Last week, Alicia Keys, wife of Swizz Beatz, released the song “Blended Family (What We Do For Love).” And then Mashonda, ex-wife of Swizz Beatz, posted this on Instagram:
And then the world gasped. When the Internet was done clutching its collective pearls, it turned on Mashonda, calling her a weak woman with no backbone. Some suggested it was a “publicity stunt” and hoped that at least Mashonda was getting paid. Many acted as if it was impossible to believe that she could not just be civil—but actually supportive—of Keys, who began her relationship with Swizz as the Other Woman.
The point is not whether or not Mashonda is being mature or weak—she is a grown woman and her choices are hers to make, without public judgement. The point—and it is a sad, unfortunate one—is how hard it was for so many to think there was no way, no how she should forgive Keys.
Is that stance good sense or a good way to keep from moving on? Forgiveness is hard, but it is also essential.
And so…the do’s and don’ts of finding forgiveness with the Other Woman:
DO remember that she was not the one in a monogamous relationship with you—so even if she was your friend, she was not the one betraying the rules of your romantic partnership. Give yourself a designated period of time to hate her (but keep it short, as in, not a decade). In that time, call her every name you can think of to yourself, not on social media or her Facebook page, imagine every possible way you can punch her in the face and rage and cry as necessary. Then remind yourself as many times as possible that she did not break the rules, he did.
DON’T be a martyr and blame yourself for whatever went down between them. All relationships have problems and yours did before the cheating. However, if your partner was being a decent and responsible person, they would have ended the relationship if it was causing them misery—instead they cheated on you. Their fault, not yours.
DO know that holding onto resentment hurts you way more in the long run than it hurts them. The stress can lead to illness, grey hair, a long list of symptoms both serious and cosmetic. You will feel the weight of the anger until you let it go.
DON’T confuse forgiveness with being a doormat. This is not a woman you want to be besties with, but forgiveness is not her free pass to think she didn’t do anything wrong. Instead, you are giving yourself a free pass to get on with your life.
Maybe, in a world raised on reality TV, this all sounds too kumbaya. But before you declare that you would never forgive the woman who helped him creep, consider what you also retain with your anger: bitterness, heaviness and regret.
If that sounds good, hate her forever. But if you really want to find the bliss that comes with moving on, take a deep breath and decide she is not worth the pain of holding on.
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