Romance on the side

Do UDM students not date like they once did?

Freshman Joan Jefferson doesn’t really date or talk to anyone seriously. She’s focused on herself.

“Dating nowadays is so difficult,” she said. “Guys don’t really want to be in a relationship. They just want to have the perks without the title and I don’t have time for that.”

Jefferson said another reason she hasn’t gotten involved with anyone seriously recently is because of a previous relationship where she was cheated on.

“He was my first real boyfriend and I found out that he was texting or just messing with this other girl,” she said. “At first I wasn’t suspicious at all because they were childhood friends and everything.”

But eventually she realized what was happening.

When asked if she confronted the other girl, Jefferson said she did to an extent.

“I confronted him first and then I got to her and she tried to play stupid at first,” she recalled. “But I was just like, ‘Nah, you can have him.’ It just wasn’t worth it. She knew I was his girlfriend but she was OK with being the side-chick.”

What is a side-chick?

Senior Artona Millhouse explained.

“It’s basically just having someone on the side if you’re in a relationship,” she said.

And it’s not just girls.

“Yes, there are side-dudes because girls do it, too,” she said.

“Side-dudes?” you say.

Jeffrey Lane, a junior, explained how he became a side-dude.

“Well at first I was the main one – or at least I thought I was. Then somehow in the two years we were messing with each other I became the side,” he said.

How did he find out?

“She just started acting real different,” he said, “and when I would go on her Instagram I would see pics of her all up on this guy but her captions would be real slick, like ‘Chillin’ with the best friend.’ That junk used to hurt my feelings.”

However, it didn’t discourage Lane.

He continued to be her side-dude for another six months. Eventually he stopped the fling.

“I just didn’t feel like she valued me in the relationship or situation, whatever you want to call it,” he said.

Everybody young seems hip to the notion of side-chicks and side-dudes.

It tends to be more popular with young people and it appears to be becoming more acceptable in society.

Several UDM students approached for this article didn’t want to share their stories publicly but admitted to being the side-piece in a relationship.

Renesha Smoot bravely told her story.

“I was the side-chick,” said Smoot.

Smoot, a junior, has had her fair share of being the main girl and the side-chick in two different situations.

“Being the side-chick, I kind of know the side-chick motives and we’re not all hoes like people tend to think,” she said. “The majority of us don’t even know we’re the side one… We’ve been attached to this person for so long it doesn’t make sense in our head what we’re doing because we think we’re the only one.”

As a 17-year-old, she was dating a guy and “thinking we’re going to be in this relationship or whatever but he never asked me to be with him.”

Still, the guy acted as if they were a couple, though he never made it official.

“One day he told me he had a girlfriend. I was stuck at first because how is that even remotely possible,” she said. “I spent so much time with him. I was taking the bus to go see him, giving people gas money so I could be with him, buying him clothes, buying him food – everything a girlfriend is supposed to do.”

Smoot told him she was done with him. She stopped talking to him.

“It hurt so bad because this is a guy that I’m emotionally and physically attached to, so it’s hard for me to just up and leave,” she said. “And it never appeared to me that I would be in a situation like that for the simple fact that I don’t like cheaters.”

She ended up reaching out to him.

“We started talking again, but nothing serious, though – just mainly conversations about him and his girlfriend,” she recalled. “I knew it was wrong but I didn’t care because I felt like I had him first, because she just came out of nowhere.”

Eventually they broke up and he asked her to be his girlfriend.

It didn’t last long, only one week.

“He told me that he was back with her,” Smoot said. “I was like, wow. You know that really put things in perspective for me.”

She said she realized that she’d “never be his main girl no matter what or how much I do for him.”

Reflecting on the experience, Smoot said the guy deserves a lot of the blame in such cases.

“It’s not all her fault,” she said. “He knew what he was doing. He’s stepping out on his relationship and taking advantage of both women. There wouldn’t be a side-chick at all if guys were just loyal and faithful, you know. It all extends from the guy.”

Yet, Smoot doesn’t blame the apparent trend toward side-chicks/dudes for reducing the number of successful relationships.

“I don’t think it’s just because of that,” she said. “I feel there’s a lot of pressure put on our generation to be in a relationship. But if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then just don’t be in one… I just know from my experience being a side-chick that I don’t ever want to be in that situation again.”