For the past week or so, unless you’ve been on the moon, you’ve at least heard snippets of Queen Bey’s Lemonade. Personally, having listen to the album in its entirety maybe about 700 times, I can’t help but think about the notion of cheating. I don’t mean trying to figure out if Jay Z actually messed around on Beyoncé, and with who. I mean I’ve been thinking about how a true love between two people can survive infidelity. And like many of you, I took the thoughts in my head and shared them with friends, in an effort to have a mini forum on cheating. While I’m not going to share everything my friends and I discussed, I will summarize in a few points about what stood out to me.
Who’s to Blame
First and foremost, in various conversations I’ve had with friends, ownership is quite the big deal. If a person cheats on you, should you be taking any ownership in the fact your man strayed? Well as expected, a few buddies of mine couldn’t see how a man sticking his member in someone else’s hole is anyone’s fault but his. And under a few circumstances I would agree. However, it may surprise many of you readers today to hear that at times I think the person being cheated on bears some responsibility for the failure in the relationship. Before you write me off, hear me out here.
Unless the boyfriend is a sex addict, is psychologically damaged and needs professional help to understand what a healthy in a relationship, or is just a complete jackass, I think the partner can stand to accept some blame for infidelity, even it’s 3%. While you definitely can’t make a grown adult do anything he doesn’t’ want to do, you can do things to push people in a headspace where he feels cheating is an option. For example, say a man is being a man and has his sexual desires, and you as a partner never make a little time out of the week to satisfy those desires. As a partner you are slacking a bit in your duties if sex is a part of the relationship you two established. A guy, and really a woman too in a lot of cases, will always have those desires, and if you aren’t meeting them, or at least trying, eyes begin to seek out someone who will. Now I’m not advocating anyone be posted up on a mattress 24/7 by any means, but sacrificing 15-20 minutes every now and then can do wonders for a couple.
In another example, what if you stopped communicating with your partner? You don’t talk with him as much as you used to, you don’t ask him what’s going on with him as a person, and you no longer lend that supporting ear. After a while, he may seek out someone who will listen to the things he once shared with you. And from there, things can snowball. So once more, while folks are grown and in control of their own actions, sometimes we as a mate unintentionally nudge them in the direction to be unfaithful when we aren’t attentive.
To make things perfectly clear, a grown man is responsible for his actions. Ultimately you can’t force someone to do something, nor can you stop someone from doing something. Thankfully we as humans have freewill. However, sometimes you have to ask what actions have you taken to sway someone to be unfaithful. And other times there is no need to ask yourself anything, because you just happened to be with a guy with a roaming penis. Point, blank, period!
What Kind of Cheating Could You Forgive?
Naturally while discussing cheating, I, along with friends, begin theorizing what acts of infidelity are forgivable offenses. Can you move past your man simply kissing someone else? Are you able to move past a haphazard one night stand? What about if your partner had multiple sexual encounters with several people? Or what if your man has been emotionally connected with someone else for months, but hasn’t whipped out his junior member?
If I’m to be honest, like Beyoncé, I promised myself I would never be one to tolerate cheating of any kind. If I were in a relationship and my partner screwed up, I’d be out the door faster than the Flash. But having been in real love, I can’t say it’s as cut and dry as that. Every romantic relationship will face problems. EVERY SINGLE ONE! Some will deal with issues of infidelity, others with problems of finances, a few with troublesome friends and family, and many will deal with a combination of things. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, real love doesn’t look like Disney’s happily ever after. If people aren’t perfect, no one should expect the love they share to be. I know I don’t.
With that said, I think cheating on a partner once (where no sex is involved) is forgivable. Now when sex is involved, things get tricky. I’d want to know whether protection was used. If he used protection, that means he at least took safety precautions. But that also means he had time to stop himself in the few seconds it took to unwrap a condom and put it on. And that would definitely bother me. Several long talks would have to be had for me to consider moving forward in the relationship.
Now if there is more than one incident of infidelity, then I’d probably inch closer to the “Permanently Ending Things” side of the spectrum. Love can cover over a lot of things, but multiple folks enjoying what I thought was exclusive to me is quite a bit to deal with. In fact scratch that, I think I’d just be done with the relationship.
And I haven’t even gotten to the “with who” part of this equation. For a partner to have messed around on me with a stranger I think would hurt more than if he would have taken up with someone he knew. Being involved with a random person tells me that you just wanted to be with anyone else but me. And again in that case, I’d at least have my bags packed and by the door. I’m more inclined to understand him being with someone he knew, because I could kind of get how sometimes with some people, lines between friendship and romance can get blurred. I said ‘kind of understand’ folks. LOL! But just don’t let him have cheated on me with someone I know, because that may cue me to pull out my own bat named Hot Sauce.
When Is Making Lemonade Even Worth It?
This is a question that really depends on the person. What I will say here is this, no one knows if a relationship is worth saving but the two people in it. You can ask your mama, daddy, and bff if you should make things worth with your cheating boo if you’d like, but ultimately the decision falls in your hands. But before taking back a boo that made a mistake of infidelity, it’s important to ask the tough questions, and get the honest answers. Why did he cheat? How many times did he cheat? Who did he cheat with? Did he feel bad about cheating? Where does he see you in his future? And why should you trust him again? The last question is important, because the hardest thing about getting over an issue of cheating, is rebuilding the lost trust.
Oh and while I ultimately think it’s up to a person to make the decision about whether to make “lemonade”, I don’t think anyone should waste their time with a habitual cheater. In that case, what has such a boyfriend done to show you things will be any different going forward? Also, staying with someone out of comfort and fear of being single, is not good either. That’s like not being willing to give up your $5.00 bill, despite the fact you know that if you give it up you’ll eventually get $100. You’d be settling for less, when you deserve and can have more.
On another note, there’s no need in trying to make “lemonade” of a situation when you are unable to truly forgive, and attempt to move past the transgression. It’s ridiculous to stay in a relationship where you are constantly angry with a partner and constantly punishing him for a mistake you can’t get over. Making “lemonade” requires your partner to own his sh$t, and you to accept his apologies and really let go of the resentment.
Lastly, if Beyonce’s latest album really is about her marriage, then good for her for weighing the options and realizing her heart and mind were willing to make Lemonade.