Cardi B is known for not pulling her punches — ever. Her honesty is one reason people are drawn to her and her music. In an interview with Vogue magazine, Cardi B is more open and candid than ever. Most notably, she discusses her reasons for staying married to rapper Offset after he cheated on her, and the judgement she felt for choosing to stay.
“When me and my husband got into our issues — you know, he cheated and everything— and I decided to stay with him and work together with him, a lot of people were so mad at me; a lot of women felt disappointed in me,” Cardi tells the magazine.
The judgement and disappointment Cardi felt from other women was unfair. Cardi B’s relationship with Offset, like every relationship, is faced with challenges and is much more complicated than what people see in the media. Building and sustaining a life-long relationship is difficult, and making a mistake does not necessarily mean dissolving everything you’ve built together, if that’s not what you and your partner(s) want. Everyone should be free to make the choice that is best for them, without shame and harassment from social media, friends, and family.
Social media can make us image-obsessed, so it can be tempting to make life choices based off how it will look to other people — especially if you’re a celebrity with 56.2 million Instagram followers. However, Cardi B chose to move past what people commented and and focus on fixing her relationship.
“My thing is, everybody on social media acts like relationships is perfect,” Cardi tells Vogue. “And that’s crazy to me. I’m around so many women, and there’s always a woman talking about how she loves her man, but her man is not financially stable, or she has a problem with his mom, or the sex is not as good anymore. Everybody has issues. I believe in forgiveness.”
Renowned sex and relationship therapist Esther Perel, TED Talk speaker and author of New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, has spent her career exploring how changing expectations placed on marriages ultimately affects them. After treating hundreds of patients around the world, Perel believes that many marriages can recover from cheating if that’s what partners want, and that society should work against the stigma that surrounds the deceived spouse choosing to stay with an adulterous partner.
In an article from The Guardian, Perel explains, “This experience of infidelity is so ubiquitous, and so poorly understood that I don’t think it can be reduced to good and bad, victim and perpetrator. We need a conversation that embraces the complexity and that is more caring and compassionate for everybody involved.”
Perel does not advise that anyone have an affair, but after decades of research, she knows that infidelity can force couples to have conversations that ultimately save their marriage and strengthen it in the long run. Cardi B and Offset seem to be following the same path Perel suggests. Rather than calling it quits, they looked at what needed to change and started the hard work of improving themselves and their relationship.
“It’s not an easy thing,” Offset tells Vogue about trying to find balance and happiness in their relationship, “We both have our own households. But you grow. We’re way better now with communication. She’s balancing a lot… and our jobs are crazy… I always tell her, don’t follow the comments. But she’s been outspoken on things since before she was making music.”
There is no “one size fits all” way to deal with problems in a relationship, and what partners do next is their decision.
It is not anyone’s responsibility to make a person feel humiliated for choosing what makes them happy in their partnership. In Perel’s TED Talk, “Why Happy Couples Cheat.“ she says, “When you are shamed for staying, you are in a double bind – I have been betrayed by my partner and I have to lie about it to protect him so that other people won’t judge him to such an extent that I will lose them. So now I can’t talk to anybody. That’s the new shame.”
Cardi B is no stranger to experiencing this shame — especially on social media, which she details in the interview: “If you love somebody and you stop being with them, and you’re depressed and social media is telling you not to talk to that person because he cheated, you’re not really happy on the inside until you have the conversation. Then, if you get back with them, it’s like, ‘How could you? You let all of us down.’”
Since Cardi B is not the type to shy away from confrontation, she did not choose to stay quiet and hide Offset’s infidelity form the world. She did not choose to feel shame for making the choice to stay and work on her marriage. Those choices required a lot of trust, and understanding, and we should celebrate the autonomy that women have over their live — not pass judgement on how other women choose to live.