The Hit TV show “Scandal,” Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Have Nots,” and Gabrielle Union’s BET made-for-TV movie “Being Mary Jane,” all feature beautiful black women in adulterous relationships.
Coincidence? Nah, I don’t think so.
And as judgmental as people can be about infidelity, it is something everyone can relate to on some level. And if you look at the statistics…42 percent of black women will never be married. According to the author of he novel “Man Sharing,” by J. Darlene Hayes, there are 100 unmarried women to every 88 unmarried men, leaving 12 dangling women. That’s quite a visual! And unless you’re a real optimist, already married or not sweating being single, it’s a quite disturbing stat. She says for years, women have been man-sharing but have been keeping it under wraps.
The media kicked the door on infidelity wide open. “Being Mary Jane” was a ratings winner on BET and Twitter and Facebook went wild with commentary about Mary Jane’s niece wanting to become a porn star, masturbation and other TMI moments.
But in one of the most important scenes in “Being Mary Jane,” the main character confronts the wife of the man she’s sleeping with. In an effort to be transparent, the tables are turned when the wife’s reaction is surprisingly calm. She merely asked Mary Jane what she wanted her to do with that information.
It isn’t clear whether the wife knew her husband was cheating the whole time and was willing to ignore the situation or whether she was just learning the truth and decided whether to stay or leave the man she loved.
Whether you’re the woman who has ever cheated or the woman that’s ever been cheated on, you can relate to that one moment of honesty. As the other woman, you have to decide whether you can live with the fact that what you’re doing has impact on many more people than just the two of you. And if you’re the wife or the girlfriend of the cheater, you have to decide whether you will choose to give up everything you have built with a man you love or try to make it work while not ever being able to completely trust him again. These are decisions women and men make every day. And if you hadn’t ever thought about how you would handle such a situation, this would be a good time to figure out your game plan.
There are a lot of conversations these days about prenuptial agreements—and having a financial exit plan. But how many conversations do experienced married men and women have with other couples about dealing with one of the major reasons so many marriages end in the first place?
According to a recent article, there are lots of myths about cheating that need to be straightened out. Here are five of them:
1. Affairs are all about sex.
In reality, many affairs rise from one partner seeking an emotional connection to another person. Sometimes, that’s as far as the affair ever goes. Although the sense of emotional closeness often leads to physical intimacy, sex wasn’t the original intent when the connection began.
2. Affairs almost always spell the end of marriage.
More than 50 percent of marriages can survive infidelity. Although the relationship may break up from other issues in the future, many couples are surprised when they find that they can stay together after an affair.
3. Once a cheater, always a cheater.
While it is true that some individuals have repeated affairs, many affairs are a once and done thing. What happens after the affair can set a marriage on a course for stability or blow it out of the water. After ending the affair, the person who cheated must be completely honest for healing to take place.
4. Affairs happen because something is wrong with the marriage.
Here’s the truth: There’s something wrong with every marriage. Affairs may reflect that couples don’t know how to work together to improve the problems in their marriages. Just because you are having marital issues doesn’t justify infidelity.
5. If there’s no sex, there’s no affair.
Many affairs happen without any sex at all. Is it cheating to stay up half the night, secretly texting an old classmate about your most intimate thoughts? The person doing it may not see it as cheating, but you can be sure that his/her partner sees it this way! When you give an emotional part of yourself to someone who is a potential affair mate, it’s a form of infidelity.
In reality, infidelity is one of the worst kept secrets. Where would movies, television, fiction and non-fiction books, talk shows and music be without it? But when it comes to our personal lives we hide from it whether we’re the victims or the perpetrators.
Maybe by taking a more honest look at how we end up in unhealthy relationships, we can figure out other options that break the age-old cycle. And if we can’t break it, the least we can do is be prepared when it confronts us. They say the best defense is a good offense and nothing hurts worse than getting blindsided by someone you love and trust.
So here are a few things to consider:
• What are your mate’s real feelings about cheating and what are they based on?
• Is he or she from a family where infidelity was prevalent?
• What is your mate’s definition of cheating? This is a question Hillary may have wished she asked Bill.
• What is your history when it comes to trust. Did your dad cheat on your mom or vice versa?
• Were you ever taught that “all men cheat?”
• Have you ever used cheating as a well to sabotage a good relationship because you didn’t think you were worthy?
• If you have been cheated on, did you leave or stay and why?
Let me hear from you. Especially if you’re “Mary Jane.” No judgement!
Black Leading Women Playing the Side-Piece: Coincidence or Not? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com