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This article was written by Melody Simpson on behalf of Sherley Altidor. To visit Melody’s blog, visit Hollywood The Write Way.
Today, we’re talking to the people who have made a conscious choice to be in a relationship with someone who is already in a dedicated relationship with someone else.
When you find yourself really settling with the reality that you are the side chick, when you find yourself tired of the games and/or the complacency, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. Five, to be exact. Let’s discuss them all for a moment.
Why am I cheating myself?
Okay, so there are various reasons why we as human beings, we as women, and we as women of color especially may often find ourselves settling for being the second best. Some people know why they feel this way. Others may need to seek out therapy in order to find out why. It’s 2020 and there is absolutely no shame in going to therapy. (There are even apps that you can download on your phone to talk to licensed therapists. Talk about accessible!)
The problem though may start in the very act of seeking. There’s that delay. But I want you to know that it’s okay to seek out answers. It’s okay to grow. We do not owe anything to our past selves, our past relationships, our past circumstances. We owe everything to our future. That is where we are going. So no matter your past and how people saw you then and see you now, no matter how you saw yourself before and see yourself now, it’s time to put your foot down and stop stealing success from your future because your past didn’t play out the way that it should have. Almost no one’s life pans out the way that they hope it to but we keep going and we keep loving and we keep finding light. Creating light. Creating the way. You are the conductor. You have more power and control than you even realize. When you allow yourself to come into this truth, walk in this truth, you won’t allow anyone else to take advantage of that and put that to the side.
What am I gaining from this?
It’s certainly not to get 100% of someone else’s adoration, that’s for sure. Maintaining an invisibility is not going to move you forward in your destiny and your destiny is not being the side chick. So don’t settle for less because there is someone out there who will give you 100%. 10% or 50% does not come close to how worthy you are of someone’s time and love. This person that you are dedicating your precious time to, this needs to be respected and reciprocated, in whatever love languages suit the relationship with every effort. Would you rather grow with someone at 10% of the rate and depth it takes to bloom at half the time or 100% of the rate and depth in 100% of the time that you are together?
Why do I not leave my partner and become single?
Infidelity has been around for longer than we can even comprehend. It’s a vicious cycle that goes round and round and round. It continues to happen because so many people have been broken in so many different ways and need to confront these issues so that we don’t look for love in the wrong places and forget to love ourselves in the process of looking for love in the right places. We love ourselves, we have morals, we tell ourselves. Yes. But do we trust ourselves enough to give ourselves a chance to give ourselves the best? We can offer ourselves the best, not someone else. There’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to being your own best advocate. Those who stand strong alone will always have someone rooting for them. Along the way, you’ll find that someone who will root beside you.
What satisfaction do I get from cheating?
It’s more comforting to entertain and be entertained by someone than it is to entertain being alone but we can’t get to the point where we can entertain someone else until and be the best for someone else if we have not mastered the art of being alone. Being alone and listening to ourselves when we are alone gives us room to breathe and grow in ways that you need to find yourself and ground yourself so that you are equipped with what you as an individual need to be a partner. But if you’re also entertaining the idea of being with someone who is already dedicated to growing with someone else (or rather, the idea of it), everyone is losing and no one is growing. Poison stings and poison kills. Poison is all consuming. We’ve all heard before that hurt people hurt people and that you are who you spend time with. Take a look around and do inventory on your soul. Who and what are you allowing to feed you and what are you feeding into others?
Who am I hurting and why?
We’ve all been on both ends of the stick when it comes to overstepping boundaries whether we’ve always realized it or not. We have. This is a universal truth that cannot be denied. It’s no wonder that boundaries are important, especially in relationships. I say this to say that you must learn to trust yourself and be honest with yourself about what you need from a relationship and what you know you can give in a relationship.
It’s so important to understand the differences between a compromise, a sacrifice, and completely losing yourself in someone else or making it easier to not have to do any of these things. Because making it easier to not have to put in the work is a factor in becoming the side chick. Relationships take work, whether monogamous or polyamorous. You are hurting yourself, the person who has accepted you as their side chick, the person that they are cheating on, and anyone else who is touched by the main relationship when you decide to stunt your growth and theirs. By refusing to do the work by yourself, you are cutting off the opportunity to grow with someone else.
This isn’t a group project that you can hand off to someone else to give you the A. This is first a solo project and then a project in pairs. That’s it. Don’t allow yourself to be that slacker in the group. Have agency. Earn the A on your own or with the one other person you know can make getting the A an equal effort.
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