Lately, everyone is talking Tiger Woods. From my friends to Perez Hilton to legitimate newscasters, the world is abuzz with this scandalous story and every single person has an opinion on the matter. Which is usually negative… and usually directed at the many women Tiger cheated with over the years.
And all this talk has brought me back to a pretty bad time in my life.
Unfortunately, I had a “relationship” (using that term loosely here) with a guy who was already in a pretty serious relationship with someone else.
I know what you’re thinking: “what. a. slut.” I’ve heard it all before, believe me, from being called a home-wrecker, to being made fun of for being “such a skank.” But here’s the thing – just because I had something going on with another girl’s boyfriend does not automatically make me a terrible person. While in many ways it is completely justified to talk badly about the girl on the side, it is unfair to put all the blame on the “other woman,” especially without hearing their side of the story, too.
So here’s my story:
I am a normal, shy college girl who really, really, REALLY liked a guy. I’m talking head-over-heels, think-about-him-every-second-of-every-day kind of like him. It was actually really pathetic to watch, especially when I would doodle our names together in a little heart while I was studying. But you know the feeling and I know you’ve felt it too – you just need to be with that person no matter what.
When he first started pursuing me, I tried to ignore it, because I knew he was unavailable. But in the end, I just did not have enough willpower. I was young, a little more stupid, and a lot less mature. I wanted to be with him enough that I didn’t care about anything else. And, in a terrible way, it was kind of thrilling to have to sneak around to see each other and to keep our relationship a secret. Especially since I was never the type of person anyone could see doing that (I was voted “Most Shy” in high school, people); it was exciting to be acting so different. And I can’t ignore the self esteem boost of (wrongly) feeling like he liked me enough to cheat.
For me, this wasn’t just a stupid hook-up that didn’t mean anything. I really liked this kid and being with him made me happy. And – yes, I know this sounds like a lame excuse – but he also spent most of our time together talking badly about his girlfriend. He told me she treated him badly, she was never around, and that she had actually cheated on him once before. He said he wanted to end things with her but felt like he couldn’t because they were in a weird place. There was a part of me that really thought he was going to break up with her, which made what we were doing a little bit better.
In the end, it didn’t matter how exciting or thrilling it was, and it didn’t matter how much I liked him. I finally woke up one day and realized that if he really liked me, he would have broken up with his girlfriend and never put me in that position in the first place. Even more, I finally put my blind feelings for him aside and took notice of how terrible the entire situation made me feel. Yes, contrary to popular belief, some of us ‘other women’ do think about the girlfriend, and we do feel horribly guilty.
It got to the point that I couldn’t think about the boy anymore without thinking about his girlfriend. I thought about her every time I was with him, every time he was with her, and every time I thought about him at all. When I would watch the lengths he would go to to deceive her successfully, it would make me sick to my stomach. After watching him lie to her first-hand I knew I couldn’t be with him anymore. I ended things right there. In retrospect, I really wish that I had had enough guts to call her and tell her everything, because she deserved to know the truth, but I didn’t and their relationship continued just the same. I still feel guilty about it even now.
I know how everyone feels about the ‘other woman’ in any situation and I understand why people feel that way about her. I mean, no one wants to be or deserves to be cheated on. But I think it’s important to hear both sides of the story. The other woman isn’t always some cold-hearted bitch out to steal someone’s man. Sometimes she’s just a girl who has gotten herself in way over her head. Sometimes she’s not proud of what she did. Sometimes she gets hurt, too.
Cheating is a terrible way to deceive someone, and I am sorry that I ever helped someone do that. I am not trying to justify my actions in any way, because I knew going into that relationship that it was all wrong, but I had overwhelming feelings and I let those feeling cloud my judgement. I think that’s something everyone, even those who have been hurt by cheaters, can understand.