Ladies, Only YOU Can Prevent Cheating

Ladies, after reading one fairytale after another, we all believed in Prince Charming just as much as we believed in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. We waited and anticipated his arrival on a white horse coming to rescue us from our despair.

But ladies, where's your patience and self-respect? Just because Prince Charming is running a little late does not give you the right to borrow or steal someone else's knight in shining armor.

This message has been weighing heavy on my heart since the news broke of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanfordâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢s rendezvous in Argentina with his Latin lover, who's now been confirmed as former journalist Maria Belen Chapur.

Though saddened by the news of the sudden death of pop icon Michael Jackson, I'm certain that the governor and his camp appreciated the breather from the spotlight, even if it was only short-lived.

As the governor tries to pick up the pieces and repair his private life, he's been thrust back into the spotlight again -- now, he's been caught backpeddaling over details surrounding his affair and encounters with his mistress. 

And then came another bombshell in the press concerning another wayward male politician. In walks former presidential candidate John Edwards, the Golden Boy from the South with the megawatt smile, who was once a front-runner for the highest office in the land.

Just when it appeared that he might be starting to resurrect his political career, comes the news from his former campaign aide, Andrew Young has just inked a book deal to spill the juicy details of the former presidential candidate's relationship with his mistress Rielle Hunter. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that there is news of an alleged sex tape featuring Edwards and his former mistress Rielle Hunter? Pick your jaw up, and stop searching in YouTube.

Unlike other articles Iâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve read and soundbites that Iâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve heard, I have absolutely no intention of ripping into these two powerful men who appear to enjoy living on the edge. I'm positive their wives, advisers and the rest of the media have already weighed in. 

And you, dear reader, you need to put that stone down. You live in a glass house yourself. Check your own backyard before you begin to publicly speak out against others.

My gripe today is with the women who allow and accept the behavior of men -- powerful or ordinary -- who want to have their cake and eat it too.

Last week, every headline dissected why powerful men cheat. I'll tell you why. The answer is quite simpleâ€Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½BECAUSE THEY CAN. Period. Letâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not over-analyze the situation by asking ourselves and the world why these powerful, distinguished movers and shakers, who appear to have it all, would place everything on the line for a temporary moment of ecstasy. The bottom line is they do it because they can. Do you know why they can? Another simple answer: because women allow it. Thatâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢s right. Today, Iâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢m not questioning why any powerful leader, who appears to have the world at their fingertips, would gamble everything they worked so hard for on the line. Iâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢m much more interested in learning why the women who participate in these crimes of passion would disrespect themselves by engaging in such activity.

Every time these scandals hit the fan and the damage control press conference takes place, I find myself often times tuning out the admission of guilt by the political leader, and watching the facial expressions and body language of the wives, who are normally standing there behind their newsmaking-husbands in an attempt to demonstrate a united front to the world. These are women who have devoted their lives and sacrificed their own aspirations to support their husbands' dreams and goals. 

As a woman, I cringe when I think about how the wife has to deal with the whispers from observers when she walks through a room, the friends and acquaintances that she probably just finished entertaining in her home who have scattered like roaches when the lights turn onâ€Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½some who even take advantage of the situation to elevate their own careers.

I try to walk in the shoes of the wives for just a moment and imagine how they must look at their reflections in the mirror and question themselves on what they did wrong, what they could have done to prevent this and how in God's world do they explain this to their children whom they hope to shelter from the cruelty of playground-banter and the press.

Flashing lights, dinners with prominent newsmakers, invitations to prestigious parties and charity balls, traveling the world, aspirations that could lead all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue --of course it all sounds exciting. Ladies, I can't fault you for wanting a successful mate. Who doesn't want a 21st century Prince Charming? Never in the fairytales, however, did Cinderella, or any other character steal Prince Charming from someone else. Cinderella attracted her own Prince Charming, she didn't go window shopping in someone else's life.

Though Governor Sanford's 2012 presidential aspirations are shaky, at the end of the day, he's made it clear that he's not stepping down from his post -- despite the tug of war between political leaders, lawmakers and the South Carolina press. Jenny Sanford made her position very clear last week that the governor's career is not her concern. She's now on vacation with her children and winning the praises of many who have labeled her a "hero."

As for Maria Belen Chapur, after publicly acknowledging the affair on Sunday, she's left with a fading memory and a life that no longer belongs to only her. She's intelligent, beautiful, and can't go anywhere without being noticed --  not for her own qualities, but for a bad decision she made to engage in a dead-end relationship with a prominent newsmaker.

Elizabeth Edwards has won the hearts of millions of women around the world who are outraged whenever they try to envision walking in her shoes---battling cancer and caring for two small children. Rielle Hunter, on the other hand is left to find her photo on the cover of every tabloid magazine again and to pray that the alleged sex tape never finds its way to YouTube. What will she tell her daughter when she's old enough to understand?

This is the norm in these situations. Turn back the hands of time and consider President Clinton. He remained president. His wife became a Senator, a front-runner for the presidency and is now the Secretary of State. Where is Monica now? Has anyone seen Ashlee Dupree, Karin Stanford or any of the others recently?

I'm not saying that these women are bad people. They just made a bad decision. My point is, the mistresses normally don't win in the end, and if they feel they've won, they should define what a victory really is, and what makes them think they are exempt from their powerful men's philandering ways? There may be a few exceptions to the rule, but more often than not, the powerful philanderers don't leave their wives. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose. So ladies, save yourselves some heartache and humiliation. You deserve better. Take a stance. Consider the anti-drug campaign from the eighties---Just Say No! A political Prince Charming riding on a donkey or an elephant is on his way, holding the slipper that only fits your foot.

LaToya Foster is a Washington-based commentator, journalist and motivational speaker.