Quantcast

I Was The Other Woman: Why I Didn't Want Him To Leave Her For Me

Her Voice

I felt empty inside. I always felt empty inside after we had been together, but this time the emptiness pooled into my heart like a black cascade of smoke before he even left the bed. Maybe I didn't love myself as much as I thought I did. Maybe it was all just a front to hide the afraid, disturbed little person that really lived inside of me.

He once told me I was like his little piano; dark and brooding, overdosed with sad, elegant beauty that kept him lost in the melodies I so often performed for him. He said my low, sultry, daunting chords haunted him. I took it as a compliment.

I knew I didn't love him. I was curious about him. I never quite understood how or why he always managed to worm his way into my most intimate places, but I knew it wasn't out of love. I did care about him deeply. I wanted the best for him. I wanted to see him prosper, fulfill all of his wild and crazy dreams no matter how extreme or silly they seemed to be.

I wanted him to be happy, and although it cost me my own sanity, I knew that in some way I brought him happiness; because I too was just as wild and crazy as he and his dreams.

He needed our long nights lost in too many glasses of wine and pillow whispers that should never have been said. He craved my attention, my ideas. He was captivated by my imagination and the imagery I provided with every word I spoke. I could make him see beyond the veil with the things I would say, and, although he'd never admit it, it was me who sparked the fire fueling him forward.

He needed that. He needed what he wasn't getting, and I was always willing to give it to him.

I was not the woman that texted his phone every hour on the hour. I never made him dinner. I wasn't checking his whereabouts or planning date nights every Friday. I never complained when we went weeks on end without seeing one another let alone speaking. I didn't need to know his friends, even though I'm sure they all knew me. I didn't expect anything from him. I was not the woman to ever curse his name and call him an asshole because he kept me up at night wondering about his secrets.

We weren't skipping down Broadway holding hands in the sunlight. We didn't get all dolled up to go to fancy dinners with overpriced menus and sommelier service. We didn't dance until the sun came up at sweaty dancehall clubs. We weren't planning baecations or visiting relatives in distant states. There were no gift exchanges on holidays. I don't think we've ever even wished each other a Merry Christmas.

We didn't do any of that, because I wasn't the woman he was supposed to do that with. I was the other woman, and I knew my place, despite however it made me feel on the inside. I was fun and as carefree as a warm California breeze in the middle of December. That's why he always came back to me. He could be himself with me.

There were no standards. No questions. It was all be and let be with me, and he needed that.

He told me he loved me once. I didn't believe him though. No one ever really loved the second option, or else they would have picked it first.

But hearing him say it entranced the she-devil that resided deep within me. Being with him only highlighted the darkness that had suffocated my innocence so many years ago, and how could that ever be love? Torture would have been a more appropriate description of what we both felt for each other.

Pure, cold, bloody torture.

I didn't want him to leave her for me. We'd never work as a real couple, and I knew that. Canoodling between the sheets at godforsaken hours of the night, we did that well. Laughing, playing, behaving as reckless as we wanted to, we excelled. But dating, being together exclusively... Well that was nothing more than a funny thought to me.

Although it crushed my pride and left me feeling deserted in a wasteland of wretchedness at times, I knew he made the right choice when he chose her. She was a quaint, demure, sweet girl. Tame. That was the perfect type of girl for him to spend the end of his days with. We never talked about her, but if we ever did, I would tell him she'd make a darling bride. I could tell that she loved him, and she would stick by his side no matter what. She believed in him, probably more than I ever could. And even if she did ever know about me, she knew that he'd never actually let her go to keep me.

I couldn't be kept.

For nearly a year, I allowed him to use up my body as his own personal little toy. I enjoyed the release. He was a stellar lover, and there were times I would have been willing to quit my day job just to f-ck him from sunrise to sunset. Climbing on top of him, feeling myself slide down on his sturdy, thick shaft and slowly rocking back and forth until the both of us exploded made me feel like a conqueror. The way he would pant and groan and squint his eyes every time he pounded deep into my womanhood, with my legs, smooth as silk, wrapped tightly around his body, made me feel like the giver of the Earth.

And every time he came, with beads of sweat falling from his forehead hotly piercing my skin, letting out that long sigh of aching absolution, I felt like a breaker of chains, a ruler, a god.

But as I lay there next to him in my bed, sex heavy in the air and sheets moist with our fluids, the shallow, sullen, gloominess would always start to creep in. He would stay the night, cuddle me even. But even that couldn't combat the hollow abyss filling me up as he wrapped his arms around me. I always snuggled up closer, as if I could unzip his skin and climb into his body, but that wouldn't get me any warmer. It never did.

A rational person would probably wonder why I didn't just stop, end things for once and for all, go about my life, and find someone who would value and recognize my worth. But I've never been a rational person. And sadly, for a long time the emptiness he left me with every time we were together felt better than the nothingness I often felt when we were apart.

Eventually, I walked away from our secret love affair. Not just because I knew it was wrong playing in the shadows of another woman's happily ever after, but because I could no longer stomach the vacancies I created in my own heart simply by entertaining him.

Despite the glamour I find in keeping secrets, I finally recognized that it was never really him that caused the emptiness. It was me allowing myself to be his second option, because I was already treating myself like the second option.

That's the interesting thing you learn about yourself when you're playing the other woman. No matter how much fun you're having or how enjoyable the ease and simplicity of a no-strings-attached relationship can be, there always comes a point when a woman is forced to think about what makes a man choose her for seconds when he already belongs to someone else. It forces you to take an internal look at yourself and ask the question:

Why am I even okay with this?

Why don't I want more?

Do I even deserve more?

My answers to that question left me feeling a lot more unfulfilled and confused than being with him ever did, and I started to realize that our story was never about what he wasn't getting that I knew I could provide. It was about what I wasn't providing for myself. It was about me being cool with tossing my feelings and emotions in the backseat all in the name of a good time and mean-girl giggles with the homies. It was all about me not putting in the time to patch up the holes in my heart left from my own past.

It was about me foolishly thinking that if I filled them with someone void of the same morals and self-respect, I wouldn't feel as bad.

When I finally stopped avoiding the root of the issue -- my behavior powered by resentment, insecurity and fear -- and took the time to investigate myself, my thoughts and my feelings, that's when I was finally able to break free from the emptiness that made me feel okay with being the other woman.

And that's the day I stopped being her.

He played his role and I played mine. I can't say what, if any, lasting impression I've made on him. But I do know the clarity and growth our time together imparted on my spirit. And for that alone I am grateful.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com.

Featured image via Being Mary Jane/BET

Queen Latifah is saying no to unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles especially when it comes to her career. Since the beginning, the rapper/actress has always been a body-positive role model thanks to the range of characters she has played over the years that shows that size doesn’t matter. In an interview with PEOPLE, The Equalizer star opened up about taking on roles that don't compromise her health.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Getty Images

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

Keep reading...Show less

TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

In early 2022, the world felt like it slowed down a bit as people digested the shocking news of beauty pageant queen Cheslie Kryst, who died by suicide. When you scroll through her Instagram, the photos she had posted only weeks before her death were images of her smiling, looking happy, and being carefree. You can see photos of her working, being in front of the camera, and doing what I imagine was her norm. These pictures and videos, however, began to spark a conversation among Black women who knew too well that feeling like you're carrying the world on your shoulders and forcing yourself to smile through it all to hide the pain.

Keep reading...Show less

Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts