Here’s some trashy drama. My ex-partner with whom I have twin boys, has been secretly dating someone for a while. He refuses to tell me anything about her, so I’ve had to do my own research. Never mind that this secrecy and refusal to share goes against our legal agreement. What is most bothersome to me is that I don’t know who is helping raise my kids and, the introduction of a new female into a household—conventional or not—as directed by a male, tends to pit women against each other.

For example, when I told one of my best friends about the situation, she said, “Don’t worry. He’ll spend his life moving from one chubby hippie to another.”

I wanted to laugh—I may have even sent a laughing emoji—but the longer I sat with the comment, the worse it made me feel. Because when I really think about it, when I traverse the many breakups I’ve had, discussions of them often end in a Mean Girls sesh. This woman isn’t as good looking as you. That woman isn’t as smart as you. This woman doesn’t have her shit together.

I’ve noticed these rip fests tend to start with attacks on the other woman’s physical appearance. And now, thanks to the Internet, they move onto her professional accomplishments, but where they tend to really stick is in the physical. This is because from a young age, we are taught that if we are not pretty or thin, we have no worth. We live in a paternalistic society that has thrived off of pitting women against each other.

Fuck that shit. The mystery woman whose shadow and face appears in photos with my children isn’t the enemy. If anything, she may be a guardian angel for my children when I’m not there. She very well may protect my kids from the anger, alcoholism and pathological lying that is my ex’s personality. She may soften hard moments. She may offer gentle and kind when they need, but don’t know how to ask for it. She will teach my children things I will not. She will feel them when geographical restrictions mean I can’t. 

Ladies, can we stop doing exactly what we’ve been trained to do? Can we stop attacking each other when relationships change? It’s really hard. Acceptance and letting go are phenomenally difficult and rejection flat out sucks, but why is it the woman’s fault that life changes? Women are strong. We are beautiful. We are intelligent. When we move as a collective, when we let go of ego, we are unstoppable.

How can I be mad at someone who is willingly spending time with my kids? She isn’t the person who rarely visited me and boys while we were in the NICU for seven weeks. She isn’t the person who told me while I was going through cancer treatments, that if we broke up, a judge might look unfavorably upon the fact that I was being treated for cancer and take my kids from me. She isn’t the person who failed to show up for my double mastectomy. She isn’t the person who lied to my face time and time again. She is not the person who tells the world how wonderful she is on Facebook and then has nothing tangible to show for it.   

My guess would be that woman who you think you’re upset about didn’t hurt you either. The man and the situation with the man did. Not the woman.

So ladies, please let go. Please work together to build a collective sorcery that will always support the whole. Please. The way things currently are isn’t working for us, our children, or our friends. It’s working for men.