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Sex + Relationships

What Is the Appeal In Being “The Other Woman”?

Being stuck in a writer’s block, I suddenly realized that I’ve vented out all of the relationship issues I’ve had for the past few years. It’s a little pathetic to think that it is only such few things that have been giving me so many painful experiences. I'll probably save that topic for my therapist, but one of my good friends has give me an amazing prompt that is enough for me to yell at for hours. 

So, what is so appealing about being "the other woman" (or the third person, just human in general)? With the moral standard set by a predominantly monogamous society, home wrecking seemed to be one of the worst sins you can commit. However, even as someone who was raised in a highly traditional and religious family, I'll have to confess that I am a complete hypocrite, and the  idea of being with someone who already has a partner has crossed through my mind more than a few times. While I can speak for my friend and know her opinion fully, I have tried to analyze my own case and narrowed this down to three main excuses. 

One of the first reasons that crossed my mind is the ego boost. Yes, as sad it might sound, for me it makes me feel like I am the queen of the world whenever someone can get distracted from their partners and think I am attractive. It's like being an icon that people will love even when they are with someone else in the reality. In addition, being able to think that my personal charm is strong enough that it could make someone broke their promise in a monogamous relationship. 

It’s also like riding a roller coaster, to some, at least to me, it's also the thrill I can enjoy. I remember before entering college, sneaking out to a night club without my parent's permission (No, I do not encourage nor recommend you do that) seemed to be so much fun. The same psychology can be applied in the case of a taboo relationship as well. It is the acts of sneaking around and being rebellious of society that makes all the risking seem worth it. 

Considering being in the third person has also shown my own issues with commitment. Realizing that I’ve got textbook commitment issues, it makes me wonder if that’s one of the other main reason (or excuses) for me to consider about being that other woman. Knowing the person I am seeing is already in a relationship to me also means that I would not need to be committing to that person, and I would have to break it off sooner of later. I would also argue that it's different from a casual relationship because of these same reasons- it could never go anywhere. 

With all of this being said, I am still not in total support of being with someone who is already in a relationship, and especially whose partner is not aware of my existence. I would say that the main thing stopping me is not only my incapacity to seduce anyone, it's also because I can't stop thinking about experiences of witnessing friends who were heartbroken after being cheated on. I know that if my friend was the person being cheated on, I would not let the one who upset them go easily. With that mindset, thinking someone else’s partner is just the same as my friend and will likely be devastated to find out that they’ve cheated on, I'd much rather just leave the thrill and ego boost. 

To someone else it might be the way they prefer, or sometimes we can’t even choose the person we fall in love with. In the end, it's all our own choices; in the situation of falling for someone who is already in relationship maybe I would back off, but my friend would put all her bets on the table. No one is wrong nor right, we are simply different individuals. 

SAIC 2021, Korean/Chinese, Painting student
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