Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are otherwise inclined to avoid celebrity gossip at all costs, I’m sure by now you’ve heard the uproar about Becky. Becky, Becky, Becky. In some ways our very own modern-day Marsha. Social sites are aglow with speculation and the centuries’ old meaning of this Becky character and who she represents in today’s society. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to stick with the basic relational conceptualization of Becky.
Never one to disappoint, Beyoncé stole the spotlight and commanded the attention of bloggers everywhere when she dropped her most recent album, Lemonade. Hidden in the lyrics of her breakup anthem “Sorry” Beyoncé references “Becky with the good hair”. Holding true to our incessant need for intimate information that doesn’t concern us, the internet lit up with rumors and Google searches of Jay Z cheating on the beautiful and talented Beyoncé. Gasps heard round the world because let’s face it – who on God’s green Earth would cheat on someone as fabulous as Beyoncé?
While I don’t know the ins and outs of their marriage and have no clue as to the validity of the whispers of betrayal, this scenario provides the perfect opportunity to examine some truths about relationships in general that can be gleaned from celebrity scandals. Please keep in mind this is an opinion piece. I’d call it ‘a millennial therapist’s interpretation of celebrity infidelity’. This Becky situation is merely the backdrop for a much larger conversation about an epidemic plaguing our nation, adultery.
The first and most obvious point to be made is that, when it comes to affairs, it’s typically not about looks. It’s not terribly uncommon to get married and soon thereafter whether by means of pregnancy or simply out of comfort let yourself go a tad bit. Nothing to feel guilty about, it’s just the nature of monogamy (though staying physically fit is a great way to stay sexually connected in your marriage). Many victims of infidelity question what role their physique played in their partner picking another lover. The truth is, even the Jennifer Anistons and Halle Berrys of the world suffer the heartbreak affairs bring. That statement alone should bring you solace and silence your inner critic.
The second takeaway from this story is that couples at all socioeconomic statuses are equally vulnerable to cheating. So if you were thinking that your financial struggles were the force driving your partner into the arms of another, I’d like you to challenge that position. The truth is, more money will not minimize the problems in your relationship. Now sure, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you can’t worry about much else until your basic needs are met. But poverty is not what I’m speaking of. I’m talking about situations in which you have enough money to cover living expenses but you’d like more for lifestyle improvements. To me, fortune and fame bring with it a level of scrutiny most of us would crumble under. Add to that pressure all the naturally existing conflicts you find in a marriage and I’d venture to guess that celebrities actually have it harder than us normal folk. Not to mention all the groupies pining after the attention of the star, ahem, Becky.
This brings me to my third point. Celebrities are by no means immune to the problems and pitfalls that plague the rest of us. Whether you’ve got star power or no power, you have needs. In order to enjoy a healthy relationship you must be willing to assess and communicate your needs to your partner. Likewise, you must be willing to listen and respond to the needs of your spouse. When this reciprocity is lacking, your relationship will be particularly vulnerable to outside influences, waiting in the wings to step into your place. It’s sad to say it, but many people would happily replace you in your marriage [cue Becky]. Healthy communication and conflict resolution strategies will safeguard your relationship in more ways than you can imagine.
I’m not sure what blew fans away more, Beyoncé alluding to the affair or her proclamation of forgiveness. In her emotionally raw ballad “Sandcastles” Beyoncé seemingly grants reconciliation despite the wrongdoings that have occurred. While many expressed shock and even outrage, the last truth I want to point out is that forgiveness should be given. Regardless of your decision to remain in the marriage, there’s no productive reason to hold tight to the reigns of resentment. Forgiveness is truly best for both of you. Now I’m not saying you should stay in a relationship in which your partner continuously cheats without remorse or regard for your wellbeing. What I am saying is this: we are all human and by design, very flawed. We will all make mistakes and hurt each other, particularly in close relationships. If we’re to live up to the unconditional love we describe in our wedding vows, then forgiveness will be the necessary and appropriate response to a repentant spouse. Rather than throw away a perfectly salvageable union, consider a marriage revolution or better yet, a private couple’s retreat.
So. To wrap it up in a pretty little bow for you, infidelity happens. It happens to the rich and famous. It happens to the beautiful and talented. It happens to the everyday average Joe. It hurts. It breaks your heart. It’s terrible. But, if you’re both willing to do the work, you can still come out on top together. If you’ve recently experienced infidelity and you’re ready to start the healing process, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Who knows, you may look back on this as the jolt you needed to wake you from your autopilot slumber and catapult you into the passionate, desired marriage you’ve always wanted. It can happen.