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Nadia Bartel and why we always blame the woman when there's rumours of cheating.

Would a man really cheat if a woman hadn’t caused him to ‘lose interest’?

Would he have ever strayed from his marriage if his wife had been able to maintain a “happy, grounded home”?

Would the relationship have broken down if she hadn’t “pushed them apart”?

These are the questions that inevitably emerge whenever news breaks about a high profile man cheating on his spouse.

If he cheated, the next question is: why?

Of course, these are the exact questions being raised by the tabloids following Nadia and Jimmy Bartel’s separation. While it’s hard to distinguish between truth and rumour, the gist of the break up (many details of which have been reported by journalists who are friends of Nadia’s) seems to be:

  • Nadia allegedly discovered text messages on Jimmy Bartel’s phone, suggesting he was cheating with Lauren Mand, an Australian woman living in the UK
  • Jimmy is rumoured to have flown to London seven weeks ago, before the couple allegedly separated when he returned
  • Jimmy and Nadia unfollowed each other on Instagram,
  • Rumours about their split began when they unfollowed each other on Instagram

Neither Nadia or Jimmy commented immediately. Then, two weeks ago, Nadia spoke to the Herald Sun, confirming it had been a “difficult month”.

“Although I’m heartbroken, I don’t want to comment specifically on what’s been reported about Jim’s trip to the UK as I don’t think that is in anyone’s interests,” she said.

“My single focus now is to continue to protect, care and provide for my two beautiful boys as this is a personal matter.”

Watch: Nadia Bartel on having a career after kids. Post continues after video.

Days earlier, Jimmy had told 3AW, “it’s not great”.

He didn’t specifically engage with the rumours, and simply said, “I am probably not going to provide any commentary on it.”

But somehow, despite any named sources or tangible evidence, the story has been developing in a predictable direction: Jimmy allegedly cheated. But who could blame him?

In a (since deleted) story published in New Idea on Monday, titled ‘Nadia and Jimmy Bartel: The truth at last – why they REALLY split,’ it was reported that Nadia had “turned into a ‘monster WAG’,” consumed with projecting an image of a “power couple”.

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My everything @jrb03 #ringthecops

A post shared by NADIA BARTEL (@nadiabartel) on


It’s a story we’ve seen unfold time and time again.

Particularly when the woman in question has a public profile, the stronger the cheating rumours, the more we tend to look towards the victim for fault.

When Tristan Thompson famously cheated on Khloe Kardashian with Jordyn Woods earlier this year, the public conversation didn’t linger on Tristan for long. Was the whole thing a stunt for Khloe’s TV show? Were the Kardashians being a little harsh in their treatment of Jordyn? And wasn’t it important to note that Khloe had been the ‘other woman’ not long ago, when Tristan was expecting a baby with Jordan Craig?

Similarly, whenever rumours surface about David Beckham cheating, the focus quickly shifts to the life of 45-year-old Victoria. Amid the most recent cheating rumours late last year, there were reports about the flailing ‘financial viability’ of Victoria’s business ventures. They could really only stay afloat, it was argued, because they were supported by David’s funds.

When Harry Styles cheated on Taylor Swift, she earned the title of the ‘clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend,’ and when Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie, it was very important for everyone to know that Brad always “hated [Jen’s] chain-smoking”.

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Of course, ‘monster WAG’ title is the laziest route to take when it comes to blaming Nadia Bartel for her former partner’s alleged infidelity.

 

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Fun with my number 1 last night @jrb03 Nadal was just too good! @australianopen @emirates #emiratesplay

A post shared by NADIA BARTEL (@nadiabartel) on


She’s built a huge platform and following – over half a million on Instagram alone – since her relationship with Jimmy (monster WAG).

A scroll through her Instagram puts the perfect visual backdrop to these claims, because she socialises with familiar faces, attends glamorous events, and travels with other well-known Melbourne women.

Jimmy Bartel’s Instagram, on the other hand, is private. He’s just a normal guy. Seeking a quiet family life.

But these superficial channels don’t tell us anything about who Nadia and Jimmy Bartel are, or what their relationship was really like.

Perhaps when we hear a story about cheating, we’re naturally inclined to add nuance to it. Yes, cheating is bad, but there has to be more to it. There has to be a reason. There has to be something we can do to avoid it happening in our own lives.

So we look to the victim. We look at their flaws, their wrongs, to make ourselves feel assured that we’re protected from a partner ever cheating on us.

But, unfortunately, that’s not how any of this works.

People cheat, and there are always many reasons why. But it’s time to stop being so quick to believe a man has no control over his behaviour, and that a woman has failed in her job-description if she hasn’t “kept him faithful”. It’s sexist, and it’s victim-blaming.
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