Updated: Jun 23
Medium continues to serve up essays reeking of internalized misogyny with this latest pile of word vomit.
I have a friend who repeats the same pattern in every relationship. Let’s call her Bertha. Bertha has never, in twenty years, pursued a man who is not married. Twenty years of furtive exchanges, clandestine meetings, and stolen time.
Just so we're clear: Bertha doesn't exist. How do I know that? Because the author wouldn't have the balls to write this essay knowing Bertha could read it. In the off chance Bertha is real, the author is a passive aggressive bitch and really had no business writing scathing take-downs of other women when she clearly sucks hard at being one herself.
There are some women who ONLY pursue married men. I call these women the Serial Other Woman (SOW). And she is more common than you think.
Get it? SOW. As in female pig. GET IT???
The reason is simple — the SOW is lazy. She doesn’t want the grumpy kids, dirty dishes, running noses, or any of the messy, hard work that comes with a relationship. She would rather be romanced and feel like she is on a never-ending first date.
First of all, a woman who doesn't want to deal with kids is not lazy. It's a preference. You know, like writing obscenely trite Medium essays. I think what the author is trying to convey is that SOWs (yeesh) have no interest in the tedium that comes with marriage or living together. Lots of women have opted out of that particular fantasy. That doesn't mean they're somehow broken.
I know a few SOW’s, and they all share one thing in common — a strained relationship with either a mother or father figure. Sometimes the wounds from her mother never healed, so she disrespects women by triangulating relationships. Sometimes she had an absentee father, so she seeks out men’s attention to fill that hole. Sadly, she almost always did not have healthy role models for love.
Can we first discuss why they author has so many of these Serial Other Women in her life? Not that I believe her, because this is likely just another lie so she can pretend she's a Jane Goodall-type that studies dysfunctional women in their natural habitat. She's making this claim to appear as more of an expert than she is. Now let's address her observation that there's some kind of attachment disorder at work that compels women to get involved with unavailable men. She's correct that issues with attachment can lead to maladaptive relationships, but anyone who's seen a few movies could make that connection. She's done no research for this travesty of an article. She just listed a few cliches and thought that was enough. If you're going to go the trauma route, better back that up with more than info you leaned from watching too many Lifetime movies.
The SOW keeps her friends close and her married friends closer. She is probably friends with your husband or boyfriend. She may even befriend you so she can spend more time with your guy. Her strategy is to start with an emotional affair — late-night texting, getting your man to confess secrets to build intimacy, and backhanded remarks about you. She seduces with a slow burn.
I love how, in this warped narrative, only the Serial Other Woman has agency. The man is consistently framed as prey of some kind, totally without responsibility or choice. What is that about??
Ever watch a cobra dance to a snake charmer’s flute? The cobra sways back and forth in a hypnotic rhythm. The cobra is swaying back and forth because she is waiting for a strike zone to attack.You must never open your relationship to that strike zone.
Or...OR don't get involved with a man who would cheat on you right under your nose. Jesus, are we done with comparing these women to mammals and reptiles yet? If you have to army-crawl across your living room floor and be on constant lookout for potential interlopers to "protect" your relationship, your relationship sucks. The Other Woman isn't the root caus, she's just an outlier.
Accusations will only make your partner defensive. (And if it is an office flirtation, he probably is not encouraging the advances.)
To quote Sarah, my brilliant, hilarious, insightful co-host, "What now?" So, if a man is cheating with a female co-worker, she must be the one initiating the flirtation? I...what? Bcause, like, men never cheat with or harass female co-workers? In what utopia is this happening? This entire essay is fucking garbage, but it was accepted to Fearless, She Wrote, one of Medium's larger curated publications for women. That means somebody had to read and accept this submission. That's disappointing on many levels. As for not making any cheating accusations, I agree that will put most men on the defensive, but that's usually because THEY'RE CHEATING. Men who aren't cheating, who actually care that you're worried, will do what they can to assure you there's nothing going on. If they're innocent, they won't get defensive unless this is a frequent conversation in your relationship.
Instead, explain to your partner why his relationship with the SOW makes you uncomfortable. For example, “When you texted Bertha at 1:00 AM, it made me feel anxious. Is there anything I should be worried about?” Frame the problem with how it makes you feel.
Your relationship is not a TV crime procedural. Anyone confronted with a question like this who has something to hide is going to lie. They're not going to cave right away and confess. What is this, Law & Order? If your partner is texting someone else at 1am, someone you know has shown a level of romantic interest in them, you should be concerned. Fuck this tip-toeing around nonsense.
"You texted Bertha at 1am and I don't like it." That's it. But, really, if you're saying things like this to your partner, something isn't right, and it goes beyond Bertha. Deal with the underlying issues and don't project your anger on to another woman.
Relationships are continually being renegotiated. If a SOW is causing tension in your relationship, it needs to be addressed. And that is going to take work on both ends.
The only work that should take is tossing his shit in a duffel bag and throwing it in the back seat of an Uber. You shouldn't have to negotiate with your partner about his interactions with other women that are clearly interested in him. It's an easy choice: Cut the shit or I walk. See, some men still think women fear being alone. Some of us do, but that is rapidly changing. As time goes by, we're becoming more comfortable with being on our own. That means we feel less pressured to stay in shitty relationships. That scares a lot of men, as they depend on the ability to scare us into submission with the threat of leaving to get us to comply and refrain from speaking up to them.
I once had a buxom SOW who used to always rub her boobs up against my ex-boyfriend. So we made a plan that when we were all out together, he was allowed “three boob rubs per night.” This became a hilarious private joke between us. I would look across the bar, and make a peace sign with my splayed fingers to indicate he was on his second boob rub. He would give me that sheepish grin back that it was not his fault. It wasn’t.
Ugh. Stop being The Cool Girlfriend! Yes, it was his fault. Cease with all the excuses. I can't with this woman any more. Yes, OF COURSE,The Other Woman bears some of the responsibility here. I've said on many episodes that I've been this woman, and never once was the guy anything resembling a man of high character. Women are not Sirens. They don't drag unsuspecting unwilling men away from their wives or girlfriends. Those men step-out willingly.
If I sound defensive in this post, it's not because I feel guilty or personally attacked. It's because the insights expressed in this essay are based on tropes, the author's very clear disdain for other women and her own self-loathing for always choosing men who are weak, stupid and disrespectful. She never once turns the spotlight onto the men for cheating. Instead, she focuses entirely on the women, and we all know that is bullshit.