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Ask Shan Tell'emJET Love

He Cheated. Is It My Fault?

Dear Shan Tell’em, 

My boyfriend of two-plus years ended up sleeping with someone else after a fight that we got into. He thought that I was cheating b/c of some texts & when I was asleep (after drinking) I said I love you Peter (his name isn’t Peter). Peter is a friend from college, we had a fling years ago, but I only keep him around if I need something like a job hook up or something. But if you saw our texts, it would look like there was something going on.When he confronted me about who Peter was, I told him that it was nothing. He asked me not to contact Peter anymore & I refused. That night, of course he was angry & slept with someone else. He feels like I’ve put him through a lot in the past & he’s forgiven me, this is true. But I feel like he slept with someone intentionally to hurt me & that’s what my problem is. I’ve done some pretty dumb s*** to him in the past b/c of internal issues that I’ve been working through & I even went the extra mile to go to counseling for myself & for our relationship as well. What makes me most upset is the fact that he thinks he was justified in sleeping with someone else. I guess the questions is, should I really be feeling like I am partly responsible for him cheating? Is this something I should be willing to work through?

Signed,

Lost in Love

Dear Lost in Love,

WHOA! Okay first of all, you two appear to have very “interesting” ways of dealing with anger and your issues as a whole in terms of your relationship. And they don’t seem to be (a) very effective or (b)  productive way to strengthen your union. Two years isn’t a life-long commitment, but it is enough time to invest in someone. Your partner’s way of handling a very sensitive, yet understandable situation speaks volumes in terms of how much he respects the relationship. To answer your question, NO it isn’t your fault that he cheated on you. NO it isn’t your fault that he slept with someone else and violated the terms of your agreement. With that being said, you’re not off the hook here either. Calling your man another man’s name, even without the “I love you” part will send anyone into an emotional frenzy. A drunk mind speaks a sober heart so perhaps there’s reason other than needing a job hook up for you keeping Peter around. Are you keeping him around because he gives you what your boyfriend doesn’t? Are you one of those “spare tire” people who believes that you should always have a second guy lined up just in case your star player doesn’t make the cut? That’s for you to discover. It sounds to me like the underlying issue in your relationship is trust (or lack thereof).

The fact that your boyfriend so easily slept with someone because he THOUGHT that you were being unfaithful shows a lack of maturity and spitefulness that is VERY unhealthy for a relationship. The fact that he was able to look at text messages between you and Peter that you describe as appearing to look “like there was something going on” is unacceptable. We all know the common phrase “you don’t hurt the one you love” isn’t true. We’re human and will hurt those closest to us THEEE MOST. The difference is that when you truly love someone, you do not INTENTIONALLY hurt them. Is he remorseful for what he did? The fact that he thinks he was justified doesn’t seem like it. How having sex with someone because you THINK your girlfriend might be cheating is beyond me.So here’s a bit of homework for you. I think you both need to really think about why you’re together and determine whether or not the relationship is worth continuing. Because relationships, successful relationships at least, only last if both parties are honest and vulnerable with one another. It should not be a power struggle. It should not be filled with spiteful behavior. There should not be ANY spare tires. Unless you two make the decision to fully commit to one another and commit to working through every single issue, problems like this will continue to fuel the cycle of pain.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

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Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at Amazon.com.