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.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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