Musically, I’m stuck in the ’90s. In 1992, singer Milira released a song called “Three’s A Crowd,” telling her lover that “[she didn’t] want to be caught in the middle of a three-way love affair.” I’m ashamed to admit it, but I actually watched an episode of one of those wretched shows recently. In the episode, a guy asked the mother of his child and his mistress to attend a group therapy session together. (You know which show I’m talking about.) Needless to say, if it had never been proven before, it’s now evident that three is definitely a crowd.
Similarly, about two years ago one of my sister-friends was in the middle of an affair. As usual, the affair started because she was unhappy in her marriage. Her husband had been out of work for some time and was depressed about it. In turn, he’d stopped paying attention to her and basically checked out mentally. She was left feeling lost and vulnerable. Into the picture walks her paramour.
I make it a point not to stand in judgment of anyone, especially one of my sister-friends. It’s not my place and it is not fair. However, after a few months of the affair, I had to ask my sister-friend what her endgame was with the other man. Was she going to get a divorce? Or, did she just expect to continue the three-way love affair indefinitely? I assured her that, good or bad, every situation comes to a head at some point.
Then I asked, “Do you want to be married to [her husband]?” She answered that indeed she did want to stay married and did not want a divorce. We talked for a long while, and I concluded that what she wanted was to fix her marriage, but she was at a loss on how to do it.
“One thing I know for sure is that you can’t fix your marriage with someone else in the picture,” I cautioned. And, watching that show reminded me of how true a statement that is. I was assured I’d given my sister-friend the best possible advice while watching the dysfunction of that “therapy” session. There is no way two people can work on a relationship with a third person involved.
Thankfully my sister-friend is not on some crazy reality show and ultimately took my advice. She ended the affair and began to focus on mending her relationship with her husband. It was rough going for a very long time, but with her energy focused on the relationship she was legally in, she was able to give it the TLC it needed to bring it back to life. Her husband has since found a job and they are in real therapy.
For women I think having an affair is quite different than for men in most instances. Many women that are having affairs are doing it because of deficiencies in their relationships. But having an affair is like putting a band-aid on a dam. If you find yourself stuck in two relationships and hope to save one, you have to get out of the other because three’s a crowd.
Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter.
Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.