I'm gonna be really real with y'all. Back when I wrote the piece for the site entitled, "Women Cheat More Than We Think. What To Do If That's You.", I did a whole lot of "SMDH" as I read the comments on our socials. If there is one area where there seems to be a HUGE double standard, it's when it comes to cheating. Guys do it and, to oh so many women, instantly they are dogs who are totally undeserving of forgiveness. Oh, but let us do the same thing and suddenly it's all jokey jokes or worse—all sorts of justifications. If you truly believe that unfaithfulness is dead ass wrong, as folks say all of the time, "keep that same energy", regardless of which gender is doing it. For real, for real.
But that's not exactly what I want to get into today. As I was doing some of my usual perusing on Twitter, I saw a video that made me chuckle at first (lionesses ain't no joke) and then really pause and reflect. I'll let you check it out too:
Whew. Nature is something, ain't it? And yes, based on the caption, side chick/side guy relationships are complicated, intense and, if you're not super careful, they can even turn violent. And still, it's been reported that 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women have fessed up to having sex with someone other than their spouse over the course of their marriage; sometimes that "someone" is an individual that they've been with for years. Hmph. Some people even end up leaving their partner for their side chick/side guy. We've got more than enough celebrity examples of that (and I'll leave that right there).
And just why do so many people risk their relationship for their side person? Although I've never been the side chick of someone's husband, I have been involved with men while they had girlfriends. It's a dishonest act and that's not cool; not at all. But having the insight that I do from those past experiences, if you've ever wondered why you or someone in your world can't seem to let their side chick/side guy go, I want to share a few angles to look at. Again, not to justify but simply to explain. My ultimate objective being what? Well, once people know why they do the things that they do, sometimes that can make it so much easier to reroute and choose a much healthier and beneficial path. Well, that is, if they want to (hmm…).
Let's go with the obvious reason first. Yes, there are some people who got with, and continue to hold onto, their side person, purely out of greed—or, as a girlfriend of mine who once was in an affair with a married man said, "Because they can." The reality is, some people don't really get into relationships in order to do things like emotionally mature and spiritually grow. It's more about lust—oh, and ego. They like the idea of someone—or even multiple someones—only being with them…while they are with others. If this is you, please take heed of a quote, then a Scripture. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed." Proverbs 1:19(NKJV) says, "So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners."
If you combine both of these things together, what they are basically telling you is that greed is the kind of desire that can never be fully satisfied. It's kind of like chasing the dragon (doing heroin). They say that the first high is so totally off-the-chain that you find yourself spending the rest of your life chasing that same high; you typically don't get it back until you overdose. King Solomon warns that greed can take you out too. Be careful about having people on the side, simply because you can. Be even more cautious about having multiple ones, just because your desire tells you that you should. There are too many warnings out here that greed doesn't have a happy ending. Never say you weren't warned.
OK, selfishness. While this might seem identical to greed, it's actually not. To be selfish is to be self-consumed. Now, bookmark that as we go back to one of the few Tyler Perry films that I—how do I put this?—can comfortably vouch for. Which film is that? Why Did I Get Married? Remember how Mike (Richard T. Jones) was cheating on Sheila (Jill Scott) and his boys introduced the 80/20 rule to him? This rule states that, in most relationships, you're probably only going to get 80 percent of what you want (if that much). Meanwhile, during the testing times of the relationship, the 20 percent that you're not getting that someone else may be offering, looks really good. Selfish people? They want it all and yes, that is greedy. But the core issue is actually much bigger than that. You see, selfish people are horrible at relationships because mutuality and reciprocity mean very little to them. While greed is out here allowing desire to stack up their side folks, selfishness says, "I don't really care about doing what's required to make a relationship work or last. I simply care about having my needs met. If it takes more than one person to make that happen, so be it."
An author by the name of Stephen Kendrick once said, "Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves." Another author by the name of Maria Louise Ramé once said, "Intensely selfish people are always very decided as to what they wish. They do not waste their energies in considering the good of others." Author George Eliot once said, "Selfish—a judgment readily passed by those who have never tested their own power of sacrifice."
Whenever people talk to me about guys who have a side chick or girls who have a side guy and they say, "Why cheat? Why not just end your main relationship?", my usual answer is something along the lines of, "Because they're selfish. They don't want to let go of their '80 percent'; they simply want to find someone to get them as close to 100 percent as possible so that they are happy." If it's at the cost of hurting other people, their mentality is, "Well, ish happens." Unfortunately, they are too self-consumed to care about things like sin, the good of others and making sacrifices. That's why selfish folks really shouldn't be in relationships to begin with.
To me, this is an interesting one. The reason why I say that is because, even when I'm in marriage counseling sessions that have some of the most toxic dynamics, 8 times out of 10, the root is laziness. To be lazy is to be idle and sluggish. Yeah, that's pretty bad. But peep some synonyms for lazy—apathetic, careless, inattentive, indifferent and passive. Some people? They have a person—or people—on the side because they are simply too lazy to put in the time and effort that it takes to make a relationship last with one individual. The way they see it, if someone else is willing to come along and tend to their needs (perhaps the needs that aren't being met by their "main thang"), that ultimately results in them exerting less energy than actually doing things that all healthy relationships need—communication, investing and daily commitment. Not only that, but a lazy individual who's involved with side chick or guy is the perfect storm in the most counterproductive kind of way. Typically, side folks are mad eager to please. Lazy people know that and so they have no problem with their side person going above and beyond because, the more that side chick or guy strives to keep things going, the less the lazy person has to contribute.
Yeah, side folks are so ideal for lazy individuals. Problem is, at least for the side chick or guy, eventually laziness turns into atrophy. In other words, one day, side folks find themselves realizing that no longer are they doing most of the work; they are doing all of it. Meanwhile, ironically, the lazy person's main squeeze is probably in the same boat, sinking into nothingness too. SMDH.
I'll say this—seems to me that people with side folks aren't all that efficient. I mean, just think about it. Even if your main person is low-maintenance and your side chick or guy is too, some sort of "maintaining" of both relationships is still required. Whew. That seems like a lot of work. You know how there are articles out in cyberspace that explore topics like how much time each day we spend—or is it waste?—watching television, streaming channels or YouTube (six hours) or hanging out on social media (2 ½ hours)? Someone should do a study on how much time people waste being in side chick or guy relationships.
But that's not really what I wanted to tackle in this particular section; what I wanted to talk about is the fact that some folks can't seem to let their side person go because they are totally delusional. Believe you me, the tweet that hangs right over this copy happens more than a little bit. While the one who has a "main person" knows that they are cheating, they somehow find themselves utterly baffled when their side person isn't "faithful" either. Crazy, right?
Yet that's the thing about these types of relationships or situationships—they tend to be rooted in fantasy. You only see what you want to see. Since you're already living a lie, it's easier to keep stacking more untruths and false realities on top of it. Before long, if you do it long enough, you start to forget what the truth actually is. Then you start throwing parties for your side person, not even realizing that you were their side person too. #oops
If any of y'all are Sex & the City fans and you checked out the first movie installment, you might remember how Miranda played a direct role in Steve cheating on her. Before I get push back on this, shoot, even the Bible says that you give dark forces an "in" when you're married and you aren't intimate with your spouse (see I Corinthians 7:5 and also check out "What You Should Do If You Find Yourself In A Sexless Marriage"). Try and "rationalize" it all you want, but sex is a very important part of marriage and when it's lacking, one way or another, there are gonna be problems. Miranda admitted to herself that she put her work before her marriage. An affair was one of the consequences of that.
My point in bringing that up is this. It took Miranda a while to face up to the fact that, while Steve was a grown man who made a conscious decision to cheat, he had been begging for her attention and she had totally neglected his needs; not for a couple of weeks but for months on end. And while, in many ways, Miranda was my favorite character on the show, she was also extremely prideful. Pride doesn't fit well in a healthy relationship. And so, while a lot of people may love their prideful and/or arrogant and/or can't-be-told-anything-about-themselves partner, the reason why they get a side chick or guy is because they are scared to confront their main person about how they are feeling. When Steve did it to Miranda, all she did was bark at him. So, he "self-soothed" another way.
Only a person with their own pride issues will struggle with seeing that some people get and keep side people because they are in a main relationship with someone who won't humble themselves enough to see where they could stand to improve so that their relationship can be better. This is one of the reasons why a lot of relationship experts claim that affairs are more of a reflection of what is (or what isn't) happening in the relationship than whatever is happening…on the side. Look deep enough and, more times than not, there is some real truth to that.
A habit is about us doing something so much, for so long, that it becomes a common practice. And yes, I'll end the list of reasons why some people can't seem to let their side chick or guy go here. It's a hard reality to accept that some people end up getting cheated on because they decided to settle down (or at least attempt to do so) with someone who they once cheated with. And while some might see that as being karma for being willing to be the side chick or guy at one point, the bigger—and oftentimes overlooked—issue is that the person they are involved with has a habit of cheating. They have done it for so long and it is ingrained so much in their being that it would take some soul searching along with (probably) a season of abstinence and perhaps some therapy before they would be able stop. And, quite frankly, in order for any of that to happen, they would have to want to stop.
The reason why actual side chicks and side guys need to hear this is because, if you've never considered this before, you could be out here thinking that you are an exception when the actual reality is you are merely feeding an addiction. You are not "special"; you are a fix. The "junkie" is not staying with you out of loyalty; they are simply hooked on the high. The danger for you in that is, if/when they do sober up and see things for what they are, they will probably let you go and all you'll have to show for it is bitter feelings, perhaps exhausted resources and, definitely a lot of wasted time.
I won't lie to y'all—I know some side situationships that ended up turning into full-blown relationships. But the ones who have been open and honest with me about their story will share that it hasn't come without some harsh consequences, some real reality checks and some big challenges. Anyway, my main reason for writing this is because most of us are aware that we're in a high time side chick/side guy culture. While it is not black and white; it's got some gray areas. Still, the more we're able to uncover what those are, the more we can deal with them accordingly.
I will say this, though. If you are a side chick, the mere word "side" should make you feel some type of way. Side means you are pushed aside; that you are not a or the top priority. Don't romanticize that; see it for what it is. And, if you happen to have a side guy who you can't seem to let go of, spend some real time looking at the points made here. None of the reasons that I provided are healthy and things that have a bad foundation tend to have a rocky outcome. Side folks wouldn't exist if there wasn't some sort of allure or attraction, but bait is used to catch fish, not help them. Feel me? From the very bottom of my heart, please choose wisely.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Here's What You Should Know About 'Micro-Cheating'
Why Do Men Cheat? 7 Underestimated Reasons Married Men Have Affairs
5 Signs You're In An Emotional Affair And Don't Even Know It
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Sabrina Dhowre Elba Admits To Not Initially Knowing Who Idris Elba Was When They Met
Model and entrepreneur Sabrina Elba recently recalled the intimate moments surrounding the fateful day she first encountered her husband, Idris Elba.
The couple, who have been together since 2017, met at a jazz bar in Vancouver when Idris was working on his film Mountain Between Us. Years later, in April 2019, following a whirlwind romance, Sabrina and Idris would tie the knot in Morocco.
Since then, the pair's love story has become "couple goals" among many for various reasons. The list includes the numerous times Sabrina and Idris have showcased their love on social media. Another factor contributing to the duo's likability is that Sabrina and Idris have displayed over the years that being with the right partner can elevate one's career or passion in life.
Sabrina and Idris have collaborated professionally in several businesses, including their Coupledom podcast and skincare brand S'Able Labs. In a June interview on Jemele Hill's Unbothered podcast, the 34-year-old opened up about the events leading up to when she met Idris and how she initially didn't know who he was.
Sabrina Dhowre Elba on Meeting Idris Elba
Sabrina, who was living in Vancouver at the time, said that the same night Idris was in town, she went out to a jazz bar for an event called Slow Jam Sunday for a friend’s birthday.
Around that time, the model was getting over a breakup and claimed she wasn't interested in a relationship because of how badly her previous one ended. In a past interview, Idris revealed that he, too, just went through a breakup before meeting Sabrina.
"This is so funny. I [had] just gotten out of a really bad relationship, so I was not this person. I was like 'men are trash. They suck.' I'm literally ready to switch it on up or something because I was so over it," she said. "I come to this party with a night off at work that I prebooked because I was working literally every weekend. But it was my girlfriend's birthday party, so I was there kind of by chance."
Sabrina also revealed that, coincidently, the night she took off for her friend's birthday celebration was the same night Idris had the day off and was convinced by his stunt double to attend Slow Jam Sunday.
"Slow Jam Sundays is an amazing night in Vancouver. It's the one night I would probably go to, but you wouldn't see me out often because I was a weekend worker. I was working at restaurants and service industry, your weekends are taken up," she stated.
"Idris was filming this film in Vancouver and had one night off in Vancouver because most of it was filmed sort of up north in the mountains. His stunt double convinced him to go to Slow Jam Sundays. By chance, we were both there."
Further into the interview, Sabrina disclosed that her friend was interested in Idris at first and went to flirt with him. However, the Daddy's Little Girls star dismissed the friend's advances because Sabrina had caught his eye.
When Sabrina's friend informed her about what happened, she admitted that although she tried to put up a front for her friend's sake, the S'Able Labs CEO was happy because she thought he was also attractive. Following the discussion, Sabrina and her friend went to the section where Idris was, and the couple realized how much they had in common, from the music choices to their background.
"So I go over, and we have like one of those conversations that you just feel like you've known this person for ten years because we're singing the same songs. When a song comes on that I love, he's like, 'I love this song.' I'm like, 'what?' Like I just had this like cultural connection. He's African. I'm like,' Where are you from?'" she said.
Sabrina On Not Knowing Who Idris Was After Meeting Him
As the topic shifted to Idris' celebrity status, Sabrina explained that she didn't know who he was until after it was brought to her attention by a few people she met outside of the bar.
"When I went outside, I realized because there's a group of people there, they're like, 'Oh, you're talking to Idris Elba,'" she stated.
When asked about how well-known the actor was when they met, Sabrina shared that Idris was widely famous in America but not so much in Canada and that the one film she saw him in was the 2009 thriller Obsessed.
Sabrina would add that even after being told who Idris was, she couldn't recollect where she knew him from until her friends mentioned the movie.
"Well, so the film that I had seen was Obsessed... I feel Idris Elba now he gets recognized so much. In that moment, unless you were kind of in that zeitgeist, he was definitely a lot more popular in America," she said. "I don't think I would've known it even when they said that was him. I was trying to remember, like, my friends were like, 'yeah, he's from Obsessed.' We're like, 'Oh, yeah.'"
After figuring out who Idris was, Sabrina shared that when she re-entered the venue, she doubted a relationship would form between them given his occupation, the short timeline he would be there to shoot his movie, and the constant temptation that could flock around him due to his status. But despite Sabrina's uncertainty, they would exchange numbers before she left.
"So I went back inside, we started chatting some more, and he was like, 'Let me take your number.' I was like, 'Alright,' and then I left," she stated.
The model explained the reason why she left the event was that her friend, whose birthday she was celebrating, wanted to check out other spots. When the night was coming to an end, Sabrina hailed a taxi to go home when she received a phone call from Idris. The entrepreneur revealed that the Takers star stopped her from entering the cab and urged her to get in the car he was driving, and they spent the whole night talking until 8 a.m.
"I got in his car, and we spoke till like 8 a.m. easy. It was probably like 2 [a.m.] at that time. We just had the most intense, amazing conversation," she said. "It was the first time I ever connected with someone to the point where I was like, I went home the next day called my friends, I was like, 'I think I found my soulmate.'"
Sabrina revealed that from that fateful night, she and Idris became inseparable. The couple would be long-distance for a brief stint of their union until they acknowledged how difficult it was to maintain that type of relationship. Sabrina ultimately decided to move in with Idris although she was skeptical at first, she claimed it was one of the best decisions she's made because she found her "soulmate."
Sabrina Elba's First Night with Idris Elba Sounds Like a Romance MovieModel and philanthropist Sabrina Elba joins Jemele to discuss her marriage to actor Idris Elba, and their heartwarming, love at first sight origin story.SUBS...
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Feature image by Dave Benett/Getty Images for Space NK