Friday, May 2, 2014

The Other Woman

Last weekend I saw The Other Woman. It was quite amusing and often hilarious (in my opinion). Of course much of the humor was over the top, but I expected this. What I did not expect, however, was the beautiful depiction of the power of female friendship in the midst of a life-changing crisis. I was holding back tears during one scene when the wife came to terms with her husband’s betrayal, and her best friend sat by her side, holding her hand as she accepted the unacceptable. Sometimes the silent presence of a friend is the sweetest salve to unexplainable pain.

All week I’ve been thinking about my “other women.” One in particular contributed to the deepest pain I’ve experienced in my 30 years. Whether intentional or not, she was part of a series of actions that changed the course of my life forever. I wonder if she knows that. I wonder if she cares. I wonder if she gave one thought to me, or if she was blinded to my existence altogether. I used to think about her quite often, first with anger, then with pity. Today my thoughts could best be described as “dumbfounded.” And that goes for all the mistresses out there.

I know every relationship is different, every situation unique. I do my best not to cast judgment on anyone for the choices she makes because I prefer others show me the same respect. And I’m not singling out women because I have more grace for men; rather, I have higher standards for the female gender.

Ladies, we’re on the same team. We’re in this thing together. Relationships are hard work, love is a battlefield, men can simultaneously be annoyingly simple and absurdly confusing. The friendships we strike and the support we provide one another is powerful. Please, let’s put each other first. Let’s think beyond ourselves. Those intoxicating emotions telling you a taken man is fair game? They are not sustainable. That scenario you’ve rationalized as supposedly “different” in an attempt to free yourself from guilt? It’s not. You are playing with fire; back the fuck off. This road leads to pain—and rarely does he get a share of that grief. It’s usually the shes who are left betrayed and broken. Both shes.

Thankfully there’s another side to the “other women” coin. It’s the women in my life who have stood by me through unspeakable grief. Women who cried with me, listened to endless rants and emotional vomiting, and helped me to laugh in the midst of it all. These ladies depicted loyalty in moments when trust was an empty, meaningless concept. These friendships are one of the greatest reasons I am proud to be a woman.

Ladies, let’s stay on this side, together. Let’s look out for each other by honoring the boundaries in play. Let’s uphold loyalty above lust and show each other the respect we deserve. Let’s love fairly and love fully—we are worth it.