Five Facts about Fidelity and the Fear of Faithlessness

Okay, I get it. It’s 2010 and the world is telling you, my sisters, that you can’t get a man. Shoul...


Okay, I get it. It’s 2010 and the world is telling you, my sisters, that you can’t get a man. Should you get a man, he won’t put a ring on it. If he puts a ring on it, he will cheat. And if he’s not inclined to cheat, Alicia Keys will appear out of nowhere and entice him into cheating. Yes, I’m being sarcastic because it’s getting utterly ridiculous.
Infidelity is not new to the scene, cheating is not suddenly what’s hot in the streets (sorry, da skreetz). The technology to get caught and be put on blast is. SmartPhones, 24/7/365 new cycles, YouTube, Social Media, reality TV and a nation of folks who are dying to mind your business for you have tipped the scales. Not even 10 years ago, The Dream could have frolicked his jiggly self with women who are not Christina Milian and we never would have had to see those unfortunate photos. The Tiger Woods text/voice messages wouldn’t be burned into my memory. The freaky-sneaky is old school. The need to analyze it, pick it apart, blog about it and assign blame publicly all day every day – very twenty-first century.

Yesterday, I was also less than amused to read an article on Black Voices about a study showing that men who make less than their spouses are more inclined to cheat.
'Making less money than a female partner may threaten men's gender identity by calling into question the traditional notion of men as breadwinners,' said the study's author Christin Munsch, a sociology doctorate candidate at Cornell University. 'This relationship may be particularly strong for certain subgroups of the population that highly value traditional masculinity, like Latino men,' she added.
But wait, the study has more nuggets for us:
The study indicates ways to prevent one's partner cheating without giving up the well-paid day job.
Both sides being satisfied in a relationship is a sure-fire way to make infidelity disappear, and getting your partner to go to church or the mosque or temple regularly is another: the more regularly an individual attends a religious service, the less likely he or she is to cheat, the study says.
Looking for a partner in a university library, lab or lecture might also be an idea because, the study says, 'the more education one reports, the less likely he or she is to engage in infidelity.'
Someone call Ivana Trump, Elin Woods, Hilary Clinton, Mashonda and Juanita Jordan to see what their thoughts are on this one. That study sounds like lame excuse #321,534,879 of the Why Men Cheat Handbook. Enough already.

Let me break it down so it will forever be broke:
  1. People cheat for a multitude of reasons. Finance, education, sex life, work stressors… the contributing factors that lead to infidelity are infinite and sometime indefinable. If your spouse/significant other is going to cheat, your income or educational level really is not going to stop them. 
  2. Clinging to your significant other like Saran Wrap and playing Junior Super Sleuth in your spare time is no way to live. I was so crazy suspicious in one relationship that I had activated the GPS tracking and cloned this brother’s cell phone so I could keep track of every message and move. That’s exhausting and futile. If a brother is going to step out, he’s going to do it with or without you watching. If it ever gets that bad, do what I did – walk (or run) away.

  3. No one can “steal” your significant other. I wouldn’t advocate sticking them in situations that may lead to infidelity or testing them but your significant other has to make a deliberate decision in their mind (and other body parts) to take that action. No one makes that decision for them. On the flip, a person makes a conscientious decision not to cheat as well.

  4. There’s no surefire way to insure that your significant other won’t cheat. As a woman, you can stay fine, cook five course meals, walk around in five inch heels rocking Beyonce hair all day and giving up wild and crazy good-good all night – he still may cheat. You may rock a ponytail and the same yoga pants for months straight and he’s not going anywhere. All you can do is be the best version of you that there is and pick a man you love and trust as your mate who feels the same about you. You work on your relationship and step out on faith.

  5. In the words of Billie Holiday: Ain’t nobody’s business if they do. Say your man cheated, you don’t need to share that with everybody. You don’t need to justify staying and you don’t need to justify leaving. What goes on between you and yours (unless one or the both of you are celebrities and TMZ is camped in your rose bushes) can stay that way if you want it to.
And a final thought about the blame game. There are three points to the cheating triangle: A and B are in a relationship, C is extra. There are several schools of thought. One is that A and B took vows or made commitments to each other so the person that broke those vows is to blame. Another is that if A or B did something horrific or neglectful to the other, one was justified is cheating and the other is to blame. And then there is the ever popular trending of blaming C because they are the homewrecking interloper. Let me ask you this – at the end of the day… how much does it really matter who, what, where, when and why? Isn’t it more important to deal with the fall out and decide how to live moving forward?
I don’t say that to be flippant, I say that having been the A, the B and the C. It’s all ugly no matter where you look. Let’s take an Alicia Keys for example, sure she appears all radiantly happy now but do you think she doesn’t know that a man who cheats with you will cheat on you? Who’s to say four years from now, we won’t be reading her bitter ‘my man done left me with this child for a hotter woman’ tweets?
For the record, I always believe it’s the best policy to focus on what’s in front of you and that which you can actually change. Let’s leave the statistical breakdowns and blame game to people who get paid for that sort of useless rhetoric.
Michele Grant is a native Texan, sports fan and Mexican food enthusiast. A self-described Southern   chick with a thought (or two), a keyboard and a sense of humor - she is a writer, lover of all things purple and speaker of mind. Her first book, Heard it All Before, is in stores now. Her second book, Sweet Little Lies is due out in February 2011. You can find Michele blogging at www.blacknbougie.com, tweeting as @OneChele or via email at onechele@gmail.com.

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