By Kee Smith
Now, I’m a firm believer in not judging people for the choices they make in their intimate relationships. Those choices include staying after you’ve done everything and more to keep your partner happy, and they still cheat. I know firsthand that love can blind you in ways that you never thought possible. I don’t know this because I’ve stayed through the storm of healing after infidelity; I know this because I’ve been the other woman. Before you place judgment, which you’re entitled to, I ask that you visit my website at www.keenotepub.com and purchase my books so that you can have a little back story on that. I’ve written three fiction novels based on my story.
Anyway, prior to my relationship with my married boyfriend, you couldn’t have paid me to believe I would ever partake in anything close to the circus I was a part of. For starters, I’m too damn dope to be any man’s secret and too damn fine not to be shown off. But life happened, and things changed. Very, very quickly. When I love, I love unconditionally. I love the dark places that no one knows about just as much as I love the light that everyone can see. Sometimes it feels like it’s a gift just as much as it is a curse. I’m an incredible woman for all intents and purposes, and I believe that I’d make an excellent partner someday. But truth be told, I’m still not even sure if marriage is my happily ever after. I’ve never dreamt of being married with a white picket fence dream house, and honestly, the age of social media pulls me a bit further from even considering the option.
You see, social media has not only become a way of life; it has literally become the livelihood of some of your favorite couples. Even though we utilize our own personal accounts to post the things we want people to see, we forget that some of our faves are doing the exact same thing; except they’re probably earning somewhere near or upward of five thousand dollars per post, just for you to call them your couple goals. That means that even if their picture-perfect relationship is in shambles behind the scenes, a simple PayPal deposit says that a relationship needs to look like somebody’s vision board on the internet. It’s that simple. As long as the brand is strong and the bag is sturdy, your favorite couples will always be your favorite couple.
But what if your favorite couple got exposed on Chloe Bailey’s internet? Then what? Well, they hold hands, save face, let things blow over, and then get right back to the bag. When the brand is on the line, and the bag is at risk, your favorite couple will become one band, one sound. As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that their united front is the only time they’ve agreed on something in months. Hell, the hand holding on camera is possibly the most intimate they’ve been, too. At the end of the “we’ve already healed this wound, and now we’re stronger” tour, the internet has ripped a cheating man apart and probably shunned a wounded woman for staying. Somehow, it’s natural and even normal for us to do that, and it’s unfair. In most cases, we’ve even normalized a woman staying with her unfaithful husband just because there’s more money involved together than there is apart, and we chant, “get your money, sis!” as if money adds padding to the pain. Well, let me keep it all the way funky; sometimes it does.
Okay, so let’s get a couple of things out of the way.
- One, I think it is unfair for us to shun women for choosing to stay. Whether we know the woman or not, I believe that we should uplift her in prayer, positive vibes, good energy … whatever your thing is. If she’s choosing to stay, there’s something in her relationship that she either isn’t ready to let go of or hasn’t found the strength to do so. In either case, let us pray for her strength, whether that be the strength to heal her relationship or the strength to walk away.
- I would like to encourage every single woman to get her coin strongly. Honey, if that means you need to have a mad money bank account that you fill up with your man’s money, then so be it. But there’s nothing that makes me more sad than hearing a woman tell me that she can’t leave her partner because she can’t afford to do so. Get ya money up, sis, no matter how well taken care of you are.
Some people believe the notion that the apology needs to be just as loud as the disrespect was. I mean, I get it, and to each her own. Personally, I disagree with that as it pertains to intimate relationships. If my man cheats on me and I make the decision to stay, you better believe I’m not sitting on his camera and holding his hand to put up some message of solidarity. For me, I think that I would already be mortified as it is, so why would I add insult to injury? Besides, the way I see it, if I stay, then it means that he’s said or done the things I needed in order for me to stay. He doesn’t owe anybody an apology except me—the woman he said his vows to. Plus, you’ve already embarrassed our union as a lone star, so go ‘head and take the heat as a lone star, too. Just kidding. If my man cheats on me and I choose to stay, I’d prefer to heal and deal in silence. No public acknowledgment. No public apology. Nothing. Hell, if I ever find myself in another relationship with another public figure, I don’t even want my relationship to touch the internet. Especially if he’s for the streets and I’m taking him back. If that’s the case, let me run my lil’ circus in peace. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a secret, but I’d prefer to keep my relationship private. There’s a thin line between the two, I know. With that being said, I do understand that some women need that level of validation to heal through that storm, and that’s completely fine, too. I don’t care if you’re willing to admit it or not; we’ve all tolerated something from a partner that we swore up and down we wouldn’t ever deal with. Life comes at you fast, baby.
We watched a man who makes a living encouraging women to leave their cheating spouse get exposed for cheating. Imagine that. So set your own relationship goals. Create your boundaries and bottom lines and stand on them. For you. Not for social media. Not for your friends or your family. Do it for YOU because, at the end of the storm, you’re the person that has to live with your choice. (For the sake of this conversation, I’m leaving the kids out of it.)
Beyond that, even though the memes can be hilarious, let’s go easy on the wives and girlfriends who fall victim to infidelity. I can only imagine how much heartache they’re going through behind closed doors and how much time, energy, and effort will go into rebuilding their self-esteem after the smoke clears. Whether she chooses to leave or stay, just pray for her, build her up or shut up. If holding your man’s hand on camera isn’t your thing, then hey, tell God that it couldn’t be you, but you’d like to send a prayer up for your good sis.
I know what you’re thinking, “great message, wrong messenger,” and I’m okay with that as long as you received the message. You deserve your happy ending, Queen. Whatever that is.
Kee Smith is a contributing writer and is a homie, lover and friend and always “write” on time. Be sure to connect on IG @_ _ _lowkee