On Valentine’s Day of 2013, my then boyfriend gave me a beautiful gold heart necklace as a gift. Little did I know, a few weeks later, he would travel thousands of miles away to be present for the birth of his son that I knew nothing about.
Months later when I found out about it, I left the necklace on the table when I moved out of our apartment. If my memory serves me right, I left a note alongside it that said “fuck it”. He never returned to collect his belongings (he had a friend do it, must’ve been nice — to have your belongings sent for & shit). I wonder what became of the necklace. Fuck that necklace.
I am not a relationship expert, nor do I want to be. I’m just a woman with a lot of life experience. I offer but one perspective.
Let’s clear up a few things about “side chicks”:
Not all women want to be in a relationship
The objective of many side chicks is not to ruin a relationship; rather, it’s taking advantage of an easy, convenient situation
Being a side chick does not necessarily mean the man is embarrassed of her and doesn’t want to be seen in public; rather, it’s a situation where both parties are mutually discreet, and public displays are unnecessary
Most side chicks have no desire to be anything more than that
It’s usually a conscious decision
I’ve played both roles. I’ve been a girlfriend who’s been cheated on. And though I’m not proud of it, I’ve been the other woman — or, the side chick, if you will. It boggles my mind why the main chick (or most people, really) are always quick to blame the other woman for a man’s infidelity. Unless she’s a close personal friend or family member, she owes her nothing. She has no allegiance or responsibility to her.
That said, though, I do believe in karma. And the universe has a way of evening the score down the road. Frankly, the side piece must accept the consequences of her actions (whatever they may be). There are forces with which o
ne must be prepared to contend.
All of that said, side chicks get a bad rap. Like we aren’t human. We’re deserving of a basic level of respect. And, miss me with the “well, you’re not respecting yourself” narrative, because it’s usually a choice. And if one chooses to play that role, she is exercising her free will. And, in my opinion, that is the hallmark of self-respect. And realistically, assuming the role of “side chick” is not settling. Again, it’s a conscious decision.
Now, I am not advocating playing the role of the other woman, but I think it’s worth critical examination.
I read an article, the other day, outlining 21 reasons why Being a Side Chick is Severely Underrated. Now, I’m not sure I would ever take the stance of promoting side-chickhood, and I don’t agree with all of the things that the author suggests, but I’d like to address the top five with which I happen to agree. Also, I’m not sure I really like the term “underrated” — I think “understandable” is more appropriate.
You probably clicked this article because you found yourself in utter disbelief after reading the title. That’s the reaction the majority of people will have because… W ho the f*ck thinks there are any benefits of being a side chick?
Below are my favorite five (though I’m going to combine a few) of the twenty-one reasons, from the article (please read it for the author’s full list). The italics are the article author’s words. The follow up explanations are my thoughts:
1. You get all the benefits, none of the bullshit. / You don’t have to pretend to be interested in anything. Okay, this is a big deal. If a woman is consciously involved with a man who is in a relationship, one of the primary reasons is likely because it’s an easy situation. Both parties know what’s up, and it’s probably not an emotionally charged situation where there are feelings involved (at least there shouldn’t be). That said, you are under no obligation to even appear to be remotely interested in the goings on on his life. Problems with the wife/girlfriend.So what, not my problem.Issues at work. So what, you’re here right now, right?Issues with the kids.They’re not mine, so, uh. You had a bad day? Sorry.
I know that sounds callous, but those are things that he can discuss with his main woman. All of those issues, while maybe problematic to him, are not your problems. And that’s probably not why he’s at your house anyway. And if it is, then you should get out of that situation. Quickly. Being a side-chick is messy enough as it is — you don’t need his problems adding to it.
2. You don’t have to share your bed. Personally, I like my space. Don’t get me wrong, when I am in a relationship, there’s nothing better than cuddling with and waking up next to the man I love. That said, when I am not in a relationship, I like things my way. I like lots of pillows. I like two blankets, all to myself. And I like to kick them off in the middle of the night. I like cranking the electric blanket up to ten — even in the summer. I like stretching out in my queen sized bed. I like it cold. And sometimes hot. Point being, consideration of another person’s comfort is irrelevant. Because it’s all about me. It’s my bed. My space.
3. You can always say “no”. / It’s on your terms. Okay, that should be the case in any situation. No means no, and all of that. But, in a side-chick situation, you’re under no obligation to see or talk to him if you’re not in the mood. When you’re in a committed relationship with another person, you have an obligation to be there for your partner. So, being able to say no, in this context, really doesn’t have to do with sex — it can be the ability to say “no” and check out emotionally. With no explanation.
Maybe I just want to relax in my sweats, not shower, drink wine, order take out, and watch Netflix all day. And let’s say he wants to see me. I can say “no” with absolutely no regard for his feelings or needs. His main chick can take care of all that emotionally needy stuff. I’m doing my own thing. And that’s a lovely feeling.
4. You don’t have to worry about where it’s going. When deciding to be involved with a man who’s in a relationship, you must be very conscious of the fact that you can’t catch feelings. That’s not easy for some people. That said, it makes things so much easier in the long run. If you’re the side-chick there’s absolutely no need to worry about those awkward conversations about where things are headed, or what this is. Because you both know what it is. And what it isn’t. So your time and mind need not be invested in wondering about the future. Because frankly, it’s irrelevant. Ideally, it’s about here and now.
As someone who struggles with anxiety (kind of ironic that I’ve been in these messy situations in the past, right?), the notion of not having to worry about where things are headed is such a wonderful emotional break.
5. There’s no break-up.Now this one is kind of tricky, but great in theory. Obviously, nothing lasts forever, and all things eventually come to an end. But, if you’re involved with someone with whom there aren’t feelings involved or any anticipation about the future, the finale need not be dramatic. Or messy.
We’re going to assume that the wife or girlfriend didn’t find out, and nothing really crazy happened precipitating the ending. Perhaps he developed a conscience and decided it had to end. Maybe you developed a conscience and decided it had to end. Maybe you got sick of him. Maybe it fizzled out. Maybe it ran its course. Maybe he’s replaced you with another side chick. Who really cares?
That said, it need not be dramatic. It ended. That’s that.
Again. I am in no way advocating being in this type of situation. It’s neither good or bad. It is what it is.
Many folks ask: “Why not find a single man? Why mess with someone else’s?” Well, unfortunately, many times it’s pure selfishness. Not all women want a relationship. If you’re casually involved with a man who’s already committed, there’s no risk of it becoming anything more than that. Yes, it’s mad selfish, but usually it’s not personal.
And it’s not all fun and games. You might miss the companionship and emotional connection had in a committed relationship. You might miss the cuddling and waking up to someone in the morning. At the same time, you might relish the freedom and the complete lack of fucks to be had in a non-relationship.
I write this not as one currently in this type of arrangement, just as one who gets it. I get what it is, and what it isn’t. It’s all about perspective.
I like Amber Rose. She’s dope. Very problematic identity wise, but dope, nonetheless. She’s biracial. Technically, so am I. (Y’all already know where I stand on that — I’m a Black woman, but I have a point that I’m working toward.) We both have some fly arm tattoos, too. Okay. let me stop, because that’s not my point. The tattoos, that is.
I bring up Amber Rose because not too long ago, I saw a meme illustrating Kanye West’s evolution to fully embracing whiteness — using his women to illustrate it. I can’t find the meme anymore, so I’ve included images.
The point of the meme, I am guessing was to point out that Kanye once rode for the sisters, dating Alexis Phipher from 2002-2008. As I was looking for photos of Phipher online, I also found pictures of other Black women that Kanye purportedly dated. So at one point in time, he was down with the sisters.
In any case, there was a shift in 2009 when he started dating Amber Rose. Amber Rose is biracial. And phenotypically, she was a distinct shift from his former girlfriend. Okay, fine.
Then comes Kim K. I don’t need to say much more. I think you can see where this is going.
There is a very clear gradient here, when we look at Kanye’s girlfriends. There was a methodical shift toward white.
In my last post, I attempted to wax poetic about my problem with brothers and their infatuation with (mediocre) white women (and whiteness in general, really), and I was reminded about that aforementioned Kanye meme. And it dawned on me. I was my ex’s Amber Rose.
Before we started dating, my ex had a Black wife. Okay, cool. Then I come along. Now, I never promote the fact that I’m mixed. In fact, when he and I met, it was over a discussion about a class I was teaching, at the time, in Black Studies. Socially, we connected on some Black shit. But, I don’t look Black. I definitely don’t look white, yet I don’t look Black either. But whatever. We vibed, dated, cool.
I don’t need to go into detail, again, about what happened next. You can read about it here. But, to put it plainly and simply, he completely ditched us Black women for a white broad — absent any trace of Black. So you see. I was his Amber Rose.
I didn’t really think about things in such a concrete way until I was told that his (now ex) wife referred to me as “that mixed bitch”, and I’m sure she had some choice words about the white broad.
Her comments leveraging my whiteness against him really puts the aforementioned meme into perspective for me. I was his Amber Rose.
As much as I like Amber Rose (and think she was the dopest out of Kanye’s recent three ladies), it bothers me to think that on some level, I may have been my ex’s gateway to full whiteness. He dropped his Black wife, got with me, then dropped me for some mediocre white bitch.
Damn, was I a calculated part of his transition? It sickens me to even think about that, yo.
Was I just his Amber Rose? A convenient transition to full on whiteness?
I’ve debated writing this for a while. For one, I don’t want to be messy. Secondly, I still wrote with my ex’s feelings in mind. I realized that just like he owes me nothing — nor do I him.
I’d like to start by saying that I am biracial. My mom is white, my dad is Black. As I’ve stated here before, for political, social & cultural reasons, I consider myself a Black woman. That said, I would never deny my mother. I love her dearly. And honestly, she is responsible for shaping me into the woman that I am. I adore her.
I’d also like to say that many of my close friends are white. And I love them. Most of them (at least the ones with whom I am close) are very socially astute as it relates to race and racism. Though not necessarily politically and socially active, I would venture to call many of them allies.
Taking this a step further, several of my white friends are married to (or in serious relationships with) Black men. Knowing the hearts of these women, they’re not the type of ladies who fetishize and seek out Black men to validate their whiteness.
That said, the concept of interracial dating is something that is contentiously personal to me. I support my friends’ unions. And c’mon folks — my parents’ marriage? How could I ever speak ill of that? (And my father is not the type of Black man who ever sought out white women — in fact, when they met he thought my mother was of color, so…)
Here’s my but. And my contention.
I cannot stand brothers who are infatuated with, cape for, and choose white chicks over (or to the detriment of) Black women. It demonstrates not only a submission to society’s racist Eurocentric standards of acceptability, privilege and currency, but also a nasty element of colonized self hatred.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get to my point. My ex, yep, the guy who knocked up some goofy random broad while he was out of town “working” — well that goofy broad is white. Like extra white.
A bit of context. My ex is a Black man. He is very conscious and proud of Black culture and history. He is outspoken about racial issues, and has committed his life to the culture and to a certain extent, the struggle. I’ve always admired that about him.
So, after I uncovered the news of the baby and researched who this mystery woman was (her name is very white, so I suppose I should’ve guessed she was just from reading it); I came across her Facebook page — with a profile picture of she and my ex smiling and looking disgustingly carefree (while my Black ass is sitting at home, miserable, making playlists and making excuses — missing him).
Upon further stalking, I came across her Instagram page, and saw a few very problematic things. First, I came across a picture of the baby, and in the comments, she joked with her friends about her “mulatto” son. I am not even going to get into how ignorant, foolish and offensive that term is (not to mention the person who uses it). But to think that my ex would even associate, on that level with — 1. Becky 2. An ignorant Becky — sickened me (and made me lose all respect for his judgment).
Next, I came across a text conversation between her and my ex that she screenshot and posted to her IG. The main conversation is irrelevant, but the crux of the conversation (at least to me) is when he told her that he was “happy to serve her” because she is his “queen”.
It is difficult for me to unpack all that is wrong this this, but I’ll start here. First, how DARE you refer to this ignorant white bitch as your queen while your Black girlfriend is at home missing your lying, cheating ass (and paying for our household bills)?
Secondly. You’re happy to “serve her”. Are you a slave? Uncle Tom? Uncle Ben? Tapdancing Negro? What in the actual hell?
This happened three years ago, and it still raises my blood pressure, so I’ll have to end this post here and resume when I can gather my thoughts. Minus residual bitterness.
Point being: Black men, these days seem to have an infatuation with (mediocre, at best; horrific, at worst) white women — with no regard for common sense. And least of all the Black women who love and are down for them.
After a heated argument with my ex today, he likened our “friendship” to an abusive relationship. While my initial thought was, “This man has a lot of nerve, after the hell he caused in my life”, upon further reflection, I realized that he was right.
You know the drill. Someone gets her ass beat (literally or figuratively), she tells herself that she needs to leave (of which she has every intention), he apologizes and somehow smooths things over, she believes him, and justifies the abuse because “he really is a good guy”, and the cycle continues.
Or. He cheats, and gets caught. His woman decides that the relationship is too deep to end because of one mistake. She forgives him. But then every opportunity she has (even if it has nothing to do with anything significant), she reminds him, all over again, of the cheating and how much it hurt her. She blows up. He takes her tongue lashing. And the cycle continues.
Neither of the scenarios are healthy. But, people tolerate these things. Why?
Love? Fear of being alone? Fear of change? Familiarity? Delusion?
I read an article today that suggests that remaining friends with an ex is the worst possible thing. Like ever. In fact, many psychologists recommend against it. Lollie Barr in the article “Can You Be Friends with Your Ex” suggests that we check our motives. Like, why would I want to be friends with someone who broke my heart — who disregarded my feelings — who turned my world upside down? According to Barr, “Understanding your motives for wanting the relationship to continue is important. You could be resisting letting go because you don’t want to admit failure, or you’re holding on to a glimmer of hope…”
Or maybe it’s deeper than that. I mean, is that enough to tolerate the emotional abuse (often unintentional) that can come along with attempting to maintain a friendship with a person who, for various reasons, didn’t make the cut (to put it mildly), relationship wise?
Dr. Juliana Breines points to research suggesting, “…that on average exes tend to have lower-quality friendships than…friends who were never romantically involved. They are less emotionally supportive, less helpful, less trusting, and less concerned about the other person’s happiness”.
Case in point: my ex can’t even mention his son, by name, without it setting me off (and he knows it); furthermore, I have no desire or interest in hearing anything about him (most people have at least a superficial interest in knowing the goings on with their friends’ children, but I don’t) — in fact, it will trigger me to the point of me spewing the nastiest vitriolic jabs I can muster. And that’s not normal. (For those who may not read this blog regularly, my “ex’s son” refers to the child he knocked some random, goofy broad up with when he was out of town “for work”, and named him the name we had discussed naming our future hypothetical child — check it for reference).
It’s actually kind of deep, because if I was a real friend, wouldn’t I welcome hearing the great things about my “friend’s” child?
So, again, why? Is the love I was able to salvage enough? Because, let’s face it, there’s no way that I could ever fully recover from this debacle — even if I wanted to. So, again, why?
Nina Atwood, relationship (or more specifically, singles) coach, writes, “Wanting to be friends keeps you from feeling the full depth of the loss, softening the blow of the breakup”. For me, I think this is compounded by the fact that he is over 1,000 miles away, and I haven’t had the closure (of a face to face encounter) I’ve needed, since our relationship ended. So, if I can still talk to him every once in a while, I can pretend, for a moment that he just doesn’t live here. It’s not like I run the risk of running into him when I’m out and about.
Plus, I don’t think I’ve fully let myself heal properly. Putting things into further perspective, FWB was the drama that ensued after him, so…yeah.
So, at this point, I am still asking myself why I still desire to be friends with him. I have some serious reflecting and discerning to do.
Or, let’s be real — does he have any reason to want to remain friends with me? Being frank, what I’ve illustrated here is just a fraction of the things I’ve done during the course of our 5-year relationship to garner his disrespect.
So why? What are our motives? Our intentions? Breines cautions, though that, “Ulterior motives can be sneaky, though—our minds have ways of disguising them as more innocent aims. So make sure you are being honest with yourself about what your true intentions are“.