Stealing a girlfriend is, by far, one of the most fucked up things a man can do. It's different for women, by virtue of the fact that they are women and stealing a boyfriend, though how much different beyond that I cannot say. Perhaps one of our many ice-cold female noders can enlighten us in this absence.

I say it is fucked up because it is something I've done. It's not something I'm proud of but it's not something I would change. This woman, Laura, had just moved to my town after transferring from her old university. She got a job working where I work, and I met her the Friday before classes started at our first staff meeting of the year. She was attractive in a geekish kind of way, with her glasses and paper for taking notes in quite possibly the least official staff meeting at the university, and was very warm and receptive to everyone around her.

It should be noted that this woman, this beautiful woman, became the object of my burning desire immediately.

I am a shy man. People don't rank highly on my list of species to save first in the event of nuclear war, and so meeting people and thus meeting women is not something I do often. Oh, sure, I can meet people and I can fake interest, but I'm introverted enough, and content enough, that I rarely make efforts to meet new people and instead wait for people to come to me. Most of my friends are through work and for the last three years I've not been intimate with a woman unless she initiated those relations.

This time it was different. I knew from the moment I saw her I wanted to be with her. I felt like a little kid, with a baby crush. I was infatuated and at the same time serious. I was also hesitant and felt awkward as I'd not even dated in a year, my last girlfriend having left me for her own self some five months prior. I stumbled toward ecstasy and asked her out, going so far as to drop a class from my schedule to make the meeting. I felt, and continue to feel, that it went terribly, and I had apparently invested more emotion into it than she, as I would later learn that she had thought it nothing more than a friendly get together. Following this, I requested her presence thrice more before being able to work out an agreeable time, and was unfortunately dealt a death blow when she cancelled this arrangement some forty-five minutes before we were to meet.

The weekend of this non-engagement was coincidentally the weekend of our boss's wedding. I had spoken to my boss about my intentions toward this woman, and he had offered to "put in a good word" with a mutual friend, the friend who had initially recommended that the object of my desire apply for a job where I work. The wedding was the forum for this good word, and it was the following Monday that I learned something of which I had not quite been aware: Laura was seriously involved with a friend from her hometown, something I felt she had taken the liberty of overlooking in our conversations.

I felt upset and used, and decided against pursuing the attraction further, especially at the behest of several people, two of whom were my boss and one of whom was my best friend. Despite deciding not to pursue either friendship or a relationship with this woman, I was still very attracted to her and more forgiving than one in my position, feeling as I did, should have been. I let the attraction take the lower rung, however, and did not have contact with her for some time.

Eventually, she contacted me and inquired about my state. I was at first confused and then upset as I didn't particularly want contact with someone who I had felt had led me on. She persisted nonetheless, and eventually my desire won the better of me and gradually we became friends. In becoming friends I remained both deeply attracted to her and wary of what was to become.

Eventually the subject of her boyfriend came up, and I learned the entire story. They had been seeing each other for some time but only intermittently, with distance separating them for some time. They had problems, and being a new friend with a perceived unclouded perception, she opened up to me about them. I should stress that despite my own desire for her, I never suggested to her that she should leave him or that she should cool things off with him. I don't even remember now what I said, but I do know that I never made an attempt to divide the two of them.

I instead treated her how I thought she needed to be treated. Here was this woman, this beautiful woman who with a simple smile or hug could warm my heart and quicken its pace, who with a gentle touch could soothe away worries and whose sweet voice could calm the nerves of an anxious day, so deserving of care and reciprocation that she did not receive. I talked to her for hours and let her speak to me about anything she wanted. I listened to her and cared about what she had to say. I would pull a blanket over her when she was cold. I would move to allow her greater comfort on a loveseat. I would straighten her pant legs when they were wrinkled as she laid down. I would run my fingers through her hair when she was close. I would tell her what a great person she is. I would do whatever I could do for her without even knowing I was doing it. I was happy making her happy.

Unfortunately, the emotional toll it was taking on me was too great. I was giving a great deal and not receiving enough in return. One thing in particular I do remember is when she told me that I treated her more nicely than anyone else ever had. That is a memory and time I will not forget. Though it did honestly make me happy to make her happy, I was wont to be with her still. I eventually decided, after speaking to a close friend about my static state of friendship with her, to allow surcease of my desire. After fully deciding with stout determination not to pursue the issue further and to either remain happy as her friend or as nothing, I received a phone call.

The call came late one morning after she returned from visiting some local bars with friends of hers. She wanted to talk and told me, in a rather inebriated manner, of her problems with her boyfriend, who had been treating her rather poorly for the past week without sign of cessation. Unable to contain myself any longer on either issue, I first told her, as I had been considering doing, that I had been hopelessly desiring her since the day I met her but that it was no longer an issue because of the emotional drain it put on me, and not to expect me to so reserved with tongue or judgement. She took this in quietly and I rather expected her to forget the next morning. I quickly segued into her current relationship and told her that he was the wrong person for her, and that he did not deserve her. He treated her badly and she did not merit that treatment; he simply did not care about his relationship with her.

A very short while later, our friendship strongly intact with my grudging acceptance of both her continued relations with her significant other and my persistent lack thereof with her, I was unable to repress that which I felt so strongly. I was asked to stay the night at her apartment due to the late hour and agreed, being offered an inflatable mattress for the duration of the night. To my surprise, after covering myself and having the light shut off, she asked if she could sleep with me to have a slumber party, though to her it was an innocent, friendly gesture without connotation. Seeing little harm in such, I agreed and she joined me on the mattress.

We talked for some time and I stroked her hair for some time, and she mine, as our friendship had allowed. I eventually placed my hand on hers and squeezed it. We held hands for some short time in silence, my heart and emotions racing, my mind not sure if it could talk itself out of doing what it wanted to do. I eventually kissed her in the soft, aquamarine light filtering in through the window, her skin warm and soft and more beautiful than I had imagined.

Though things did not go perfectly that night, nor the next, nor for some time after she left her significant other, the intervening period has become more perfect than I had imagined. This woman, this beautiful Laura, is the most important thing to me. The things I do in my life aren't so I can stay on a specific path with a specific goal anymore, they're so I can stay on a specific path with her and so I can know that I have reached my goals with her there. When I'm lost, I still find myself with her. There is nothing more important in my world than her. This beautiful, beautiful woman tells me daily how she feels about me, from when she wakes up next to me until she falls asleep in my arms.

I love this woman, and if any man were to steal her from me I would be hurt no less than what can be found in all the tragedies and losses of a loved one from history. Though I take comfort from the fact her ex-boyfriend had been cheating on her and did not care about her, I am still haunted by how I did not know the extent of this at the time of my unpardonable advances.
It's Friday, December 22, 2000, and I'm planning on stealing someone's girlfriend. I don't know the guy, and from what I've heard of him, he's actually pretty nice, and he takes good care of her. I'm really going to feel bad about this. But even that could be nothing compared to the pain of being a best friend in love.

She and I were together once, and we knew a kind of happiness that you just can't describe. We were in love and talked of marriage, though never directly applying the term to our own future. I screwed up one day, asking something of her that I had no right to ask; something that would have estranged her to her parents and thrown her whole world upside down.

She said 'no', we broke up, and she's since moved on to college, about 100 miles from my home. Four months later, she's got a boyfriend. Now she's here for Christmas, and I'm about to do the most fucked-up thing I could imagine, a perversion of the moral code that brought me to break up with her in the first place, a moral code inspired by my desire to be a better person for her.

Now here I am, throwing away any chance of a friendship between us, on the most miniscule possibility that she still loves me. Here goes nothing...

Oh no. She loves him.
Probably the worst thing I have done is steal my best friend's girlfriend. And I don't feel too bad about it. My relationship with Connie was the best I ever had.

I met her in a chatroom on AOL, and we got to instant messaging and calling each other all the time when we realized we lived in the same town. We met face to face when she started her freshman year at my high school. I must say that on that moment when I first saw her, and put together the person I had been talking to for months and her in reality, I fell in love. That's not to say i fell in love at first sight, because of our being friends despite having never met before then. We would skip class to go smoke and drink with our mutual friends. And eventually, she started going out with George.

And here is where the trouble comes in. He wasn't happy because she wasn't affectionate. He would come to me for advice, although he didn't know how close she and I were, and that she told me all about the problems with the relationship, or rather, exactly what she wanted from him. But I never told him, and I deliberately gave him bad advice. In addition, I told her that he wasn't worth her time, and that she should break up with him. I also wrote her a poem, which told her that I loved her, and that she was beautiful. They broke up, and a less than a week later we were going out.

We were together for nearly two years. But when I went away to college, she started cheating on me. She says she thought I was cheating on her, because I didn't talk to her as much as I used to, and that I never came home on the weekends, just to see her. I didn't find out that she was cheating until I came home for Thanksgiving break early. I went over to her house and found her with some other guy. Needless to say, I broke up with her. However, I miss her still, and haven't had a real relationship since.

One day, the woman with whom I had lived and loved for a year told me that she was in love with another man. She moved that night from the apartment that we had shared into his place, where she stayed until they moved to a different apartment a few weeks later.

She had been playing Juliet opposite his Romeo in a low-paying local production.

This breakup did not come as a complete surprise -- she had been growing gradually more withdrawn and had been spending more time with him over the run of the play. I had upped my attentiveness in response, but apparantly to no avail.

She explained that they had both had feelings for one another for some time, but that because of our relationship, she had held off. At some point, though, someone had made a move, and the rest was history.

I must admit, I had thought of calling what this Romeo had done "stealing my girlfriend" before I read this node. It had always made me feel uneasy. Reading the writeups here has led me to try to articulate the reservations I have about using this phrase.

First, a girlfriend is not property.

Herr Webster defines stealing as "the act of taking feloniously the personal property of another without his (sic) consent and knowledge; theft; larceny."

Hmmm, so far so good. Let's turn to property. The definitions that interest us are:

  • the exclusive right of possessing, enjoying, and disposing of a thing; ownership; title
  • that to which a person has a legal title, whether in his possession or not; thing owned; an estate, whether in lands, goods, or money.
If you would like to refer to a woman as property, I suggest using a word like slave or, still quite a bit of a stretch, wife. These words have legal denotations with which girlfriend has no truck.

I understand that it is common to use the metaphor of possession to refer to romantic love, and property to refer to people (especially women) in general. To me such usages are a problem. They tend to influence the manner in which we understand, organize, and access our perceptions of the world (see cognitive science and/or cognitive psychology). A metaphor like "WOMEN are PROPERTY" becomes endemic, gets lodged in our memepool and influences the ways in which we feel about, interact with, and think about women. The mere title of this node is part of this self-maintaining work which the metaphor performs. hramyaegr seems to be using this metaphor and the implied moral statement "STEALING is BAD" as the basis for his moral stance on the "stealing of girlfriends."

If (for evolutionary reasons, perhaps) you want your morality to include something like "MATING with a WOMAN who MATES with another MAN is BAD" then for Log's sake do it explicitly. You don't need women to be property. Your morality should be able to handle simple clauses.

Yes. I have gotten more bogged down in semantics than I would have liked. That's OK. "SEMANTICS are PEOPLE too!"

My second reason has to do with the nature of love. This is doctrinaire and somewhat ideological, but according to popular dictum, if you truly love someone, their happiness is paramount. I am still sad that things did not work out between us, but I wish her only the best in this new relationship and with her life. That another man helped her understand that she no longer wanted to live and sleep with me, and that she now sleeps with him made me angry and bitter (and still does from time to time). However, justifying what strikes me as a natural and temporary response to a painful loss with a "universal moral truth" like "stealing a girlfriend is wrong" seems pig-headed and counterproductive. Better to forgive and forget. Better to move on.

You can't steal someone if they want to be taken. Decisions, decisions...choice.

It happens. When a person comes to realize several things in their life, it's dynamite! A person is depressed: lying around the house, moping, pained, no motivation, mentally blocked, unable to think clearly, quick to anger and frustration, not caring where they're going or what they can do - these are when one realizes a change must be made because they're halfway in the grave. What grave?!? Why?!? Is happiness selfish? Is fulfillment unattainable?

I've come to believe, from personal experience, that once I said those words... I spoke into existence a completely new possibility for myself and all involved. Its effect was immediate! I felt a weight lifted in my soul. Everything around me became clear and concise. Do I mean the answers have all fallen into place? Oh no! But a few certainly have.

And those fears are always present: the ones I have to let go. What can I do now? - Pull up my bootlaces and roll with the punches.  Will I always be alone? - Maybe I will and I'm okay with that.  Did I do this for someone else? - Hell no! This is for me and my well-being. And I feel that more deeply than anything in years.  

You can't take anyone anywhere that they haven't already wished for themselves.

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