Somebody Else’s Guy

Producer Swizz Beats recently admitted that he is in a relationship with singer Alicia Keys, confirming the rumor for many that Keys is behind the break up of his marriage to singer/songwriter Mashonda. While this celebrity soap opera is fun to gawk at, this scenario is all too real for the army of the dumped and disrespected and brings us back to the age old question: Can someone actually break up your marriage or was it already broken for a new person to show up in the first place?

First, the case of Swizz Beats and Alicia Keys:

More after the jump.

Hip-hop maestro Swizz Beatz is finally admitting that he and Alicia Keys are an item — but he wishes his estranged wife, Mashonda, would leave the Grammy winner out of their divorce.

For months now, Swizz has been trying to keep his thing with Alicia on the down-low …

Swizz didn’t want to talk about Keys till now because, he says, “What we have is so precious.” He also felt it would aggravate Mashonda, who’s also a singer.

He may have been right. “When he told Mashonda he was dating Alicia, I think she got jealous,” says a friend of the couple.

Having filed for divorce in February, Mashonda is seeking interim support for their 2-year-old son, Kasseem Jr., arguing that Swizz has slashed his payments. (NY Daily News)

I’m sure if you asked Swizz Beats when his marriage started to go to the crapper, he’d argue that it was a pre-Alicia scenario. Yet I’m sure his soon-to-be ex-wife would, of course, beg to differ. This is your classic “chicken and egg” situation. Like when Will Smith divorced his first wife due to “irreconcilable differences” and for more than a decade now Smith and present wife Jada Pinkett-Smith still care not to elaborate on the exact details of when they started dating and whether or not his marriage was really over at the time.

As I recall they both said they were “just friends” when Will was married.

And I can still remember the rancor when actor Brad Pitt ran away with Angelina Jolie and blogs like Jezebel went wild (and are still wild to some extent) with the giant finger of shame for Angelina, and to a lesser extent, Brad. Angelina was branded as a homewrecker and as I recall Jennifer Aniston, Pitt’s then wife, would later accuse Pitt of missing something called a “sensitivity chip.” And everyone felt pretty bad for Aniston until they saw how striking the now Jolie-Pitt combo looked together, and now Aniston has been reduced to boring tabloid cover after tabloid cover about how lonely, miserable and baby-less she is.

While it’s pretty easy to accuse someone like Keys, Pinkett-Smith or Jolie of homewrecker status, most homewreckers would argue that the home they allegedly trashed was already in disarray.

I’ve heard many feminist (and not-so-feminist) arguments about infidelity. I think the most unrealistic and immature is the expectation that women, out of some form of female solidarity, should never, ever touch a man that isn’t theirs. That homewreckers are anti-feminist.

(I’d only argue that truly obnoxious homewreckers are anti-feminist. You know? The ones who act like they won the man lottery with your straying spouse and prance around singing “Boom, I got cha boyfriend. I got cha man.”)

I honestly don’t think you can make a coherent Gender Wars argument on cheating because there is no male equivalent of this argument. Often times unless the man who broke up another man’s marriage is an actual relative or good friend, most men don’t go around expecting other men to be respectful of their relationships out of “male solidarity.” Maybe they expect other men to keep their hands off out of respect for the bonds of marriage, but I’ve never heard a gender argument on the male end of infidelity. I’d argue that Gender Wars go out of the window when marriage, love, sex and lust are involved. It’s every woman for herself. Who’s thinking about what bell hooks or Gloria Steinam would think when your loins and heart are aflame?

Maybe you didn’t know your relationship was on the ropes. Sometimes infidelity blindsides people, but I’d argue that if most men and women are honest about it, there were signs that all was not well at Casa de You.

I can still remember my ex-boyfriend expecting me not to be mad that a female co-worker of his slept over at his house. It’s a testament to my then immature, 20-something mindset (re: Love Drunk Stupidity) that I still married him despite this infraction. So I couldn’t claim “SURPRISE!” when he disappeared to New York for nearly two weeks and mysteriously wound up staying at some strange woman’s house. I also couldn’t really get outraged when I found the ridiculous letters from the other woman he met online. I knew he didn’t tell people he was married and I knew he refused to wear a wedding ring.

Long story short: I was a fool. I was not the first person to ever be a fool. But I don’t blame his co-worker, the New York lady or the desperate chick online. This is a guy who told me that if I cheated on him, he’d probably kill the guy, then commit suicide by cop because he’d be so hurt. I chose something a tad more conventional. I divorced him from 2,000 miles away.

Like I said, not everyone’s situation was as obvious as mine. I’ve known both men and women who worked hard, tried to do the right things and then had to deal with the shock of an out-of-wedlock child, usually finding out in the most cruel and painful way possible. (Nothing like learning your kid isn’t your kid or that some woman across town has a son almost the same age as yours.)

But then, for every person who just completely disrespectful of a marriage, there is the reality that sometimes there is blame to go around. While there’s no excuse for infidelity, you can understand why some people stray from unhappy marriages. Like if you have a spouse who isn’t supportive or affectionate. If you’ve grown apart. If you learn you have conflicting dreams and priorities. If you treat your spouse like a “fixer upper.” If you are hard and cold. If you are emasculating. If you’re neglectful. If you never should have gotten married in the first place (ahem, see: my marriage). If your love is based on the superficial. (Re: His money. Her looks.) If people change over the course of the marriage.

In Laura Kipnis’ polemic “Against Love” she argues that the big infidelity, the love affair, is really more of an act of revolution than betrayal as people trapped in unhappy marriages fling themselves onto someone new in hopes of escaping their not-so-blissful domestic life. The book is a fun read if your single and horrifying if you’re married.

Kipnis would argue that an affair of the heart is an act of liberation from something that has long gone terribly wrong.

Then she would cackle maniacally.

But despite her unpopular viewpoint, there is some truth to it. While I didn’t use infidelity as my mode of escape from my marriage, I don’t think I would have beat up on myself too much if I’d used another man as an excuse, any excuse, to get me out of that suffocating, cold relationship. So I don’t know what Mashonda and Swizz Beats have going on (only they would know the details of who did what to whom first), but I would agree with Swizz that perhaps Mashonda should leave Alicia out of it, even though Alicia was in the wrong as well. (Unless she and Alicia were BFFs or something, the other woman is largely a distraction from the real culprit. It was Swizz who promised to love her forever.)

But I don’t have any problem with Mashonda giving her soon-to-be ex hell.

I was pretty magnanimous in my break up. I took on nearly all the debt (largely because I simply didn’t want to ever see his face again), and just let go. But that is an act not all scorned spouses can pull off. I held on to a lot of unexpressed anger because I chose to be the bigger person and not wallow in revenge fantasies. Maybe some overt anger at the person who actually hurt me would have been a good thing.

So while I don’t necessarily recommend that Mashonda take the path other scorned famous women and spouses have taken (Re: Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes burning the house down. That Texas woman who ran over her husband repeatedly with the car. Brenda Richie administering the most famous beatdown in celebrity infidelity history by allegedly kicking both her husband Lionel Richie and his girlfriend’s ass, etc.), if she wants to turn the screws a little, I wouldn’t blame her.

He probably deserves it.

36 thoughts on “Somebody Else’s Guy

  1. On the subject of Swiss Beats and Alicia Keyes, I cry foul. This is such a publicity stunt. They are "really" together like me and Rush Limbaugh "really" love each other. However, in regards to the other woman……. I would die a thousand small deaths and if my husband reads this do know you shouldn’t let me take you back. If I were to take you back after cheating…. Pay up the life insurance. Let’s just split. That way the children still have both parents. Oh yeah, and dukedraven, you are right it won’t be happily ever after.

  2. About women being mad/homewrecker–I don’t think it’s just about sisterhood. For a long time (even today in many respects), husband/man=money and stability. I don’t mean in the overly materialistic "he got a fancy car and buys me jewelry" sort of way. I mean in the basic "he puts 3 square meals on the table" type of way. In the "traditional" model where the man is the bulk of a family’s financial resources, if he leaves his wife for a mistress–the home is literally wrecked–who’s paying the mortgage, the electric bill, the dog food, etc.Which is why for some women–having a man that cheats is okay, as long as he comes home and continues to take care of the other obligations. Isn’t there a old R&B song (woman to woman?) where the wife tells the other woman, yeah you may think he’s leaving me–but he’s not?Men don’t get as mad with other men because, though his heart might be broken, he’s probably not having to deal with that and financial disarray.

  3. I always worry in celebrity marriages that the other woman is growing up(Brad Pitt being the anomaly). Alicia Keyes will problably forever be the pretty little girl. To become a woman she literally had to take what she wanted form the example she liked best. Unfortunate.As to best kick down Al "Grits" Green is til the world champ. Having your woman kick your ass and your girl friends ass is something you see across the color line but usually defined by class. Grits on your ass that was uniquely black.

  4. I really don’t believe that Alicia and (cough) Sizz Beats are a couple. Something is just not right about all of this. Also I can’t imagine why Alicia would want to date that guy. Yuk.As for the whole homewrecking thing; I really don’t think that someone can break-up a real marriage. If the marriage is weak then whether it’s another person or a new job offer in another town, the marriage won’t survive.

  5. I subscribe to the belief of "You lose em how you get em" so I’m weary of those who enter relationships that are founded on cheating.

  6. I agree with you and other comments about a marriage being broken before the infidelity occurs. Isn’t there some saying about adultery occurring in the heart first? Anyway, I still think Brad was a dirty dog. You can get a divorce in Hollywood in the same amount of time you can get a hamburger of Mickey D’s. No excuse for what he did. Eh, I don’t have to deal with him so it’s no skin off my back.

  7. Couldn’t let this slide:"He may have been right. "When he told Mashonda he was dating Alicia, I think she got jealous," says a friend of the couple."Um. You think???

  8. mom always said, ‘if a man leaves his wife to be with you – he WILL leave you to be with another.’ For some reason, I’ve always believed when you do somebody dirty like this (& ‘Brangelina’), there will be no ‘happilly ever after.’ If you’re not happy, get divorced or whatever, THEN move on w/someone else.And I agree with the reader, Monie – I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but Alicia & this guy? Umm… ewwww.

  9. Marrriage is a sacred covenant. Nobody can make you cheat, you have to want to and give in to the sin and do it. Alicia Keys knew that she was in a relationship with a married man, why can’t we hold her accountable? Swizz is just plain wrong aswell, when you committ yourself to your spouse in the sacred covenant of marriage, you remain faithful and only give your heart and self to your spouse, nobody else. Temptation is something that even Christ had to deal with, it is how the outcome it that makes it a sin.

  10. First of all, no one really knows if Brangelina will last, and if the tabloids are 1/10th true, there has been trouble in paradise. I don’t care how much money you got, kids don’t always fixed the relationship.As for infedelity, you want to be with that other woman, and not get trashed for it, that’s what divorce is for. Here’s the problem I think with some people who get married. Yes a marriage has religious purposes. When you get married, usually in the eyes of the church, it’s forever. But what I think some couples don’t think about it that once you get married, not only is is a religious issue, but it becomes a legal issue. Basically what I’m saying is that you can "break up" with your boyfriend, and barring a civil suit, you can go your seperate ways. Marriage on the other hand is not so easily broken. You don’t "break up" with your husband. Calling it a "break up" puts it on the same plane as just a casual boyfriend/girl friend situation. When you "break up" a marriage, you have to not only decide who gets what furniture, and who gets the dog, but you get into the whole legal side of finances, net worth, child suport if applicable, insurance if applicable, house note, car notes, etc.Sometimes it seems like in today’s society, people gets into a marriage too quickly. And for all the "we met and married 2 months later, and we’ve been married for 30 years" stories, there are just as many if not more that don’t end so happily. Marriage should not be entered into lightly.

  11. Ugh, I don’t like defending Jezebel, but if anything they’ve been overly fawning when it comes to Angelina. They weren’t even around when the whole split happened. And I say ugh because I can not to this day believe Angelina got away with her blackface in A Mighty Heart – she really couldn’t, as a producer, think of any other actress who could play that part well? And now she’s the miracle mother of the world.I think single ladies should stay away from the married, but if there’s infidelity, yeah, there were problems before the infidelity happened. It’s a symptom, not the disease, mostly.

  12. @ NAGROMYou can try to hold Alicia Keys accountable, but considering shame left the public sphere in the United States years ago in cases of infidelity I tend to focus on the two people who actually signed the marriage contract. Obviously you should not mess around with someone’s husband but ultimately Alicia didn’t promise to God to be faithful to Mashonda, Swizz Beats did. So, unless we’re going back to the days when you branded scarlet letters on women’s garments or stoned them …? I just don’t know how you would hold her accountable. Unless we’re suggesting Mashonda pull a Brenda Richie on her ass.After all, Swizz did not suddenly forget he had a wife which is why Mashonda would be better served to focus any of her ire on him. She’ll gain more sympathy by framing this as a "my man hurt and abandoned me" scenario (which also makes Alicia look bad as she was complicit) than "that bitch stole my man" scenario which is distracting and will bring up the whole "why are women fighting each other when it was the man who did the cheating?" For example, actress Julia Roberts’ absolutely stank behavior towards her current husband Danny Moder’s ex-wife.Yeah, it was fun, I guess, to watch Julia and the former Mrs. Moder go toe-to-toe in the tabloids but it really took the focus off the fact that Danny Moder is a total skazz.@ llJezebel, at best, is inconsistent on Brangelina. Women tend to have an attraction/repulsion reaction to her. And the commenters at Jezebel have not forgiven her at all (or Brad). I don’t really have much of a dog in the Brangelina fight. I’ve enjoyed some of Jolie’s work as an actress and tend to be fascinated by people who seem to unaware of society’s rules and come off as slightly insane. (I prefer watching from afar. Usually these people make nightmarish friends.) And for the record, Marianne Pearl asked Angelina — for whatever reason — to portray her in "A Mighty Heart." I suppose Ang could have told the woman no, but what actress turns down a lead role in anything? So yes, it was insulting, but it was an insult the woman the story was based on requested.@ AllWhile I like to believe in Karma and that cheaters and those who assist in the cheating will get their comeuppance, there really is no guarantee that will happen. For one, I’m pretty sure my ex sleeps great at night. Secondly, actors Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy had an affair going that spanned decades and he was married to another woman the whole time. When he died he and Katherine were still together. Sometimes these things self-destruct and end for a reason and sometimes things are much more complicated than a cheating spouse chasing some ass. For every person who has a serious problem with commitment and will get married and divorced multiple times there’s someone who did actually fall out of love with their partner and made the mistake of falling in love with someone else while still married.I just wish people would just get divorced first before crashing into someone else’s arms. I mean, it’s going to burn enough for the other party if the minute you break up they see you run off with someone else. Why torture them by breaking your wedding vows?

  13. Marriage is sacred, IMO. If you want out of your marriage, then get out of your marriage before you decide to go on with someone else. His wife should be after him – HE made the wedding vows. But, if you get into it ugly, I can’t see it ending well. There are the exceptions, but the rule still is:Karma is a bitch.

  14. I do believe a karmic debt is paid for cheating, Danielle. With the number of multiple marriages, it’s usually an indicator that many of these unions will ultimately break up, often over the same infidelity issues. People don’t like to hear this part, but I’ll say it. Karma can take place in another lifetime, as well as over several lives. When I do negative or positive things, I usually experience "instant karma." Some say that’s a sign of spiritual development that it doesn’t carry over into another lifetime.

  15. So our lovebirds may luck out and not experience negative karma for infidelity in this life. It’s very unlikely though. BTW, as a caveat, I don’t know if the couple had previously decided to end their marriage.

  16. With respect to celebrity marriage, whatever. I really don’t have much to say. For the rest of us lower mortals, I think it is very hard to define marriage today. People get married for lots of weird reasons and at least half of them don’t work out. I agree with rikyah, marriage is sacred. I’m not sure if people realize how sacred it is until they are already married. And by then either party could be filled with all sorts of selfish inititiatives that can ruin the marriage. Our modern culture is not one that supports or encourages healthy marriages. This is not to say that infididelity or bad marriages are a 21st century phenomenon, but with the much smaller world that we live in now it can be more difficult for a person to accept the hand they were dealt or how they played it. It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.

  17. @dukedraven: I agree that negative (and positive) karma can take several lifetimes to ripen.

  18. I’m trying not to be judgemental here but it’s hard. I’ve been cheated on before and you know what’s crazy? Everything seemed fine. We were laughing all the time, going out, had a great physical relationship…but he still cheated on me. He said he loved me and wanted to marry me. He said he knew he wanted to marry me when he first met me. And yet, when confronted with his infidelity, he could say nothing. No reason at all. Could he truthfully say the relationship was cold? Distant? That he wasn’t getting enough attention? That I was unsupportive? I never strayed and he knew that. Sometimes men do the shit they do simply because they CAN. There doesn’t have to be some deeper meaning behind it. The point is, yours isn’t the only ass in the world. If he’s weak and it’s in front of him and he thinks there’s no way he’ll get caught–please believe he’s hittin that. I never held Alicia Keys on a pedestal like a lot of people simply because, even though she’s done extraordinary things, she’s still human. She puts her pants on one leg at a time and breathes the same air. Am I disappointed in her behavior? Not really, just surprised. She’s the author of "Super Woman" and "A Woman’s Worth." Other than being unfortunate and hypocritical, it’s just the run-of-the-mill infidelity story. I feel sorry for his wife…and him, cuz he’s gonna get it from Mashonda!

  19. This is a damn shame. I hope their kids don’t get scarred from this little episode. As for Alicia, I really don’t know what to say. I’m surprised… she’s so talented and all. Out of all the men in the world wasn’t there someone else she could’ve clicked with? Someone who wasn’t married? Whatever I guess.

  20. Simple wisdom. If he’ll cheat with you, he will cheat on you. When will people learn to respect another family’s life? Respect meaning, stay out of the way until they divorce instead of helping to make the situation worse for a couple by inserting ones self into the situation. If Pitt/Jolie, Swizz/Keys love and care so much about each other, what’s so hard about waiting until the divorce is final? It’s funny how now that Pitt is with Jolie, Jolie doesn’t want Pitt to have any contact with his ex. Why was is okay for Pitt to have a "friendship" with Jolie while he’s married to Jen, but Jolie doesn’t want him to have a friendship with Jen? The woman doesn’t want her baby daddy anywhere near Jen. Not even a phone call. Jolie expects Jen to respect her relationship with Brad, but she couldn’t respect the fact that Brad was a married man. The same thing will happen with Keys. She’ll expect Swizz to stay away from all other females, but she couldn’t respect the fact that he belonged to someone else. Hate to admit it, but when he steps out on her I’ll laugh and say too bad, accept it.

  21. I really want to see John Edward and his mistress get everything that’s coming to them. What kind of cold blooded fool cheats on his dying wife? It amazes me too that of all the men in the world, these "other women" have to choose someones husband. It has to be low self esteem. If you felt good about yourself, you’d feel you deserve something better than someones leftovers, husband, etc.

  22. Getting in a relationship with a person that cheats to be with you is a gigantic, neon sign for the future. If that person cheats with you, s/he doesn’t honor their commitments. It’s a character flaw. It’s not going to change. You can safely look forward to that same lack of commitment in your relationship. As for the relationship being broken before the person cheats, you might want to talk to some of the women that were cheated on. I know lots of women who were holding it down at home and work and thought their marriage was tight. It’s not lack of sex that drives men out of the marriage. A lot of times, it’s ego. People go outside for new ego strokes. Someone who thinks they’re god-like rather than the person who knows that they snore, fart and don’t take out the garbage. Marriage is work. Some people don’t want to do it. But those people shouldn’t get married and delude that other person into thinking that they will.

  23. What is funny And not funny "haha" is that I read these comments and people are throwing all the cliche’s out like we know these people. I do agree with most posts that WRONG is WRONG, and people shouldnt cheat. But, no one knows the behind the scenes issues, but the people in them. "We" rely heavily on tabloids and "they" said and "I think". Those of us who have been cheated on feel for the woman who was "left" but again we have no idea what is really going one, I think like someone said, it is a character flaw in both individuals as well as lack of communication within some marriages or relationships, most people DON’T want to be told they are not doing something right or what have you…*smh* I don’t know, infedelity is an unfortunate state, and I will not judge.

  24. The whole once a cheater, always a cheater maxim is not always true. Alicia owes Mashonda no apology, and should not be expected to feel shame. She is only responsible for her own happiness. Unless they were close friends, Mashonda, in my opinion has no real right to be angry at Alicia. Furthermore, waiting for a divorce to be final is only a silly formality. Love/lust does not and should not have to wait for lawyers. It is also conceivable that Ms. Keys and Mr. Beats can live happily ever after. As for the children, they will be fine if the parents do not use the kids as weapons against each other.

  25. I must say this is an interesting development. Some of what I’ve read/ seen in the papers about Mashonda and Swizz’s relationship leads me to believe it was long dead. That doesn’t absolve any sins it just is what it is. He may be the type of guy that always needs new stimulation and new-ness to thrive. In that case his thing with Alicia won’t last either once she becomes familiar to him. Mashonda also has a bit of that…i’m not saying she’s a gold digger but she ain’t messing with no broke ni&&az effect going on. Also her career is floundering and I wonder if she isn’t just making a big deal about Alicia because her album got dropped. I don’t get the idea that she was floored by this betrayal. I think the writing was on the wall for a while… Devils advocate.

  26. I agree that relationships have to be "wrecked" from the start for another woman to infringe. However that doesn’t make homewrecker nor adulturer husband blameless. Many relationships if not all go through rough spots sometimes. If anything these are the times when man, wife and marriage or tested for strength and resilience. Yet I don’t consider the outside woman HALF as culpable as I do the cheating husband. For the very worst the homewrecker is guilty of being trifling, at least, for having poor taste for not waiting until the marriage officially dissolves. The husband is guilty for betraying not only his wife but himself when he ceased honoring his marriage vows.

  27. I think Oprah was on to something a long time ago. Basically get your own money and have a committed and loyal relationship where contracts are signed, lips are sealed and no one gets hurt.Most people get married to say "I’m married", but few truly understand the sacrifices that are made to sustain a forever and ever relationship.

  28. Y’know, infidelity and being inconsiderate are not gender specific. Life is messy, and people do what they want to do. I know people of both genders who have suffered after putting spouses through school, raising kids from past relationships and saving someone financially, just to have that person take up with someone else. I’d like to believe that in the end, these folk will get what they have coming to them, but that may not necessarily be true. I will say this: until you know the details of a situation, reserve judgement. For those whom have never been through the process: understand that when you got married, there were friends and family to witness clergy sealing you before God. When you divorce, there are lawyers and a judge and they are only interested in divvying up the money. The relationship is dead long before the ink is dry on the papers.

  29. People fall out of love all of the time. That to me is not the issue. The issue is that men and women need to have enough respect for their partners to end their primary relationship before entering into a secondary one. What bothers me most about these types of stories is the sneakiness of it all. My husband and I both have strong feelings about infidelity and before we got married we both agreed that if we ever found someone else, we would end our relationship first before pursuing something with someone else. I agree that his wife’s anger should be directed mostly towards him and not Alicia but Alicia shouldn’t get a pass for her behavior either. Is it that hard to keep it in your pants until the one you love has ended what he/she started? Considering the simple laws of karma, you would think that more people woud do so. Common sense tells me if a man doesn’t have enough respect for his wife to end his relationship, and by end I mean divorce her before starting something else, what would makes you think he will have respect for you?

  30. There are two kinds of (straight) women in the world: the kind men cheat ON and the kind men cheat WITH. There’s no dignity in either role.

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