Look, if you've made it to adulthood, have had a few meaningful relationships, and have never been cheated on, you're really lucky. And if you've achieved a few years of healthy marriage, you're even luckier. Statistics say that one out of every three marriages has a partner who admits to having cheated.
I'm not proud to admit that I've been on both sides of an affair. While I was being cheated on, I had this idea that it must be nice to be the "other" woman, as I perceived they held so much power and didn't have to carry any emotional responsibility. But once I was in the position of being the sidechick, I quickly realized it's not an enviable position.
Sure, there is a bit of a thrill, but it's kind of insignificant compared to the heartache that usually ensues once you start to catch the feels. So, why do people put themselves in this kind of lose-lose situation, leaving the people in the relationship completely disheveled and heartbroken? Below, 16 sidepieces share their sides of the story.
1. "I was young, she was an older married woman"
"I was young, she was an older married woman at work and I was stupid. At first, I just thought she liked me, and it was no-strings-attached fun. Then suddenly, she told me she had a husband and somehow I believed her when she said she was gonna leave her husband to be with me. I wasn't even sure if I wanted that, but went with it, cause, young and stupid.
The delusion only lasted a few weeks. He showed up at work to pick her up, and I met him, and was like, 'What the f--k am I doing to this dude?'
And that was the end of it. I couldn't handle that s--t. I felt terrible for what I'd done."
2. "She decides to file for divorce..."
"I was the side dude. She and I met in high school (despite going to different schools) and ended up going to the same college. We fooled around a little bit freshman year but that was it and we go our separate ways until we, by chance, ended up in the same section of the same class a few years later.
We start studying together between classes and she catches me up on her life — long story short, her family went nuclear when she started an unorthodox relationship and the fallout led to financial woes which led to marriage. Lol yeah, that's a drastic turn of events but also a story in its own right, so I'll leave it at that.
Anywho, this is about a year after the whole thing went down and now this old friend of mine is in a pickle. Married and living with someone she wasn't in love with, it's a borderline abusive relationship, she has no friends or familial support and no money to divorce and move out. Naturally I start providing that support, and over the next few months I help her get on her feet a little bit — unfortunately by this time, our relationship has become a little intimate. And by a little, I mean a lot.
Once we knew it wasn't going to be a one-time fling, we had a talk about what was going on with us and with her spouse. She decides to file for divorce and move in with me as soon as she can, and we continue seeing each other for a couple of months until that plan actually happens.
At that point I'm no longer the side piece, we date for about another six months and then (somewhat) peaceably break up. End of story."
3. "I was heartbroken she didn't pick me"
"I was 18, she was maybe 35. She would pick me up from my Subway job in a her nice car take me everywhere. Let me do anything I wanted, said her husband was old and didn't give a s--t even if he found out. I just honestly didn't care; she ended up finding another guy closer to her age and leaving her husband for him. I was heartbroken she didn't pick me."
4. "Be happy for me, because I sure am."
"Didn’t know I was the side chick until I found out that I was pregnant.
Pregnancy was miserable. On top of me being hurt over the whole thing, I was threatened that if anyone found out, he’d take my daughter out of the country. He had the financial means to do so and is a citizen from another country than me so it was likely it would have gotten really messy. He put me through hell the entire nine months. Did some really mean, hateful s--t to me. The last time I had any contact with him was the day before I went into labor when he texted me and offered a large sum of money if I would put her up for adoption.
I was in my 30s at the time, financially stable, emotionally and mentally ready and had already become attached to my baby so his bribe was laughable.
The next day, I had a beautiful, incredibly perfect little girl whom I absolutely adore. She is almost 4 and it’s been the best four years of my life. I’m grateful that he’s not around. Being a single mom is rough sometimes but she makes it worthwhile.
So be happy for me, because I sure am."
5. "If you do get the girl, are you really a victor?"
"I think my situation with this falls under an interesting interpretation of 'side person.' I believe the 'side person' is identified by an old saying: 'History is written by the victors.' Would the side dude be the one, when all comes forth, does not stay with the girl? Now, the question is, if you do get the girl, are you really a victor?
No. You're not. You won a contest with literally the s--ttiest prize imaginable: a relationship with someone you can in no way trust, and likely will never be able to trust. Even worse, the people who pull that type of s--t are typically quite manipulative, and definitely compulsive liars.
I started dating a girl in September of 2015. Things were awesome at first. She was, seemingly, just like me. Same personality, sense of humor, interests, and I was very attracted to her. That was until around late October, when there was this guy that 'she had been friends with forever' who she was hanging out with a lot more regularly. Late November rolled around, and I invited her to go to a show to see her favorite band. She told me she had an old friend in town and she wouldn't be able to go.
Later that night, I got a text from an old, but good friend. He asked me if I was still dating my girlfriend. Of course, I said yes. He told me, 'I hate to tell you, but she is seeing someone behind your back.' Turns out, she was going to the show with other dude, and knew I wouldn't go on my own because I am not a huge fan of the band. Other dude happens to be friends with my friend and they were going as a group. Apparently, other dude was really excited for 'all of his friends to meet his new girlfriend.' After the show, apparently everything came out in the open, and my friend let her know how terrible of a person he thinks she is. Apparently, she said nothing, and when they got home, she basically ran to her car.
For days after this, she blew up my phone, and finally I succumbed to it. Worst mistake I have ever made. Naturally, things did not end with other guy until New Year's, when I gave her an ultimatum, him or me. Her solution to this was inviting me to her New Year's party, where I asked her if she handled it, and I kid you f--king not, she told me, 'Well we posted Snapchat pictures together, he'll get the picture.'
Well, we dated for almost three years. Basically, the relationship went as follows: 6-8 weeks of things being super good, happy, and nice, then she'd cheat on me. Then she'd get super manipulative to suck me back in. Repeat.
Finally, in April, I caught her cheating again, but this time she, I suppose, decided she'd rather be with who she cheated on me with. That's who she is dating now.
I actually talked to her on Saturday. She texted me to let me know that she was going to be in my area, actually across the street from the bar I normally hang out at. Basically, it was just a warning, letting me know she would be there, so I don't accidentally run into her. I guess that was kind of her to do. The conversation continued with her explaining how much she regrets everything, and how I never deserved to be treated that way. Also, how she thinks about those memories and how much she hurt me and it tears her apart. According to her, she was 'looking for some type of f--ked up validation and she was in a really bad place for a really long time.' She also told me, 'I know you don't want to hear this, but I would never do that to [new guy.]'
Good for you; lucky him, I guess. Honestly, someone doing something like that to you and then figuring their whole life out and doing things right with literally no down time between, meaning they were capable of it the whole time, really f--king hurts.
If you are in a relationship like this, seriously, get the f--k out. I cannot stress that enough. I always rationalized things by thinking I am going through the hard part and things would eventually work themselves out and I will be happy. You will NEVER trust that person. They don't value you. Honestly, if you're still in a relationship like that, you don't value yourself. I don't even need to tell you that. I know from experience that my self worth wasn't something I thought about from time to time.
It was literally something I would say out loud to myself, 'I am f--king worthless.' I imagine, if you are in this too, you've done the same. I also know from personal experience, that even if someone tells me from experience that things will go bad, I have a hard time just taking their word for it and I need to experience it myself. I really, really, really wish I didn't have to experience this one. ITS NOT WORTH IT. GET OUT."
6. "If I could take it back, I absolutely would."
"I had recently broken up with my boyfriend of two years, where he emotionally and physically abused me the second half of it. He had cheated on me no less than seven times, so when I finally found the courage to leave I felt scorned and selfish.
A good male friend of mine, who I knew had a girlfriend, was constantly hitting on me now that I was single, and I had always fantasized about him, and now that I was single, I was in too dark of a place to care about his girlfriend, I finally wanted my comeuppance. I ended up being his side chick for about two months before I realized that the 'relationship' wasn't as therapeutic as I thought, and I was only hurting other people.
I consider that honestly one of the worst things I've ever done. If I could take it back, I absolutely would. I ruined a loving relationship of four years because another totally separate relationship of mine f--ked me up from the inside.
Heartbreak drives us to rationalize the irrational. I have learned how utterly disgusting cheating is from both sides, and I will NEVER be a part of it again. With that I will also never stay in a cheating relationship ever again."
7. "I have no intrinsic sense of self-worth whatsoever"
"Basically because I have no intrinsic sense of self-worth whatsoever, and the most potent method of feeling good about myself I've ever experienced is to be sexually desired by someone. Combine that with the fact that people who are looking for secret side action are often very eager and not particularly picky, and you have the perfect opportunity for someone like me to stave off the worst symptoms of depression for a while longer."
8. "I honestly thought I could fix her."
"When I met her, she had just broken up with her boyfriend. Little did I know, they did this every few weeks. So she's at my place on a date, he calls and tells her he's suicidal, and then he comes and picks her up (again, from my place!).
I was so in love with her, this lasted a few months. She'd leave him, have a great time with me, then he'd threaten to cut or kill himself, and she'd go running back. I feel so stupid that it went on so long. I honestly thought I could fix her. Turned out I couldn't, and I looked like an a--hole in the meantime."
9. "It wasn’t worth all the issues I have now."
"I was with a married man for seven years. I kept losing all my other relationships and he was the only one who stood around and he 'loved' me. I wish I could take all my wasted time back. It wasn’t worth all the issues I have now."
10. "I figured their marriage woes were not my problem..."
"I was young, selfish, and figured their marriage woes were not my problem. They must have had issues or he wouldn't be in the game right? Besides it wasn't serious, we were just fooling around.
That's how I rationalized it anyway, until I met his wife. She was actually a really sweet person and if there hadn't been this giant awkward elephant in the room, I might actually have become friends with her.
It had been a lark for me, but it was her whole world I was messing with, and she was hurt. I'm pretty sure she knew.
That was it for me, I felt like the biggest cockroach in creation. I called it off immediately and later transferred to another office when he seemed less than willing to let it go.
Before long, he got caught with yet another woman and they ended up getting divorced anyway. I still regret my part in it."
11. "She has me hooked."
"We originally met at a party and started randomly bumping into each other all over town. I've never felt as strong a connection with anyone as I have with her, so compatible across so many dimensions. We would hang out as friends for a while but there was definitely a lot of tension between us.
One night she comes out with my friends and I and we end up drunkenly hooking up at my place. This leads to an affair that lasted a few months. We would eat lunch, work out, play softball, make dinner, had our own spots around town, etc. I felt more like the main dude to be honest. This was all really f--ked up but I caught feelings and kept going with it. Eventually I fell for her and said I wasn't cool with what we were doing anymore but wanted to pursue what we had without strings attached.
Cue a month of her flip-flopping back and forth on whether she wants to date me or stay with bf; he knows about the affair and wants her back. She keeps talking to me but also talks with her (ex?) too so at this point I don't know what their deal is. She has come to parties with me and him in recent months; even coming with him once and taking me home, though the reason was I ended up getting sick, she didn't talk to me much before that.
All I know is I've been a nervous wreck about this whole situation and fully deserve it. I have no idea who is the side dude or not but she has me hooked.
Why did I do it? I felt a strong emotional connection and decided to be a selfish sh-tty person. I ruined this dude for no reason and ruined any possible relationship with someone I love because I didn't stand my ground when this all started."
12. "It’s sick, but for me, he was a drug..."
"I was a teenager when I met him and he was my first love, nearly 10 years older. We just clicked. It’s sick, but for me, he was a drug and I was the addict. It really came down to being deeply in love with him and being unable to walk away when I truly believed love would conquer all. After four years, he finally got a divorce, promptly married another woman, and our relationship ended badly with my broken heart. He and I are both happily married to other people now and speak briefly maybe once a year, if that. We still have too much sexual tension and unresolved feelings between us to be cordial."
13. "In the gay world, this is much more of a gray area..."
"In the gay world, this is much more of a gray area. Open relationships are common. To the point where if you meet someone on Grindr who says that they're in a relationship, it's natural to assume that it's an open one... Because Grindr is a sex app... Yes, some guys go on their to meet people to date. But if we're all being real, it's to find that 🍑.
I met this guy who I fooled around with, and we had such a great time we figured we'd do it again. Again turned into an ongoing tryst, where we'd text each other at least once a week to meet up.
One time at his place, we heard the door open. Obviously I hadn't met his partner yet. And was under the impression that he was always traveling for work. My thoughts were, well this is going to either get really awkward or really great. Three is company. The guy I'm with freaks out though, and I then realize that something is wrong. I'm thinking that maybe a relative of his dropped by or something... Like his mother popping in? You already know how this actually went down, but I was so naive until he started throwing clothes at me and telling me I needed to slip out the back as he distracted his partner.
What's f--ked is that he had the nerve to reach out after. 1) to clarify and apologize.... Cool, I accepted it But 2) to see if I wanted to come over again.
I never texted back. Bye b---h."
14. "She was my ex-wife's best friend..."
"I was the side dude. She was with him for 11 years. I've known her for 13 years. She was my ex-wife's best friend for a very long time, my ex decided to stop being her friend because she was still associating with me and allowing me to rent in her house.
We spent all our free time together while her boyfriend would ignore her and play video games. We have very similar interests. I've been in love with her for some time before we did anything. Physically, she is literally the hottest woman I've ever been with. We are extremely compatible sexually.
I know I started things off wrong, but THERE WAS NO RIGHT WAY to get her. And there's only one of her. Now that he's gone, we plan on staying together for the rest of our lives. We're head over heels in love. She's incredibly perfect for me and I'll be goddamned if I had just let an opportunity to be with her pass.
I believe in being a good human. I know right from wrong. If participating in an affair damns a person and morally condemns them for the rest of their life, it was still worth it."
15. "I hate feeling like I'm wasting my time..."
"I'm the side guy... or one of them. We're both in our third year of university and have been hooking up since the end of our first year. She has this on/off high school boy'friend' that she is totally convinced she is going to marry and is unmistakably in love with. But since she's in college and he doesn't attend school here, she has needs and such that he can't fill while they are apart.. So here I am, part-time side guy who is the untitled guy in her life who gives her sex and attention and cuddles while he's away and can't.
I don't feel the need to go into too much detail here but the sex is great; it's passionate, we have great chemistry together and we are both understanding and good at communicating what we want/don't want.
She tells him pretty much everything, including that I am part of her life here at school and that we hook up semi-regularly. She has made it very clear she doesn't want a relationship, and while I have respected that, it still hasn't prevented me from catching some pretty heavy feelings. Towards the end of last year, I was getting rather delusional and caught up in my feelings for her. After the semester ended and we went to our respective hometowns, she pretty much put me in her back pocket and for the most part ignored me... That hit me really f--king hard and most of the summer was quite painful (that coupled with family drama drove me into the ground). I hit a bottom, not rock bottom, but it was one of my lower lows and just ground through work best I could until I could pull myself together.
Now that we're back at school, we've hung out and hooked up once or twice.. I don't know what to do. I hate feeling like I'm wasting my time because i have such strong feelings for her (love isn't the right word, I enjoy having her around but I can't say I love her just because I don't, ya know?) but yet I want someone who wants me for me instead of just for sex.
So to be quite honest I'm the side guy because I have needs too, couple that with desire for affection that I'm not getting anywhere else. So I power through the heartbreak because its better to feel something than nothing at all. I give her the power, because she's stronger mentally and knows more what she wants than I do."
16. "I still feel terribly guilty about it..."
"I knew he was seriously with someone else and I didn't really care. I didn't expect it to escalate as quickly as it did nor did I assume we were going to start a relationship when we first met. We were in college and started hanging out as friends.
Then he took me to his family's Thanksgiving (which was a colossal s--tstorm) because I couldn't go home for mine and afterwards we realized there might be feelings. He and his girlfriend were in a long distance relationship and had been together since high school. I think for him it was a chance for last one hoorah before he married her. For me, I just really liked him.
Almost three years later, I still feel terribly guilty about it. It was wrong. He and I were both wrong even though she never found out, unless he told her after it was over."