I Promise Not To Hit On Someone’s Boyfriend If You Won’t Eitherby Chiara Atik on February 18, 2011
Cosmo has a big article out this month about Man-Stealers, “ruthessly seductive women who live for the thrill of stealing a taken man.” They really make it sound like a heist movie, don’t they!
Personally, I’m not worried about the threat of a Man-Stealer to my own dating life — for one thing, in all of my vast acquaintances I can’t think of a single woman (or man) who fits the Cosmo description of someone who “thrives on breaking up happy couples.”
But I DO worry about cheating, because I’ve been cheated on, and because a surprisingly high number of people very, very close to me have been “the other woman.”
These aren’t girls who go around looking for coupled men they can gleefully zap up. It’s never callous or calculated. The situation is always, always complicated and fraught with excuses: “Well he would break up with her but her mother just died, and…” “He’s so unhappy in the marriage…” “They’ve been together so long and he can’t look for a new apartment now…”
The girl in question usually spends her time wracked with guilt and uncertain about the future. Sometimes it works out for her, sometimes it doesn’t.
The point is, as wives and girlfriends and daters, we don’t have to construct an Amazonian She-Predator who gets off on ruining our relationships, just so we can have a villainess to blame. Because the types of women who cheat are often our friends.
I am in no way absolving men from this equation, as if they’re powerless puppies who can’t control or be blamed for their susceptibility to sex. If my boyfriend cheats on me, it’s HIS fault, not some mythical temptress, not some abject hussy.
All I’m saying is: because I’ve been cheated on, and comforted my friends who have been cheated on, and listened and been sympathetic to my friends who are seeing men with girlfriends and wives: what if we all just didn’t do it?
It sounds a little overly simplistic, but I can’t help thinking it would work, if we just turned to our girlfriends and sisters and acquaintances and said: