A few housekeeping items… this is not a Master P “Ghetto D” how to, it is a 300 level course, a much deeper look into the consequences, experience, and processing of cheating behaviors inside what was built as a monogamous relationship. We often hear statistics on infidelity, how it affects relationships in a real esoteric and trivial way. But this is a perspective first hand … I’m about you give you something you can feel. I think it is a betrayal that is much more devastating and impactful than most of us give it credit. It is also an unconsented taking of liberty with someone’s body and emotions that we need to start treating as such. Snapped is a show for a reason.
So this is a deep share, but deeply relevant… so very recently, my long term relationship ended because of cheating… months long, intentionally and horribly deceptive, disruptive and chaotic, cheating. It was a heartbreak and setback that I was not expecting and did not see coming. It was a relationship I protected from any and all outside influence and individuals, and put a great deal of my time and energy into. I felt like that was reciprocated until I learned about his disturbing behavior, that included giving this other person access to me. But more about that shortly. Point is, it was a messy and very peace disruptive experience that left me feeling devalued by a person too damaged to choose to honor who honored him.
There are many studies and surveys, and generally 40% of Americans admit to cheating on a spouse or partner. There are many reasons expressed for cheating, but I don’t think any of those reasons ultimately matter. In fact, much of the nomenclature and messaging around cheating, in an of itself is problematic.
“Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he’d gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Fuck you.” -David Leviathan, The Lover’s Dictionary
It really is infidelity, and that is a much better word. The perpetrator much like an infidel, where the issue at hand is not religion, but not believing in the honesty and truthfulness of commitment.
Like most adults with integrity, I am (and was) very very clear about my standards and what it is I am committing to… I just don’t really have the time to engage in uncertainty. So, I make it very clear that if this is not a commitment to honoring honesty, faithfulness, security, kindness, support, and compassion then I am not interested. In other words, if you want to engage in fuckery, I am not your girl. I have no time for it, and I am vindictive and will probably try to ruin your life afterward. I don’t offer that as a positive trait, just an honest one, so you get a feel for the lay of the land here. I speak in clear terms. I am not interested in cheating, your friends or family invading the inner sanctum of our relationship, lies about anything, or being used. I am not running an inn for hobosexuals, any decision to cohabitate will be after careful planning, lots of communication, a clear and concise budget, and demonstration of a healthy, open, and honest relationship. I am not an ATM, do not ask me for money, period. If necessary parts of your body don’t work and you don’t already have a doctor involved who has given you therapy or pharmacology to fix that, come back when that has happened. I mean the basics. I don’t ask for much. I don’t have a laundry list, but I do have standards. I am like the bumper cars at the amusement park, you do have to be over a certain height, but it’s a pretty easy and fun ride if you meet the requirements. But folks just don’t want to do right.
“I know the way a nigga livin was whack
But you don’t get a nigga back like that!
Shit I’m a man with pride, you don’t do shit like that
You don’t just pick up and leave and leave me sick like that
You don’t throw away what we had, just like that
I was just fuckin them girls, I was gon’ get right back” –Song Cry,
That…. is that bullshit!
While so many people try to reduce the importance of the sexual part of infidelity, it is a salient feature. Even when people say, it meant nothing, the sacredness of intimacy means everything. Living outside of the bounds set without telling their partner, their sexual partner, is a betrayal that often leaves the other party unprotected from the outsider the infidel has invited into the relationship without mutual consent. You see, while it is important to remember that the issue is with the partner, and not the man or woman he or she was cheating with, if that man or woman was a willing side piece, their trash ass won’t hesitate to deliver you all the receipts, screenshots, and chaos they collected on their back. When that person has also been lied to, which is often the case, very often it is the unaware partner and not the infidel who receives the wrath of the third party. Sex is rarely void of emotion, so you add a lack of emotional maturity to a lack of integrity, very rarely will that not erupt into a mess. A mess the unsuspecting partner did not want or ask for, but has been attacked with.
Furthermore, when one is engaging sexually with someone other than their partner, they are taking away their partner’s ability to choose. If two people have agreed to have a monogamous relationship, the agreement is to have consenual sex with only one another. The minute either party wants to change that, if they are interested in having a willing partner, they should be offering them the option to participate or not. Perhaps they will… great. But if they don’t want to , they now have the floor to make whatever decision is best for them based on honesty. Otherwise, finding out your partner was sleeping with both you and another person, feels not only like a betrayal of emotion but a betrayal of body. An invasion of my sacred physical space with negative and dishonest energy. An invasion of my sacred emotional space with lies, betrayal, and another unwanted and uninvited person. An invasion of my mental space because I am left to process emotions that affect my thoughts about myself, my future, my worth, etc. It is so much more than cheating… it’s not looking at someone else’s paper during a test, or hiding a scrabble tile when your opponent isn’t looking, it is a deep betrayal that has harmful and negative physical, sexual, emotional, and mental manifestations that were not agreed to. Like David said above, Fuck you.
Infidelity causes a deep wound in the partner cheated upon, and often leads that person having to heal their heart and their mind from hurtful emotions and unhealthy thoughts. But hopefully they land on the fact that the choices other people make are their own. Every relationship has moments of downtime. Maybe you are both busy, or maybe just one of you. Perhaps work or school is taking up a lot of your time. Maybe you are having health concerns. Whatever the case, those moments are times that you and your partner should cleave to one another, and more importantly, if one of you is feeling in the myriad of ways that might lead one to even consider being unfaithful, it is an opportunity to have a difficult conversation that can strengthen your relationship. Integrity is a priceless human value, and even when it is hard, we should be interested in doing the right thing to honor our commitments. Our last intention should be to hurt someone we love and care about intentionally. But when folks are selfish, used to or even turned on by foolishness, and/or don’t value themselves… they won’t value and appreciate you.
Cheating is intentional, and it is wack AF. It involves the thoughts before the decision is made, every step toward that decision, the follow through, and then every lie one has to tell to try to keep their behavior away from their partner. Trust is like glass, if you just keep stepping on it, eventually it will break… maybe even the first time. No one, not even a spouse, should be expected to tolerate betrayal. Nobody wants to deal with someone’s inability to take responsibility for breaking trust. Nobody wants to deal with cycling emotions of apologies, shame, anger, irritation, and frustration from a cheater… are you even serious?!?! Nobody should have to wait for anyone else to be ready for commitment… if you show up for it, be ready for it. Otherwise stay away from intentional and purposeful people.
When we enter relationships and make agreements about how that relationship will be conducted, we owe it to our partner to honor that or if we change our mind, to inform then before we break our commitment. It really is not hard. It is always easier to do the right thing, always. Bullshit just breeds bullshit. I did nothing to deserve this bullshit. That I am clear about. My emotions are raw and my feelings are hurt, but I am also faithful that next time around, someone who is going to honor me completely will show his face. For right now, this ride is closed for construction. But all of you engaged in partnerships, marriages, whatever or however you construct your relationship, be intentional and purposeful and honor your partner. Don’t be a heaux, but if you must, be like Cody and only…
As for the unfaithful… you gotta live with the fact you did me wrong forever…