There’s one thing we can all agree on when it comes to infidelity: it sucks. Especially when you’re the one who got cheated on. Unfortunately, it’s not preventable; we can’t control it, and it’s more common than we think.

Recently, Becky G and Sebastian Lletget were spotted grabbing coffee in Los Angeles, leaving fans up in arms and all of us wondering if they ever even broke up after their cheating scandal in March of this year. However, the “MAMIII” singer never confirmed nor denied their separation.

Their possible reconciliation has sparked much controversy on a topic everyone seems to have an opinion about — cheating. Is it wrong? Right? Did Becky ACTUALLY look back hasta para parquearse? And if she did, why do we feel entitled to judge if she takes back her fiancé or not?

For me, the more interesting dialogue comes in how stans are aligning her perceived self-respect to her capability for forgiving Lletget’s dalliance and particularly calling out Becky’s “girl power” rhetoric in her songs. This begs me to ask: are we only ever powerful, strong, beautiful, and accepted when we walk away, or could we be all those things when we choose to give relationships a second chance?

Becky G and Sebastian Lletget’s cheating scandal is one of 2023’s greatest heartbreaks

While some people may only consider physical encounters such as intercourse, kissing, and going on dates cheating, others may see texting other people as cheating. Or even casually flirting with someone.

In Becky’s case, Lletget was caught red-handed while chatting with someone on Instagram months after they got engaged.

Although the “Sin Pijama” songstress didn’t make any public announcements regarding the allegations, she stopped wearing her engagement ring and subsequently published an album that stung. Alexa, play “Cries in Spanish.”

On the other hand, Lletget issued a public apology on the matter, citing mental health issues.

“To Becky, you have been the light in my life, my strength, who has always shown me unconditional love,” he wrote in the Instagram post. “Instead of honoring that love every day, I have done the opposite, hurting you and disrespecting the one person I love more than anything. I am so sorry, and know I have to do whatever it takes to earn back the trust and love you deserve.”

Becky G’s fans claim “once a cheater, always a cheater,” and other societal benchmarks for infidelity

While Lletget apologized and Becky has done her thing, fans are still not buying the reconciliation. On X, many caution Becky with the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater.” Meanwhile, others claim they have “lost respect” for her while sharing a slew of memes.

It’s true that the effects of infidelity are shattering. If they weren’t, it wouldn’t be such a hot topic, and we wouldn’t be so invested in preventing it. According to Psychology Today, statistics show that infidelity occurs in 20 percent of marriages and up to 70 percent of unmarried partnerships. But there’s more to meet the eye when it comes to relationships, particularly because just as each individual in a relationship is unique, so is their partnership.

Relational beliefs, personality, context, and communication issues are among the many reasons why people cheat. No, this is not an excuse for it; it is simply another perspective. In fact, many relationship therapists assure that while cheating may be the end of many relationships, it’s not always the case. For some, it may be the piece that needed to break to rebuild that partnership from a different place.

Is choosing to stay with your partner after infidelity the new relationship stigma?

In her famous TED Talk, “Rethinking infidelity, a talk for anyone who has ever loved,” Esther Perel shares new insights into cheating. The Relationship and Sex therapist is renowned for unpacking what lies behind infidelity but also gives new perspectives and options for couples that may not have been evident before.

“Why do we cheat? And why do happy people cheat?” she starts her conference. “Is an affair always the end of a relationship?”

Interestingly, while many shame Becky for potentially taking back her ex, they also take away her agency and choice. Perhaps what makes the singer such a strong woman is not her ability to walk away from a situation but her ability to trust herself enough to make big decisions — and own them.

“It used to be divorce that carried all the stigma,” Perel claims. “Now it’s choosing to stay when you can leave that is the new shame.”

It’s always easy to judge from the outside, to say, “I would never do this,” but the truth is, many of the same people who judge Becky for her choices have probably taken back a cheating ex before. They might be married to a person who was unfaithful. At some point, they may have wondered if they could rebuild instead of walking away.

And it’s not about allowing a cheating ex to “get away” with it. Or bypassing responsibility in relationships. It’s about building it.

The conversation is no longer about “What will I do so people don’t think I’m weak? For this person not to cheat?” It’s about “Do I trust myself enough to make big decisions?” At the end of the day, our relationships are about us. Whether we choose to stay or go.