Well, I can’t say this is an article I thought I would ever be writing, but nevertheless, here we are…
You guessed it, I didn’t come up with this idea out of nowhere. I am writing from personal experience. It’s a long story and I’m going into the details here. But the crazy thing is, when I started opening up about this to friends, I have come to find that it is disgustingly common. The first friend I told nearly screamed, because she had experienced the same thing within the last year. She was dating a guy at work, so they had to keep it secret. Only to find out he was married with three kids, oh, and he was also sleeping with someone else they worked with too. After we talked, I jokingly tweeted to her saying we should run background checks on future prospects to make sure they aren’t married. Another friend responded saying, “That happened to you too?” Lastly, prior to any of this, I already knew someone else who found herself living out a lifetime movie plot when she found out her husband had another wife (and children) in another state. Long story short, I suppose it’s good to know I’m not alone in this repulsive mess.
But like everything else, I was trying to relate this to music. Then I started to realize that despite this being a relatively common thing, there aren’t that many songs about it.
Of course, there is a plethora of songs from the perspective of the woman being cheated on. We have “Kerosene,” “Before He Cheats,” “Whoever’s in New England,” “Jolene,” just to name a few. Even between those four songs, there is definitely a difference in reactions to being cheated on. We have the fire-y, “I’m going to ruin your life” type of songs from Miranda and Carrie. Then we have the, “I know you’re cheating but I still want you” songs from Reba and Dolly. Of these, Dolly’s is the most interesting because it’s directly to the other woman instead of being toward the man like the others.
When you start to think about songs from the other side of the fence, the difference in perspectives is significantly more important. On one hand, you have the person who is fully aware the person they are with is in another committed relationship. They are fully aware that they are the side person. Often times, we would expect this person to sound like the person in Sugarland’s “Stay.” Desperately begging this person not to go back to their significant other. Sure, at the end they tell them to stop coming back to them and stay with their person, but how long do these affairs usually go on before that actually happens?
From a similar perspective, there is the woman who is aware that the person is in another relationship but realizing that she doesn’t have much chance to compete in this fight. For this, we have Sunny Sweeney’s “From a Table Away.” Sunny actually has a lot of songs from the woman being cheated with, more on those later. This woman sees the man that she has been dating out on a romantic date with his wife. Maybe he said he was leaving or he wasn’t happy, but when she sees them together, she quickly realizes that none of it is true and they actually look pretty happy together.
Then we have the perspective that I am writing from, and apparently that many others are experiencing, which is the person who had no idea that this guy was in a relationship with anyone else, let alone married. It’s a really weird space to be in. You feel guilty for partaking in someone’s affair. You feel disrespected that you didn’t get to even have a choice in the matter. Maybe when you get passed all the angry feelings, you also feel kinda sad, because it’s still a breakup and one with an uncomfortable abrupt ending. But you feel weird about being sad, because you are essentially “the other woman” whether you knew it before now or not. What I am realizing, is that there aren’t a lot of songs from this perspective. There is one that stands out, sort of, but it’s more about taking the next step after finding out.
This then raises a question that I hear discussed a lot in general. If you were being cheated on, would you want to know? Who do you want to hear it from? From your significant other? From the person they were cheating with? Or would you rather just go on about your life without knowing about any of it.
In Cam’s “Diane,” she didn’t know the man was married, but after she found out, she went to tell the wife. She explains that she had no idea and she wished that it never happened, while encouraging the wife to leave him.
This could launch a whole discussion on “Girl Code,” which suggests that you should tell the other woman, versus the idea that you are just telling her so that she’s not happy with him either. Perhaps you are telling the wife just to ruin his life out of spite. There are differing opinions on both ends of that. “Diane” is definitely going with girl code. But Sunny Sweeney’s “Amy” brings the other side of that debate to life. This woman is also telling the wife, but she admits to knowing that he was a married man the whole time. It’s a really weird conversation. Sunny is saying that the man never loved her and he always loved the wife, while simultaneously asking the wife to let him go to be with her. Or taking the sassy approach, Sunny’s song “You Don’t Know Your Husband,” is directly giving the wife a rude awakening about what her husband does when she’s not around. To me, this kind of sounds a little more bitter and insecure compared to the others. I guess depending what you’re trying to get out of it – which I hope is not that guy – will make your decision on that debate.
If you decide to do this, you could absolutely end up with a less perfect sounding duet like Reba McEntire and Linda Davis had with “Does He Love You.” This song is such a classic, but I hope that we can all agree that this dude is NOT worth fighting over. So maybe you take the route of Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs.” I definitely wasn’t in that deep, but hey, more power to you.
Basically, I am coming to the conclusion that there really aren’t many relatable songs for when you find out the guy you’ve been dating is actually married. With the popularity of dating apps, and in light of the fact that they are the primary way people meet these days, I think it’s probably happening more frequently, but who really knows?
Honestly, I don’t really know that this would even make for a good song, but given the fact that all of these other songs have been pretty successful, it looks like there just might be an opening.