway. I was willing to give it thought and consideration.
Maybe it is a self-esteem issue.
While being completely floored by my friend’s assessment, I saw some truth in it. I never thought I was worth anyone’s attention. Too fat, too ugly, too shy, too awkward, there were a million reasons that I never felt worthy. Some times I didn’t know that the person was in a relationship and by the time I knew, it was too late. I was already emotionally invested. Honestly, being emotionally invested didn’t take a lot of time. Young or old, it was my thing. I was longing for something. My first boyfriend, my first long term relationship, hell, my first date!
However, and most importantly, my firsts weren’t more important than the relationships that were already in process. Whether they truly were struggling or not, or the people giving me attention were just lying jerks, my self-esteem is not more important. Hurting those other women indirectly whether I knew or I didn’t know doesn’t exonerate me from my part in the process. At least not the ones I knew about but continued to flirt and entertain some kind of contact with their partners. I decided that not only would I not lower myself to be less than a priority, but I would never again indirectly hurt someone else no matter how badly I want to spend time with someone.
How do I move forward to get to my “Never Again” commitment?
Well, that seems like an easy answer, right? Background checks and perhaps hire a private investigator to check out anyone I am interested in or that appears interested in me. Clearly, my judgment is skewed and I could use the backup. Maybe something a little less drastic. A Google search from the jump?
My most recent relationship (that is what I call it but I am not sure that is what it is), started online. Nice guy, quiet, a little out of my usual choice in men. Was it an intentional decision to choose someone a little different? I am not really sure, but I wanted someone different from my ex-Dom who I was (and still am) grieving the loss of. There was a monologue, if I remember correctly, to him of how honesty was crucial and I would rather hear the truth. I was open to non-monogamy if all parties were in the know. Short of requesting a notarized affidavit of proof that all were in the know, he seemed open to it. He told me he had a girlfriend and that she set up his profile and she knows he is interested in me. Good start, yes? Nope!
Three months in I noticed some familiar behavior. Last minute seemed the only way to make plans. A lot of plans set canceled last minute. Determined to break the routine I questioned him. Honestly is a bitch. His response was honest. I was angry. Everything he was telling me was the truth he had just failed to tell me that she had become uncomfortable with the situation. You see, I didn’t get that signed affidavit! She knew about me that was true enough. I had left my sunglasses in his car and she found them. It was at that moment that she realized we were really spending time together and she didn’t like it.
Cause of action to enlist the “Never Again” plan
Never again. I wasn’t going to be a part of making her miserable. He understood. That seemed easy. The conversation is the hard part. They are in the process of breaking up and when they do, maybe he and I can revisit the time we spend together. Yes, we still text and chat, but it isn’t sexual or intimate. It is about his boat, his dogs, his family. Nothing too… touchy-feely. Do I wish it was different? Absolutely. I found myself really falling for this guy. Feeling that way made it a little hard to break things off, but breaking it off and knowing it was the right thing to do felt better.
It isn’t that I mind being alone. I actually like it. I miss intimacy and I miss having a boyfriend. Someone to hang out with and go to dinner or listen to music with. The issue is, those are the things that you can’t do if you are in a relationship with someone who isn’t being honest and has a home life that doesn’t want to jeopardize. Regardless of the reason, they are searching for someone elsewhere, valid or not, the other woman is always the second or lowest priority. For me, that is no longer acceptable. Hurting others, being nieve, being the other woman, never again.