The fourth season of Iyanla: Fix My Life is just 10 days away and, as we shared before, this time around the focus is largely on Black men. Incarceration, sexual abuse, and infidelity are just some of the issues Iyanla Vanzant will tackle with various groups of men throughout the season, and she’ll also speak to some of the women in these men’s lives, helping them heal themselves so they can in turn heal their marriage.
Infidelity is one of the most common issues to creep into a relationship, and as such continues to be one of the most heavily debated topics of discussion. Should you stay? Once a cheater always a cheater? Who’s to blame? These are just some of the questions that arise on the subject, but Vanzant said what’s most important is for partners to understand what the act of cheating says about the person they’re with.
“I have a different concept of cheating than most people,” she explained during a phone interview. “Most people think you cheated on me, you hurt my feelings, it’s something they get crazy about. For me, cheating is a broken agreement; it’s a betrayal of trust; it’s a violation of self-value.
“For me, when a person in a relationship commits infidelity, it’s telling me something about that person. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. My question becomes, is this the kind of person I want to be with — a man who doesn’t honor his word, who doesn’t keep his agreements, who breaks his commitments, and who doesn’t value my trust? Is that the kind of person I want to be with?”
While that question isn’t one that’s always easily answered, what both parties have to realize is that cheating is not just a simple slip-up. “They say everybody makes mistakes. Perhaps the act of intimacy with someone outside of the relationship is a mistake, but the lie you tell to cover it up, that’s not a mistake; that’s conscious,” the author and spiritual healer stated. “The mechanization that you go through to continue in this practice, that’s not a mistake; that’s conscious. Do I want to be with someone who can look in my face, lie to me, violate my trust and consciously demean themselves in order to continue this activity? Do I want to be with somebody like that?”
For Vanzant, that question requires no thought. “In my own personal life, I don’t do cheating. That’s my dealbreaker. Violence, name-calling, and cheating and stealing money are my dealbreakers. You hit me, I’m gone. You can’t call me out my name but one time and I’m going to correct you. You do it again and I’m gone. You cheat, I’m gone.”
Why such a hard and fast rule?
“I understand that intimate contact with a person is an exchange of energy,” the 64-year-old said. “You’re out exchanging your energy with someone I don’t know and you’re bringing it back to me and you’re not giving me a choice whether or not I want to be in that energy. I’m not doing that and why would you do that to yourself? If that’s how you treat yourself, I can only imagine how you would treat me.”
Cheating isn’t only a hot topic on the next season of Fix My Life. This week, evidence of Kevin Hart’s infidelity made entertainment news headlines which, in turn, prompted his ex-wife, Torrei Hart, to speak out once again on his history of unfaithfulness throughout their marriage. Many supported Torrei’s right to tell her story while others questioned her motive and even her state of mind for still speaking on their relationship six years after divorcing. But can you put a timeline on pain? And is it fair to place constrictions on when and where one can share that pain.
“Talking about your hurt is a very valuable process toward healing; talking publicly about your hurt in a way that damages someone else, that’s a different story,” Vanzant said when asked her thoughts on the matter. “I always say that the only thing that can destroy a relationship is within the relationship. Relationships are never destroyed from the outside in; they’re always destroyed from the inside out. Ex-Mrs. Hart obviously hasn’t healed; she hasn’t done her work.”
While Kevin and Torrei may be the face of this topic this week, Vanzant said her words stand for everybody, including exes who get on social media and spread viciousness about their past partners. “That’s not about the other person, that’s about you,” she said. And while Vanzant was quick to point out she can’t say what people can and can’t do, the question she’d ask Torrei is “What is her intention for sharing this information and is that about him or is that about her?”
Still, Vanzant isn’t letting Kevin, whose legal issues are just getting started, off the hook for his transgressions. “As far as he’s concerned, he said it, you got a target on your back brother, and you need to be a demonstration and a model for who you are as a Black man.”
To get him to do his work, so to speak, Vanzant said she’d ask him a very serious question.
“This is what I ask men who cheat: Would you want somebody to do this to your mother or your daughter? And if you don’t want somebody to do it to your mother or your daughter, don’t do it, because the sins of the father befall the children. How would he feel if his daughter’s husband did this? Many men can’t speak to their son-in-laws about [cheating] because they do it. They deliver the same grief upon their daughters as they did upon their mothers, so that’s what I would offer all men, Kevin included.”