“They Went Home” by Maya Angelou
They went home and told their wives,
that never once in all their lives,
had they known a girl like me,
but… They went home.
They said my house was licking clean,
no word I spoke was ever mean,
I had an air of mystery,
But… they went home.
My praises were on all men’s lips,
they liked my smile, my wit, my hips,
they’d spend one night, or two or three.
This poem by Maya Angelous captures the complexity of being the willing other woman. The black male to female ratio is staggering, and it becomes even more teensy if God-forbid you have standards. Today, even self-respecting black women are allowing themselves to become footnotes in the action, dramatic (or shall we say tragic) tales of other women. There used to be a time when I threw stones at these homewreckers – low self-esteem having, insecure and selfish tricks. But how does that saying go… never say never because… well I became one.
We worked together, and when we started working together I had no idea how strong the magnetism would be. In the beginning we were able to stay inside the lines of safety and slowly but surely the ball (pardon my pun) started flying outside the court of professionalism. We moved quickly from co-workers/business partners to confidants. He went into full Usher Raymond Confessions Parts 1, 2 & 3 and told me about his situation, I went all R. Kelly Sparkle When A Woman’s Fed Up ad libs and all and told him about my situation and despite the awareness of the others in our lives – we continued to play ball – totally out of bounds of what we initially intended.
I didn’t have any of the characteristics of those women I had damned to hell – no low-self esteem, not insecure and I certainly had no intention of hurting anyone. But I have to admit that I was aware of his live-in girlfriend and he was aware of my failing relationship so what did we do? We made plans to be together. I ended my relationship, he ended his and we moved in together (in fact we’re still together). For a while, he juggled two relationships and while I was privy to full disclosure, his girlfriend was not which meant limited communication, periods of loneliness and a conscience that cursed me out most days (Oh, the GUILT!).
The truth about the other woman though is that eventually something has to give. There are very few occasions where a man can have a long-term mistress (unless there is another thread holding them together like a child or a business). The other woman will inevitably want more: more time, more attention and in the case of Tiger Woods’ women, more money. Although relaxed in the beginning, I wanted more, and so did my part-time boyfriend. So he ended the relationship (albeit difficult) and committed 100% of himself to me and our future.
Now I can’t front and say that we didn’t have issues in the beginning. In my case, I worried about the rekindling of the “old” flame, would sometimes get suspicious or paranoid of new business ventures and he worried that I’d just bounce and he’d come home to a full house without me in it (when I’m done, I’m done and will leave all of my belongings & property for peace of mind). All of these issues disappeared as we learned that we were both serious, fully compatible and for lack of better terms soul mates.
So Maya Angelou was right, he does go home, and at some point if that home isn’t where you both live – then you will have a problem. I have several friends who are in this predicament, where they love a man who “belongs” to someone else and while I used to be cut & dry about my advice – WHAT THE HELL are you DOING girl? I’m not so sure anymore. I definitely don’t condone cheating nor do I condone breaking the invisible bond of sisterhood that all women share, but I also understand that when feelings get involved – it’s not the easy, and considering how I ended up happily ever after – I’m certainly not the poster child for moral purity and I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in a relationship.
What are your thoughts?