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“Hello? May I speak to Barbara? Barbara, this is Shirley.” So begins a classic R&B song where one sista reaches out to another to have a woman-to-woman conversation about the man they are unwittingly sharing. Shirley found Barbara’s number in her man’s pockets and decided to call Barbara to break the news to her. But why?

As a nonmonogamous woman, I realize that my personal experience is not the same as that of a woman in a committed relationship. I get it. But even in the case that a monogamous woman is finding out that her man has someone on the side, why is the first instinct to go to the other woman?

I have a motto that I have stated and restated on Twitter multiple times: Don’t come to me as a woman about shit.

I mean that. Keep it to yourself or talk to your man about it. Don’t come to me, though, period.

You might not know who I am
But the reason I am calling you is because
I was going through my old man’s pockets this morning
And I just happened to find your name and number

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A woman once sent me a private message on a social network and told me that she found out that she and I were sharing the same wayward dick. I wasn’t surprised. The dude was laying some serious pipe, and it wasn’t a stretch to think that he was laying it in lots of different places. I didn’t care. I wasn’t committed to him, I wasn’t trying to be committed to him, and the only thing I cared about is that he kept our weekly sex appointment.

She, on the other hand, seemed very upset about it. They were not in a committed relationship, either, but she was dickmatized and hurt at the idea that she was not the only one he was laying up with.

So, woman to woman
I don’t think it’s being any more than fair
Than to call you and let you know
Where I’m coming from

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I told her that I didn’t think a conversation between the two of us was necessary or would be productive. She seemed perplexed that I wasn’t upset. I asked her what was she upset about. Was she upset with me?

She said she wasn’t. She said she just felt like I should know.

“How do you know that I didn’t already know?” I asked her.

“You knew he was with me, too?” she asked.

“No, but I never assumed I was the only one,” I said.

“And you are OK with that?” she asked, incredulous.

“Yeah,” I said. “I am.”

She was stunned into silence. I could tell she was trying to figure out what to say to me next, but there really wasn’t anything else to say.

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Now, Barbara, I don’t know how you’re gonna take this
But whether you be cool or come out of a bag on me
You see, it doesn’t really make any difference

“Listen,” I said. “You sound both hurt and confused. If there are boundaries between the two of you that he violated, you should speak with him. If you thought you were the only one and are only now coming into the knowledge that that’s not the case, you should speak with him. In fact, any questions you have about this should be directed at him and not me. I’m only your teammate in this situation. Tag me in when you get tired.”

And with that, I hung up. I never heard from her again, and he never mentioned her to me. I continued my sexual relationship with him until it dried up for other reasons. That’s the way the game works.

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Too often in these types of situations, women reach out to the wrong person—the other woman. You don’t know what the man has told her, what the circumstances are in their situation with each other or what she even feels for him.

What you do know, however, are the terms of your agreement with that man. Are you in what is supposed to be a monogamous relationship? Is it just a situationship that you have played up to be something more in your head? Are you simply dickmatized and upset that you are sharing his sex with another woman—or, in some cases, with many other women?

All of your questions, heart-to-heart conversations, complaints, concerns and rants need to be addressed to the possessor of the penis and not the people with whom he is sharing the penis.

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Only he can explain his actions to you. Only he knows why you aren’t the only one. Only he can tell you why he is making the choices he is making.

Questioning someone else about the man you are laying up with doesn’t make anyone else look stupid—you are the one with egg on your face.

Save yourself that embarrassment. Save yourself the frustration. Save yourself the indignity.

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Talk to your man; don’t talk to anyone else.

And, again, don’t come to me as a woman about shit.

That’s just some advice from me to you.

Woman to woman.