How to tell if you’re just the side-piece

side-piece cheating

By: Natasha Archary


Men are side-pieces too

Ask me what I think about dating in the age of hook-up apps and this culture of “no strings attached” sex and I’ll probably let out an audible, exasperated sigh before launching into an hour long tirade. Side-pieces and snacking, main squeezes and emotional detachment, it’s all too much for me to wrap my pretty little head around.


Does no one want the monogamous dating thing anymore? Or is having multiple sexual partners and open “relationships” the norm? Sexual liberation has changed the game for fragile hearts, it means exclusivity isn’t guaranteed. Not that it ever was to begin with.


Cheating has always been a “thing”. This thrill of having more than one body to call on when the need arises. That’s the thing about modern day “dating”, you meet someone either through a friend or dating app and are casually seeing each other. But you also have a “friends with benefits” arrangement who you holler at whenever. You don’t know if the person you’re casually seeing has the same arrangement but you should consider the possibility that they do.


Side piece

Always looking for content for my articles, I love observing people when I go out. It’s simple to note the couples who are confident in their relationships and have the exclusivity thing down and equally as notable to pin-point those who don’t.


Before I get to my sage-like notes, I have one question for you and your relationship that I’d like you to consider. How would you feel if they were to call an end to your “relationship” right now?


If the thought of losing them has #GotYouInYourFeelings then it’s more than a casual hook-up (well to you anyway), if you shrugged it off and have a “onto the next one” motto then the person you’re with is nothing more.


Side-piece sage advice

Sage-like advice

So how do you tell if you’re a side-piece or the main squeeze? Men and women can fit into either category by the way and the same rules apply.

  • You never go on dates

You’re always meeting at a hotel, a deserted parking lot or your place. There are no picnics at the park, restaurant bookings, movies or nights out on the town. There’s a reason you’re not getting any financial spend out of this one (other than the hotel booking), unless your arrangement is financially motivated to begin with, they’d rather spend their well-earned cash on someone else. Probably already are.

  •  Your time together is limited

Listen, we’re all busy but if you’re only seeing this person for a few hours, once or twice a week at any of the above places, you are the side-piece. Refer back to “decoding the dating excuses”  for more.

  • No public displays of affection

This one is a little more subjective, some people like PDA, some are not comfortable with it. On the off chance you do go to dinner or are in public together, you can tell a lot about your current situation based purely on their body language.

If they pull away if you try to hold their hand, play with their hair, touch their cheek, thigh or chin it’s a red flag. Couples who have nothing to hide, have nothing to hide. If they look extremely uncomfortable with you in public, always looking over their shoulder, seeming uneasy, you’re the side-piece. But seeing as you’re more likely to never be out in public anyway I’d only dissect this one when you are out together.

  • You only get a text when it’s “snack-time”

There are no morning texts or goodnight baby messages, no “I just called to hear your voice” calls. No, you only hear from the person when it’s a convenient time to meet you at “your spot”. The booty-call timeframe is anywhere between 22h00pm and 02h00am.

  • You don’t spend the night together

Couples who are dating each other exclusively have no reason to leave after booty-call time period has elapsed. If you don’t get an invitation to stay after sex, you’re the side-piece.

  • No social media evidence or pictures…EVER

There’s this express rule that they’re really private about their personal life. This means that they never want to take pictures with you and don’t want you to take any of them. Your requests to friend or follow them on Facebook or Instagram are not responded to. They obviously don’t want main squeeze to find out about you.

  • Emotionally disconnected

Because your time together is so limited, they cut you off when you try to get personal. You probably don’t even know each other’s surnames, where they work or live. Heck, other than their vehicle registration plates, there’s not much else you have. Then again, there’s Uber, so you may have nothing at all.

  • No introductions

You’ve not met any of their friends. Not a single one. Bare in mind that most people have that best friend who covers for them no matter what, so even if you’ve met the one it’s nothing to feel special over. If you’re out in public and you’re being introduced to someone they know, it’s always “This is my colleague/friend so and so.” Friend? You’ve been seeing each other for a year but still a friend? Yup, side-piece.

  • Your calls go unanswered and you’re left on read

You’re blue-ticked so much your Whatsapp looks like you’re well-organised. When you call outside the booty-call timeframe, your calls go unanswered. Your person is busy doing couply-things with main squeeze. If you’re not calling from a private number, your number is probably saved as someone else, but you’ll never know now will you?

  • No intimacy

You guys may go at it like bunnies when you’re together but there’s a difference between intimacy and sex. Intimacy can be as simple as eye contact when you talk. Granted, there’s not much talking between you two but if there’s no passionate kissing, touching, holding, snuggles and genuine care, you’re just a side-piece. Exploring each other intimately includes getting to know their body and mind.


It’s not scientific but if any of the points above hits home, you are just the side piece. There’s no sugar-coating this, if you are tired of being the side-piece then make a decision that is in your best interest.

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