“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway
Each month, I host an event where I bring men and women of all ages and sexual orientations together for healthy relationship-centered dialogue. I present questions to the audience that range from the importance of financial stability to bedroom woes in hopes of fostering a greater understanding. And do you know the subject that always comes up as the answer to several questions?
Everything goes back to cheating. If he doesn’t reply to your text right away he’s cheating. If she wants to know how much money you make she’s cheating. If he or she is breathing, they’re cheating.
People cheat, but not everyone or every issue, for that matter, is tied to infidelity. Many of us know this fact, but somehow find ourselves partaking in conversations that blame cheating for one’s romantic issues.
Why does cheating almost always manage to be the reason for every single relationship issue? I asked this question during my event and the responses were both predictable and disappointing:
It’s all that we know.
Because we’re all suffering from PTSD due to infidelity.
Well it’s because men cheat. F*** em.
LET ME TELL YOU WHY MEN CHEAT!
One woman flat out disregarded the question and went into a whole monologue about why men cheat, will always cheat, and what women can do to prevent men from cheating.
The responses to my question did not reveal ignorance, but pain. People can only speak from their place of experience, and for many of us, our reality is full of lies, manipulation, sabotage and well…cheating.
But everything is not a direct result of cheating.
We live in a world full of contradictions. We’re told to love freely and openly, but to “keep our guard up.” We’re told that the only way to be happy is to live life on your own terms, but are labeled as “different,” “odd” or “crazy” when we do. As a result, we attempt to predict the actions of others in hopes of not getting hurt. We learn to expect and depend on disappointment. And by doing so, we usually expect the worst in people.
Sometimes he sends a ton of text messages because he prefers to text instead of talk. Perhaps you haven’t met her family yet not because you’re the side piece, but because she has a history of bringing romantic interests around too soon. In order to find someone worthy of trusting, you must be a trustworthy person. What I mean by that is that we must first trust ourselves.
Whenever you make the conscious decision to develop a relationship with your intuition, you’re granting yourself permission to trust your judgment. You’re not allowing fear and past circumstances to dictate your present, and you’re able to judge each person on one factor alone: who they are as an individual.
The problem isn’t that people cheat; the problem is that many people think that everyone cheats. And as many times as I say this isn’t true, someone will cite the numerous examples of their brother, sister, cousin, mama, uncle and nephew cheating. They will constantly relive the moment they caught the love of their life cheating back in ’07. They will build a case so strong that no one can penetrate it, and use it to refuse to give love a chance. They will hurt themselves by not allowing someone worth loving to love them.
And they will continue to believe that this poisonous ideology is “protecting” them from harm.
At some point, we have to make the decision to allow love to win, and it begins with trust. I’m not telling you to just trust any-ole-body, but if a romantic interest has not given you a reason to doubt his or her validity, then don’t. Ask yourself, how well has thinking the worse of people actually served you?
Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for EBONY.com and JETMAG.com. Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of, "Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self."