What being the “other girl” taught me about love, relationships, and myself

Love is a crazy emotion. It changes the way you see everything around you. It affects your entire being, the things you do, the decisions you make.

And sometimes, out of love, you make the wrong decisions for the right reasons… like falling in love with the right person at the wrong time.

A few years ago, at a Science Fair, this “wrong time person” waltzed into my life. Our common interests and intriguing differences ignited a spark that gave way to a friendship. We both came from different schools, located on the opposite ends of the city — but that distance didn’t stop us from becoming closer.

Getting to know each other the following year through text messaging and late night phone calls proved to me that it is possible to fall in love with someone’s personality alone. It wasn’t as if we flirted with each other — we just spent hours and hours talking about the past, our dreams for the future and Newton’s Law of Interaction. You know, the stuff romance is built on.

Back then, I had no idea that he was sought after by all the girls at his school. To me, he was just a nice person… but one who apparently had a girlfriend that I had no idea about.

Nevertheless, when I found out that he was in a relationship, I immediately asked him why he never mentioned it. He sighed and said, “I was afraid that you’d stop talking to me if I told you.” Which in turn made me laugh and say, “Of course I wouldn’t, silly. We’re just friends.”

As the years passed, I became that friend to whom he told everything. I was the one who listened to all his storied when she didn’t have the time. I made him laugh after every bad day. I was the friend who he would text to at one in the morning, telling me how she broke his heart and how unhappy he felt.

So, of course, I had to fix him. I couldn’t just leave him like that, right?

It’s funny when the person you like needs your help to get back with the person they like. Every time you fix their heart, yours slowly crumbles apart.

I’ll never forget how much that hurt. Especially when he’d thank me the next day with a 500 character text message filled with smiley faces and “you’re the best” on repeat. I hid my feelings every single time, even though I knew he liked me too. I ignored all the heart emoticons and sweet messages that he sent my way. It was wrong to fall for someone who belonged to someone else. I didn’t want to be a part of this mess.

I didn’t want to break anyone’s heart, because I know exactly how it feels. I know how much it hurts. That’s why I pushed him away from me, even though I loved him too. I kept on pretending that we were just friends, until the day came that I couldn’t pretend any longer.

I thought that if I finally gave in, I could let it all out and never speak to him again — that all of this would end and I’d be free again. Instead, he confessed that he liked me too and began treating me like his girlfriend — even though he already had one.

Deep down inside, I felt like I was taking part in a crime but I did it anyway, out of love. I wanted to make him happy and a little part of me hoped that if he were happy enough, he’d realize that I was all he needed.

But, I was wrong and, in the end, I got the punishment I deserved.

Despite all his sob stories and brokenhearted texts, they still celebrated anniversaries and elaborately surprised each other during special occasions. I overlooked the fact that she knew him more than I ever could. Despite the way she treats him, he still loves her, which makes this so hard.

If you’ve ever been the “other girl,” you’d know how much this hurts. To be only remembered when you’re needed. Tears filled my eyes when I saw a photo of them on his Instagram, with the caption, “Behind every man’s success is a woman.”

“Of course, she’s his GIRLFRIEND. He couldn’t post a photo of me. What would people say?” I thought to myself.

That was the moment when reality punched me in the face. I wasn’t a princess in my own fairytale who had to defeat an evil witch to reach my happy ending. I WAS the witch.

It hurts that people see me that way and no matter what I do or say, I will always be the villain of this story. It’s sad though that my side of the story will never be told. After all, the brokenhearted princess is the focus of this story. Everyone will cheer for her as she moves on.

But villains have hearts too; they feel pain as well. In the eyes of others, I might seem like some relationship-destroyer, but the truth is that I’m just a girl who fell in love with the right person at the wrong time.

From that moment on, I realized something important: Our quest for our own happily ever after should never ruin someone else’s fairytale. I might not have control over my emotions, but I can control my actions. That’s why I made him choose between her or me.

He still chose her in the end. After all, she was his girlfriend, his first love. She knew his parents; their families were friends. In short, they were the perfect couple. He couldn’t throw all that away for some girl he met at a Science Fair — no matter how much he claimed that he loved her.

And I understood that. It was a completely logical reason to stay with her. That’s why I wanted to leave so badly. I didn’t want to ruin everything they had.

The only problem was that whenever I tried to leave, he wouldn’t let me go. He’d beg me to stay, to wait for the right time.

Even though I kept asking him when the “right time” was, he never managed to give me a straight answer. It was always “someday,” “soon,” or “when things settle” — and I believed his every word.

But the truth was that he never planned on letting her go. Deep inside, he thought that if he played carefully, he could keep us both. I was never his one and only, just the girl he wanted to drag along.

As I’m writing this, my hands turn cold. A part of me is hesitant, for fear of being judged; but the other, much bigger part of me, is eager to turn all these experiences and tears into something worth reading.

I’m writing this so that people out the will get a glimpse of how it’s like being someone’s second option — what it’s like being madly in love with someone you can’t have.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, be strong enough to let go. It isn’t worth the pain. Relationships really are just meant for two. There are no buts, no ifs and no “just because.” Either you’re with him or not. Being the third person or the “go-to” girl when he’s upset may make you feel wanted and special, but in the long run, it’s a road to heartache.

You deserve a whole heart, no matter how broken it may be, but it should always be a whole, nothing less.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Agnes Dalisay is a Chinese-German teen who is 100% Filipina at heart. Currently a college freshman studying Development Communication, she dreams of becoming a teacher, journalist and freelance writer in the near future. Her firm faith in God, funny adventures in romance, unique family and the ups and downs of life are her ultimate sources of inspiration.

(Image via here.)

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