Several years ago, in ye olde Portland, I was sleeping with a seemingly great guy. Except that he was also secretly sleeping with this other girl. Well, I knew about it…because in every complicated, multi-partner situation, one person always knows the full story. The other girl had no idea. At first I was like, “I don’t care. We’re adults…blahblahblah.”
But this girl was sending him a seemingly endless stream of postcards filled with xo’s and hearts, even though she lived in the same zip code. An obvious symptom of wanting more.
I started to feel bad. I knew that he was not going to cut things off with me without his hand being forced. Furthermore, I knew that there was no way I could stay out of his bed as long as we were still speaking to one another.
And to be honest…I was starting to resent the all of the sentimental gobbledygook that he was saying to me…probably right after reciting the same lines to her a few hours before.
No thanks. We all want to have our cake and eat it, too…but no one wants another person to also have a successful cake consumption situation.
So I did it…I forced both of us to cut things off…by emailing the other girl to say (approximately), “Look, I know I don’t know you…but _____is sleeping with of us and it’s hurting me because I have a guilty conscience. So do what you like with this information, but I know that after this, I’m not going to see him anymore.”
Her response was pretty much as I expected. She was surprised. She was angry…but not at me. She actually said, “Score one for the sisterhood!” I knew that I would always respect her for not calling me a slut or burning down my house.
He never spoke to me, calling me a “bridge burner.” But let’s face it: he needed me out of the picture. Eventually the two of them got married…so I guess everything worked out for the best.
The important moral of the story is this: she and I treated one another with respect. No one did anything bitchy or hateful. If I ran into her now, I doubt we would give one another dirty looks. We certainly wouldn’t get our female friends involved in a team glaredown. The sisterhood!
Which brings me to a current situation here in Philadelphia: As things were falling apart in our relationship, my ex-boyfriend started sleeping with a girl about 10 years younger than me. I barely knew her, except for a brief and awkward introduction on my birthday (a week before we finally broke up). They dated for a few months and then broke up. I have no idea why their relationship ended.
Now I get to see her at work every day. Sweet. I love feeling uncomfortable when I’m trying to get coffee in the morning. She has a sidekick who loves to give me the ugliest look. I don’t even know her name (the sidekick). Yeah! Hatred from strangers!
Usually I just ignore it or laugh with my friends. Because after all, I know it’s silly. We’re grown women! But Friday was the last straw. I was tired and stressed out about moving, work, etc. I was wearing weird clothes (running out of clean, non-packed options). I was definitely feeling hypersensitive. All I wanted was an americano.
I met Janelle on the sidewalk between our buildings and we strolled over for coffee. The line was long. Who was ahead of us in line? The girl (I wish I had a clever nickname for her, but I don’t want to be derogatory) and her Evil Sidekick. Cue lots of nasty looks in my direction. Head to toe appraisals followed by bitchy little snickers. Eye rolling and aggressive stances. Meanwhile, I was just trying to ignore them. But it made me feel really shitty. Since I was already on the verge of meltdown, this only intensified my anxiety level. This continued for 15 minutes…and really reached its apex when I had to step in front of them to retrieve my coffee at the end of the counter.
Of course this whole thing pisses me off. For one, they are not my peers. I’m significantly older than both of them. I’m in a completely different place in my life. We have nothing in common and our paths should never really cross. In fact, the only thing I have in common with this girl is that we both slept with the same alcoholic liar.
Furthermore, how is this girl (and her childish friend) entitled to treat me this way? I didn’t sleep with her boyfriend, leading to months of heartache and head-fuckery for her. Shouldn’t I be the one issuing the looks of derision? Picking apart her flaws and clothes and whatever?
But I just don’t care. Her need to be with my ex-boyfriend freed me. Even if it didn’t seem like it at the time, it liberated me from an energy sucking partner. And considering his penchant for dishonesty, I have no idea what version of our relationship he painted for her. I have no doubt it was a sad story. So why expend more negative energy? We’re not competitors.
And most of all…let’s not forget the sisterhood. We’ve both had a bad time with him. Shouldn’t this shared experience bring us together? I’m not saying we could be actual friends (because as I have mentioned before, our lives really have no intersection), but at least we could respect one other? At the very least, no more glaredowns at the company coffee shop.