Leave. That’s what most people say they’ll do if they found out their partner was cheating, but in reality we know that most folks work it out behind closed doors. Fortunately, reality television doesn’t allow for such discretion. Thanks to Bravo’s popular docu-series Newlyweds: The First Year (Wednesdays, 10pm ET), viewers got to see how people truly work out such intimate issues when star Adonis Gladney told Erica (his fiancée at the time) that he’d been unfaithful—and she stayed.
The couple married shortly after, but his admission created a breach they’ve both worked diligently to patch. Even sans the drama, marriage wouldn’t have been easy.
“We come from two different perspectives and backgrounds and we’re trying to make a life together. It was difficult to figure out the right way that you’re supposed to do things,” Adonis offers. “Even simple things, like what time you’re supposed to get up and go to bed, is a compromise. If one person isn’t happy, it impacts the whole relationship. Finding the middle ground is a work in progress.”
The duo, which remains together, shares that one invaluable skill has helped. “Communication plays such a big part,” Erica adds.
EBONY.com asked the couple to give some real tips on how to get over the “humping around” hump, from the perspectives of both the person who was unfaithful and the one who was cheated on. Here are a few gems:
Don’t bring it up. “That’s something I did at first, and it doesn’t help the relationship at all. You feel insecure and you don’t understand why this person cheated on you, so you’re thinking, ‘Did I do something wrong?’ You have a lot of self-blame, so you want to keep bringing it up to determine where things went wrong. And even when someone tells you, it’s hard to believe the response, so you feel compelled to keep asking.”
Do get support. “Whether you decide to see a therapist or have sit-down discussions with each, it’s important that you both come to a mutual understanding of what happened, why it occurred and what’s next.”
Don’t be afraid to trust again. “After infidelity happens, you don’t want to believe anything they have to say at all, and that’s bad for any relationship. You have to try your best to believe in the person again, and that it’s a mistake. For example, if he goes somewhere and says he’ll be back at a certain time, you have to have faith.”
Do be patient. “Once you’ve cheated, you’re on probation with your mate, so it’s important to be clear and transparent. Everyone sometimes tells small lies, even when they don’t mean to, so it was really about being mindful of everything I said and did.”
Don’t forget the small stuff. “Your partner is paying more attention to the little things, from who you’re with at lunch to how long you took to go to the store, so you have to be willing to call and give updates. It ensures they feel secure.”
Do be the best man. “It’s important to give your all in every area. Do what you say. Check in on her happiness. Listen to the things she complained about you not doing and step up. It’s part of rebuilding the trust and letting her know you are committed to showing up and that you do love and care about her.”
Newlyweds: The First Year airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on Bravo