There’s a reason why foreplay is so important. Aside from the fact that it helps people to get more into the mood, that type of sexual stimulation helps to activate a woman’s system so that she’s able to naturally produce vaginal lubrication. This is crucial to pleasurable and satisfying sex because, without “extra wetness,” penetration and the friction that comes along with it can be uncomfortable, if not outright painful.
The issue is that even if you are blessed with a partner who is a foreplay master, things like hormonal shifts, a poor diet, and even certain types of medications can make getting wet a bit of a challenge. Good thing there are certain foods that you can eat that come with nutrients and properties that can make natural lubrication easier for you. If you’re curious to know what some of those happen to be, I’ve got 10 foods (along with some recipes), four supplements, and a diet tip that will get — or keep — your vagina right where it should be in the bedroom. Let’s do this.
1. Sweet Potatoes
If you know you’re low on the nutrient intake tip and you wanna ramp things up immediately, treat yourself to a sweet potato. It’s loaded with fiber, the antioxidant beta-carotene, vitamins A, B, C, and E, and potassium, and it’s a solid source of protein (if you happen to be vegan or a vegetarian). Health-wise, sweet potatoes are good for you because they help to regulate your blood sugar levels as well as lower your cancer risks. Some medical professionals say that they support eye health and can keep inflammation down as well.
The reason why they make the “wetter va-jay-jay” list is that vitamin A is a nutrient that helps to increase vaginal lubrication, and reportedly just one sweet potato can give you a whopping 400 percent of the daily vitamin A that your system needs. So, when do you plan on eating one, sis?
Sweet Potato Recipe: Chili Cheese Sweet Potato Casserole
Coming in as the most convenient snack on this list is the apple. It’s small. It’s portable. And it’s really good for you. Not only is an apple another food that’s full of fiber, but it also contains vitamin C and antioxidants that help to fight off free radicals. Plus, if you’re wanting to keep heart disease and diabetes at bay while also doing something to keep your gut health in check, an apple is definitely what you’re looking for. Oh, and if you’re curious about which ones are healthier (green or red), reportedly, green ones have less calories, carbs, and sugar in them.
And yes, apples are great for vaginal lubrication, too. One study revealed that one a day can keep things flowing well, and since they’re also made up of 86 percent water — you’ve got every reason in the world to make sure there are plenty in your house.
Apple Recipe: Apple Cobbler
Something that I just can’t seem to get enough of these days is sauteed spinach. I think it’s because it’s so quick and easy to make — just a bit of olive oil, butter, a dash, and salt and pepper in a skillet for a couple of minutes, and you’re all set. It’s a bonus that spinach is such a superfood too. After all, it has fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, and folic acid in it. Not only that, but it’s got a load of plant compounds that do everything from protect your vision and heart to help with reducing your blood pressure and oxidative stress levels as well.
Spinach is an ally for your vagina and how well it lubricates due to the nitrates that are in it. They help to increase blood flow, including to your vaginal region — and the more that helps, the wetter things tend to be.
Spinach Recipe: Crustless Quiche
4. Peanut Butter
If you want to get some zinc, magnesium, vitamin B, and definitely some protein into your system, treat yourself to a teaspoon (or tablespoon) of peanut butter. The combination will help you with your workout regimen (especially if you want to build some muscle), manage your blood sugar levels, and it can even help you to maintain your weight (when consumed in moderation, do keep in mind that it’s got some fat up in it).
What makes peanut butter so helpful when it comes to your vagina is vitamin E has had a longstanding reputation for being an all-natural lubrication alternative, especially for women who are going through menopause. And since it’s a nutrient that works so well at moisturizing from the outside in, it would make sense that it would also be beneficial from the inside out, too, wouldn’t you say?
I’m such a fan that I shouted Vitamin E out in the article, “Here Are 12 Of The Supplements That Your Vagina Totally Needs.”
Peanut Butter Recipe: Homemade Peanut Butter (With Variations)
Back when I penned the article, “Who Knew? 15 Foods You've Been Eating (Or Preparing) The "Wrong" Way.” for the site, one of the foods that I mentioned was kiwi. Basically, if you want to get the most out of it, you need to keep the skin on. If you do, you’ll be doing your body a world of good because kiwi boosts your collagen levels, contains magnesium (which makes your periods easier to handle), has depression-fighting properties, fiber, and vitamin C, and can help to lower your risk of having a stroke.
What will it do for your vagina exactly? Aside from the fact that the vitamin C in it can help to inhibit the bacteria that lead to vaginitis. Since kiwi is made up of 90 percent water, it’s a delicious way to avoid dehydration — from head to vagina to toe.
Kiwi Recipe: Kiwi Avocado Salsa Verde
6. Cucumber Juice
It’s weird, but even though they don’t really taste like much of anything (cucumbers are made up of somewhere around 96 percent water which is probably why), I like snacking on cucumbers (especially with a bit of lime juice and some white pepper and salt). If you do as well, pat yourself on the back because they have protein, fiber, a ton of vitamin K, antioxidants, and other nutrients in them. And again, since there is so much water in cucumbers, you’re going to get a ton of hydration from such a low-calorie FRUIT (yep, you heard me right; cucumber is a fruit!).
Vaginally, when it comes to cucumbers, although you should ABSOLUTELY AVOID that “vaginal facial” mess that was all the rage several years back (you can read more about that here), some studies link vitamin K deficiency to a drop in estrogen. When that happens, it can definitely take a toll on vaginal lubrication, which is why munching on a cucumber or drinking a tall glass of fresh cucumber juice could be one of the best things to do as far as genital juiciness is concerned.
Cucumber Juice Recipe: Cucumber Juice
I don’t know about y’all, but one of my favorite fruits of all time is the mango. Aside from the “stringiness,” the taste and texture are top-tier. Health-wise, the American Heart Association praises mango as being a “superhero of fruit” — and with good reason. Mangoes contain fiber, lots of vitamin C, protein, copper, folate, and lots of other nutrients. As far as health benefits go, it’s a fruit that is low in calories, fights diabetes, and is full of plant compounds that will keep free radicals from attacking your system while boosting your immunity at the same time.
Since there is also some vitamin A and E in this particular fruit, mango is another food that helps with vaginal dryness, especially since both nutrients are beneficial when it comes to treating vaginal atrophy (which can hinder natural lubrication).
Mango Recipe: Mango Kulfi
8. Fortified Orange Juice
I actually find it interesting that just like the diamond ring started as a campaign for when De Beers was going broke (true story), the reason why orange juice is so much of a staple for breakfast is due to a similar reason. Apparently, a company by the name of Lord & Thomas used an ad back in the early 1900s to convince people that drinking OJ in the morning was a healthy way to start the day. Clearly, it worked because folks continue to rely on a glass of orange juice to give them a blood sugar rush (when they are low on energy), to strengthen their immunity (thanks to all of the vitamin C and antioxidants that it contains) and to get a good amount of vitamin D and calcium into their system.
Your vagina? The bottom line here is antioxidants, and organic acids help to keep bacteria out — the healthier your vaginal region is, the easier it is for lubrication to stay good and consistent. And why is it best that the juice be fortified? At the end of the day, that just means that it has extra nutrients in it, so try and look for orange juice that is fortified with vitamin D (it should say so on the label). Since we, as Black women, tend to be more deficient in that nutrient than other ethnicities, it’s a wise move all the way around.
Orange Juice Recipe(s): 25 Best Recipes with Orange Juice to Try Today
I don’t think it’s happenstance at all that right around the time that I’m about to (le sigh) PMS, I crave an omelet — or three. The high amounts of protein, B vitamins, and selenium (which help to keep female hormones in balance) all work with other nutrients in eggs to make them a world-class superfood. Eggs help to maintain eye health, lower your risk of heart disease and keep your cholesterol in a healthy state.
And yes, eggs are good for your vagina, especially as far as producing lubrication is concerned. Aside from selenium, which strives to make sure that an imbalance of hormones doesn’t “dry you out,” the B vitamins will boost your immune system as well as keep your nervous system from affecting how everything flows down below.
Eggs Recipe: Quick and Cheesy Omelet Roll-Up
Dehydroepiandrosterone's nickname is DHEA. To make a long story short, it’s a natural hormone that your adrenal gland produces. You need it because it helps to produce sex hormones like androgen and estrogen. If you take it in supplement form, it can help with things like obesity and depression, which is already pretty awesome; however, it makes this list because DHEA can also balance out your hormone levels so that vaginal atrophy (and erectile dysfunction in men) is less of an issue. And again, since dryness is typically a symptom of vaginal atrophy…well…there ya go.
11. Evening Primrose Oil
Something that I am always and forever gonna sing the high praises of is evening primrose oil (check out “The 7 Supplements That TOTALLY Changed My Life”). Since taking it, it’s made PMS-related symptoms, random breakouts, and period-related breast discomfort so much less of an issue. Something else that’s cool about this particular supplement is there are studies to support that taking it on a regular basis can actually make it easier to get aroused and have orgasms — and since vaginal lubrication comes with being sexually stimulated…you definitely can’t miss by adding this oil into your diet. TRUST ME.
12. Black Cohosh
If there is an herbal supplement that has a huge reputation for being beneficial in the realm of women’s health, black cohosh would be the one. Due to the fact that it also helps with balancing hormones, many sing its praises when it comes to treating menopause, helping with fertility issues, regulating menstrual cycles, and even decreasing the size of uterine fibroids (pretty impressive, right?).
And since it is respected as an all-natural alternative to menopause, if you’re going through that stage of life, black cohosh very well could make vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort altogether less of an issue that you will have to deal with.
13. Hyaluronic Acid
How many times have you seen a skincare commercial that brought up hyaluronic acid? Believe it or not, it’s actually a substance that your system naturally produces — and here’s the thing: its main purpose is to keep your tissues nice and moist. So, you can already see why it’s featured in this article because whether you want supple skin, lubricated joints, or a wetter vagina, hyaluronic acid can make it happen for you. And although it has relatively no side effects, the main heads up on this one is if you’ve had cancer before or you currently do run it by your doctor. There are some studies that indicate that it can play a role in speeding up the growth of cancer cells if you’re not careful.
14. Less White Stuff
White ain’t right. What I mean by that is carbs that have been overprocessed, like white flour, white rice, white pasta, and white bread, play a significant role in why obesity continues to be a very real issue and health risk in our country. A part of the reason is not only do those kinds of foods leave us NOT feeling full, but they also spike blood sugar levels. As far as your sex life goes, white foods can suppress your hormones which makes having a high libido (that can keep you wet) more challenging and your partner keeping a full erection more difficult as well.
15. Infused Water
It’s somewhat of a disturbing reality that 75 percent of Americans are not only dehydrated but severely dehydrated — especially when you take into account that 60 percent of our bodies are made up of water. That’s why there was absolutely no way that I could pen a piece like this and not shout out the absolute importance (and relevance) of drinking plenty of water on a daily basis.
If you happen to be like me and find water to, as I say it, be like drinking “wet air” (BORING), make some infused water. The fruit and/or veggies that you put into it will not only add some flavor to liven things up, but you’ll also gain some extra nutrients from them too. That way, your system will be hydrated, and your vagina will be well lubricated. Drink up!
Infused Water Recipe(s): 23 Infused Water Ideas That Will Make You Forget About Soda
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Featured image by Chris Stein/Getty Images
- 8 Teas That Are Really Good For Your Vaginal Health ›
- 10 Ways To Have An "Extra Sweet" Vagina ›
- The Foods Your Vagina's Been Craving ›
- Here's How To Increase Vaginal Lubrication. Naturally. ›
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Y’all, I don’t know if now just happens to be a heavy season for this or perhaps it’s just me, but whether it’s been on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or “X” (which we all know is still Twitter…LOL), have you noticed that a lot of people have been talking about the pain of going through a friendship break-up? I’ll be the first to raise my hand in this class and say that some of the ones that I’ve personally experienced over the course of my lifetime damn near took my breath away; especially when it comes to the unexpected levels of grief that oftentimes typically follow (check out “How To Heal From A Broken Friendship”).
When I write my next book (that’s currently slated for release in June of 2024; just in time for a big milestone), I’m going to share some of the things that personally caused me to go through the ending of some friendships. For now, I’m going to share a big one: friendship infidelity.
Yeah, I know — oftentimes, whenever the word “infidelity” is used, the main (if not only) thing that comes up in people’s minds is someone cheating on their partner. However, if you’ve read my content for a while now, you already know that an “occupational hazard” of mine is the fact that, as a writer, I’m pretty word-literal. Therefore, when it comes to infidelity, I’m aware that it’s got more than one meaning. And when it comes to friendship (or so-called friendships — check out “Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?” and “7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One”), yes, there is a definition that totally applies. Let’s discuss.
What Does Infidelity Literally Mean?Giphy
In order for this to “scratch any itch” that you might have about this particular topic, let’s get into the definition of infidelity that I was referring to. While yes, the most popular one is “marital disloyalty; adultery” (one day, we’ll have to talk about how the Bible doesn’t define adultery in the way that folks think it does (check out Matthew 19 sometime), another definition is “unfaithfulness; disloyalty.” While we’re at it, let me share a few synonyms for the word too: betrayal, falseness, inconstancy (bookmark that), deceit, double-dealing, fraud, breach of trust, violation, dishonesty, and false-heartedness.
Okay, so now do you see how it is totally appropriate to use the word “infidelity” in the realm of friendship if someone has been unfaithful or disloyal to you in any of these ways (that inconstancy one is a mutha!)? Do you also get that there is a huge possibility that, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself, there are times when you’ve committed some form of infidelity when it comes to one or more of the friends in your life?
Because be real — have you never breached their trust? Have you always been consistent? To violate is to treat someone or something with disrespect. Have you never done that before? Only your ego would tell you that you’ve been a perfect friend — and the ego lies.
That said and with the meanings of a different kind of infidelity established, let’s now talk about how to approach this type of experience…because it ain’t easy.
When It Comes to Faithfulness in Your Friendships, What Should Your Expectations Be?Giphy
As far as having my own accounts, I don’t do social media (still trying to decide if I will, a little bit, around my book release) — and it has been peace, wonderful peace, to live that way. This means that it’s pretty rare that I’ll read comments via any of the platforms I write for (also peaceful). Oh, but a few years ago, when I penned “Why I Prefer My Friends To NOT Be Friends With Each Other,” I did tiptoe out a bit, and boy, some folks were disgruntled with me, chile. I was called petty, problematic, and a host of other stuff.
Uh-huh first, I don’t get how you can be mad at me about what works for me and my life (being controlling manifests in all sorts of cryptic ways) and secondly, time and experience have taught me that it’s a boundary that has served me extremely well. One of the reasons is that, since friendship infidelity is a very real thing, my lines not crossing helps to keep people from betraying my confidence or double-dealing in a way that may not even be intentional.
An example? Say that I have two friends and I tell one of them something in confidence. Then she tells the other friend, assuming that I already had because she thought that the other friend and I had similar discussions. This would be a non-issue if I hadn’t brought them together in the first place.
Another example is, one of my closest friends has some people who I like a lot who live in Nashville (my friend doesn’t). Sometimes, when she comes into town, we’ll all hang out. I don’t do it outside of that, though, because there are things that she shares with me about them on occasion (from a getting a different perspective to make certain decisions angle; especially since I’m a life coach) that I don’t want to make her or them feel awkward about (even if it’s just due to somewhat of a shift in my energy). Plus, everyone just needs to have their own people. This ain’t high school; everyone doesn’t have to be in the same cliques.
If one of my friends wants to vent about me…I don’t care if/when they are talking to someone who I don’t even know…because I’m not friends with that person… because I don’t expect anything from a complete stranger. So again, this type of boundary has served me extremely well over the years — and my friends agree. It has made “faithfulness” so much easier for all parties involved because again, lines don’t cross and things don’t get messy.
Okay. I’ll give you one more example that has to do with one of my male friends and his personal friendship-related preference. Due to his high-profile profession, he doesn’t like to be discussed at all, not even casually (really). He doesn’t want me to bring his name up and, when someone else does, he prefers that I keep the conversation down to an absolute minimum, no matter what the topic is. For him, it works for his close friendships to be somewhat private, so that people don’t know who they can go to in order to get in touch with him or to receive any intel that he hasn’t directly shared — professionally or personally.
Some people may call that “paranoid.” For him, it’s safe to move that way. And so, as his friend, it’s not my job to try and talk him out of his standard. If I value our friendship, I simply need to honor his request — plain and simple. To do otherwise would be an act of unfaithfulness (especially if I agreed to what he asked me to do and then switched up on him).
So, when it comes to you, what are your expectations? What do you need — actually require — of your own friends? Have you stated those things? Because you should never assume that your definition of what a friend should be is exactly the same as someone else’s. Next, have you made it abundantly clear to them that if those expectations are not honored, you will feel some level of betrayal? If you haven’t, you should because, although most of us can agree that a partner sleeping with someone other than their own spouse is a form of infidelity, friendship infidelity isn’t quite so black and white.
If you want your friend(s) to be faithful — “true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.,” “steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant” — you need to be upfront with them about what they are vowing to do…what you want them to be constant in? Because, again, how you might roll as a friend may be something different to/for them.
Come to think of it, love languages in friendships is a good example of this. One of my close friends is a quality time person; I’m not. On the other hand, I am a words of affirmation person; she isn’t. She used to think that it was a given that I should want to hang out at least once a month and I used to get irritated that she wasn’t big on words. When we had a talk about our individual expectations, we found a “middle ground” and that made things so much easier…on both sides. Indeed, in order to be faithful (or unfaithful), you first gotta know what you’ve agreed to be faithful to. It’s not fair to expect someone to honor you and what you bring to a friendship if you’re not communicating your expectations on the front end.
So, what should your expectations in your friendships be? That, I can’t answer for you, because even when it comes to across-the-board traits like support, availability, and communication, honestly, even those are gonna manifest differently for different people.
All I’m saying is make sure that you share what your expectations are as you listen to theirs as well. That way, you both can move forward in your friendship knowing what you have mutually agreed to actually be faithful to.
What Should You Do If a Friend “Cheats on You”?Giphy
Okay, so what if, after you have established what you need/expect from your friend, they are unfaithful or disloyal? That’s kind of a loaded question because there are a lot of different ways that this box can get checked. For instance, I once had a friend who kept trying to put me in touch with someone who I knew was unsafe (on a lot of levels). She kept asking and I kept telling her “no.” One day, she called me and then handed that person the phone — she was disloyal because she dishonored my boundary.
Back in the day, I used to write devotionals and I shared the story (sans her name) in it. All of a sudden, she thought that she was the victim (gaslighting friends are something else). So wait — you put me in harm’s way and I need to apologize to you for it? If her identity was obvious (I didn’t even say “she”), I get it — it wasn’t. She just felt guilty and didn’t want to take accountability. As a result, she weaponized our friendship by going ghost for like a year and then tried to come back as if nothing had ever happened. Chile.
For me, there was no coming back. The way she handled that, on a few different levels, was emotionally draining and I honestly didn’t have the stamina for it. So, I ended the relationship officially. Years later, we saw each other and made our peace. I’m fine with it being just that (check out “Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead”).
That’s kind of an extreme example. Still, the reason why I brought it up is because I wanted you to see how I handled one form of friendship infidelity: I thought about what happened, I pondered what I was getting (and not getting) from the friendship, I thought about how she handles things when she is in the wrong and I focused on what would be the benefits and challenges of keeping her in my life. The conclusion that I came to is I care enough about her that we’re not rolling our eyes in the mall or sucking our teeth whenever one of our names comes up to the other yet I don’t want her to continue walking closely to me in my journey. I’m good.
For you, it might be a bit different. What if one of your friends betrays you in some way? Is it fair to take a “one-and-done” approach? I dunno. Is that how you would want your friends to handle you? Do you want to feel like, no matter what, after you make one mistake (or poor choice; not everything is a mistake…some things are intentional), there’s no coming back? If so, you might not want to have relationships at all because humans are fallible, INCLUDING YOU. You might as well settle in with that fact now or you’re about to be triggered, irritated, or angry for most of your life, chile.
What Should You Do If YOU’RE the One Who Cheats?Giphy
Over the weekend, I watched a movie where a woman cheated during a long-distance relationship and then claimed that her boyfriend was “punishing her” because he wasn’t over it a month later. The first thing that came to my mind? A lack of accountability. Why? Because I’m pretty sure that if the shoe had been on the other foot, she wouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine four weeks later…either.
Being that I grew up in an environment (pretty much everywhere, including church) where folks absolutely sucked at taking personal responsibility for their actions without trying to make excuses, using justifications, deflecting, or gaslighting, I am almost violent about making sure that I don’t follow suit. And because I’ve had times when I’ve violated someone’s boundaries (I used to be more controlling than I should’ve ever been) and/or betrayed their trust (just because I’m basically an open book, that doesn’t mean that I should assume that everyone is the same way) — I’ve had to learn how to take full ownership for my actions. Then, if the person is open to accepting my apology, I would take things up a notch by making amends (check out “Heads Up: It's NOT An Apology If An Amends Isn't Made”).
If you’re not sure what an "amends" is, basically, when you’ve done something that has offended someone or caused them some type of harm if you’re truly remorseful, it’s not enough to flippantly toss a “my bad” in their direction. No, when you really get the magnitude of what has transpired — and if you want to restore the damage that was caused — you need to be intentional about doing something that will help with the healing process. This can happen with a simple, “What can I do to make things better?” People who apologize and then ask something along those lines show that they really get what they did; not only that but they are displaying that they want to humble themselves enough to help the person they hurt to “recover” in any way that they can.
So, if you are the one who was unfaithful or disloyal — own it, address it, apologize (without any unnecessary extra-ness, make amends, and then give your friend space to heal…however they need to do so. Infidelity hurts in any kind of relationship dynamic yet when two people — BOTH INDIVIDUALS — really want to make things work, they can come back from it. Oftentimes better than they were before.
How to Heal from Friendship InfidelityGiphy
It really can’t be said enough that humans are fallible. In fact, it is my belief, that if more of us said that as a mantra, five times a day, we’d probably be a lot more merciful than we tend to be. Because since none of us are perfect — INCLUDING OURSELVES — it really is pretty ridiculous to expect to be in relationships with folks and have them never disappoint you (where they do that at?!). The reality is sometimes a friend may be disloyal — not in a malicious or redundant kind of way (another message, another time) but just…they didn’t meet your requirements, they hurt your feelings (even if not intentionally) or they simply made a poor decision. Just like you have before — and at some point, will again.
Yes, it can hurt; trust me, I’ve been there. At the same time, you can heal from the pain and your friendship can survive too. The key is to really process the character of your friend, the track record of your friend, and if the benefits far outweigh the challenges with them. If everything is on the upswing, talk to your friend about how you are feeling, pay close attention to how they respond (if there is remorse, compassion, and patience), and then make the decision that you want to move forward. And then move in a way that shows that you’ve learned from it all.
For instance, say that you told one of your friends something in confidence and they repeated it. After getting context, if it was reckless chatter, healing begins with forgiving them, them trying to make things right and then you easing into sharing anything else. No, it’s not about keeping the door shut forever — it’s more like, telling them something that you don’t really mind if it gets out. If it does, although that’s not a big deal, you will now see that yapping is a pattern for them and so, although you like having them in your life, being a “confidant space” is not where they need to be — at least not for quite some time.
And what if, in your opinion, there is no coming back from friendship infidelity? How do you heal from that? Well, you need to grieve it like you would grieve anything else. Go through the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The key is to not stay stuck; especially in anger. Because really, how is that gonna help or change anything?
I’ve gone through some acts of extreme infidelity that took me a while to move to acceptance — really accepting that it happened and fully accepting that I had to let the relationship go. Yet once I got there, healing was waiting for me. Because I wasn’t beating myself up trying to read someone else’s mind or motive or exhausting myself by wishing things were different. No one can change the past. Even accepting that can restore you to some pretty unexpected levels.
This is the kind of topic that I really could write an entire book about. For now, I just hope that this article provides some clarity that, if you wonder if unfaithfulness is a real thing as far as friendship is concerned, it most certainly is. It’s also not automatically unforgivable either.
Last example: I’ve got a friend of decades who prioritized a woman that he barely knew over our friendship. Meaning, she was threatened by me being around and so he did whatever to make her happy even at the expense of what we agreed to do and be to each other, as friends. Friendship infidelity. He has since apologized and I told him what I am a firm believer in: the apology needs to breathe. I need to take some time, he needs to take some time and, in time, either we will still see value in our dynamic or, because an apology was made and then accepted, peace will always remain between us.
Infidelity is something that none of us want to experience — oh, but we probably will. When it comes to your friendships, perhaps you’ve got a (better) grasp on how to handle it.
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end. Live long enough, chile, for better or for worse, you will know about both. I can almost guarantee it.
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