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February 22, 2024

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Dealing with the ‘other woman’

Infidelity is defined in the dictionary by many terms, but ‘betrayal of a trust’ is the most descriptive, and that’s not saying much.

What does it mean to cheat? If you’re in a relationship and stray, then you’re a cheater. If you sleep with someone else’s partner, then you’re also a cheater, right?

I’m struggling with infidelity because I honestly have no clue what it means to be a cheater.

I can tell you that according to Discovery Health the statistics average out to a scary amount of people who cheat: 50 percent.

I can also tell you the emotional toll is horrendous and should be avoided and if you’re cheating and having sex with more than one person, you’re in danger of bringing an STI to the person who trusts you and loves you, and you just went down a lot of notches in my book.

But I can’t tell you that cheating is bad and if you do it, you’re evil and wrong, because I’d be lying.

There are too many gray areas in relationships to jump to a black or white conclusion about the guilt and innocence of various parties in a relationship.

Cheater is a blanket term and the people who cheat all have individual reasons for making their choices. Next time you want to automatically make them out to be the bad guy, look in the mirror or look closely at a friend. Never forget that 50 percent statistic.

I’ve been cheated on. It hurts. I remember a guy telling me he loved me and I wasn’t ready to say it back yet. He told me he understood, and he’d be patient because he knew I’d been hurt before by someone who cheated on me.

The day came when I chose to let my defenses down and told him I loved him. His response?

“Okay.”

That was when I knew it had happened again. I was being cheated on.

I hated the ‘other woman,’ but now I wonder why it bothered me so much. This girl may not have known he was with me. What right did I have to condemn her for starting a relationship with a man she thought was free to be with her?

I’m not the only woman who does this. I get so sick of hearing people trash the person their partner is cheating on them with. If they know they’re the ‘other person’ then yes, blast away, but the real guilty party in the situation is the person who strayed from a monogamous relationship in the first place.

Drew Pierson, a gentleman who found his first serious girlfriend in the arms of a friend, blamed them both, but found it helpful to let his girlfriend know just what she had done to him. After a few heated words and an incident involving her car’s windshield and his fist, she decided to talk to him. Instead of getting on her knees and apologizing, she scolded him about the damage to her car.

“I remember pulling a wad of cash out of my pocket and throwing it in her face like she was some cheap hooker. It was rather therapeutic,” Pierson said.

One of the more difficult things for Pierson was hearing his friend’s explanation of “We’re in love.”

The fact they’d slept together in her bedroom while Pierson was sleeping on the couch in the living room, still believing he had a girlfriend was just a sick twist and one that he rose above in the end.

“I ended up forgiving them and I’m still friends with them both because…that meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. If they hadn’t broken up I don’t think I’d be friends with them but they only lasted 6 months. I called it to the day,” Pierson said.

Being friends with an ex can lead to other complications, as evidenced by Roxanne Yoos, who found herself in her ex-boyfriend’s bed two years after their relationship had ended.

“I slept with him because I didn’t want to have a one night stand with a stranger. I trusted this person and cared about him enough to know that he wouldn’t take advantage,” Yoos said.

A lot of us can relate to this need, which Yoos said was physical and emotional, but the part of this story that makes it a bit more interesting is the fact Yoos knew her ex-boyfriend was involved with another woman at the time.

While she may seem selfish, she only had herself to deal with. Was the ex-boyfriend tempted by this seductress after fighting tooth and nail to stay faithful? Not quite.

“[There was] no hesitation which just goes to show how close he was to the girl. We didn’t really talk about it much until later, when we decided that we still cared about each other. He wanted to get back together at some point, but we haven’t and won’t,” said Yoos.

The important thing is how you deal with the aftermath of finding out you’re being cheated on. It’s not impossible to reconcile with the person who cheated on you. I never did. I knew I was better than that, but sometimes relationships are worth fighting for even after such a betrayal.

Eventually, things may go back to normal, at least for some parties involved. In retrospect, Yoos said she wouldn’t do it again, but she managed to escape her predicament unscathed.

“I’m not sure about things on his end, but, hey, I felt better. We’re still friends and he’s moved on to some other woman now. So I’m thinking that everything turned out alright,” said Yoos.

For others, the experience forced them to make changes in their own life.

“She made me feel inadequate ” It motivated me to seek sexual knowledge, to be better, to be able to please any woman sexually way better than any guy they had been with. So to that extent I am grateful,” Pierson said.

While I’m sure the women Pierson comes into contact with are grateful as well, maybe one of them will help him to see there was nothing wrong with his ability to please a woman, but more of a problem with his ex-girlfriend’s ability to be pleased with a meaningful relationship free of lies and betrayal.

But with nearly half the people in relationships finding someone else to warm their bed, that may be harder to come by than you think.

Don’t give up, though, and don’t shut down completely. If I hadn’t risked hurt again, I wouldn’t be married with two great kids.

There is hope for those who have been betrayed. After all, there is that other 50 percent out there who will remain truthful. We just have to find them.

Send comments, questions and ideas to Chandra Niklewski at [email protected].

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