Reconcilable Differences Part 3

The Other Woman

“The other woman finds time to manicure her nails; the other woman is perfect where her rival fails.  And she’s never seen with pin curls in her hair…  And when her old man comes to call, He’ll find her waiting like a lonesome queen.  ’cause when she’s by his side it’s such a change from her old routine.  ”  Nina Simone


When I was younger I absolutely  fell in love with Nina Simone’s music.  I would sit quietly on this plastic covered couch trying my hardest not to scratch or get caught playing my grandmother’s records.  I had my heart fixed on this one song that was often played.  It seemed this song brought out emotions in everyone that listened, that amazed me as a young child.  So one day I got up the courage to ask the one person that had no problem telling me the full truth.  So in my Barbara Walters interview voice I walked up to my grandmother and said “Why is that woman on the song so sad?  And why does everyone seem to be connected to it?”  Excuse me for not remembering the exact quote, but I do remember my grandmother looking at me and saying something to the effect “because she is forced to share something she wants only for herself.”  That statement seemed so confusing to my child mind and I left with more questions that I dare not ask.  I pondered for days, “How are you forced,” is sharing not a choice?  If you want it only for yourself why not make it yours?  Seemed so simple at the time.

I had watched the women in my life knowingly or unknowingly play out the lyrics of this song.  The world seemed to promote this other woman role, teaching us to believe that we must fight for what is ours in a relationship, be comfortable with a man sharing (“it’s just what men do”) or hold on tight regardless of how it brings you to your breaking point.  So I told myself, “That will never be me.”  Years later in my twenties I would find myself asking similar questions to the ones that once confused me.

It was my cross to bear.  I was unaware that I was sharing a man that I had been with for over four years.  What a mess finding out that someone is cheating on you when you already decided that it was over.  A million different emotions came from this new experience I did not sign up for at all.  Honestly, I found myself taking ownership over what was happening.  It was my fault.  I wasn’t the woman he met, he needed more of me, I need to be more of what he wants; these were just a few of the things I began to tell myself.  So I found myself trying to change to fit his image of the perfect woman, I did all I could to be enough even though I knew it had been over for some time.  And he continued and never once acknowledged my changes, if anything he just found more fault.  Guess he had to do what he needed to justify his actions.  Looking back, it made me angry.  The whole thing showed me how anger will have you yelling, screaming, crying and begging for change all in the same moment.  So I did what I had to, I left.

See a lot of young women have a similar story or worse.  Time has changed some; now we are being taught it is okay to be the other woman.  We think we deserve this broken relationship because we are broken (admittedly or not).  We justify it with statements like the following:

  • “He is mine.”  – Ownership of another person is impossible in this free country.  Just because you had them first does not mean you should ever settle for there being a second, third or more.
  • “I don’t mind being the other woman” or “I’m just trying to get mine.”  – Sadly, some of you have played this role so often that you have forgotten your value.  I can’t tell you what to feel, but if you don’t put yourself as the priority, then he never will.  Don’t put yourself in the position to see yourself as less than what God made you.
  • “He loves me.” –  I shake my head every time I hear this one.  Okay maybe he does, you’re right.  However, ask yourself if you’re happy and if love should make you feel like a fool or better yet, if love should hurt?  You are worth being the only woman.
  • “Sharing gives me more time to invest into myself” or “I’m too busy for a relationship so this just works.” –  Well, if that is the case, spend that free time getting to know you better.

This list can go on and on.  So the next time someone including your self puts you in the position to be the “other woman” remember…

“The other woman will always cry herself to sleep.
The other woman will never have his love to keep.
And, as years go by…
The other woman will spend her real life alone.”

 Nina Simone


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