If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know how painful that feels to have the one person you’ve entrusted your life secrets and commitments to simply just throw it all way for a fling. If you’ve ever went through it, you know how deep the rage runs for what they did to you, but some of us transfer that rage from our boyfriend/husband to the other woman. Are we allowed to be angry at them? Of course we should be angry at them if they knew the person they were seeing had a mate, but we should never be angrier at them than we are at our own mate. They are not the ones who agreed to be in a relationship with us and were supposed to honor the terms of that agreement. They weren’t the ones that lied to us day in and day out and continued on as if nothing happened. The other woman is not responsible for keeping our relationship afloat, so why do we blame her as if she were?
We ask why women can be such homewreckers and whores when we don’t ask why our men can’t be faithful to us. We wonder why women are so often scapegoated except when we’re the ones doing it. Then, we ask why our fellow women don’t have standards when we should in fact be wondering where our standards are. If we allow men to continually cheat on us and continually blame women, how do we view ourselves? We are both victims and abusers at the same time while we don’t demand that men are held to the same standards. This is not an issue of the patriarchy holding us down, but something that we as women must deal with ourselves.
So why do we blame the other woman and not our men? In cases where we actually leave our men, we understand the relationship is no longer tenable, but for those of us who chose to stay, we sometimes shift the blame to the other woman so that we don’t have to blame our husband or boyfriend. Because if we do, we would have to reckon with actually doing something about our pain and anger towards him, and that may mean leaving him, so we don’t blame him. Instead, we blame an easy target who is not in our home everyday and whom we see every morning when we wake up so that we can continue living with them. And what happens to this misplaced anger and pain? Not only do we end up hating a woman that has no relation to us, but we invite the anger and pain into our household, creating an uneasy tension that our children can feel.
Can we stay with a person who has cheated? Of course we can, but that requires a great deal of work. We must work through our own hurt and pain, forgive the other person, and have assurances for the future, but if we falter on any of those steps, the hurt and anger never subsides. It is always there like a cancer to remind us of what happened to us. If we can overcome it, we can go on to experience a healthy and loving relationship, but if we cannot, it would be best to sever ties and move on. And some of us are not yet ready to move on, but we also can’t deal with the pain, so we shift the blame and focus our energy on the other woman. If we can learn to forgive the ones who cheated on us, why can’t we learn to forgive the one he cheated on us with? For the only one who is getting destroyed by all the anger is ourselves in the end.
Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash