a note from Mary: this story contains sensitive subject matter, please be aware.
Like the author of the last fabulously-written anonymous story, I too reached out to Mary to be a guest writer on her blog. I have found that some stories are harder for me to share, and this is one few people want to hear let alone try to understand. This is the story about being the other woman.
I know what you’re probably thinking, because I can almost guarantee I’ve thought the same things too. I’ve called those women numerous names and made assumptions about them, and then one day, somehow, I became the other woman.
Four years ago I was entering my freshman year of college. I instantly became friends with this guy Scott (changing his name for the purpose of this story). Scott and I had many common interests and instantly became not just friends, but best friends. I knew I could call him at any second of the day or night and he’d coming running across the quad to my dorm and sit with me until the swelling of my eyes settled from crying so much. When I first met Scott I was still dating a boy from high school. The distance became too much for my little naïve heart to handle, and I soon started dating another guy, we’ll call him Mark. I knew from the start Mark was a bad idea. He was 3 years older than me and certainly more experienced than me. You know when you’re little and your mom tells you if something really makes you sad or uncomfortable that you don’t have to do it, that you should trust those feelings? Well unfortunately 18-year-old me didn’t listen to my mom’s advice. I wound up in an extremely physically and emotionally abusive relationship with Mark. It wasn’t until I was laying naked on the bathroom floor of my dorm room covered in bruises and blood that I realized I needed to get away, that I needed help.
For the weeks to come, I distanced myself from everyone and everything and Scott and my friendship started fading away. It wasn’t until the summer after our freshman year that I told him the truth about Mark. This angered Scott. Okay so anger doesn’t even begin to describe how furious he was with Mark and the situation and how he wasn’t there for me, but somehow this turned into a conversation of Scott telling me he loves me. I told Scott I didn’t know how I felt. Looking back four years later I knew in that moment I loved Scott as far more than a friend, but I also knew my perception of love and life had been greatly altered by my relationship with Mark.
So, Scott and I learned to live our lives separately. He loved me from afar and I hid under the covers of other men. Eventually we started dating other people and falling in love with them. Senior year of college came, and Scott was still in a very long-distance relationship with this girl (we’ll call her Emma) while I was single again for the first time in a long time. Scott and I quickly began to spend more time together. Scott would complain to me about how hard his relationship was with Emma being so far away and having so many differences, while I tried dating man after man, I realized I wasn’t happy and in love with anyone like I was with Scott. So one cold winter night, while I was crying over another boy, Scott comforted me, and we kissed. Right away we apologized, and said it was a mistake. I mean it was a mistake right? He had a girlfriend. I finally confessed to Scott how I felt and he said it wasn’t fair to him- he had felt that way before about me and I wasn’t ready and though he was miserable dating Emma right now it just wasn’t fair. So yet again, Scott and I drifted apart.
Months went by without a single word shared between us, until one Saturday at 3 in the morning I received a phone call from him. The rest of that night is blurry. I’m not sure if it’s that I don’t remember it, or that I don’t want to. We ended up hooking up and then I just started hysterically crying telling him how much I love him. I told him to leave Emma. I told him if he wasn’t happy with her that he needed to break up with her, and be with me. He said now I knew how it felt, now I knew what it meant to have my heart broken, and I began to cry even more. He quickly apologized, and said that’s not what he meant. He said that’s what he wanted too, for us to be together, and we fell asleep. The next morning I woke up in an empty room, trying to figure out if the night before really happened or if it was all a dream. After a few days passed I called Scott and said we needed to talk. So we did, and suddenly I realized I was the other woman. Scott didn’t want to be with me, but he didn’t want to let me go. Scott told Emma what happened and I was suddenly blocked from all of her social media accounts and all of his. I spent my last few weeks of college walking around campus with puffy eyes and baggy sweatpants, keeping my head staring at the ground as people called me a “homewrecker” and a “Whore.” I started to believe those names people called me, and I started hating myself.
Graduation came, the summertime came, and I thought I was free. But, life never works out quite that way does it? Soon it was October, and I received numerous phone calls from friends in the area saying that Scott was talking about me. So I finally worked up the courage to go sit down with him face to face and talk about everything. Amongst the awkward silences were a lot of “I’m sorry” and “I want you to be happy” and “let’s try to be friends.” So we did, try. Four days later of us “trying to be friends” landed us both in my apartment bed, cuddling, and you guessed it-me crying. I told him I didn’t want him to leave this time, I wanted to wake up the next morning and see him. By some miracle I did, which of course was when he decided to tell me that him and his girlfriend were on a break and he needed to figure out what he wanted. Although they weren’t together at this point, a part of me still felt guilty, like I was trying to weave myself into someone else’s story. I decided this time to trust that gut instinct. After a few weeks of back and forth arguing, I’m not sure if I’ll ever see him again.
So here I am, writing this, finally typing up my story. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering what I want you to take away from it, why this story is important. It’s important because it’s not just a story, it’s my life. I am not THE OTHER WOMAN, I am A WOMAN. I have a heart and a conscience and a mind and soul. I do not have “bad morals.” I fell in love with a guy who had always been there for me. I fell in love with my best friend and he fell out of love with his girlfriend, and I thought that by some miracle we could be happy together. What I have come to realize is that it will never happen, us. So often I read stories about how much it sucks to get cheated on, and trust me I know, I have been there too. But what hurts even more is being “the other woman,” the one who always saw the good in people, the one who put up with people calling her a “fucking whore” and her supposed best friend telling her “you have no morals and you’re a homewrecker,” all because I believed that Scott really, truly did love me and wanted to be with me.
“I am not THE OTHER WOMAN, I am A WOMAN.”
My mom used to tell me, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” She warned me about heartbreak and loss, but she never quite prepared me for this empty, disgusted feeling with yourself. So, here I am, trying to move on and live my life, without Scott. Believe it or not, I was the one who ended things. I don’t care if him and Emma were on a break or broken up or whatever the hell you want to call it, but I was and am done with being a part of his life. I am learning to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made, but more importantly, I am learning to love myself again. Sometimes we invest so much of ourselves into someone else’s potential that we forget who they really are and who we are and what we believe and what we want. I want someone who wants me, and only me. Emma, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry how things happened, but I really did love Scott. And Scott, if you’re reading this, you need to make up your mind. I would’ve/could’ve loved you with everything that I had left to give, but I realize it was never really me that you wanted. Maybe it was all just a game to you, and you were reaching to feel something again, but it was always so much more to me. To my audience, I’m not sure what you think of me, and frankly, I don’t care. I am learning to love myself again. I am learning that no one is perfect, myself included. I am learning that we all make mistakes. I am also learning that everyone is deserving of love. One day, I will find the love meant for me.
So before you go around calling people “homewreckers” and “slut-bags” and whatever witty things you think you can come up with, know this: We are each just trying to find our way in life, trying to find love and all deserving of love. And yes, I “the other woman,” have a heart too.
Also, to those who are in abusive relationships, or have been assaulted or raped, I hope you find the courage to tell someone. I hope you find the courage to leave and to seek help. I still have moments where it is hard for me, but I am so thankful to have family and friends who love and support me and will never make me feel alone again. Surround yourself with people who make you happy to be alive. Those are the friendships worth having, and never settle for anything less than that.
If you have a story that you would like to share, anonymous or otherwise email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.