4:45 | The Aftermath
4:43– The Suspicion
“Something don’t feel right, especially coming up after midnight/ I smell your secrets and I’m not too perfect to ever feel this worthless/ How did it come down to this, going through your call list?/ I don’t wanna lose my pride but I’ma f*ck me up a b*tch” (2016 “Lemonade” – Beyoncé)
You think back to all of the advice that you gave your annoying friend about her sleezebag boyfriend Tyrone who got exposed for having sexual relations with his newly discovered side chick. You think about how harsh the DELIVERY of your advice was. You didn’t show her any sympathy as the words rolled right off your tongue, easily and without hesitation. “Girl just leave him already. You can do better,” you said in between huffing your breath and rolling your eyes. Remember? You said that’s what you would do. You would just leave and NEVER think twice about hearing a cheater out. Once a cheater, always a cheater. You didn’t take into consideration that it wasn’t that easy for her to pick up and leave a man that she brought into her family. This was the same man that had grown to be your friend’s best friend and confidante. He was the same man she had poured her trust, faith, and years of love into. They struggled together. They grew together. For all she knew, he was the one she’d marry but you dismissed all of their history and urged her to drop those feelings overnight. You were brick. You were stone wall cold. “Move on. There’s more fish in the sea sis.”
And just maybe you were right. Maybe she should move on but where was your compassion?
What’s it to you though? You have no worries. See YOUR man is not like Tyrone or any of those other bums. Nah, your man is a GOOD man. He’s the type to flaunt “us-ies” of you two on his social media sites for all of the world to drool over and praise as “couple goals”. He’s the type to take you home to momma and proclaim he’s found his Proverbs 31 woman. He’s the type to parade you around all of his friends just so you can have a sense of belonging not just in his life, but in the lives of those that mean the most to him. You give him all he needs: affection, support, encouragement, and plenty of good s…. Your hair and nails stay slayed, your body stays fit and tight, and your hygiene is never slacking. Why window shop when he owns this?
I guess that’s why it knocked you off of your feet, when YOUR man came home later than usual from work one night smelling like another woman. It threw you off when he started trying to quickly end phone calls instead of answering them in front of you like he used to. All of sudden he was taking his phone into the bathroom with him. It really confused you when he started to press the need for more alone time with the bros and less time with you.
Whether we openly admit it or not for fear of embarrassment, many of us have been there - - unexpected victims of cheating. One day your relationship is thriving and then the next day you notice your partner’s normal routine begin to shift. You can’t quite put your finger on it. You have no facts to support your belief. All you have is suspicion… and what’s worse than knowing something is going on is not really knowing at all.
Suspicion can turn you into a person you never thought you were capable of being. You may find yourself turning into a lead investigator, tracking everything from your partner’s text messages to their car mileage - - searching for an inkling of validation for your wondering thoughts.
Intuition or insecurity?
4:44 – The Confirmation
“Look, I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born / See through a woman’s eyes/ Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles.” … “Said: ‘Don’t embarrass me,’ instead of ‘Be mine’ / That was my proposal for us to go steady /That was your 21st birthday, you mature faster than me / I wasn’t ready, so I apologize / I’ve seen the innocence leave your eyes / I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns / ‘Cause I wasn’t present, your body wouldn’t accept it” (2017 “4:44” – Jay Z)
It’s ironic how all you want to do is sleep but your thoughts won’t even let you close your eyes for a night’s rest. You wake up the next day completely abandoning your usual regimen to get dressed up for the day. For what? Your motivation has all but vanished and all you want to do is lay in bed. Your appetite is down so much that one skipped meal turns into a whole day of no food. You operate robotically - - almost lifelessly - - at work. Though you try to keep business running per usual, a part of you is missing. The smile you put on may fool the world, but inside you are in shambles.
Life as you knew it has been replaced with anger, hurt, confusion, and a bit of self-blame. What did you do wrong? Better yet, what did you NOT do right enough?
You finally got it - - the confirmation. You finally know for a fact that your partner has been less than faithful.
Whether someone “came to you as a woman/man” or you found that message of validation in your partner’s phone, there’s no real win in the situation. The confirmation doesn’t make you feel any more or any less about the cheating. What joy is there in finally knowing that the person you made a commitment with has violated grounds of monogamy?
In actuality, you would’ve rather been wrong about your suspicions and found that you had done all of that crazy investigation for no darn reason.
The thing about a cheating partner is that very seldom does he/she admit the truth unless the evidence is stacked so high that there’s no way to make a lie out of it. But what happens after the offender finally DOES admit their guilt?
One thing you can almost always count on after the offender finally opens up about everything is countless apologies, repeated promises to never repeat the behavior again, and multiple professions of their undying love. The question is: Where do you go from here?
Is there really hope after infidelity?
4:45 – The Aftermath
“Ten times out of nine, I know you're lying / But nine times outta ten, I know you're trying.” (2016 “Lemonade” – Beyonce)
Coretta Scott King.
What do they all have in common?
All beautiful. All successful. All well-known. All ambitious… yet EVEN THEY were allegedly betrayed by their husbands. Vows before God didn’t protect them from being victims of infidelity. Being a fine woman sure didn’t mean a damn thing and being of high status didn’t shield them from being hurt like any other average woman.
While I’m sure that men are not the only ones that cheat, I focus mainly on women because society and the media often push the same narrative. From the highly popularized shows like VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop whose juiciest story lines almost always include some guy having an affair to the A-list celebrities who publicly cheat on their trophy wives, the story is repeated over and over: He cheats with a side chick… or two.
“One ain’t enough, I need two…” (“Shining” - Jay –Z)
She cries, but she ultimately forgives. She always forgives. Life goes on.
“What is it about you/That I can't erase baby..” (“Forgiveness” - Beyoncé)
Cheating has become so unconsciously normalized that I have personally heard some of my own girl friends talk about how a “nigga is just going to be a nigga” - - implying that all guys struggle with commitment in some way. Between the girl talk, the t.v. shows, and the celebrity affairs, I can admit that at one point in my life even my own opinions had become flawed and jaded. If women like THE BEYONCE could get cheated on, should I expect complete monogamy from your average Joe?
Is a man just going to be a man?
I’ve concluded that no, not every man cheats, but what happens when cheating DOES occur? If you forgive a man for cheating are you throwing away your dignity and self-worth? Or are there truly instances where life with your partner after infidelity is possible?
I’m going to keep it all the way real with you. Your girl Simply Mei is just a blogger with her own opinions that stem from my own personal experiences and/or what I’ve witnessed. I’m no Iyanla and this blog post may not be able to, “Fix Your Life”. But if you have found yourself at a crossroad with a cheating partner, like I once found myself at before, then I encourage you to take a few things into consideration when moving forward.
I can’t tell you to stay. I can’t tell you to leave. There are, however, some things you might want to think about in the aftermath:
1.What constitutes as cheating?
Did you and your partner outline what your boundaries were in your relationship? What one person might consider as cheating may be largely different from what the other person thinks. Whether it’s flirting online or physically having sex with someone, the bottom line is: CHEATING IS A VIOLATION OF WHAT IS EXPECTED DURING A RELATIONSHIP.
All too often, this is subject is a “gray area” for couples. We don’t really bring up what we consider cheating until after the fact when we are offended by some behavior. Laying out each other’s boundaries helps establish a strong foundation. If you never took the opportunity to do so and you are dealing with a “first time offender” who may just be super friendly, it might be worth having a talk before chucking the deuces.
2.Why did the cheating occur?
Before I get into this point, please know that I don’t condone victims blaming themselves for the cheating behaviors of their partners. It is often that attitude that makes victims blame themselves and keep them trapped in a toxic relationship. However, the may be a huge deciding factor for determining if you should leave or give someone another chance. Are you dealing with someone that loves attention and can’t control their immature impulses around the opposite sex? Or are you dealing with someone that doesn’t quite know how to communicate their wants and needs in a relationship? While one cheater isn’t better than the other, the chance for some kind change might be higher for someone who values their relationship but don’t fully know how to properly communicate - - as opposed to the person that could care less as long as their selfish needs are satisfied (and they don’t get caught).
Frequency is another important factor to be considered. Though one incident of infidelity is more than enough, if you find that your partner is has an ongoing pattern of this behavior then you may want to consider number 3.
3. Have you done a self-examination?
Yes. Cheating is wrong but if you are the victim, at some point you have to take a step back and evaluate yourself.
Questions like these may raise red flags about yourself that you may need to address. Many people don’t feel worthy of love. These individuals feel so insecure that they would rather settle for crumbs and pieces of “love” instead of getting the whole pie. As result you find many couples that are only together because of some unhealthy co-dependency attachment and fear of the unknown (new relationships). Others have dealt with cheating for so long or watched people like their mothers and fathers deal with infidelity that they think it is the norm - - and so they settle.
If you find yourself being the victim of infidelity more often than not, then it may be time to move on and choose YOURSELF.
4. How solid is your bond?
This is not always a decision factor but it is something to consider. In short, how committed and invested is this person to you. Does this person (usually) value your goals, your emotional well-being, include you in their future plans, and so forth? Or do you find this person merely lusting over you in a shallow manner?
If a bond is weak, the chances for temptation taking over again may be very high. However, if the bond is equally yoked and solid, there’s a chance that offender might truly be remorseful after realizing how much of a devastating impact was made. MAY being the key word.
A person that truly loves you will never want you to experience the cluster of emotions that follow infidelity. A person that truly made a mistake would never want to see that pain for a second time - - they would especially not want to be the cause of it.
5. Are you willing to forgive?
Last but not least, if you choose to continue life with someone that cheated, are you prepared to put in work? Yes, it is the duty of the offender to do everything in their power to restore faith and trust. However, as a victim you have to be willing to work towards receptiveness.
The thing to keep in mind is that forgiveness is more for the victim. It is reaching a state where your mind is not constantly replaying the day you found out. You finally gain enough mental freedom and capacity to focus your energy on other things like rebuilding trust.
Not everyone believes that infidelity can be forgiven and that’s okay. If that is you, then yes move on. The worst thing you could do is stay with someone that you know you will never forgive them. You’ll live a life of harboring feelings of resentment which could in turn do even more damage to you emotionally and physically.
The fact of the matter is, even if it's not infidelity, long lasting relationships come with a lot of forgiveness - - just ask your grandpa and grandma.
Wrapping Up with Simply Mei
No matter how prevalent cheating may appear to be in today’s society, it is never okay. Cheating creates a lot of emotional damage that is hard to repair. It can destroy intimacy. It can destroy families. Perhaps worst of all it can destroy trust - - which is the foundation of any relationship.
However, we are human. I’m not saying that all cheaters deserve a second chance but sometimes in our imperfections we are tempted to do things without the consideration of how it will affect others. Though we love someone, we sometimes mess up in whatever way that may be. Think about it. Many claim to love God, yet we still sin. Why?
It takes a mature person and one who is truly ready for a monogamous commitment to understand that love won’t always be rainbows and flowers every day. There will always be temptation out there waiting to catch you in your weakest moments. The difference between a cheater and a faithful person is not always the absence of curiosity. One of the two just know that there’s not enough curiosity in this world worth risking life as they know it with the person they love the most.
It’s 4:46: Will you...
But what do I know…
I’m just a blogger that writes down her opinions. Until next time with #SimplyMei…
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