By Tosin Adeyehun
They expressed disdain on the woman’s act; they talked about how it is a total waste of time and energy to sniff out her husband’s affairs and how wrong she was, to check her husband’s phones (I agree). Then one of them said: “Me, I don’t have time for such rubbish, will I kill myself? I know my husband’s ‘side chicks’ and as long as they don’t give me problems, I’m okay with it”. She was met with a look of awe and pity from her partner. Then She said: “Is that a big deal?, when my husband buried his mother, one of his ‘side chicks’ came for the ceremony and she even carried her own Igbáowó( calabash meant for guests to put money into, during a ceremony). Then She dropped the bomb; “even when I was in the hospital, one of them bought beverages and as get well gifts, I collected and I enjoyed every bit of it” this conversation ensued between two women who sold Bread and Akara by the road side and it left me in a deep thought.I was confused and struggled within myself to understand her and come to terms with her words but I just couldn’t figure it out.
I asked a friend who was there all along, for her opinion and she expressed her sympathy for the woman. She said; poor woman, what do you expect her to do, its normal. I was able to assent to the fact that both women were from the generation where they are forced to accept anything their ‘culture’ offers thereby making them slaves of their supposed culture; where they are not allowed to question the status quo but I could not understand my friend’s point of view. I shared in her sympathy for the woman, not for the woman’s experiences in her marriage cum cohabitation but for her position on the issue; for in her, I found the voice of a woman forced to convert whatever she gets into her happiness. In the same vein, I extended my sympathy to my friend.
This necessitated a pragmatic research on the issue, which informed the above question; is it enough for a lady to break up with him just because he cheats? (Note: courtship). It birthed a lot of arguments and revealed different views and beliefs on the issue. There are “the boys” who think it is no reason at all, but when the question is asked the other way round, they couldn’t even imagine it. To them, it is more than enough reason to discard a woman if she cheats. They argue that men are not built to be monogamous because they are physical beings and that women are emotional beings therefore, faithful by nature. It is no news that ‘boys’ in this part of the world feel it is their right to cheat in a relationship or rather, it is culture.They feel that the fact that a man cheats on a woman does not mean he doesn’t love the woman, it is just nature and it’s the woman’s reaction to his affairs that would make him stay or leave her. (Wow, so he gets to pick who stays or leaves). I was not surprised at how brazen the ‘boys’ were about the issue of infidelity in relationships, even marriage (that’s for another day) and I was also not surprised that these ones could not even endure the thought of their woman cheating on them. In the second category are the mothers and young ladies who also think along the same line of culture but with a little concern for the female party involved in the relationship. They advise the ladies to never develop insomnia over an affair, they feel you should only sit back and die on the inside (it is a pity these ones are parents or somebody’s spouse and will plant the sameness into their offspring, then the cycle continues). In the third category are the ladies and a few men who don’t think cheating is right but only think it is normal, you just have to get over it; they say. They console themselves with the belief that; “no guy is single, you either snatch him from someone or you share him with someone, the most important thing is; be the highest shareholder”. The ladies say; As long as I’m the number 1, I’m good.Cliché!Well, let me tell you, if you have to count and pick a number and you think because you pick number one, you have won a gold medal, you are the problem of this nation. Change should begin with you!
For men in the first category who think it is nature and by implication, part of our culture,don’t forget that culture is generally defined as a way of life. This encompasses the beliefs, values, behaviours and material objects that constitute a peoples way of life.It can also be described as the arts customs, lifestyles, backgrounds and habits that characterize a particular society or a nation(the English dictionary http://wikitionary.org). Key words: behaviours, lifestyles, beliefs, habits. Judging by the definition of culture, cheating became culture because some ‘boys’ decided to start living that way such that it became the norm; it was not lodged in the composition of men during creation. This implies that it is a choice and not a law and it isn’t nature. Just because it became your culture doesn’t mean we have to be slaves to it.
Well, for our mothers and ladies who have been brainwashed into believing that it’s just the way men are,it is something we picked up eons ago, leaving the right thing now lost to the chasm of memory. They have become so used to it that they think it is part of the benefits that come with being a man.Try not to plant this seed in your offspring, let the cycle end with you. Don’t forget that you are not just raising your children, but somebody’s spouse. Please, raise them well. And for those who think that a lady should not lose sleep over an affair, it is true and sensible. If he cheats on you, he should be the one to lose sleep.
My favorite is the third category; at least, they are morally decent enough to know it is wrong for a man to cheat;they just think it’s normal. To them, it is a force to reckon with. I know they psyche you into believing that all men cheat and you can never find one who doesn’t. Good news! They are everywhere. They also make you feel that asking for 100% faithfulness from a guy is like asking him to kill himself. First, there is no such thing as 100% faithfulness; he is either faithful or not. Secondly, ask him for it and see if it would kill him.
Analyzing the views and opinion woke me up to the fact that this is neither an issue of education, age nor experience; it is simply a problem of acceptance. We have so much accepted the wrong such that the right thing has become so repressed in our memory and we cannot differentiate between right and wrong.We just know normal. Just because we think it is normal doesn’t mean it’s right;it isn’t even normal and can never be. So stop thinking it is normal, it isn’t. To ladies,asking your guy to be faithful is not asking for too much, so this should become a culture. Stop giving yourself up as a slave to someone’s choice;If he cheats, it’s his fault, not the society’s, not yours; it is simply the absence of self-discipline. It’s not his birthright; acceptance is just a ridiculous idea that gives him a pass to continue. Therefore, you must reject.
Non acceptance starts from changing how you view the situation; start viewing it the way he views it at the thought of you doing the same. Don’t sit back and tolerate nonsense just because you think it’s normal. We should stop accepting it and start making them take responsibility for their actions. You have the right to discard him if he cheats as much as he has the right to do the same. The earlier you face the truth and let them know that it can’t be condoned, the better.And, YES! Cheating is enough reason to break up with him.