I Was 'The Other Woman,' But I Ignored All The Signs

Infidelity happens all the time. As unfortunate as it is, it happens.

We hear about spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends cheating on their significant others all the time. And whether or not anyone knows about it, it sucks. It especially sucks if you're on the other side, the object of the cheating.

I recently found out that I'm that person. I'm “the side chick,” the other woman.

What had started out as occasional texting and major flirting with a guy I had just met developed into a full-blown friends with benefits situation. In the beginning, of course, I wanted more. Typical, right?

There's always that one person who falls harder. And, yep, I got the bad luck on my side for this one. “I caught feelings like a damn amateur.”

When I started to notice that something was “off” between us, I thought I was just being led on. And, typical me, I was attempting to hold on to something that wasn't there (a common theme in my dating life). After two months of talking, texting and a little too much online stalking, I figured out I wasn't the only girl in his life.

I would say judging and investigating are among some of my strongest assets, and I was almost positive he had a “someone.” But at the same time, I thought “Am I just over analyzing this?” There wasn't enough evidence to be definitive.

It took me a little while to come to terms with what I had found and to justify why it was OK for me. Again, I was just trying to hold on to something. Just as in the stages of grief, I was in denial at first. Then came anger.

I'm a firm believer that cheating is unacceptable, but I also wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because that's just who I am. (And yes, I thought my bitter skepticism could've been wrong.) So, I did; I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

But really, I should have seen it earlier on because I'm smarter than that. He used the excuse of working long hours, six days a week, as a way to “politely” dismiss himself from any obligation of really getting to know me. And it quickly excused me from his house after our encounters.

I still had a feeling that something was up, but I chose to ignore it. I didn't let it deter me.

I accepted there was a chance he could have a girlfriend, but I also accepted that either way, this was what I was tolerating. So, I let our little “fling” continue. I realized that what was best for me, at the time, was to stop worrying about the future, put aside the wishful thinking and just live in the moment.

I needed to be present and enjoy the moment I was in. It was then that I actually began to enjoy myself without any expectations. It was freeing, really.

“Don't think, just do” became my daily mantra. So, I did just that. While trying to push down the recurrence of the doubts in my mind, I let him continue to pursue me. I let him use me and use his words to string me along. I held on to his promises as he held on to me.

What's crazy is that while I knew what was happening, I was oddly OK with it. I realized it was never going to be what I wanted it to be. But, silly me enjoyed the attention and the spontaneity of “living in the moment.” I gave in and allowed this person to use me because I was being blinded in the moment.

But let's get to the point here. The real kicker, you ask? The moment I really knew I was the side chick? I was at his house one day, pretending to freshen up in the bathroom when I decided to do some more of my nosey investigating.

"Now is my chance," I thought. So, it was then that I found a box of tampons in his bathroom drawer. And to see that little blue box sitting there, so innocently, was the threatening proof I was looking for. This time it was tangible.

I couldn't believe what I had seen. I had given my whole self to this person, and now I knew that I had made a huge mistake. The power of intuition right? I knew the whole time. I was just choosing to ignore it, to pretend like it wasn't reality.

I always fall for the ones who don't want me, the ones who pretend, the ones with hidden motives. I get let down, then wonder why. At first, I didn't understand why things like this kept happening to me.

But now, looking at it clearly, I see that they weren't doing it to me. It was me who was allowing this to happen. I was consciously allowing guys to walk all over me. I was giving permission to be used, and to be treated like I didn't matter.

It's crazy how your mind can play tricks on you. Your own mind can make you think the things you want so badly are what's best for you, when they're so clearly not. I know these types of experiences are going to make for the best life lessons. But honestly, I'm tired of all these damn lessons I'm having to learn.

Things like this hurt like a wound. Of course, the blow is painful. Just like any other wound, each day that passes it will be a little sore. But eventually, we heal. The pain beings to cease, the skin heals over and a scar is left as evidence that it happened. And while it's evidence of a wound, it's just as much evidence that we survived.

Life is full of a lot of the unexpected. It's a lot of the “I was wrong”, and “I should've known” and everything in between. But, the best thing you can do for yourself is accept those things for what they are and learn from them. Unfortunately, a lot of times, it takes an unpleasant experience to learn a lesson.

One day, things will workout for me. One day, I'll have the guy I deserve. But for now, I won't, and instead, I'll focus on having faith in the future and in the unknown. For now, I'll have to be OK with sleeping alone.

So the question is, what do I do now? Well, I just keep on living. I'm going to continue to “not think, and just do” because that's how I believe life should be lived, by just living. I'll let life come to me as it does, and I have to remind myself that I can't control those around me, nor their actions or decisions.

What I can control is me, my life and whom I chose to be in it. And I won't accept being someone's second choice.