Casper, the overly friendly ghost

coward

All the guys my sister has ever been involved with have wondered if I secretly loathed them.  Even the ones that are no longer in her life still wonder that. That’s a fact.

The truth is, my sister has exceptional taste in men. The men she dates are intelligent, successful, handsome gentlemen. And they are gentlemen that wonder about my opinion of them, not because I’m a mean person, but because I treat my sister, and myself, with such unbelievable respect that I wouldn’t dare be flirtatious/sexual/suggestive with her guy. I’d even venture to say it’s less about how I actually act and more about how men are used to interacting with women in general. And my sister reciprocates that same respect to me. This is how we grew up and this is what I’ve come to expect from other women too. I guess the joke was on me.

I can effectively make sense of a lot of things in life, but this one stumps me to all hell. I can’t make sense of why, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHHHHY women pursue men in relationships. So imagine my stunned confusion at the thought of a woman who is your friend/best friend/sister pursuing YOUR man.

I had a woman who wrote me to tell me that her sister slept with her husband. Family doesn’t automatically mean that they are good people and you have to have them in your life. BYE.

Women frequently write me about how they feel justifiably threatened by their female friends being around their significant other. Those are not real friends. BYE.

Some women even write me to ask for advice because they’ve fallen for a taken man. If you decide to write me about that, please know full and well that your message isn’t magically redirected to Angelina Jolie who’ll coddle you and tell you it’s ok to be a spineless broad. BYE.

I know what you want to do. You want to direct the frustration at the man in the triangle, right? Or at least equally distribute this loathing? But there’s a small problem with that: you. can’t. control. other. people. You can only take responsibility for yourself. If he initiates something, you have the power to stop it. Or, you can be an insecure, validation-seeking invertebrate and commence an affair that will leave you miserable, guilt-ridden and a shell of your former self. It’s not like there’s a pot of gold at the end of that treacherous rainbow.

Geez Nur, those are some really strong words to call someone, no? They sure are, but don’t they highlight the reason these things happen? Let’s make a list, I love lists.

Reasons A Woman Knowingly Has An Affair (And my unsolicited advice)

* She’s insecure (Get your shit together)

*She’s lonely (Get a hobby)

*She’s miserable in her current relationship (Get a backbone and find the courage for a better solution)

* She just fell for him because he’s so great (Well, that didn’t happen overnight, did it? Why did you let it get to that point? Because of one of the reasons listed above? Get your shit together)

* She thinks there are no good men left, so the solution is to pursue a good man who’s already in a relationship (Your equation sucks because a relationship with a “good man”  who’s already in a relationship cancels out the “good man” part, aye?)

* She didn’t know he was taken at first and now it’s too late because she’s in love (Surprise! You’re in love with a snake. I bet he hisses too)

* She doesn’t know why (Get your shit together, like, yesterday)

* She did it for revenge (Please disclose your species and then tell me it’s nearly extinct)

There is literally no excuse under the sun. None. You have to find the courage at every moment to do the right thing. It is downright selfish to excuse your behavior and find reasons to justify your actions. The difference between a good person and a bad person is that a good person knows the right thing to do and has the courage to do the right thing. A bad person is a coward who knows the right thing to do. Knowledge without action is not enough. To say out loud to the poor souls subjected to your self-lamenting “I know what I’m doing is not right” doesn’t do anything for anyone. It is never, ever too late to do the right thing.

I know this will give rise to questions about people in the middle of a breakup or a divorce. Use your good judgement. If he’s breaking up with her, great. He can call you when it’s done  for good and he’s taken time for himself. Your life is awesome without his brand-spanking new baggage. A divorce can be tricky because they can take a long time, but you know in your heart when that’s a good idea, all things considered. Be smart in your decisions; it’s good for your soul.

My sister said it best when she said “Act asexual around your friend’s man.” You can still be fun and funny and great company without being sexual. Even if it leads to nothing, even if you think it’s harmless flirtation, even if you’re sure he does hate you and you want to tease him about it. Don’ t do things that hurt people you love or care about. Don’t do things that you know would hurt someone, but then fail to empathize because they are a stranger to you. Don’t be insecure and look for validation from other people, especially not from men, and especially, especially not from taken men. In case you missed the most important line in this whole post: Don’t be insecure and look for validation from other people. Print that, underline it, highlight it, lick it if you have to, but remember it like your life depends on it. Your life may not depend on it, but your happiness does.

Some of the most seemingly complicated things in life aren’t really that complicated at all. A taken man is a ghost to me. And so should he be to you.

Comments

  1. My favorite quote from this post: “Family doesn’t automatically mean that they are good people and you have to have them in your life. BYE.” Thank You! I was recently trying to explain this sentiment to my friend and she was like “That’s so cold. I could never just cut my family off like that.” Not only can you, but you should. Most people will let “family” take advantage of them in ways that they would never let someone else.

    Anyway, I loved it and can’t wait to read more!

    • You know, I didn’t always believe that because I’m lucky to have found harmony with my family. But the more I learn about the world, the more it becomes clear that you have to take care of you. And sometimes it’s the taboo idea of letting family go. It’s not easy, but sometimes it’s necessary.

      Thank you!

  2. Sophia_Vixen says:

    99% of this is true! except i do believe all is fair in LOVE and war, (unless children are involved, meaning if you’re wrecking a family no way!)

    I pursued a guy who was in a relationship because i genuinely cared for him. I didn’t try to tear them apart and make my way in, i just finally made my feelings known for him, and i don’t regret it. He’s practically my fiance now and we’ve been very happy. I don’t think its right to just automatically categorize anyone who pursues a taken person, as someone disrespectful. I respect myself enough to make myself happy if i know I’m right. If you don’t want to talk to women who have fallen into some sort of love triangle fine…send them my way. My only question would be is “do you love them?”

    When is comes to love, again, it’s fair. Don’t be so small minded.

    • I’m glad you posted this, as I knew someone would say something to this effect.

      I haven’t a clue what the details of your circumstance are, but I don’t agree with the sentiment that “all is fair in love and war.” It’s an excuse to act ruthless in the pursuit of self-interest and regardless of what the world thinks, I’d be most bothered by my own actions if I were to compromise my principles to attain, in this case, love.

      With that said, it takes courage to be honest with someone about your feelings for them. So, for argument’s sake, suppose you have a guy friend that dates one girl after the other and you decide at some point to share those feelings with him. I think that’s understandable and I also believe, under the condition that those feelings are reciprocated, that it’s perfectly OK to ask him to take necessary action before you two commence your relationship together. So one relationship ends and another begins. It’s for the peace of mind of everyone involved. There’s a best approach that need not be entirely self-serving.

      I also believe that you can share your opposing view without being condescending. 🙂

      • Sophia_Vixen says:

        non of that was condescending. i think you read it wrong. If someone disagrees with you i doesn’t mean they have ill feelings. I Enjoy your posts very much. but i probably wont come back now.

    • Dear Sophia,

      There is no such thing as “practically my fiance”. He either has proposed or he hasn’t. Good luck with that! 🙂

  3. This post hits really close to home for me. And I agree 1000000% with everything you have said here. I am very close to finalizing my divorce due to my husband being unfaithful. Over the course of our seperation, we did try to “work” on things, even though he was still involved with the person he cheated on me with. Was it pay back for me against her? Partially yes. In the midst of it all, she ended up at my place if employment confronting me about hanging out with her boyfriend!!?? I really wish I would have been more prepared in my reply to what she had to say… What did you expect from him? You are having an affair with my husband!!! I have been single since this all happened. But a very valuable lesson learned. Why are woman so insecure and men such douche bags? No excuses for this behavior in my opinion. Here is go moving on and finding something and someone so much bigger and better!! Great post Nur!!

  4. Nur- absolutely love the post. Your writing style is so effortless and engaging. My question to you is this. I had a “best friend” that dated my ex boyfriend about six months after we broke up. He was more than just an ex however because he was my first. My first in the sense of what comes to mind and also my first serious relationship. Me and him remained cordial and friendly so the summer following I introduced him to her. When they began dating shortly after (behind my back) I was very hurt. Am I justified or is he not mine to claim anymore? Are they both wrong or am I just dramatic? Thanks for your advice Nur and please write more Life pieces!

    • Thank you! It’s hard to tell without really knowing what was going on. I think the next step is deciding whether the relationships are important enough to you for you to have a conversation about what happened. Either way, you have to forgive, whether they know it or not, and look forward so you can heal. ♥

  5. Nur, this was an incredible post to read. I have always behaved the same as you without realising what I was doing.. but you have put it into words for me. I greet my friends husbands but I don’t banter with them. Because even though its innocent it can be misconstrued (by a lonely husband, or an insecure wife) and I would never want my friend to feel she couldn’t trust me around her husband. I wish there were more women like you out there! As serious as the post was it was quite enjoyable to read, I love your acerbaic sense of humor. I look forward to your next post. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! And thank you for teaching me a new word!!

      Sometimes, when we have a unique talent, we don’t know it and we assume everyone else does too. I can tell by your words that you have this incredible ability to empathize and to really see the world through other people’s eyes. I hope you know what a gift that is! ♥

  6. Iwouldratherstayanonymous says:

    I admire that you went in life, like so many others, strong and sure about everything you wrote in this post. I think it is great that you came to all those conclusions for the very reason that you are confident, and that people loved you enough, cared about you enough to plant that confidence in you.

    Unfortunately, if you put flat out bitches apart, or people who refuse to consider the possibility that something is wrong with their self esteem, there is a tiny category remaining.
    Unfortunately I have been in that small category, of people who have not been bred with sufficient love and confidence or with good enough example to draw a limit, and who had to go through shit to understand what you out so clearly in those few lines the hard way.

    No, there is no excuse to end up having any kind of relationship with someone taken, regardless of how old you are. But there can be reasons.

    And when you’re young and blinded by what you think is self esteem or confidence when in fact your own family managed to make you terrified and, sadly, insecure;you go in life sure of the wrong things, but with good sentiments, following a misunderstood example of how things work, and you fail.

    So you fail, and your crush your teeth on the truth, and yes, as you said, you come out of it miserable and a shadow of your former self, and after years of questioning and sometimes therapy you can understand the reasons.

    There is no excuse, but sometimes it can take you longer to even understand why you would do that. So no, it doesn’t make it less wrong in any way, but if some girls really are ill prepared to grow up and no one helps them see it, it just takes longer to realize it is wrong. You can’t make up for what has already been done, but you can understand why it happened and make sure from then on it never happens again because everyone, EVERYONE, is worth better than that.
    Probably not many people apart from yourself once you understood all of that could or will forgive you, but you need to. And I truly believe you need to forgive yourself but never forget and make a deal with yourself to never let anyone bring your self esteem so low that you should come to those lower situations ever again.
    And I say forgive not because it isn’t a bad thing or because it is ok, but because you need to forgive in life at some point if you want to move on. Or at least I think so.

    So I think it is wonderful that so many women are brought up with the love and confidence to know better but while they should not excuse those behaviors, I wish mothers and fathers would be a little more careful to make sure that all little girls grow up like those women, and not let some of their daughters stepping on shit before it is too late to become women without a stain on their shoes.

    • Thank you for sharing something so candid here, especially to shed light on a different perspective. I think what’s more important than what happened is the fact that you recognized it wasn’t OK and you worked through the issues. I didn’t always do things right the first time and I’m not done making all the mistakes I’ll make in life. You only know what you’re really capable of in the darkest moments of despair. Circumstances don’t define you, reactions to circumstances do.

      As far as addressing these issues to young women and girls, that is why I write. I don’t write to sensationalize, I don’t write to be admired, I don’t write to convey that I am the final authority on all that is good and right. I write to help, to teach, to learn, to heal myself and others, to encourage, to offer one perspective of many. This may surprise you, but I actually didn’t have this guidance when I was young. I’m a student of life. Some things I figured out innately, others I learned the hard way. xo

      • iwouldratherstayanonymous says:

        I doesn’t surprise me all that much, because so many people do not have that guidance (and that is why it is all so sad), but I understand what you say about why you wrote this article and about teaching others.

        I like when you say your reaction to circumstances define you. And yes, learning the hard way is not always pretty, but i know from experience that it’s when you fail once (or twice, until you understand what needs being fixed to avoid failure the time after) that you remember the mistake forever and are always reminded not to make it again (versus having been told not to do it and not doing it for that only reason, not matter what is the thing you should not be doing).

        Nobody’s perfect, and i believe everybody can change and become better. And all of this, of course, works not only in the situation of flirting or more with taken men (or taken women) but in all aspects of relationships, as some can be even more humiliating and hurtful than those kinds.

        Anyway, i’m glad that i could share my opinion with you on the matter, and yay for being a student of life. To better selves, xoxo

  7. Rasha Yousif says:

    That was wonderful reading from a wonderful person.. and I agree with you completely, it seems respect and graciousness are vanishing from this world we live in, I wish I knew how to plant the seed of them in my two boys…so if you can give me parenting advice, I would be overjoyed!

  8. Great articles you post on your blog, i have shared this article
    on my twitter

  9. Thank you so much for this article. I’m French, sorry if I made mistakes. But I really want to share my story here.
    I felt in love with a man in a relationship. At the beginning, it was clear for me that he was nothing more than a friend for me. I have values and I will never chase a taken man.
    But, with the time, he become to be more and more important in my life and he was often flirting with me. I was not open for that kind of relashionship but little by little (I don’t know how it happens) I started to think that it was because he loved me and maybe break with his GF. I started to think that so deeply that I suffered a lot understanding how people can have so bad values. A day he sayed to me “I think we can try to seduce a taken person, maybe that person will accept to be in a relationship with you” : he was everyday texting his girlfriend, saw her very often, how can he even think about something so crazy ?
    And I started wondering why I begin to think that something was possible with him ? We don’t share the same vision of the world and his attention was only to take benefit from me.

    Thank you so much for all of your advices. I feel that I’m good to give advices but I need some sometimes. When it comes to my life my ego is making me stupid ^^.
    I love you so much.
    Keep your values, thanx for all the inspiration 🙂

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