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(The final installment in a series detailing a young woman’s path to coping with her boyfriend’s infidelity. Read part one here , part two here and part three here

After we’d been doing “better”, I was again pissed at _____ because I’d asked him if Sarah was Black and he said yes, she was mixed but very fair skinned. I knew she was not because she’d referred to her ethnic background in a comment at the meeting. He swore she told him otherwise, but she looked White and identified herself to me as White…she’s White! Even if she was claiming to have a Black great-great grand whatever the f*ck, he knew her ass was White and it just made me feel very odd. What a lame, stereotypical, cliched sort of thing to go through. Where’s Essence? This would be a great write up for your October 1994 issue. Put me in a sistah gurl novel with all my home-girls saying “Oh no he di-in’t!”

Except it’s not a novel and even though I’m writing it out (more about my own catharsis than providing titillation for readers, though I suppose I’m glad it’s entertaining to some of you), it’s not a story. It’s my life and it’s something I really never thought I’d have to go through. Don’t get me wrong; Sarah’s race is not the definitive offense here, not even close. Her being White is the sour icing on the rancid cake, but had she been a Black girl who looked exactly like me (as in a proxy to replace me in the absence of my affections), I would still be mad, sad and feeling bad.

The week or so following the Sarah revelation was marked by ups and downs; “I’m happy, I’ma let you live” and “I’m thinking about it again, so I’m gonna ruin your mood” took turns. We went to my college roommate’s wedding and I threw major shade when the DJ asked all the “happy couples” to come to the dance floor. I also skipped the bouquet toss, which for anyone who knows me is akin to a Kardashian bypassing a red carpet to walk through the back door. “I wonder what all my friends here would think if they know that you, the ‘good’ guy, cheated on me with a White woman,” I hissed through a clenched smile as we finished the champagne toast.

It was no way to be, no way to live and no way to treat someone. One of my best girlfriends gave me a good sit-down about it. “If you want this to work out, you can’t keep treating him like that. It’s okay to be hurt and you do need to talk about it. But saying nasty stuff and being sarcastic all the time isn’t go for either of you,” she chided. “If you want to break-up with him, that’s fine. But this isn’t going to work for either of you.”

She was right and after a bit of soul searching, I realized that I do want to stay together and thus, had to take on the difficult task of letting go of my nastiness and dealing with our problems in a more mature, productive way. And would you believe that our quality of life went up tremendously after I stopped using every available opportunity to bring up his infidelity? No more “I need to buy a ticket home for Christmas. Remember the song ‘White Christmas’? I’ll never be able to listen to it again now that you cheated on me with a White woman. I can’t even wear white anymore. I’m wearing black to my wedding…if I get married, because you know my ability to trust is gone forever now that I’ve been cheated on.”

Instead of cutting up, when I wanted to discuss what happened, I’d say “I have something else I need to ask you about what happened” or “I’m feeling kinda down right now, because I’m thinking about the situation.” And we talked about it like two adults. We also started reconnecting and having fun and communicating like we used to. And yes, I made him get tested and hell no, he was not allowed to so much as even think about getting intimate until I had the results in my hand. Even after he did get a clean bill of health, we took our time before hopping back in to bed and we got our true sense of intimacy back.

It would have been easy for me to go hookup with someone else just to say “We’re even!” But there is no ‘even’ when it comes to infidelity. He made the first strike, so a retaliatory blow would have hurt in a very different way. _____ hurt me because he was disloyal and selfish; had I then cheated myself, I would have hurt him for the sole purpose of hurting him, which may have been a death knell to our relationship. Prior to all this, I thought infidelity to be a deal-breaker (as many people who have never experienced it do). But looking at the entire situation, while I do NOT take blame for what happened, I see how the circumstances of our relationship made it very easy for him to make a big mistake. A big motherf*cking mistake for which he paid dearly and one that will take us time to get past.

We’ve been doing good for about a month now and each day is better and better. I’m in love, I’m happy and I feel we’ve proven our ability to weather a storm as a couple. What comes next, I can’t say for certain. Will he get another opportunity to cheat and be forgiven? That’s doubtful. If something happened five years down the line, that’s one thing, but if that happens in the near future, I’d know that this was no isolated incident and I’d have to get the hell on. But for now, we’re good. Judge away, but just know that it can happen to anyone.

 

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  • Michelle

    I just went through a similar situation. After a separation I chose to stay & try to work it out, but I fellt like I had to keep bringing it up so he wouldn’t think he got off easy. My best friend helped me realize that I had to stop my behavior. I learned how to talk about it like an adult & I was able to truly forgive. However, he only gets this one…if it happens again, I’m gone!

  • LBoogie

    Oh honey this whole thing is just sad and desperate. He cheated on you several times . He actively pursued the affections of another women and lied to your face. What is so great about this guy that you are willing rop risk your mental and physical health? Good men do not cheat or hurt their spouses. You two are not married or parenting together. Want more for yourself than sloppy seconds.

    I also notice that the only women agreeing with your choices are in similar situations. I was very much in love with a “good” guy who cheated on me. Unlike you, his infidelity was all I needed to walk away. Now, I am laying in bed looking at my gorgeous fiance sleep next to the puppy he bought me as a surprise. I met me fiance a few months after I broke up with Mr. Cheater. I shudder to think what life would be like if I had stayed.

    Drop this guy now before you get any further in emotional debt with him!

    Be blessed.

    • Nicole

      First voice of reason. Thanks

    • Candy

      I’m with you on this one. And once a man (or anyone) sleeps with someone else more than once, it is definitely not a mistake. And he lied more than once. Just…ugh.

    • justSayin..

      @Nicole

      I guess you overlooked my comments because I called the author on this SAME nonsense before LBoogie, who I do agree with.

    • Petit

      Definitely the first voice of reason.

    • au napptural

      Word. Of. Truth. This was foolishness. I don’t want to judge but AIN’T NO WAY. I would not ever in my whole life think of staying with someone who could treat me like that. And whoever said no matter what the circumstances were she never used them as a crutch was right. She didn’t cheat and if she had even once, let alone twice, he would’ve bounced without a word. Some of us are so thirsty. But like Jamilah said, drink Sprite. It isn’t worth it.

      He seems like another Mr. Big type, doling out doses of feel-good to keep her around. He moved in, met your parents, etc. etc. But he cheated with two different ppl with no hesitation and had a relationship going with one of them. And that’s what you know about! I’d go crazy thinking about whether or not he actually stopped seeing other girls when he said you were exclusive or who he has just waiting in the wings. What I see from what the author wrote is a consummate manipulator. He got caugfht on the one-nighter- he blames the woman. She pursued him KNOWING he had a gf. He said everything he knew his girl wanted to hear. Then he had some insurance just in case. He lied about Sarah, their relationship and her ethnicity, just because. He lied to Sarah too and who knows what he told the other woman from the bar. This seems just unbalanced to me. I know some ppl are thinking “oh, guys cheat, life.” But it’s deeper than that. This guy was juggling who knows how many lies , and at no point did the author say he seemed stressed or anxious and that’s how he was caught. He lied when confronted with evidence, over and over. Even now if she hadn’t called Sarah he ‘d still likely be lying about who she was to him. He’s a pro. He’s probably done it before and will likely do it again.

    • Word.

  • Arlette

    wow oh wow enjoyed reading the first three parts because it seemed like the auther had some kind of sense but obv not.
    ‘Will he get another opportunity to cheat and be forgiven? That’s doubtful.’ this part made me laugh cause you probably will forgive him. i don’t know about you guys but i deserve someone who would respect me enough to keep his peepee from someones vagina. i can never understand why anyone who is in a loving relationship would risk everything for a couple of minuites of fun.
    wow you sure are a joke but hey good luck.

  • BigBertha

    I’m sure he would have left you if YOU had cheated on him.
    He might have apologized, but there will always be doubt.
    Welp, good luck.

    • grandgryph

      i’d agree with this except it isn’t cheating, but getting caught cheating. things are arranged so that a woman can `step out’ and never have her man find out about it. and many, many do. men are much more likely to get caught. that being said, if a woman let’s herself get caught, she’s really sending a different kind of message than a man who gets caught. that is at least part of the reason…and that’s why this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GptmHWaoipg was hit.

  • Dionne

    Dear Author:

    I went through a similar situation with a live in boyfriend whom I financially depended on. He moved in to help me get an apartment because I was going through a period of unemployment. This situation gave him an unbelievably amount of control and power and he cheated on me twice. He probably did more, but I know about those two times. Because I felt powerless and felt I had no other options but him, I forgave him. But I never trusted him. I ended up becoming pregnant and he wanted to get married. My mom kept telling me I could raise the child on my own, but I did not want my son to grow up without a father. I married him and within six months of being married he left our house and me alone with a 5 month old baby one night and didn’t return until 9 am. He claimed he needed time to think, but I soon discovered he called an “alleged” female colleague at 6 am that morning. I didn’t have any proof he cheated or did anything wrong, so I forgave him. Then 1 year later, I did discover he was having an affair with this woman. He spent the night with her on Valentine’s Day. He claimed he was working. I filed for divorce. We reconciled again. Three years and another child later, I was in the exact same position, as I discovered he cheated on me again with a girl barely out of college at his night job. We are divorced now.

    Moral of the story. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Do not stay with this man. People who lie and cheat have a serious character flaw and I believe are morally corrupt. He will cheat on you again. Move on with your life. You have no obligation to stay with him. You are not married and you have no kids. It is not worth it. You don’t need him to financially assist you. If you can’t stay in your studio apartment without his assistance, move in with a girlfriend or get a roommate. Heck if push comes to shove, move back home. It is not worth it. I stayed with someone I should have left a long time ago because I felt so insecure about my life. I was depressed and feeling awful about the state of my life, i.e., being unemployed and in financial distress and I gave someone so much power over me. I don’t blame him. I blame myself. I should have left him the first time he cheated. Now I am a single parent of two kids and it is not easy. But I am more confident, successful, and financially independent. My kids are happy because I am happy. Don’t choose emotional stress and strife. Choose happiness.

    In peace,

    • au napptural

      Wow. You are so courageous. Thanks for sharing!