Infidelity can strike any relationship. Some will survive it while others will part ways, too damaged by the pain it has caused. It seems as though Jay-Z and Beyoncé have decided to work through their issues in an effort to save their marriage and the rapper is being pretty frank about his role in the situation.
During an interview with the New York Times, the 47-year-old father of three opened up about being unfaithful, finding a therapist, and committing to his marriage.
Growth and Awareness
One of the things that really stood out from the Q&A was that Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, went all the way back to his childhood to look for the influences that shaped how he responds to problems in his current life.
“I grew so much from the experience,” he explained. “But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a … you’re at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone’s racist toward you, it ain’t about you. It’s about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happens. ‘Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me.’ I understand.”
“And once I understand that, instead of reacting to that with anger, I can provide a softer landing and maybe, ‘Aw, man, is you O.K.?'” he continued. “I was just saying there was a lot of fights in our neighborhood that started with, ‘What you looking at? Why you looking at me? You looking at me?’ And then you realize: ‘Oh, you think I see you. You’re in this space where you’re hurting, and you think I see you, so you don’t want me to look at you. And you don’t want me to see you.'”
Reflecting on those experiences in his early life, he realized that the dynamic left him feeling like he needed to “shut down emotionally” with it came to relationships.
“You have to survive,” he explains. “So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode, what happens? You shut down all emotions. So, even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can’t connect. … In my case, like, it’s deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity.”
The pain of his unfaithfulness is all over Beyoncé’s incredibly well-received album, Lemonade. Many assumed she released the visual album to announce that she was divorcing Jay-Z and were shocked when it ended with a theme of forgiveness.
When he released his 4:44 album, it felt like an appropriate response and featured other men detailing their experiences with emotion and infidelity. Still, none of this was planned. Jay-Z insists it all played out organically as a result of what they were both going through.
“It didn’t happen in that way,” he stresses. “We were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together. And then the music she was making at that time was further along. So, her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on. We still have a lot of that music. And this is what it became. There was never a point where it was like, ‘I’m making this album.’ I was right there the entire time.”
He admits that, as they listened to each other’s songs, they both felt “very, very uncomfortable… but the best place in the hurricane is in the middle of it,” he reflected. “The best place is right in the middle of the pain. And that’s where we were sitting. And it was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations. [I was] really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released. And, you know, at the end of the day we really have a healthy respect for one another’s craft. I think she’s amazing.”
“You know, most people walk away, and, like, divorce rate is like 50 percent or something ’cause most people can’t see themselves,” he added. “The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself.”
Jay-Z has been nominated in an incredible eight categories at the 2018 Grammy Awards which take place early next year.