My friend and I were watching Selma last month and he said to me “See, they don’t make women like Coretta Scott King anymore. She stood by her husband when she knew he was being unfaithful. You present day women would leave your man in a heartbeat. You’re not built to last.” Yep, he actually said that BS. Really dude?
I had a WTH? look on my face as I tried to compose myself before responding. Believe it or not I can just respond and cut you with my words, but now that I’m 40 I’m trying to tame my tongue and think a full one minute before responding to foolishness.
But, I got myself together and said “Built to last? So, women should stand by a man who is unfaithful because we married him?” I almost choked on my water and then I couldn’t stop laughing because I realized that this man was serious.
I decided that my friend must be smoking some new and undetectable brand of crack for saying something so absolutely whack that I had to share it with all of you. I had to break down a few things to this man about what he thinks women should and shouldn’t put up with and dispel a few myths that he may be sharing among other men who may start believing this lie. Here are three of the myths that I came up with in response to his foolish belief.
Myth #1: Women Should Stand By an Unfaithful Partner
I’m saying partner instead of man because if you’re in a same sex relationship my advice would apply to you as well. You don’t have to stand by anyone who is being unfaithful to you. If YOU CHOOSE to stay in a relationship where you are being disrespected, it is your choice. But, not everyone is that strong. The thing about infidelity is that it cuts like a knife. I’ve been there. It hurts like hell. You want everyone in the situation to feel the same type of pain you have. No matter what, they don’t. Your pain is your pain. You own it. You have to nurture it. You have to heal from it.
I’m not suggesting you leave a marriage if they are unfaithful. This is a personal choice. However, there are a number of things that I would consider before staying in a marriage that was unfaithful: length of our marriage, the issues that we are having that made him seek someone outside of our marriage and can I truly forgive my partner. If I can’t forgive and not continuously bring it up then I need to leave the relationship. Your sanity will depend on it. But, there have been many couples who have stayed with an unfaithful partner and were able to fix their marriage. It’s your choice.
However, don’t think you weren’t built to last if you choose to leave. That is a myth. You just don’t want to continue being a relationship where your partner has broken your trust. It’s your choice.
Myth #2: Your Partner Expects You to Stay
This is a big myth. No one expects you to stay in a relationship where they’ve violated your trust unless they are smoking crack. If that is the case then you should definitely leave for their alleged drug use and not just because of their inability to stay faithful. Drug addiction is just as serious as infidelity. You make the choice to stay. No one can force you and if you want to work on your relationship, there is nothing wrong with that. Do what you want to do. But, a piece of advice….if your partner expects you to stay then there is a real problem. Either they will continue being unfaithful to you or they are a cold-hearted narcissist. Whatever it is you should run now. Trust me. Run!
Myth #3: You Are Not Built to Last
Yep, you are built to last. Whether you stay with an unfaithful partner or leave. You are fine. You are built to last. You’ve survived the pain of the betrayal and you will be okay. You don’t need medals advertising your pain. It’s okay to cry and go through it alone. You are a survivor. I believe that in Coretta’s case that she may have stayed not just because she loved her husband but in actuality for a self-serving purpose. Her husband was changing history. She knew this. His name would forever be emblazoned in history and hers too. She stayed because her purpose was his purpose. A shared purpose and therefore she prioritized. She chose to stay. Her choice. Individual choice. If you choose not to stay that doesn’t mean that you are less than someone else. You are still you.
Infidelity is a serious issue and I don’t want anyone to think that you have to stay in an unhealthy relationship with a cheater. If you forgive and stay that is your choice and no one is judging you for it. If you leave it is your choice as well but in either case understand that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and this pain that you’re in will heal and you will get better. I promise you.