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Confessions from the ‘bit on the side.’

When you’re telling someone about your partner cheating on you, they immediately demonise both your partner and the person they cheated on you with. The ‘bit on the side’, the side chick – or side dick – whatever you want to call them, automatically become the villain in that scenario. ‘They should know better’ tends to be the go to response right before we label the ‘bit on the side’ a slut, or a whore, and then proceed to bitch about their seemingly morally bankrupt behaviour.

Life lesson here: Nothing is that black and white.

Having been the bit on the side a couple times in my life, and once again very recently, I’d say this snap judgement about the person’s sense of morality is both premature and unfair. After all, they are a person too. They have feelings, emotions, maybe even develop romantic attachment to the cheater. Recently someone cheated on their boyfriend with me, and before you start gathering you pitch forks and climbing up to your moral high ground and hurling rotten fruit at me, listen to my side of it.

I’d never knowingly hurt someone, but when it comes to guys I’m interested in I tend to wonder into a very morally grey area and a such I have admittedly done some things that cast quite an unfavourable light upon me. I am not condoning cheating; I feel terrible for being party to this farce and possible heartache. But from my perspective I found it hard to feel overtly bad for the cheated, when I have feelings too. After all I don’t know them? I have no moral obligation to them? Right? I tried to convince myself that was justification for my actions. It didn’t work.

I was spoon fed this tale about how his boyfriend doesn’t treat him right, doesn’t value him. When you initially meet someone you know you’re developing feelings for you take everything they say as gospel – well, I do anyway. Before I knew it we were cuddling. He would lie there on my bed, angling himself carefully and strategically to ensure he was deliberately showing off part of stomach. Or so he was lying in a fairly suggestive position. If you combine the lust, the risk and the temptation that was quite literally laid out in front of me then it is hard to say no. I tried to the first time, I did, but my moral compass wasn’t pointing true north in that moment. I eventually caved.

After the first time we finished doing stuff, there was some pillow talk before he had to leave. As I walked him to the train station I struggled to work out what I was meant to do next and wrestled with myself for hours after about ‘what it meant.’ The next time he came over it happened again, and I won’t lie whenever he touched me my heart raced so fast it felt as though there was a thunder storm brewing in my chest. I enjoyed every minute of it this time; it alarmed me how quickly I managed to soothe my guilty conscience.

I rarely instigate anything sexual, purely because I am the most awkward human on the planet when it comes to expressing how I feel or what I want (unless I am drunk, in which case feel free to blast me with ice cold water from a garden hose.)  Around him I go so nervous my hands trembled, but he was so confident and forward, my nerves were quickly calmed. He’d lie there on my bed, in more compromising positions. He’d grind against me. We’d chat, I’d have butterflies to full time. No, not butterflies, bats. Bats doing acrobatics inside my stomach.  I kept thinking ‘imagine if this was real. Imagine we end up together.’ Another feeble attempt to make myself feel better.

After we ‘finished’ he would quickly conjure up an excuse to leave. And as he did that, I’d quickly form reasons in my head as to why he wanted to leave and try somehow to blame myself for his sudden departure. He was obviously confused himself, having a hard time, so was I taking advantage of that? Should I play it cool and not reply, when really all I want is to make sure he was OK. This is what played on loop in my head.

The short time we were together I would try and not look at his phone every time it went off – but the few times I did catch a glimpse at the screen I saw several messages from several guys, one of which was his boyfriend. When you get so swept up in something you allow yourself to be blinded and that’s what happened here. I kept pretending I was the only one, that he would end it with his boyfriend, that we would find a way to be together. So sudden and harsh emotions formed far too quickly. I barely knew the guy. Eventually his disdain towards his boyfriend started lifting and suddenly he wasn’t ‘that bad a guy’ anymore. I realised that it wasn’t going to happen and that I was falling for him a lot harder than I ever thought I would.

I messaged him saying I cannot have him in my life unless it’s going to be more than friendship, because I don’t think I can handle simply being friends with him.  He replied saying he wants to be with his boyfriend and that he was going to talk to me this week about the sexual stuff stopping as the guilt was killing him – lets ignore what the whole affair was doing to me, shall we? It wasn’t just the sex stuff that left me feeling used, or caused my major fractures to my morality; he used me in other ways. All I wanted was to be there for him. I loaned him money. I bought him things, offered to take him out, be there for him. And he’d reply when he deemed it appropriate, saying he was ‘terrible’ at replying – despite frequently replying when we first started talking. I hate that excuse, because if you want to speak to someone you make the time there and then to reply. You don’t pass it off and say you’re too busy.

When it hit me that I needed to call it quits, for my own sake as well as his, I broke down. How quickly you can become attached to someone. When the sting of rejection hit, when the realisation that it wasn’t going to evolve into anything real, that I was a distraction or an experiment, it felt like a weight had been slammed from a great height on to my chest. Every past rejection came searing back and it was like I was living them all over again simultaneous.  I have never cried that hard in so long. Before I knew it I was living my own clichéd movie scene. Sitting in the bathroom sobbing, making sure the shower was running so my flat mate didn’t hear – I don’t think it was one of my more convincing fake showers.

I think the reason I wound up in that state was an amalgamation of infatuation and wanting something (someone) I knew that, one some level, I could never have. Sometimes you just love the madness and mayhem more than the love itself. What happened here serves as a very potent reminder that what goes around comes around. I engaged in reckless and indisputably selfish behaviour. I chose my own happiness at the risk of sabotaging someone else’s and as a result I got hurt.

Am I proud of my actions? No. I know that if his boyfriend finds out it’ll be the worst feeling ever. I’ve lived it. I’ve been cheated on. This whole drama has changed how I view things in regards to this situation though, I know not everything is black and white. Despite the tainted view he, the cheater, painted of his boyfriend, I really don’t have anything to offer other than sincerest apologies, which I know mean very little. I don’t wish that hurt on anybody – yet still I’ve carried out the deed and now run the risk of hurting him. I don’t know why it felt impossible to ignore. I let myself be my morals be compromised by a pretty face and a nice body – and that doesn’t say much about me as a person.

‘I know you have a boyfriend, but I have feelings too’ was going to be the title of this entry because it spoke volumes to me about the whole situation. I guess the hardest part of all this, the thing that hurt the most, was that I fooled myself into thinking I was so close to being happy, then having to watch all that delusion rapidly fade away and reality set in.I was in the wrong, I should have been stronger and not have given in as he ran his hand up my thigh that first time. When he took his clothes off to change in to my short shorts, I should have averted my eyes and told him to put his jeans back on.  I should have said no and walked away. I should have had some self-respect. But I am human, I was weak and hindsight is always 20/20. I don’t blame him, I’m not angry at him, but I am hurting because of him.

Letting go doesn’t come naturally to me, so I have to deploy the following to help me get over someone: out of sight, out of mind. Remove them from all social media, block their number. Eradicate all temptation; which is a shame because I’d have very much would have liked to have him in my life as a friend, just sadly that cannot happen right now. If you find yourself in a similar situation I implore you to walk away and cut ties before it escalates. You will be made out to be the villain. It won’t end well. It didn’t for me. Learn from your mistakes, it’s how we grow as a person.

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