If you live on Planet Earth, you’re probably aware (and have also likely watched) the epic 12-song, visual album titled Lemonade that Beyonce dropped on HBO Saturday night. In the hour-long cinematographic masterpiece—seriously, it’s stunning—we watch and listen to the Queen sing about a relationship beleaguered by various issues like betrayal, jealousy, revenge, and rage, but ultimately results in reconciliation. And while you could argue that anything Beyonce does, Lemonade included, is shrouded in mystery, it doesn’t seem like too far of a jump to conclude that most of her new tunes, which all touched on marital strife, were aimed towards her husband, Jay-Z, and the alleged cheating rumors that have quietly followed the couple around in their near-decade of marriage.
But for all the beauty, joy, pain, and relatability that came through on Lemonade and resonated with millions of fans in the two days since its release, we couldn’t help but wonder: Is it OK to put your partner on public blast for cheating? (We crunched the numbers in our infidelity survey to find out what cheating looks like.)
We talked to Gary Brown, Ph.D., a marriage counselor in Los Angeles, and asked him if it would be appropriate for us, the normals of the world, to air our dirty relationship laundry so publicly—whether it be through a tweet, Facebook post, or even on a billboard. (Because, yes, that has happened.) His short answer? “No. I don’t recommend it.”
Kelley Kitely, a woman’s mental health expert in Chicago, agreed. “Never publicly shame no matter how bad the crime,” she says. “It could reflect poorly on you. So if you ever have a desire to repair the relationship later down the line, this will surely limit the possibility.”
And it’s not just about repairing relationships; even though it might feel incredibly empowering to watch Beyonce turn her own lemons into #lemonade, staging that kind of show (albeit, let’s say, on Insta) probably won’t have the same kind of effect on you as it will for Queen B. Dr. Brown notes that B’s personal experiences fuel her music (and thus her career); most of us, on the hand, are not writing any ballads anytime soon—or making money off of ’em. And even if you had the means to stage something that epic (again, see the billboard story), odds are, you might feel a little abashed, or even guilty, once the revenge high wears off and you’re left picking up the pieces of your life. (We imagine even Queen B must have felt a tinge of guilt.)
Your best bet? Keep things quiet and find a marriage counselor, suggests Dr. Brown, especially if you’d like there to be a chance at reparation. The good news, though, is that many people will be able to relate to Beyonce’s lyrics, Brown notes, and that in itself can be cathartic. Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks, am I right? (Are you aware of all the different types of infidelity?)