A Man Cheating Is Never The Woman's Fault

Life & Love | Bené Viera | 03/12/2014 | 11:56 AM EDT

Writer Bené Viera weighs in on Tina Campbell of Mary Mary taking full responsibility for her husband's infidelity

Blaming the wife or girlfriend for a man’s infidelity isn’t just a concept on Tuesday night’s “Being Mary Jane” or the pulse pumping “Scandal.” Pointing the finger at every woman but the culprit of the infidelity is a centuries old practice that needs to stop.

Fans of the gospel group Mary Mary were shocked when Tina Campbell revealed her husband Teddy Campbell cheated on her with a family friend. Here was a devoutly religious family experiencing one of the most embarrassing and painful blows to a marriage, publicly. Tina not only decided to work it out with her husband of 14 years, she recently took full responsibility for Teddy’s affair.

“I, Tina, assume full responsibility for the issues that I contributed to the relationship," she said in an interview. "I was controlling, talked too much,” Tina continued, admitting that she would dominate the conversation until she’s ready to let someone else talk. “That was the way it was and I have to work on myself.”

She also said she dropped the ball as a wife putting her children and career first.

“I was selfish. When we started having children it’s like, I forget that I have a responsibility as a wife,” she said. “You want your husband to be the man and to take his place, but because ‘I’m a strong woman, I’m a this woman and I’m a that woman’ we [sic] busy stepping on our man. Making him feel small. And you know what? I did that. And I take responsibility for that.”

It’s awesome that Tina is self-aware enough to know how her actions contributed to the marriage’s troubles, but the responsibility of her husband carrying on an affair belongs to him and him alone.

A woman’s actions are never to blame for a man’s choice to not honor his vows. Ever.

A wife could neglect home, stop having sex with her husband altogether, exhibit controlling behavior, “talk too much” (uh, whatever that means), focus on her career more than her husband and do everything else under the sun that would cause any relationship to suffer. All of those actions are grounds for a husband to be disgruntled and even file for divorce. It is not, however, justification for cheating. The minute he cheats, that’s on him.

Let’s be really clear: cheating is a character flaw. Men (and women) with a noble character don’t cheat because things got rocky in the relationship or marriage. Cheating is not an oopsy mistake like spilling a glass of juice on the freshly mopped floor. It is not something one is justified in doing because they’re not getting their needs met. One does not get a pass for cheating because they didn’t have the gumption to address and work on the real issues.

Blaming women for cheating/women taking the responsibility for their man cheating allows men to never be held accountable for their actions. As long as the focus is on what the woman did the man walks away unscathed, consequence free.

To think that it’s unnatural for men to be faithful, have one partner for the rest of their lives or that men are controlled by their sexual organs is a crop of bull. It reduces men to mindless robots without any control of their sexual impulses or decisions, which is simply not true. Cheating is a choice that men are more than capable to decide if they want to go through with or not.

It’s sexist for women to continuously be considered the culprit of a man’s actions. The same happens when a man cheats on his wife and the “side chick” is blamed, scorned, called everything but a child of God. But what about the man who took the vows or made the commitment? The focus should remain on him.

So while I understand Tina has the right to own responsibility for anything she chooses, I can’t jump on the bandwagon of the sexist narrative that women somehow share the accountability for a man cheating.

The thought of cheating, acting out the thought, the decision to hide the infidelity, is that man’s sole responsibility. Have all the conversations in the world about why the downward spiral in the marriage occurred, and how both parties contributed to the problems. But let’s not claim a woman’s actions lead to her man cheating.

A man’s questionable character and disrespect for his relationship is what leads to him cheating. Period.

(Photos from Left: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Super Bowl, Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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