It's Time to Stop Blaming Women for their Partner's Unacceptable Behavior: A Love Letter to Khloé Kardashian
I still remember the first time I found out my ex-boyfriend cheated on me.
I was placing my bags into my mom's car as I got ready to head over to the airport when my phone started buzzing in the pocket of my jeans.
Two unread messages from Facebook Messenger appeared on the screen from the man who had dropped me off at my house just two hours earlier.
One read, "Hey, let's check out this pizza place," while the other took up most of the screen on my then LG smartphone.
I felt how the air escaped my body and my stomach tightened as my eyes read the first couple of lines of the second message.
You see, before the era of "unsend" or "delete for everyone," there was no anesthetic for messages sent to the wrong chat box. You hit send in the wrong place and you were screwed, such was the case for my ex.
I scrolled through the love letter another woman had written to him detailing the events of their summer romance.
A summer he had spent in Europe backpacking while I awaited his return back home. A summer where he had returned to Europe to visit some "friends" and kissed me goodbye as I left him at the airport, reassuring me that he'd be back soon.
I sobbed my way onto the airplane and headed to college, where my closest friends shared their own well-intentioned opinions as to what I should do next while I replayed the contents of the letter in my head—totally numb—wondering how someone who I trusted could betray me so miserably.
Yet, somehow the consensus was, "People make mistakes, give him another chance."
Others would say, "Perhaps there's something missing there that he's not getting from your relationship," or my all-time favorite, "maybe you're just not enough for him right now."
The decision to forgive him and give our relationship another chance would later haunt me.
Nearly two years later, I pulled up to his driveway on Valentine's Day and found him sleeping with another woman. That was the moment I realized the problem was never me, despite what others would have me feel or believe.
This experience came to mind as I watched the season finale of The Kardashians on Hulu. An episode centering around Khloé Kardashian's reaction to Tristan Thompson's latest cheating scandal.
To be fair, Keeping Up With the Kardashians was never my go-to show on television, and on any given day, my life is as far from the reality of the Kardashians. However, for as many differences as Khloé and I have, we still have fundamental things in common: we're women, we've been hurt and society has blamed us for the unacceptable behavior of the men in our lives.
"I didn't buy tickets to this f***ing circus but somehow, I'm watching all these clowns act out in front of me," Kardashian said in the finale episode, and I felt that to my core.
Despite Thompson's continued pattern of bad behavior, the world seemed to forget his actions and focus instead on blaming her. On picking apart what she didn't do, how she looked and her decision to try to make things work for the sake of her daughter, True Thompson.
But what about him? When do we hold people accountable for their inexcusable behavior? When do we stop asking women to nitpick at every aspect of their lives and ask men to take responsibility for their actions?
When do we take a step back from the hypocrisy of it all and make the news about how we continue to raise emotionally unavailable men?
The truth is we will never know why people cheat, lie or deceive. But what I do know, is that your partner is not your healer or your therapist, and expecting women to fix men is wrong.
Kardashian, like millions of women around the world that have been betrayed, pushed through the noise to give love a fighting chance only to be burned by the person she vehemently believed in. It doesn't make her weak—it makes her a warrior.
It takes enormous courage to be vulnerable and take those chances, and most of all, to take responsibility for our actions. It also takes enormous courage to turn things around and build your own fairytale, as the Good American mogul is doing.
You see, instead of closing the season finale by hating on her ex, Kardashian looked to the future, her family, her daughter and the wonderful home she built for herself with the money she has earned. You can love her or hate her, but the facts stand: her strength is admirable.
As someone who has risen from the ashes of their sorrow, I can say that we truly never love the same way again. We love better, smarter, more passionately and intuitively, because we learn to love ourselves more.
When I look back at the woman I was, the one that sat on the floor of her bedroom feeling like she wasn't enough, I admire her. I applaud her courage, for she was always enough—as are we all.