So George called me today. Early in the morning,. I had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready to heard out to work. My phone rang and I picked the call on reflex only to find out it is George. He just won’t quit despite everything we have talked about and how I have treated him. I confess, I have been quite rude to him on occasion. I blocked him from all my instant message services including Skype and he just won’t quit. I don’t pick up when he calls or reply his text messages and have pretty much asked him to leave me alone but he just won’t get it. It could be because I told him we can be friends because that’s pretty much all I can have with him. Maybe he figures if he’s persistent enough, I shall change my mind? And maybe I have, unwittingly, offered him some hope by telling him we can be friends? I don’t know. Anyway when we talked, I told him much of what I always tell him. I told him I’m not ready to me ‘the other woman’ with him. The broken promises, the cancelled plans, the sitting around waiting for someone to make time to see you while you cannot make any plans for fear that they might call and you won’t be available, having no one to reliably be there for you when you need help, compartmentalized lives, sex in HOTELS or motels! Seriously though, having sex in a hotel is one of the most disturbing things ever. Cheap motels and hotels are even worse. Nothing makes a woman feel dirtier and more used than that. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Hilton you were at, nothing would make me want to scrub my skin raw under scalding water more than sex in a hotel. I thought it was demeaning the one time I actually tried it and I swore I would never again put myself through that. Ever. Bleugh! … Nuh uh… I am not doing that. Not ever. Been there done that, got the T-shirt, thank you very much. So, naturally, I figured today would be a good day to do the final bit of my ‘The Other Woman’ series. I have been a bit busy and you know how life is, sometimes it throws you a curve ball… It occurred to me that maybe three posts is a bit too much time to dedicate to one topic… but after thinking it over, I figured, what the hell… It’s something that’s bugging me and I might as well talk about it until I manage to get it out of my system. And honestly, we tend to talk about what we experience, right?
What do you do when you are caught in a situation where you have to choose between being the other woman and being alone? Frankly, I cannot tell you how you should carry yourself. That is an intensely personal decision that you have to make for yourself. But what you need to remember the reality which is that, a man doesn’t need to be unhappy with his relationship to cheat. If he is cheating inclined, he’ll cheat whether the going is good or bad. It’s not about her, it’s about him. They’re selfish, self-involved twats. He didn’t even see himself as a cheat and like majority of these men, he could very comfortably have lived his double life for as long as I would let him. Rationalizing the situation will only hurt you in the long term.
According to my current favorite author, Natalie Rue, you both need to be on the same page about the relationship. Are you still sitting pretty, wondering if he is ever going to leave his girlfriend/wife for you? Are you still asking him if he’s gonna do so? You can do this:
1) Make sure that when you have any discussions that they are definitive rather than being wishy washy: A lot of women don’t ask direct questions (they think they do though) because they are afraid of hearing bad news or pushing him too far. He needs to be pushed. Better you know where you stand now than find yourself still doing the same thing and having the same conversations several years down the line.
2) Be careful of setting deadlines. In fact, you should only set a deadline if he has said that he intends on leaving. Do not set deadlines that you are not going to follow through on. No matter how much you yell and scream, if you’re still with them afterwards, you look silly and he knows he doesn’t have to leave. Make the deadline realistic but not so long that it loses any meaning. Make sure you gain agreement, be clear on the terms, and be even clearer that it’s over if he doesn’t follow through.
3-6 months is optimum – the shorter the time, the better.
3) If you’ve been asking a lot, stop asking and be a woman of action. If you genuinely don’t want to share this man, don’t share him, and he’ll see that there are consequences and that if he wants to be with you, he has to man up. You are doing yourself a big favor in the long run. The best thing that you can do is believe in yourself – tell him to come back when he’s free to be with you. That may be never, but it’s better than waiting forever.
4) Remember that if their marriage/relationship is not working and they say it as over anyway, they are leaving for that reason, not just because of you. It’s important to remember this because should they leave, the worst types will keep throwing it at you that they only left because you told them to or do the whole ‘I left her for you so you should be grateful’ type thing, or even worse ‘You know how you met me! Why are you surprised that I’m sleeping with X, Y, and Z?’. Some people need a catalyst to leave and can’t end relationships on the basis of it not working – they need to have someone to go to.
5) Make sure you know what you want before you go down this road.
Have you thought it all through and you are still determined to be with the man? The love of your life? (sic) According to Miss Natalie Lue, here are some basic tips to help you survive being the ‘Other Woman’
1. Have your escape route from the affair planned. If you have any sense of self worth, don’t be banking on being the other woman forever. Either get the commitment you want and be the starring role instead of the understudy, or get out. Set a time limit and stick to it.
2. Don’t be burning up energy making empty threats. Sometimes an ultimatum is needed to bring things to a head, but if you have no intention of actually following through – you’ll look like a dipstick and then he knows that he doesn’t actually have to make a decision. An ultimatum is an ultimatum for a reason which means there should only be ONE.
3. Do tell a friend about the affair: Keeping things to yourself will be a big strain emotionally and you need someone who you can confide in, have sanity check with and who will also tell you that you should be doing better.
4. Don’t get pregnant in an attempt to force his hand. This is just about the WORST thing you could ever do to yourself. The only person you’re ‘trapping’ is yourself. A baby is for life…not for using as a tool to get what you want.
5. Get a life. Don’t make him the focal point of your existence and don’t be afraid to spend time on your own and certainly spend time with friends and family. The better you feel about yourself, the quicker you’ll come to your senses about being the other woman. Also if you make him the focus of your existence, it gives him supreme control and makes you very dependent on him. Not good!
6. Don’t be doing the chasing. How can you be spending so much energy running after a man who is throwing you the crumbs of his attention? Pfffffft.
7. Keep it real. You are the other woman, he belongs to someone else, this isn’t a good indicator of how much he can be trusted and he is probably having sex with his girlfriend/wife. This doesn’t mean he loves you – it means he’s greedy, indecisive, cowardly and/or a cheat.
8. Don’t disparage the girlfriend or wife. It will do you no favors and makes you appear to be jealous and childish. It’s a difficult situation but he is with this person and whatever reason he has come up with being with you and cheating on her, he hasn’t left her and he’s still with her.
9. Don’t turn into a stalker. The moment you feel yourself going off the rails and wanting to follow him, cut up his clothes, follow his girlfriend/wife, hang around at his kids school, fake pregnancies, fake diseases and any other devious or attention seeking carry-on, it’s time to abort the mission and bail out.
10. Don’t cope with being the other woman. Get out and be with a man that isn’t someone else. Take off the rose tinted glasses and particularly if you have been with him for an extended period of time, you need to let go. It doesn’t take that long to leave someone and he is emotionally unavailable no matter what he says. If he really did love you, he’d put himself in a position to actually be with you properly. Don’t let him convince you that he is the best you can do for yourself – you are better than playing second best.
That fear that many ‘Other Women’ have is that if they leave, he’ll think they don’t care or find someone else. If you’re worried that he’ll replace you with someone else to cheat with, it suggests he’s worth leaving…
The relationship cannot be just on his terms. Just like he expects you trust in him, he’ll have to trust that you’ll be there when he’s got his shit sorted out.
Lastly, if being with someone who is attached is against your core values and forces you to make a rapid departure from who you are, sidelining yourself and living on the fringes and in secret from friends and family, opt out now. If loving him means that you can’t love yourself, choose you. Always choose yourself. Who is going to take care of you, if you do not take care of yourself first?
PS: Natalie Lue is the author of the amazing books Mr Unavailable And The Fallback Girl, The No Contact Rule and The Dreamer And The Fantasy Relationship. You should absolutely check them out. They are available in paperback and as well as e-book format. This lady is the sh*t.