24/08/2015 8:12 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

The 'Other Woman'

Escaping Bride Groom
Peter Dazeley via Getty Images
Escaping Bride Groom

Ten celebrity home breakers - who dated or married committed men - screamed the headline. I could not help but open the news piece - if I can call it that. It had names of ten successful and famous women who had been in a relationship with married men. Here, their success did not matter, that they allegedly broke homes did. I wondered if the men were really committed, for, if they were, there wouldn't have been even one broken home.

To me, the most interesting part of this drama -- one man, two or more women -- is that in the centre of every such drama is a man. It doesn't matter if he is rich or poor, if he is just an ordinary man or a celebrity, if is young or old. If it is a multi-angular relationship, it will be centred around a man, never a woman: ever heard of a woman living-in with a lover while the husband manages the kids and home? And, in all such situations, there is only one villain -- the other women. The man is naive, the wife is helpless, but the other woman is a husband-robbing, boyfriend-snatching bitch.

In my experience, if a relationship is strong, no one can seep in. If, however, emotional differences have already damaged the foundation, no one can save it. In such a situation, the third person is either just a catalyst or - more often than not - comes into the picture after the damage has already been done.

But why get drawn to some other person when you already have a partner? Well, I do not have the answer - nobody does; but we all know that it happens. Maybe because, despite having a partner one is lonely, maybe because the love is lost, or maybe because they are genuinely in love.

Since we live in a civil society and propriety demands us to live by some rules, some such couples chose to move on, some, however, stick around in whatever way they can, and the more daring ones get married or live-in. Mostly these relationships are termed illegitimate and immoral but often these relationships are the purest because the two individuals are in it for no selfish reason but for the fondness of each other, if not love.

In such circumstances the woman becomes the home breaker - the home could be hers or his. The man, almost always gets away scot-free: he's a man after all - footloose and fancy free; it is the woman's duty to be cautious, not his. But the saddest part is that such allegations are almost always made by other women. Men, from what I know, could not care less.

Now, I am not a feminist, neither do I think that a woman needs any privilege only because she is a woman. I have always believed that both men and women are equal, though, they may have to, or chose to, play different roles in a family, and in the society. In fact, I think at times it is the man who has a disadvantage, he is the one who has to earn the bread and butter no matter what - the woman can still choose to take it easy.

But such a bias against women leaves me bitter and angry; being a woman myself, I know the insecurities a woman faces, the fears she lives with and the hardships she undergoes - all for love, and yet she is the one to be called names.

I cannot say if it is our society, our upbringing, or our psyche that judges only the woman. The woman, however vulnerable she herself might be, is blamed for the man's breaking away from his wife, deserting his children, abandoning his home. A few, if any, notice that the wife, or the husband, could equally be at fault.

Let us, for once, try to imagine the life of the other woman. The woman who bears everything for the love of a man she cannot call her own. She is ostracised by the society, sometimes, even her family. Her children, if at all she can convince the man to have any, are called bastards. Her house, however fancy it might be, is never a home, just as her man, however much he might love her, is never her husband. And yet, she, the other woman, forever longing to belong, is the one at fault.