The photos were brandished across the internet, the headlines following a similar tune: Khloe Kardashian is days – hours, even – from giving birth, and the father of her baby, Tristan Thompson, is gallivanting around nightclubs and kissing strange women.
There was sympathy for Khloe, distaste for Tristan and an overwhelming number of articles digging into the basketballer’s shady past: Here’s man with a shaky track record, a man who – if you do the maths – may just have left his pregnant ex-girlfriend for his now pregnant girlfriend, who he has now been busted cheating on. (It’s like the circle of life but a infidelity-filled celebrity version.)
Discourse has been curious, if a little predictable, with sentiment looking like this: If someone like Khloe Kardashian can be cheated on, what help is there for the rest of us?
And then, well, came this: Are there some men in the world who will cheat no matter what? Does the allure of the woman at home have any bearing on whether or not a man will cheat? Oh, and of course: What is wrong with men who just can’t help themselves?
Sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein says for starters, there’s definitely a difference between people who cheat as an isolated thing and the ones who cheat consistently, on multiple partners.
LISTEN: Someone needs to tell Khloe Kardashian that her type isn’t working for her.
“The ones who are continuous cheaters – and let’s be clear there are so many different reasons, first and foremost, that people cheat, it could be boredom, or something wrong with relationship – are the ones we need to take note of.
“We need to start looking at the ego and their need to constantly feed it. With a guy like [Tristan Thompson] – somebody who is paid a lot of money – he no doubt has quite an ego on him because he is an elite athlete dating a Kardashian.”
Goldstein says to understand why men like Thompson allegedly cheat on multiple partners, we need to understand the inner workings of their sense of self worth. He may not necessarily be pursuing these women, but when they come along, he isn’t turning them away, either.
“When women are throwing themselves at him, when they’re slapping his ego, it only inflates it. When I look at these photos, he isn’t pushing her up against a wall but he isn’t exactly pushing her away. I just get this sense of a guy who loves, generally, being worshipped and adored, and that is very closely linked to sex, because he wants to be equally worshipped sexually.”
Often in these discussions, the concept of sex addiction is thrown around willfully and ignorantly. A man who cheats, a man who wants a lot of sex, must be addicted, right?
Goldstein says not at all. She believes it has nothing to do with sex. It’s all about ego.
“It’s a very difficult thing to work out, what constitutes a sex addiction. Yes, you can get the sex at home. But in this case, it’s not about the sex, it’s about the ego. It’s about feeling they are ‘man enough’ getting hot women. Oh, they think, this is a challenge. I want to know I can get it, because it makes me feel worthy. It all comes down to their sense of self worth and their ego.
“Cheating for these guys is – I don’t want to say addictive, but it’s so enticing. It’s not about sexual pleasure necessarily, the driver is, in fact, knowing that I can get this. It’s the idea that I’m so attractive, I can can get whatever I want.”
While the age-old assumption is ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’, Golstein says she finds it hard to consider whether that concept is entirely true. She does concede, though, that with men like Thompson, the men that just can’t help themselves, they will continue to cheat lest they don’t address their giant and inflated ego.
“I feel conflicted when people ask me if it’s true that once a cheater, always a cheater, but I do think in the cases of these men, we need to pay attention. After all, if they don’t resolve their issues around self worth, then they absolutely will keep cheating.
“[Thompson cheating] has nothing to do with how hot Khloe Kardashian is. It’s not about her hotness at all, or their sex life.
“It’s just all about his ego.”