Sun | Oct 1, 2023

The other woman

Published:Monday | June 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Intern

Women often bemoan the fact that men are in short supply or 'all the good men are taken'. While many try to 'take' a man of their own, they usually find themselves playing second fiddle in vying for his affections, and sometimes become - the other woman.

Thirty-five-year-old hairdresser Fallon Forbesrecalls that she thought she had found everything she wanted, except he belonged to someone else. She went with the flow, hoping that the object of her affection would be hers. After a month and a half she started losing interest. "He always told me that he loved me, but I knew he was lying because he belongs to someone else. At first, I liked him a lot, but that started to decrease and I began to despise him." She continued, "After a while, I became a problem when he confessed to her that we were seeing each other. The plot thickened because all three of us worked for the same company, so things became extremely awkward and uncomfortable after a while."

There was nothing for her to hold on to. "He never supported me financially, physically or emotionally. I never looked to a man for financial support, so if I don't get it, I am not surprised, but in this particular case, he did nothing." Other women came into the mix, and seeing where all of this was heading, she followed her own rhythm and subtracted herself out of that equation.

Thirty-six-year-old business woman Sandra Smithgained a little more experience in the third-wheel department, forming a union with her 'taken lover' by chance, but ultimately meeting the same heartbreaking fate. "We met via social media. He was looking for someone else, and stumbled upon my profile on Facebook. He said it was something he had never done before, but he was drawn to me, so he sent me a friend request. I checked out his profile and thought he was decent enough, so I accepted. We went from Facebook, to BlackBerry Messenger to text messages, before we met physically." Although it was not their intention to get involved, she fell for his undeniable charm. As time went by they became lovers.

the plan

"He was in a relationship and so was I. We were both being treated unfairly and were losing feelings for our partners, so we came up with a plan to slowly but surely part ways with them so that we could be together." But things did not go according to plan. "He did tell me he was willing to leave his girlfriend, and he did break up with her, being all mine for one short, sweet month. Unfortunately, he had one last hurrah before he left, and she got pregnant." He returned home, but promised Smith she would always have his heart. The last straw for her was when she found herself at his house, with his girlfriend on her way home. "He had to make a choice, so I made it for him, slowly taking myself and my heart out of the picture."

According to psychiatrist Anthony Allen, women should:

Decide what you want out of life - If your goals in life are to be independent, respected and have control over your wellness and destiny, then you should not compromise for anyone or anything.

Ensure that the man goes through a clean break after a relationship - Find out if the person is emotionally stable, and ensure that he has no attachment to any other relationship. It must be completely behind him.

Do not compromise your well-being - Whoever you are involved with must be interested in your well-being; absolutely no compromising.

Ensure that you are not a rebound - Take the time to go through the dating process, to learn as much about him as possible; don't be afraid to discretely ask others about him.

Know his values if he is OK with a monogamous relationship or if he prefers multiple relationships - during the dating process you will see his trend. Don't be emotionally blocked that you ignore the functions of your frontal lobe - common sense, and your intelligence. Use your head and not your heart.

The reality is that women do not start out in life wanting to deliberately or intentionally be the 'third' wheel. Sadly, it happens all the time.

Dr Allen also said a relationship should be a win-win at all times for both partners, not a win-lose, or else it is not going to work. Ask yourself: is it better to be entangled in a dysfunctional relationship than to be single and happy?

Dr Anthony E. Allen (psychiatrist). Website: