I write the Intimacy Intervention column for ESSENCE Magazine, the largest publication in the world for African American women. Sometimes other folks on TV or other publications ask for my relationship, communication and interpersonal relations advice on topics including cheating…
Hey Sacred Bombshell,
Last week the world shook when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announced that their 12 year relationship and marriage is over.
The internet exploded with memes of Jennifer Aniston gloating and the New York Post contacted me for my opinions on cheating.
You can find me in the New York Post story by Anna Davies in the Thursday, September 22 copy of the paper.
Hopefully, my thoughts on cheating, infidelity and redemption will be helpful to you.
Here’s my audio and the written transcript with my advice and answers is below.
Here’s what they asked me:
Q: Can you ever trust a cheater — what are your thoughts?
Abiola: Can you ever trust a cheater again is a tough question because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Still, I do believe in redemption and rehabilitation. Whether or not you can trust a cheater depends on why the cheater cheated in the first place.
Most cheaters cheat for one of 2 reasons. Either they are too cowardly to express relationship issues to the partner that might cause the status quo of the relationship to change or they are cheating because their insecurities and self-esteem challenges causes a need for excess outside attention. Sometimes it’s a combination of both issues.
If someone cheated when they were in their 20s and are now more secure in themselves and honest with their partners, then they are more trustworthy now. If someone has a pattern or looking outside the relationship whenever the going gets tough then no, they cannot be trusted.
When we enter into a relationship we are agreeing to accept them as they are right now. We are not banking on their potential. If you fall in love with a cheater in a cheating situation then it should come as no surprise that the cheater will cheat on you. No one is so magical and spectacular as to make a self-loathing narcissist believe in themselves enough to be honest and trustworthy. Any changes we make in our own personal evolution come from us alone.
Q: If you have been cheated on, how do you get over the mistrust and suspicion?
Abiola: In The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love (Winner, Best Self Help, 2014 African American Literary Awards), I share how my first husband was unfaithful before we got married. Then I married him and lo and behold he was still cheating. Captain Obvious would have seen it at the time, but I was blinded by love. I moved on from the relationship, but I can understand why some people might choose to try to make it work.
Therapy, coaching or counseling is a must if you are trying to save your relationship. Go to someone who specializes in infidelity.. If you do not get outside help then you are trying to fix a broken relationship with the same broken information and patterns that you each brought to the table to begin with.
It generally takes about 2 years to begin to trust someone again, but I advise women that the trust in a relationship is not only about trusting your partner. The trust in a healthy relationship is mainly about trusting yourself. You are trusting that no matter what happens, you are strong enough and capable enough to handle it.
Q: Do you think cheating is worse for the cheater or the cheated?
Abiola: Cheating is definitely worse for the person who was cheated on. If you’re not meticulous about maintaining your own happiness after being cheated on, the infidelity can negatively color the way you see the world. Everyone one can be a potential liar. Every connection may hold the seeds of a potential betrayal. That’s why I chose to move on but I don’t judge the choices of other women. You have to make the most self-loving choice for you and your family.