Love & Sex 2nd December 2022 by Denise Curtin
Yes, Hot People Get Cheated On Too
Cheating has nothing to do with looks and everything to do with power, writes Denise Curtin.
‘Emily Ratajkowski splits with nobody husband after allegedly finding out he was a “serial cheater”‘ reads the headline of an angry Barstool Sports article. An article which not only seems to be written in a furious rush, but in total disbelief that someone like Emily Ratajkowski, EM-I-LY RATA-J-KOW-SKI can be succumbed to heartbreak and betrayal – I mean, have you seen her? She’s so hot.
A successful model, actress and author, Emily Ratajkowski has been lauded for her looks since she was a little girl, shooting to stardom in 2013 after her appearance in a music video, aged 21. The beginning of her career and subsequently, the beginning of the world falling in love with ‘EmRata’, from those who considered her their ‘dream girl’ to those who wanted her beauty, body, popularity, she quickly became the world’s physical ideal and thus, sort of protected in a strange way, be it out of lust or jealousy.
So, when Emily Ratajkowski, goddess Ratajkowski, got cheated on by Sebastian Bear-McClard, her husband of four years and baby daddy to their one-year-old son, Sylvester, fans truly and wholeheartedly believed that love was dead. ‘If somebody is going to cheat on Emily Ratajkowski, then there’s absolutely no hope in hell of me every finding someone,’ wrote one Twitter user, while a response chimed in, ‘imagine having the audacity to cheat on EmRata? Like who do you think you are?’ The thread continued, ‘how can someone believe there’s someone hotter than the hottest woman on planet Earth? A joke!’
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All of these comments, all of this frustration we see from fans online and publications calling her husband a ‘nobody’ in retrospect to the star, they all point back to one very dated idea and problematic narrative – hot women simply cannot get cheated on. If you’re beautiful, you’re immune to bad luck and in particular, the kind that comes from dating men. Any man should be lucky to have you and do everything to keep you, love you and do right by you, all based on how you look.
When you think about it, it’s upsetting that we’re so conditioned to think that how you look should in turn, affect your luck. I won’t lie, when I first heard about EmRata’s cheating scandal my initial thought was ‘no way, but she’s stunning??’, not very woke of me, no, but a true reflection of why we need more reinforcement to beat out this old age and deeply ingrained way of thinking that there isn’t more to someone’s life (and relationship in this case) than the way they look.
“Celebrities are held up to impossible ideals and impossible beauty standards, so when one experiences something that the average person does, it shatters our illusion that beauty is everything we need for a happy life,” explains Dr Caroline West, sex educator and host of the Glow West podcast. “It is not possible to be desirable to everyone, but in a society where there is so much pressure on people to conform to beauty standards, it seems like that is all we are valued for.” And its the very same issue that lead Jameela Jamil to start her ‘I Weigh’ campaign. After seeing an image of The Kardashians alongside how much each of them weigh on social media, Jameela Jamil felt compelled to take action and declare that she had seen enough. Speaking in an interview, the English presenter and activist said: ‘If there are any numbers written across those women’s bodies, it’s how much money they have brought to the table, which is a significant amount.’ Using the same format whereby these women were highlighted for how much they weigh, Jameela Jamil’s Instagram account (i_weigh) and podcast ‘I Weigh With Jameela Jamil’ focuses on the weight of having great attributes and how they make great people, getting us to “look beyond the flesh on our bones,” as she notes on her Instagram Stories.
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Something which we could all do with hearing because unfortunately, Emily Ratajkowski isn’t the first ‘hot’ person that has garnered shock over infidelity. We saw the same issue arise when Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé, when Alex Rodriguez allegedly cheated on Jennifer Lopez, and most recently pre-Ratajkowski, when Shakira left her husband of 11 years, Gerard Pique after it was reported that the former Spanish international was caught having an affair with another woman. Thus, surprise surprise, similar to your ‘average folk’, ‘hot’ people are getting cheated on constantly, so what’s really at play here since we now know it’s got nothing to do with looks?
“Looks are not what sustains a relationship, it’s trust, intimacy, authenticity, and support. If a person strays, it might have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and their attitudes towards love, respect, consent, and monogamy,” explains Dr Caroline West. “If they cheat rather than work to resolve relationship issues, the issue is with their communication, commitment, and empathy. Looks change over a relationship and what is really important is your connection and emotional intimacy.” Because whether your relationship blossomed in Hollywood or Hollystown, they face the same issues and work – they’re complex, challenging and time-consuming. Relationships require trust and loyalty and that goes for everyone, everywhere. So when we peel back that shiny, untouchable coating we drown our favourite celebs in, we see that in many ways, they’re just like us – as violently cliched as that sounds.
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So, despite being conditioned to believe that being desirable will open all doors, the reality is that desirability cannot influence whether someone treats you well and/or chooses to be faithful to you. Cheating has nothing to do with looks, and a lot to do with power.”Some people enjoy the thrill of cheating and having a secret. What is really behind this is the enjoyment of potentially hurting another person, which is an element of sadism and cruelty. If you know your partner would be upset if you cheated, and you do it anyway, you are really saying that you care more about your pleasure than their pain,” says Caroline.
And while Emily Ratajkowski is ultimately mourning the loss of her relationship to her 41-year-old husband, with Page Six reporting that the model is set to file for divorce, as her husband is rumoured to be “begging” for “another chance” by the same publication, the common outcry still remains to be disbelief. Yes, reports seem to give Sebastian a slap on the wrist for his infidelity, but the spotlight continues to focus on Emily Ratajkowski’s looks, not just because she’s seen as having more ‘fame’ than her other half, but because she’s pretty.
Why Sebastian chose to cheat on Emily? We might never know, and besides sheer nosiness, we don’t need to know. What we do need to know is that Emily Ratajkowski is not an example of why men cheat on beautiful women. The same way that Kirsten Stewart isn’t an example of why women cheat on handsome men. Ultimately the reasons for cheating are far more complex than what we see on an Instagram feed, and being hot certainly doesn’t repel heartbreak.
Ask the expert! Is once a cheater really always a cheater?
Dr Caroline says: ‘Not necessarily! People can cheat and feel remorse for their actions and work on addressing the reasons why they cheated. However, if they have no remorse and excuse or minimise their behaviour, then it is likely that they may cheat again. Cheating is a conscious decision where the needs of the innocent party are ignored, and to undo the harm cheating can cause, the cheater must work to right their wrongs and earn abck trust, which can be a long process. Couples counselling can help, but the amount of work to be done needs to be weighed up against the decision to be single.’
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