On Women Hurting Women

I had problems coming up with a better title for this post. I’ve also argued with myself about posting this. I don’t want to come across as a moralising bitch. But apparently I do find some things worth that iffy reputation.

Anyway, my sister just returned home from a short overseas holiday trip with a good friend. The good friend is male and married with two young daughters. His wife and daughters did not accompany him on this trip. My sister is single and unattached.

Anyway, the relationship between my sister and her friend is innocent enough. Also, according to my sister, the guy’s wife knew about the trip and had okayed it, apparently happily enough. My sister was all raves about the wife’s positive attitude about the trip.

Still, both my mother and I had concerns on whether it was the right thing for my sister to do.

Is there really any woman in the world who will not mind if her husband takes off for a planned overseas holiday alone with another young, unmarried and reasonably attractive woman, without her? Even if he has been utterly faithful thus far, and shows no sign of straying. Even if she professes to trust him absolutely.

My sister would definitely have minded if the shoe had been on the other foot. No matter how innocent it was.

Knowing that she would feel differently if the situation had been reversed was it then morally correct for her to take the trip with her friend?

My mother was particularly affected by my sister’s decision, because she used to be the victim of such thoughtlessness. My father used to employ a young, married female secretary who happened to live very near us. My dad would often give her rides between her home and the office. My mother was working as an operator in a nearby factory during that time, so my father would also drive her to work and back home daily.

For the rides homeward, my father’s secretary would park herself in the front seat beside my dad, since she gets on the car first at the office. When they get to my mother’s workplace, the lady did not vacate her seat for my mum, nor did my father make any request of her to do so. Neither did she acknowledge my mother when she entered the car. So the trio would drive home, looking for all the world as if the secretary was my father’s wife, while my mother was some friend they picked up on the way!

It happened frequently enough that my mother’s colleagues came to notice it as well and made insinuating remarks about my mother’s marriage. My mother is a cool lady and handled it well, but all the time, she was burning with humiliation inside.

There were many other incidents of disrespect. My mother was proud enough to act as if they didn’t affect her, but inside it was a different story.

Though I believe that the secretary never had that kind interest in my father, the sheer thoughtlessness on  her part caused the situation to get bad enough for my mother to finally give my father an ultimatum, cease or divorce.

To this day, I don’t know what my father would have decided. Because just about that time, the secretary left my father’s company.

As a witness to my mother’s misery during the entire episode, I tend to take the stand that my sister should not have made the trip, regardless of how her friend’s wife reacted. The other woman could have genuinely not been affected, but she could also have been like my mother.

By the way, I am not minimizing the responsibility of the man involved in this case. However, we cannot control the man’s sensitivity and sense of responsibility, but we can control our own actions.

There are few justifications for a woman to hurt another woman like this.

A real affair is one thing. One could argue that the other woman has at least something of herself vested in the relationship with the man. Something which may be worth hurting another woman for. Like true love, or something.

But for just a few days of fun with one friend out of many? I’m sorry, but no.

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4 comments on “On Women Hurting Women

  1. Revanche says:

    I think it really depends on a few things: your relationships, how you treat the travel and how respectful you are of the relationships.

    I have several incredibly good, and close, male friends with whom I have had good and exceedingly platonic relationships for longer than I have known my husband. They and I have had plenty of time together alone before and after my engagement, because they were good friends and we wanted to get dinner, go to specific events that only we had interest in, and because my BF at the time was LD. However, with one friend, we are excessively careful about the appearance of alone time in a lot of ways because his GF has always been a woman-hater, no matter who it was or whether the woman in question had any interest in her BF or even knew he existed.

    With another, his GF loves me and knows that I love them both and would never ever dream of doing anything to jeapardize their relationship so she trusts me.

    In those circumstances, I behave accordingly. I may ride in the car with the first one but only if his GF is not going to be in the trip at all, otherwise I’ll make other arrangements because I know she doesn’t want another woman around. Or I’ll drive – so it’s clear that I have the “control” of the car, but that he’s getting a ride, that I’m not “with him”. It changes the power dynamic for her enough to be ok with it. And I would never ride in the front seat with him if the three of us were together.

    With the second friend, again, I’d never ride in the front seat by choice unless they insisted as they have maybe once, for some random reason. But we’re comfortable with each other so we ride together to events with the one or other and it doesn’t really matter.

    Another male friend, soon to be in-law I bet, has spent weekends with me here at the apartment without my husband for holidays or just to visit while he happens to be away. Doesn’t really matter as far as my husband is concerned – we’ve been friends for half our lives and will continue to be friends.

    From the other side of the coin: there are female friends with whom PiC travels for events and then hangs out with socially with or without me. There was one that actually wanted to date him early on that I became friends with because I just didn’t want things to become awkward. She’s now a great friend and if they wanted to travel somewhere to ski or something random like that, and I wasn’t interested, I would be totally comfortable with it because I know PiC has zero interest in her and she and I have a strong relationship. She’s a good friend to both of us so I know she’s going to be respectful of our relationship. There are other female friends I wouldn’t be as cool about because they are simply disrespectful to me directly and so that’s a different thing. But I would be fine with him going out to dinner with them because it’s not a big deal. I just don’t want to spend time with them myself! 🙂

  2. Miss JJ says:

    I think dinners etc are fine. I guess it is the non-business overseas travel context that gets me. I do understand that not every woman is the jealous type, but I guess I would try to err on the conservative side, for myself, since I will never know what the other woman is thinking for sure.

    • Revanche says:

      Yes, I think we’re probably agreed that it’s all about respect for the people in our lives – you should bear in mind the people you could be hurting and make sure that you’re not doing anything of the sort.

  3. eemusings says:

    I heart Revanche too. She is the shiz.

    I think it’s safe to say that even when all parties are cool with it, outsiders are often going to pass judgement. And that sucks.

    I personally have a ton of guy friends (and my closest friends are male, not female – if I end up having a hen’s night it will most likely be thrown by the dudes, and if I have a bridal party it will, again, be my dudes up there). I’ve slept in the same bed with them and if a trip came up that T didn’t want to accompany me on that one of them could, he wouldn’t bat an eye.

    He doesn’t really have any equivalent female friends, so I can’t honestly say if the same would be true if it was reversed. I have no problem with him spending time around women without me, but that usually happens in a group context rather than one on one. I like to think I’m quite secure in our relationship, but…

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