Show Transcript for Episode 18: Making Lemonade and Beyoncé

Laurie Watson: Welcome to Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy. This is your co-host Laurie Watson with Dr. Adam Matthews. We are so glad to have you today. You can find us on ForeplayRST.com. And we answer questions and we’d love to have your feedback about what you want us to talk about. And we are really here to help couples keep it hot. So, Adam today we’re going to talk about Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

Dr. Adam Matthews: And there is probably nothing hotter right now, than people are talking about Beyoncé.

Laurie Watson: Than Beyoncé.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s right. Keeping it hot with Beyoncé.

Laurie Watson: Exactly.

Dr. Adam Matthews: She just continues to give us albums unexpectedly. And this one seems to have caught a lot of people off guard. And I don’t know that I’m an expert on Beyoncé, but reading through some of this stuff, like, I think it’s pretty relevant to our topic.

Laurie Watson: What we deal with every day.

Dr. Adam Matthews: What we talk about. Yeah, absolutely.

Laurie Watson: Exactly. And I know. And it couldn’t have come from somebody who you know had more delivery, both in terms of her anguish that she expresses and then her hope that she offers, I think. I mean, it was an amazing self-revelation. I think from a pop star.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah. Well, and I think I’ve heard many young women relating to it. I think that’s like she represents or is at least becoming to represent femininity, womanhood, a powerful example of that.

Laurie Watson: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dr. Adam Matthews: And I think the question people are asking is if Beyoncé and Jay-Z are having problems, what is her hate for my relationship too?

Laurie Watson: That’s true. That’s true. And I think that’s one of the main questions I hear from women. Is, you know, there’s a sense of, maybe it happened to me because I’m inadequate. But now people are saying, you know look at if it can happen to Beyoncé.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s right.

Laurie Watson: You know, maybe it’s not just me.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s him. Maybe it’s stuff he’s struggling with and maybe it’s us.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: You know, it’s not just my inadequacy.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I think that’s right. I think that’s because that’s one of the things that she expresses so much in the album and one of the things that I hear from women in affairs a lot is that comparison is that even she’s wrestling with it. And I think comes to a place where she saying, it’s not about me. I think, at least that’s what she’s coming to. But just that comparison that I hear a lot. You know she references Becky with the good hair. Or she has several references to the other woman in comparison.

Laurie Watson: I like the one where says you know, “I’m not too perfect to even feel this worthless.”

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: I mean, even Beyoncé, I think goes through this total self-doubt, crises, of what the heck you know? Is it the girl with the good hair that is somehow and other better than me? And I like that she says, you know, know that I keep it sexy. Know that I kept it fun or kept it hot. That was my adaptation. I do not want to take on Beyoncé. She’s so great.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s right.

Laurie Watson: But all this self-doubt about, was the woman more attractive than I was, was she better in bed, was she? I think that’s so typical. And you know it’s been expressed so well here, the intensity, and the pain of what she’s feeling.

Dr. Adam Matthews: And is that something that you find, you know, trying to understand a woman’s point of view here. Because I’m not a woman.

Laurie Watson: Okay, okay.

Dr. Adam Matthews: And trying to understand the idea it seems to me, and you tell me if this is accurate, that an idea that she’s portraying is if I was able to do x, y, and z? If I was able to do this or that? If I was able to keep it sexy for instance. If I was able to keep it fun? Then he wouldn’t, this would lead to him not cheating on me?

Laurie Watson: Yeah, I do.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Is that fair?

Laurie Watson: I do think that it is one of the first feelings that comes up, you know, in a woman. Is this somehow or another I was deficient. And I think certainly, in men, as well I mean because obviously women cheat too. And women have affairs. And so, I don’t know that that’s the first thought that men have is, was I deficient Was I not good in bed? I think it is part of it that they go through. But not necessarily.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah. I’m not sure that that’s the first one. It’s probably the one that gets there, that comparison. But it seems like that is what I hear a lot. It’s one of the first ones that I hear a lot from women.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. And you said, you know, the intensity of this reaction. Do you feel like your male patients are more practical when they hear about this? Or how does it differ?

Dr. Adam Matthews: When they hear about them?

Laurie Watson: When they hear about their partner cheating? Their partner having an affair.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I mean everybody’s different of course. But I think that the one that I hear a lot is it’s more of a practical, let’s fix it. How do we fix it? And that’s what I hear about the men that cheat too, when they are trying to fix it. They’re go into problem solving mode.

Laurie Watson: Sure, before there is this dealing with the betrayal with the feelings that have happened with her feelings of having him stepped out of the relationship. Yeah, I agree. There is always a speeding up process. I think that the person who had the affair wants it to be done. And let’s fix the reason that I had the affair, which was the marital problems or whatever. One of the things Beyoncé references is this sense that there’s all this attention that Jay-Z gets, right? People are telling him this and that. And I think that it’s hard to overestimate the power of attention and sexual excitement that is born in an affair. You know that it’s kind of so exciting, obviously in their industry, there’s even more attention and fawning and stuff that is not base do the real person. But based on their —

Dr. Adam Matthews: The image of the real person.

Laurie Watson: The image of who they are. So, I mean it’s certainly a difficult industry to stay faithful as we see.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That seems to me, to even happen in non-famous relationships, you know, that there is a sense of that. There is an ego stroke. Or there is an attention that’s paid that they’re not getting in their committed relationship. And that that’s, like you said the excitement, the amount of energy that’s being put into that relationship, all of those things, seems to give that famous sense. The buildup of that ego that say, “You are worth it.” Putting these things at risk. They are putting at risk for the affair.

Laurie Watson: Right. And I see so much of this ego stroking, that is so seductive. You know and people, I don’t know that our ordinary relationship can have that quality of stroking somebody’s ego. Because we know who they are, right? We know their flaws. And when we stand in front of our spouse, they know our flaws. So, even if they say lovely compliments and you know we have hot sex that night. There’s still this sense of, yeah, but the idealization. Which is what an affair is all about. It’s an idealization of the person seeing them as so great. Seeing them through rose colored glasses.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s a good way to say it.

Laurie Watson: And being seen that way. That’s so exciting.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That rose colored glasses affect, the thing that occurred to me, is that you see each other at the most vulnerable. When you are most raw and it’s hard to escape that. You can’t forget the knowledge of all the ways that your spouse is imperfect.

Laurie Watson: Right. And you can hardly forgive the ways that they see you as imperfect.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yes, that’s right. That’s right.

Laurie Watson: They see us in you know all our terrible moments.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: And that’s hard to realize this person holds the whole picture of who I am. And that I think translates into our sex life in a way that maybe sometimes it isn’t as hot. You know, we hold back out of our own shame.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: You know, like, “Oh, yeah, I’m totally flawed human being here.” And so, we hold back. And I love that Beyoncé, I think as she processes some of this, kind of her bitterness, and her rage really comes through. And I know we’ve talked about, Adam, that sometimes that rage is so hard for the partner who stepped out to feel and hear.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah. Particularly when it’s so raw and honest. I seem to hear a lot of the injured party in the affair wanting to do what Beyoncé’s doing here. Like they almost all want a platform.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Dr. Adam Matthews: They can be HBO. Millions of people hearing them kind of just vent their raw emotion.

Laurie Watson: Right. I’m a rain on this bitter love.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s right.

Laurie Watson: I mean, that is so cool. Because she does have her platform. I mean I think that this is both personal and public when she says this, right? You know it’s what she feels about the new relationship, her bitterness. She loves him. You know, and she is purposing here through the album we see to stay with him and make a difference, make it better.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Even the visuals though. Of like her with a baseball bat, like her assembling her squad. So, to speak.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, her rage.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Her embodiment of it. I think, and the intensity of it, I think, if I were Jay-Z, it’s hard for me to fully grasp it. Unless it’s been done to me, like putting myself in the shoes of the amount and the intensity of it. And when we come back from the break, that’s something that I’d like to discuss to is how to help the injured parties understand that intensity and the duration of it. Because it goes on. Because even like her album, sitting through the whole thing of it, it’s long. The rage goes on a for a while. It doesn’t subside.

Laurie Watson: It does.

Dr. Adam Matthews: It doesn’t subside, easily.

Laurie Watson: Right. And I think that rage for the person who’s feeling it, can make you feel absolutely crazy and foreign to yourself. If that betrayal has never happened before what you feel is so powerful. I think a lot of women and I think actually men too, will relate to her rage, her imagery. I think it’s fantastic to express it. But let’s come back and talk about it some more.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yes, absolutely.

Laurie Watson: You’re listening to Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy, with Laurie Watson, sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again. And Dr. Adam Matthews, couple’s therapist. Thanks for listening.

Commercial: Wanting Sex Again, how to rediscover desire and heal a sexless marriage by certified sex therapist, Laurie Watson. Each chapter is designed to fix one of the problems that caused low libido from early marriage through the childbearing years, even all the way through menopause. I’ve also had men read it and tell me that for them it was the most helpful thing they read about resolving sexual problems. Look for Wanting Sex Again on Amazon.com. You can also talk to Laurie Watson for therapy in person or via Skype. I offer couples counseling and sex therapy and I think about both aspects of the relationship, emotional intimacy, and sexual technique. And that combination together helps marriages be happy. Improve your sex. And improve your relationship with awakening center for couples and intimacy. Find out more at AwakenLoveandSex.com and sign up for their next couples retreat weekend hosted by Laurie Watson. AwakenLoveandSex.com, awaken what’s possible.

Laurie Watson: Welcome back to Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy with Laurie Watson, sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again. And I’m here with my co-host, Dr. Adam Matthews, couple’s therapist. And we are talking about Beyoncé and affairs and how her album Lemonade just has hit our culture. Slammed it open with talk about affairs. And my patients are coming in talking about it and resonating with it. And it’s really opened up, I think, a big conversation which is good for our culture.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah. It’s probably needed.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, I think so too. And we’re kind of coming back to the point of this rage that she feels and how it’s so ubiquitous with the experience of betrayal. And how the person who is injured expresses kind of what they’re going through the trauma of how their world is upside down. Just for the record, on my website, I advertise for people who have had affairs or who have just discovered an affair to come and get help. And you know one of the things I say is, “I know that people feel and experience that their world has absolutely turned upside down.” And sometimes they’re getting lost on the way to the grocery store. Their psyche is so confused by the sense that, you know, “I knew who I was because my partner loved me and suddenly, I don’t even know if I exist in the same world anymore. The world feels that different.”

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: When you have thought that your partner was faithful. And everything was great. And then, suddenly it’s not.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I hear a lot from the injured partner in the affair about how the almost the obsessive nature of their thoughts about the affair, like how it just continues. They can’t stop thinking about the other person in the affair. They can’t stop thinking about how mad they are. They can’t stop — like it just goes on and on. You know one of the things that I think it’s hard for the involved partner to understand that. But just also to persist in the continued expression of those feelings right.

Laurie Watson: Right.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Right. Not everybody has that outlet like Beyoncé does.

Laurie Watson: That huge platform.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: To really get it out.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Or to just channel it in some ways. They don’t know what to do with it. So, it just comes out all over their partner in a lot of different ways. And I think that’s just not the initial onslaught. I think everybody expects the initial blow up. Or the initial emotional expression. But just as it continues, just as it persists.

Laurie Watson: Yeah.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Trying to understand that, I think it’s difficult.

Laurie Watson: I think it’s a clinical problem for us, as therapists, right?

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely.

Laurie Watson: Sometimes, we know, that in stage one, kind of the trauma of the revelation of the affair that we know and expect the injured party to be very, very emotional. But sometimes it’s prolonged. And the question becomes how long is long enough to keep expressing this rage and obsession? And when will they start to get over it so that they really can move through? And I would say there’s two parts to that second stage that there does need to be a full expression of rage. That somehow or another if the therapist can validate their rage and can help them feel heard and model for their partner that this doesn’t blow us over, right? Or their friends who are listening, that we say, “Yeah, no kidding you feel horrible and terrible. And so, hurt and so angry.” That the strength of being able to take it to take the rage kind of models that yeah this is legitimate. And I think that that helps the person feel understood. And what I would, you know, counsel the partner is they really need to be empathic. There is for some, period of time, a way to express that they’re sorry over and over and over again. And be reassuring. You know, I want to work on us. You know, I’m really sorry I hurt you. I’m really sorry that, you know, I stepped out of this thing. And to analyze, of course, why they stepped out? Inside their own pressures? I mean, Jay-Z, why did he step out? We probably look at him and say, “He had everything. He had money. Fame. Attention galore.” And then he still needed more. That seems problematic. And obviously, problematic for Beyoncé as well. Like you had me, right? She’s creme de la crème. But there are problems and we don’t exactly know why or what happened with them. But we know the pressures in ordinary couples that mount.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Well, and I would think that, and you tell me if you agree with this. But the involved partner is not going to fully understand the emotion and does not have to fully understand or fix the emotion of the injured partner.

Laurie Watson: That’s right. They maybe don’t. Because they haven’t been betrayed. You know, I think that the partner wants them to get it. But they’re not standing in their shoes. They need to somehow or another be empathic about look at, I do know, and I think this is the bridge. I do know what it’s like to betrayed. To be betrayed is human.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah, that’s right. We’ve all had some experience.

Laurie Watson: At some point, an experience. And maybe, yeah, I don’t know what it was like to be portrayed by a partner. But I remember these experiences, in business, in friendship. I know what it feels like, how painful it is to have somebody that you counted on to be in your corner to do something else. And so, that’s what I try to get them to think about the party who stepped out is think about what it used to feel like and use those emotions to identify with your partner.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: And I think if there’s a match between rage and empathy that actually shortens that stage. I think that the stage is prolonged when the person who was involved outside of the relationship can’t be empathic. It’s like if they try to speed it up. if there’s no match for the person’s, their parties, their spouses rage. Then then it goes on forever.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah. And they do that a lot, like we’ve talked about before problem solving or trying to fix it. Or like you said trying to speed it up, questioning why are you still expressing this? This is the same thing I’ve heard over and over again.

Laurie Watson: Or getting frustrated.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: Okay. I wasn’t the only one hurting in the marriage.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Getting frustrated. That’s right.

Laurie Watson: Which is so true.

Dr. Adam Matthews: It is, true.

Laurie Watson: Often times the injured party isn’t the only one who has suffered pain in the marriage. The person who was involved with somebody else often has also suffered injuries in the marriage.

Dr. Adam Matthews: But I think it’s good what you said about the match because you cannot begin to work on those issues until the rage has been expressed.

Laurie Watson: Until it’s dissipated.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Until that traumatic stage is gone. You’ve got, at least, not got over it, but at least to a point where you can begin to think about the other thing, right?

Laurie Watson: Exactly.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Like, I don’t Beyoncé is going to be able to think about the ways that she was not you know a great wife to Jay-Z or the issues that they need to work on.

Laurie Watson: The perfect wife.

Dr. Adam Matthews: The perfect wife, until she gets this expression out. Until she has this kind of cathartic expression. And feels like she began can begin to think about that again.

Laurie Watson: Exactly. And I think that, you know, later, hopefully, you know, within six months we want the couple to be working on the relationship.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: You know, to be working on the flaws, the vulnerabilities, the things that were between them, that might have caused the opening and the vulnerability for an affair in the first place. Which, of course, you know, you can’t say to them in the beginning because it just sounds like you’re blaming —

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah, that’s right.

Laurie Watson: — the party who has been so injured. “Oh, you know, if had worked on this sooner or something, this wouldn’t have happened.” And that’s not true. Because the person who steps out, they need to have full responsibility in my mind.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s right.

Laurie Watson: For the choice that they make.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I totally agree.

Laurie Watson: That was the way they decided to handle it. And I think that for many of us, you know, we can be judgmental. Or think that, “Oh, I would never do that.” And that’s what people say to me. Particularly, the injured party says it all the time. But I would never have made that choice.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I would never do that. Yeah, I don’t understand that choice either.

Laurie Watson: Right. There should have been another way. And there might have been. But it is sometimes the choice that the person makes because it’s the only way they see.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah. And as the person who stepped out you have to begin to accept that choice and own it. And I think one of the things is like, you cannot say you’re sorry enough. Like you can’t say you’re sorry and then reaffirming your commitment to the relationship. I hear a lot of people said well I’ve already apologized. Well that should be enough. Well, like you said, the match has to be there and so when that expression is there the only response for Jay-Z in this moment, when Lemonade comes out, is, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Laurie Watson: Right, right.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s the response that has to be there to give her an opportunity or to give in cases of couples are we see to give the injured party the best opportunity to be able to stay in the relationship. She can’t stay in the relationship or without that ownership, without that saying, “I made this choice and I am sorry that I did it. And I want to go forward and be committed to the relationship.”

Laurie Watson: Right. Right. I think one of the things she says that resonated with me from what I’ve heard with my patients is, she says, I needed freedom too.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: And I think that’s another part of the injury. It’s like wait you know marriage is difficult. There are confinements for all of us. You know what about me. The person who says you are off having this glorious affair. Now, you want to come back and work on the marriage. But it’s like you know you went to the circus and went to Europe and had this fabulous experience. And now, you want to work with me on the drudgery at home. But, you know, what about me I didn’t get to go to the circus, go to Europe, and there’s all kinds of ways that I think or injured by affairs. It’s not just the sexual betrayal.

Dr. Adam Matthews: That’s right.

Laurie Watson: Or the competitive, kind of comparison. But some of these other things as well.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I had one client, it was the gift giving. There was gift giving in the affair.

Laurie Watson: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Adam Matthews: And that was like, “Well, what about the ones that you should have been giving to me?” And I think that there are things like that, that happen, you are exactly right. Over and over again, of these small ways that don’t end up being about the sex. It ends up being about time, or gifts, or energy.

Laurie Watson: Or specialness.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah, specialness.

Laurie Watson: That is one of the biggest injuries I hear is, you know, women who say you know my partner never has time for me they’re working all the time. And then you find out, “Oh, he had an affair.” It’s like, okay, there were trips. There were weekends. There were late nights.

Dr. Adam Matthews: While I was home with kids, or while I was home doing other stuff.

Laurie Watson: Or I was working somewhere else.

Dr. Adam Matthews: I was working a job, yeah.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. And suddenly, all this deprivation of time that I wanted with him, somehow or another, it was all part of the lie. And I think that’s, it’s really hard. It’s really hard. I mean I think the other thing that I try to do is to get the couple to, when we’re finally working on the relationship. For both of them to articulate what their needs were. And then, of course, it’s not only between each other but how this is from their families of origin. And my way of thinking not necessarily passed down directly on, “Oh, my father had an affair. So, I had an affair. I saw that a coping mechanism.” Which does sometimes impact our choices. But I think that the deprivations in our childhood, what we learned about intimacy, maybe how we didn’t learn to communicate all of that plays a role.

Dr. Adam Matthews: What are expectations are in the relationship.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, exactly. So, I mean the healing is kind of parallel on a horizontal level. And then, it is also vertical to me. Healing all the way back generational pain so that the couple became so much more solid and stable.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah, yeah. And I think the expression there that we’ve been talking about is a first step toward all of those things that you’re talking about. It’s a necessary first step. And I think if we see something like Beyoncé’s expression here as abnormal or as over the top or anything like that, we’re missing a crucial step to be able to begin to repair relationships.

Laurie Watson: Right. I think so, too.

Dr. Adam Matthews: It’s not small. The injury is not small. And so, the expression of the hurt has to match that. It’s not a small thing. And to begin to examine those things. To begin even to be willing to examine family origin issues for instance. Or being to examine like about those repair. I think that we have to find a way for the injured partner to give voice to these issues.

Laurie Watson: I think you are right. And we’re really talking about a particular stage in a fair recovery, I think as we focus on Beyoncé’s album. I mean even though she too goes through you know maybe to full recovery. I mean, I think her angst and anger and voice are so powerful. Because that is where people get stuck. And know, she’s just done a fabulous job. She is Beyoncé. So, grateful for that.

Dr. Adam Matthews: She’s a queen, right?

Laurie Watson: Yes. She is it.

Dr. Adam Matthews: As they say.

Laurie Watson: So, you are listening to Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy with Laurie Watson, sex therapist and author. And Dr. Adam Matthews, couple’s therapist. And we’re glad you joined us to listen today about Beyoncé’s lemonade and the power that she brings to her expression of rage and the whole process of an affair being worked out so publicly. And I think we have a great deal of hope.

Dr. Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely.

Laurie Watson: For affairs working out and people being stronger. And I think that she’s staying in the relationship. The last thing I’d like to say is so powerful because so many, women particularly and men as well, feel ashamed of making the decision to stay as if that is the wrong thing versus using this as a way to really get to the bottom of stuff in their relationship and work it out. So, thank you, Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy.

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