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There's something bothering both of us

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With a higher tolerance for bullsh-t, the fear of being single, and a little less self-esteem, plenty of us could be (and have been) in Khloe Kardashian’s stilettos. How do I know? It happened to me.

In February, no one was shocked when we found out that Tristan Thompson had cheated on Khloe again. He’d done it numerous times before with blatant disregard for getting caught and Khloe always took him back. She’d defend the relationship to the public and go back to being his main thing while he was openly holding auditions for his next fling. No one could have foreseen that he’d try to recruit Jordyn Woods, though.

When it was revealed that Kylie Jenner’s bestie was Tristan’s latest conquest, there weren’t enough cups for all the tea. Jordyn explained her side of the story, and Khloe blamed her for the breakdown of her family. All of Al Gore’s Internet reminded her, though, that Tristan has been a dog and she should have seen this coming. As bad as her reaction to the news was, I understand her impulse to blame Jordyn. She was wrong, but I understand why she did it.

Back in college, I too was with a guy that had no intention of being faithful to me. The signs were there; I ignored them because he said he loved me. I couldn’t bring myself to accept that he was not right for me or worthy of all the chances I gave him. It ended as you would expect: he cheated again and left. Even in that final round, I found it hard to blame him for his behavior. That was because I was blaming the girl he cheated with because she knew about me, so I believed it was obviously all her fault. We were definitely fighting over him and she “won,” but life came at her fast. Even when they got together, he’d reach out to me for attention. All she and I had really done was switch places. He was still the man in the middle. That’s when I finally decided to cut off communication.

The two things that I regret in that situation were that I didn’t leave him the first time around and that I didn’t hold him responsible for his shabby treatment of me, for his decision to cheat. I suspect I’m not the only one who has been in the situation. It’s almost a reflex for women to focus our anger at the other woman and blame her for the downfall of our relationship and I think there are a few reasons why this happens.

You Don’t Want To Blame Him

Cheating hurts and it may irreparably damage your relationship. When an affair comes to light, many women start thinking about how to save the relationship because they’re afraid of being left alone while their man runs off with someone else. It’s a lot harder to save the relationship when you place the blame where it belongs (on him). Since we look for someone to be angry at–or at least someone to hold responsible–the other woman becomes the next target.

You Thought You Knew Him

In your mind, the man you fell in love with would never ever betray you like that. You two have formed a bond, so there’s no way he’d lie to you just to sneak around with someone else. It’s impossible to grasp the concept that the person you’ve been with would ever want someone else.

You Don’t Know Her

Getting cheated on is a major intrusion. At first, it defies logic that someone inside the relationship would invite someone else in. She’s the new person in the situation. Whether she knew about your or not, she’s an outsider to something you thought was exclusive. It’s almost like an emotional break-in, so your first instinct is to blame the would-be robber.

You See Her As Competition

Often when we get cheated on, we wonder what it is that a mistress has that we do not (not a damn thing, BTW). We immediately go into comparison mode, which makes the other woman competition. Depending on whether you’re trying to stay with the cheater, you’ll feel like you’re in a battle and the man is the prize.  He’s not much of a prize, though.

She Broke Girl Code

A lot of women are very invested in the idea of Girl Code. We fully expect other women to respect the fact that a man is in a relationship and back off. If he’s taken, then he’s off limits. We expect a base level amount of loyalty and solidarity from other women. Everyone agrees on that, right? The reality is, some women just don’t care about Girl Code. Relationship status is merely a formality for them. They’re fully subscribed to the idea that a man is single and available until he is married–and someone women don’t even let that stop them. The point is, you believe she’s the one who stepped out of line and broke the rules.

Here’s the problem with blaming the side chick, though, these reasons are all predicated on the idea that the other woman knew about you, and went after your man anyway. Whether she did or not is neither here nor there. Your man is the common denominator in both of these situations, so he’s the one that needs to be held responsible. As much as it hurts to face the reality that your partner actively made the decision to step out on you, it is the only way to move forward.

The side chick mantra states that another woman’s relationship has nothing to do with her. As cold as it to say, they’re right. Nothing but the laws of common decency and the level of your man’s commitment will safeguard your relationship. And if your man is not that into you but also doesn’t like the idea of being single, he will stay and stray. He’ll stick around as long as you’ll let him while he’s cheating on you. And he’ll keep cheating on you until break up with him. The problem isn’t the other woman, it’s your man. If he didn’t give her access to his time and affection, there would be no opportunity for him to cheat. He was the gatekeeper in that situation. She played her part, but he’s the one you need to hold accountable. You only set yourself up for disappointment and frustration when you have higher standards for a stranger than you do for your own man.

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