Side Piece, Be Still

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Thought For The Day:

“Never make someone your priority when all you are to them is an option.”

Maya Angelou

Question For The Day:

Are you settling for less than you deserve?

Well, we survived another Valentines Day, and I pray it proved enjoyable and love affirming for everyone reading.  If nothing else, it should always be an opportunity to show yourself some much deserved affection.  Yet as is traditional, I suspect that Valentines Day once again demonstrated its power to drive the dissatisfied single to the brink of desperation.  In fact, my Facebook timeline proved as much.  I know being “booed up” on V Day is a good look, but if you’d sell your soul for a little companionship and a 2 for $20 dinner date at Applebee’s, you might have this love thing twisted.  Valentines Day, like most holidays that have strong connotations of intimacy and family ties, tend to illuminate our desire for meaningful human relationships.  However, they also have a way of exposing the relationship smoke screens that thrive over text message or appear authentic in the privacy of an hourly-rated motel room, but are ultimately just facades.  If you claim to be involved with a man, but find yourself alone and in distress on major holidays, chances are the smoke has cleared and a broken-hearted “side piece” is all that remains.

What I find truly unfortunate, is that many women spend their entire lives living in an alternate reality.  They willingly engage in toxic love affairs that hold them hostage in a never-ending cycle of bait and switch that promises rewards that never materialize.  These women remain on the outskirts of genuine connection and may waste their best years admiring the greener pastures of committed love from the other side of the proverbial picket fence.  These “outside women” believe their man will eventually let them in, not realizing they’re the ones who have locked themselves out.  These are the other women that wayward husbands seek out when they feel like exploring the wilder borders beyond the monotony of home.  These men (and I use that term loosely) are more than happy to jump the fence every once in a while.  Cheaters are down to explore because they hold the key and can return to the safety of holy matrimony whenever unchartered territory becomes too treacherous to navigate.  While I’ll address how to deal with a cheating man in a later post,  today my aim is to speak to the heart of the “side piece” who waits patiently from a safe distance until her man can come out and play.

Side pieces are the coleslaw to a man’s fried chicken or the baked beans to his ribs.  They’re the tasty side item that can supplement a greedy man’s diet, but they’ll never be ordered as the main dish.  So if you or someone you know is a certified “side piece” who is wasting valuable seconds on the clock trying to call the game from the sidelines, this post is for you.  So what sorts of cognitive distortions are to blame for the miseducation of the side piece?  What is at the core of this brand of dysfunction?  Well, I personally wouldn’t know, but I’ve been a counseling professional long enough to offer some suggestions.  I give you Side Piece Memeology 101.  Feel free to take notes.

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Side Pieces Have Bought Into The Fantasy

I might be one of very few Black women who never got into Scandal.  No shade to Kerry Washington or Shonda Rhimes who I think are both beautiful and incredibly talented, but my multiple attempts to binge-watch on Netflix continue to fail.  To keep it real, I frankly just don’t buy that a character as commanding and gorgeous as Olivia Pope with all her intelligence and propensity for problem solving would be compromising enough to be the side chick, even if it is to the President. Yet because she does it with so much flair, I think side pieces everywhere have convinced themselves that like Olivia, they too can make adultery look fly!  There’s nothing sexier than sleeping with your man right under his wife’s nose and knowing that he’s willing to sacrifice it all for your love.  But the inconvenient truth is, Scandal is a television show, you ain’t Olivia Pope and your man is likely nowhere close to being President.  That kind of reckless abandon works for dramatic television but is often not pragmatic for the average Joe that’s stepping out on his wife.  Most real life two-timers wouldn’t risk losing a job at Target.  They can’t afford a divorce or the subsequent child support payments for the sake of anyone’s “love.”  Real talk, he probably just wants to hit it. All the extra backstory and sentimental context you try to attach, is probably all in your head.  IJS

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Side Pieces Believe “The Wife” Will Relent

Well, you might get lucky and get with a married man whose marriage has truly hit the skids.  His wife might have already checked out and is grateful to the side piece for taking him and his disobedient penis off her hands.  But by and large, most wives aren’t going down without a fight.  If she has invested a significant amount time in her marriage and/or has minor children with your man, she is not going to just step aside and let you take her position.  If and when she ever decides to leave him, it won’t be because you’re tired of waiting your turn.  She is entitled to half of everything he has, is raising his children, and knows everything about him including all the stuff he doesn’t want you or anyone else to know.  If this was a game of spades, his wife would be holding ALL the books and you’d be set before the game even began.  The wife will always play her hand because she knows she’ll win in the end, one way or another.

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Side Pieces Live in Denial About the State of Their Man’s Marriage

I know he gave you the sob story about how his wife just doesn’t understand him and how they’ve simply grown apart.  He’s staying for the kids and doesn’t want to disrupt their routine.  He would leave tomorrow if it wasn’t so “complicated” and of course, sex with his wife is nothing like it is with you.  Poor baby, right?  The side piece then becomes this sad soul’s rescuer, his refuge.  She convinces herself that she’s his savior and the only one that can hold him down during this most difficult season of his life.  This is all plausible until he announces he can’t be in contact for two weeks because he’s going on a Disney cruise with his family (but just for the kids of course).  You notice his upgraded wedding band and the new minivan he’s driving, but still you believe he’s suffering through all his wife’s birthday parties, family reunions and school recitals. He’s really trying hard not to obsess over your good lovin’ and is counting the seconds until he can once again bask in the sanctuary that is your studio apartment. (sips tea)  Moving on.

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Side Pieces Believe Their Day Is Coming

Married men who cheat are master manipulators.  They appear to be quite adept at holding the carrot of commitment just out their side woman’s reach. She then might dedicate many years to trying to grab it.  False promises and well-timed gifts have a way of confusing a woman with limited self worth.  One might become so preoccupied with waiting for her man’s divorce announcement, that she forgets to pay attention to the realities of her own life.  If she’s not careful, she might wait through her child-bearing years or wait her way out of greater job prospects.  She may end up waiting forever all because she’s afraid of leaving too soon and missing the big pay day.  If this is you, here’s the news flash.  The check is going to bounce and so should you.

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Side Pieces Believe Their Man Is Trustworthy

I know it’s been said before but it’s worth repeating.  If he would cheat on his wife with you, surely he would cheat on you with the next chick.  My guess is you’re likely already being cheated on. You might think you’re auditioning for the role of Wife but might actually be an under study for the role of Side Piece #2.  We women have a terrible habit of trying to mold and shape men into who we want them to be.  Like K. Michelle sings, you can’t raise a man.  If he is an adulterer, he has proven to have major character defects including dishonesty, disloyalty, and minimal integrity to name a few.  I think a man like that needs Jesus, but you believe a sample of your goodies is all he needs to be saved.  Please note: good sex does not equal good man.  Just because you can trust him to satisfy you in bed doesn’t mean he can be trusted to satisfy you in life.

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Side Pieces Believe Their Man Deserves Loyalty

Many side pieces wouldn’t dare dream of cheating on their cheater.  Perhaps it’s all the expensive suites at the Red Roof Inn or the plethora of hand me down bling he’s thrown her way that makes her feel strangely indebted.  How in the world do you owe a relationship born of unfaithfulness your fidelity?  You may owe his wife an apology for sure, but you would owe him nothing but deuces if you finally decided to walk away and pursue a legitimate relationship.  How crazy is it that an adulterous man would expect his faithful side piece to “keep it home” while he makes his home elsewhere?  If you fall for this type of hype, then like Malcolm X said, you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok!  Get your life girl!  He’s certainly gotten his and you wouldn’t be playing the margins if you were truly a part of it.

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Side Pieces Deny Their Lack of Self-Esteem

I know you look fierce in the Louboutins he bought you.  You probably feel like the baddest bish https://getliftedgirl.org/2015/03/20/the-baddest-bish/when you’re able to stunt on all your girlfriends who wish they had a man to “take care of them” like yours.  Say whatever you must to save face, but you and all your girlfriends already know the truth.  Knowing that the man you love does not value you enough to offer you commitment, sacrifice, dedication, or partnership is most certainly hurtful.  Subjecting yourself to this type of pain is the mark of a woman with low self-esteem.  We women will demand what we deserve in almost every other aspect of our lives.  If we’re skilled in our professions, we won’t let someone pay us minimum wage.  So why do we keep accepting pieces of a man instead of holding out for the entire package?  I recently watched Tyrese and Rev Run’s Show It’s Not You, It’s Men and Rev Run said something that also bears repeating.  “If you truly love yourself, you’ll take crap from no one.”  Only women who question their value will sell themselves cheap.  A man who would step out on his wife, is looking for a rock bottom discount that will cost him as little as possible.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a “behind the locked glass” kind of woman where the side piece has relegated herself to the bargain bin.  Still cute or nah?

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Side Pieces Are Chronically Jealous

Hate is a preventable disease.  Why make yourself sick counting the next woman’s blessings instead of discovering your own? If you’re salty about all the time and luxuries the wife enjoys then take it up with your man.  If he hasn’t done as much for you then clearly, there is no competition.  You can’t beat someone at their own game so if you’re tired of coming in last, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

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Side Pieces Deserve More

The bottom line is this.  All women are worthy of authentic, committed love.  Being married is not an indication of better looks, character, or personality.  As a married woman, I can assure you that we often carry the same emotional baggage as any single lady, which is why side pieces with poor self-esteem shouldn’t get a pass.  We women can’t continue to use our issues as an excuse to sin. Sleeping with a married man is wrong, period.  It hurts other women, breaks up families, scars innocent children, contributes to the delinquency of an undisciplined husband, and often leads to the spiritual death of the side piece herself.  If you’ve already wasted too much time chasing an illusion of love, please stop.  Side piece, be still and know that the one you’ve been waiting for, is God.

“Flee from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18

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