Absolutely no one is surprised that cheating is the topic of another Twitter discussion. With every time that the Twitter Wheel of Conversation lands on cheating, everyone rushes to be the first to victim blame. Everyone wants to believe that leaving someone who cheats on you is easy and that they could do it if it happened to them. For some people it is easy, for others it’s hard, and for some people it feels like it’s impossible. Nobody’s experience, relationship, or situation is exactly the same and it’s ignorant to think otherwise.
The notion that people who are cheated on “don’t love themselves” is based on narcissism and misogyny. While heterosexual relationships aren’t the only relationships that cheating occurs in, we tend to only focus on these instances. Even in these instances, men are rarely blamed if their girlfriend cheats on them. Instead the woman is slutshamed and demonized. This might seem appropriate, but it’s incredibly unfair seeing as women are also shamed when they’re the ones being cheated on. It’s not balanced just because us men are also demonized for cheating; only the person who broke the trust and was abusive should be in the hot seat.
Cheating is a form of emotional abuse and people conveniently “forget” that whenever the conversation is brought up. It’s not that easy to leave an abusive relationship, but everyone likes to think that they could do it on their own. That’s where the narcissism of victims not “loving themselves” comes in: people think too highly of themselves to have empathy. Being a victim of abuse, whether it be physical or emotional, is associated with being weak and therefore people who haven’t been through it would like to think they would never be weak like that. Being abused has nothing to do with being weak, and every person who has ever been abused is stronger than you could ever imagine. Surviving, and even not surviving, takes an incredible amount of strength that non-victims will never understand.
Of course it’s sad when people who are being cheated on aren’t able to leave their partners, but that has never been and never will be their fault.
The only person to blame in any abusive relationship is the abuser.
Abuse happens because of an inherent power imbalance between two people and to blame someone for something they can’t control can be more harmful than the abuse itself. Be careful of how you’re treating the people you claim to care about because you could be throwing them even farther into the abusive relationship.
Below are several resources on abusive relationships that can help you or someone you care about: