Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Triangle Has Three Sides

Most women I know hate side chicks, jump-offs, mistresses and whatever other names we call women who date men who are already in relationships. These home wreckers shoulder the blame for the drama and sometimes demise of the relationship. And while I think, women who willingly enter into situations with men who say up front that they are in committed relationships (married or otherwise); I don’t think it’s solely her fault. There is plenty of blame to go around. If my geometry skills serve me right, a triangle has three sides. And a love triangle requires three equal participants.  So, while most of us are always side eyeing the side chick, there are two other sides to the triangle who don’t deserve to be let off the hook—the cheating man and his significant other. A jump-off enters into a relationship by invitation.

Years ago, I worked with a married woman. She and her husband had one child together. He had five other children. This is the story of two of those children. The husband cheated on his wife, and his mistress became pregnant. She had the baby.  She wanted to break up his marriage, so one day she dropped the baby off at his house and left. I don’t know if the wife knew about her husband’s outside child before the baby arrived. His wife took care of the baby until the woman came back and got her baby. The husband and wife stayed married. But that’s not the end of the story. He continued seeing the other woman and having (I assume) unprotected sex with her. I guess he didn’t learn the first time around. The woman got pregnant again and did the same thing—dropped the baby off at his house. The wife did the same thing—she took care of the baby until the mother returned.

The people I worked with applauded this woman for taking care of her husband’s outside children. She was a living saint. Even though I was a young woman at the time, the whole situation felt wrong to me which is probably why it stays with me all of these years later. Here was a man cheating on his wife and he got caught in the worst way! He had not one but two children by the same woman, and his wife had to face his infidelity every day that, that those children were in her house. I do admire her for not holding the children responsible for the circumstances of their birth, but she was a bigger woman than I think I would have been.

Even if the wife forgave her husband the first time, I don’t understand why she stayed married to him the second time! And the side chick, I don’t know why she continued trying to “take” him from his wife when it was clear that he wasn’t going to leave his wife for her, and the wife wasn’t going to leave her husband. The husband and wife stayed married until the wife passed.  I don’t know what became of the other woman and the children. I’ve always been fascinated by all the blame being laid at the feet of the other woman. What responsibility does a man have to be faithful to the woman he claims as His or is he claiming?

When we’re the main chick, the fiancé, or the wife, we carry a sense of entitlement that this man is ours. And so we wait it out. When we’ve invested time and feelings and had children, we’re not just going to walk away. And by no means am I saying that we shouldn’t fight for our relationships, but I do wonder when is enough, enough? I know that everyone has a different bottom, but do we have to dive head first into the concrete and suffer from life-threatening injuries before we throw in the towel? How many side chick sitationships does a woman have to endure before she decides that it’s not worth it? 

A friend of mine and I argue about this all the time because she thinks that for every woman who says no to a side chick relationship is one less man who cheats. I agree with her to some degree. But I know that there are women who don’t mind being the second place winner. So, for everyone who says no to being a side chick, there is an army of women waiting to take her place. So, where does that leave wives, fiancés and girlfriends? When is a relationship not worth salvaging? How many naked pictures, sexually explicit text messages, STDs or outside babies does a woman have to contend with before she says, I’m out. If he’s a serial cheater, who’s the real side chick? It seems to me that if the wife, fiancé, or girlfriend said no to his cheating, he might just weigh his options before he steps outside of his relationship. If he can always return home, why would he stop cheating? When we want to dog side chicks, we need to remember that a triangle has three sides.

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