Of Break-ups, Ghosting and "The Other Woman"

 So we all know of the Bea-Gerald-Julia fracas by now, if not the nitty-gritties, then at least the gist.

 

Actress Bea Alonzo implies that her boyfriend cheated on her, not once but twice, and then ghosted her.

 

The guy in question, actor Gerald Anderson, declares that theirs had become an unhealthy relationship marked by fights, which prompted him to drift off and stop communicating and, of course, denied the cheating.

 

The alleged third party, actress Julia Barretto, then speaks up, declaring she had nothing to do with the break-up and that she is a victim of Bea’s bullying via social media.

 

Gerald has the last say (so far), saying he had happy memories with his ex, that he’s disappointed in himself, that it’s not his proudest moment, in what can be an attempt to salvage his dignity and possibly career.

 

All throughout the teleserye, I mean these revelations, everyone else had something to say about the matter. Sides have been taken, with a Team Bea and Team Julia very actively engaging in verbal jousts, although there has been an absence of a Team Gerald in the mix.

He seems to have had the best of both worlds anyhow, so it’s hard to pity the guy despite the deprecatingly funny memes and his teary-eyed explanations.

 

Why did this incident create such a furor, we ask? Is it because it’s showbiz and the people involved have a pretty solid following? Obviously, that’s part of it. But I think it’s more because what these people have gone through, and are still going through, are so highly relatable. How many women have been ghosted and cheated on? How many men have cheated and/or been caught cheating? How many women have fallen for and/or been deceived by unavailable men? How many women have chased unavailable men? How many have an opinion about everything and everyone? (Okay, so gossiping and being opinionated is beside the point, I’m just lightening things up here.)

Relationship messes are a dime a dozen, and it’s a fact of life that we all have our share of such. Being in the limelight and being outspoken at that create an entirely different set of problems and magnify relationship issues further. Making telling social media posts and giving statements on national television or for print pretty much give the world license to treat what would otherwise be private concerns in a very public way.

So that’s my longish way of segueing into my musings about the issues that have been brought up — ghosting, cheating and being “the other woman.”

 

And because we really can only speculate about what truly happened, my take will be removed from these personalities. I’ll tackle the issues for the benefit of everyman and everywoman instead.

Sorting it out

 

Ghosting is the act of disappearing on someone one has dated for a period of time or had a relationship with, sans explanation. I don’t count as ghosting the “disappearance” of someone whom one has dated only once or twice and doesn’t have an established relationship with.

 

Ghosting tends to leave the ghosted anxious, hurt, surprised, baffled and questioning of his or her judgment about the partner and the relationship they had — all at the same time. It is hurtful because it leaves questions unanswered, and puts the burden of closure on the ghosted party without any help from the ghoster. It’s an act of irresponsibility and cowardice, and possibly selfishness. And even if a lack of action or words are messages in themselves, I hold that human beings capable of direct communication should communicate directly when it comes to important matters as these. It doesn’t mean that one cannot move on or is irreparably hurt or damaged by being ghosted. But it’s an act of integrity and respect to end a relationship clearly and cleanly.

 

Cheating is having a relationship with someone else while still in a relationship with another, and hiding it from the first party. This breaks a moral code and there is no excuse for it. It is infidelity, disloyalty, deceit. It is unloving of the person cheating, and disrespectful towards the aggrieved party. It is always for the highest and best interest of everyone involved to break it off with one party before starting an intimate relationship with another.

 

A word for people who cheat, deceive and play around: though it’s easy to imagine how tempting it can get given today’s rather easy playing field, there is really a right and better way of treating women, and men for that matter, while sowing your wild oats. It’s called honesty and open communication.

 

As for “the other woman” or being the third party in an existing relationship, one can get into this situation knowingly or unwittingly. If it’s knowingly, one can justify it with various reasons, but it’s simply cheating. If unwittingly, or if the other party initially made one believe that he or she was available, the moment the deceived party finds out the truth and carries on despite the knowledge, then it simply becomes cheating.

 

The thing about being “the other woman” is it usually drives one to compete with the wife or girlfriend. It takes maturity and strength to realize and uphold that sisterhood and respect for other women should prevail. Even if the current partner is painted as a monster or somehow being in the wrong by the man involved, give her the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to sort out their differences and break up before entering the picture. It ultimately redounds to your good and spares you from any guilt of being the cause of another woman’s heartbreak and deception.

 

Relationships are not easy and there are a lot of gray areas one can find oneself in. Such is life, and one can learn so much from the twists and turns in one’s journey. In the end, it’s all about striving to form healthy relationships, and to choose well despite the confusions that can arise when emotions are involved. It’s about valuing oneself and treating other people right.

 

“Is he really worth it?,” a Supreme Court Justice has famously asked Bea and Julia recently. Here’s my message for the Beas and Julias out there: “Know your worth.” As for the Geralds in our midst: “Learn to cut clean and don’t cause unnecessary pain.”