Men, Women, Infidelity: Twitter Influencer, Oloni, caused quite a stir a while back when she asked the women following her to send her their intimate confessions of what they were actually doing the night they told their partners they were ‘sleeping’. When numerous women shared salacious tales of sensual nights with their lovers, it unsurprisingly caused quite a scandal.
However, I found it all very amusing. Especially seeing the reactions of the men who saw the thread. There were several comments from men lamenting about how they could never trust women again and how women are snakes in green grass, etc. Several relationships were shaken up as men started suspecting their wives and girlfriends, directly and indirectly questioning them on those times when they claimed they were sleeping. Even the innocent ones were eyed suspiciously. Wahala.
Nothing could have kept the sly smirk from my face as I skimmed all the comments. (Or at least, as many as I could. They were infinite.) You may be wondering what tickled my fancy so much. It’s the fact that this clearly debunks some of the numerous excuses men have been using to justify their infidelity. Some use science as the excuse, for some it’s religion, for some it’s culture.
The science-related excuse is this: it is perfectly natural and normal for a man to cheat mainly because it is in the male DNA. While women are by nature faithful and docile beings. For eons, I have heard this. They claimed that women can only accept their partner’s cheating but cannot dream of daring to do so themselves because this is the way things naturally are. However, there is no scientific evidence that supports this in any way and there are many occasions and testimonies that debunks these claims. Hence this argument is null and void. The truth is that many men and even women have been consciously and unconsciously programmed to believe this but this remains a fallacy. Anyone who decides to think logically can see that, change these erroneous beliefs and hopefully behave better.
I asked them to put themselves in the woman’s shoe. How would they feel if they found out that their female partners were cheating on them. They went berserk. They can’t stand the mere thought of it. It’s not possible. Abomination. Wrong. Bad. Terrible. Then they pretty much accepted that they would be deeply hurt. Well, that’s exactly how most women feel as well. Why is so much of a stretch to piece together that we are all human beings and we all have feelings? Why is too much to ask that you not hurt your partner in a way you would not like to be hurt?
They claimed it is simply not in a woman’s nature to cheat as she is more romantic in nature. She just can’t have sex without attaching emotional feelings to it. She would surely fall in love. So it’s impossible for her to have sex with two or more guys at once. Of course, this is just another shade of bullshit. The proof of this lies in the very existence of prostitutes and gold diggers who try as much as possible to take advantage of men’s obsession with the female body as nothing but a sexual toy for their pleasure. No, women are very much capable of separating love and sex. And there are men who do develop feelings when given the option of ‘just sex’. It has more to do with the individual than just the gender.
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Now that several women are admitting or claiming to be cheating on their men in the most salacious ways and thoroughly and unapologetically enjoying it too, these same men who felt that they are the only ones who can do and undo are either mute or have transformed their speech into how detestable, untrustworthy and snake-like women are. I find that to be pathetic. If women are all these things for cheating, obviously so are the men. Why would you prefer to hurt your woman in this way, when you yourself can’t stand the pain? What makes you feel that your woman would have any desire to resist the numerous temptations out there for her to cheat when she knows that you would definitely not do the same for her? It’s sad that we had to end up like this.
Then there are those who lean on the religious excuse. They say this is the way God decreed it. That men should be filthy liars and cheats, while women being nothing but second-hand citizens whose feelings and opinions don’t matter can only keep themselves as the decorative objects designed to fulfill their man’s every whim and desire and remain pure for their supreme masters, the dear beloved head-of-the-house. Why do you think they choose to cling to the idea that a loving, unbiased God will ever do that to any of his creatures? What kind of God would lovingly create a being and then proceed to belittle it and instruct everyone else to do the same? Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say, “Go ye forth and shamelessly cheat on your wives, for ye have my very biased blessing!” Neither does it say, “Thou shalt here-onward treat your wive(s) as property to be amassed and accumulated with little or no regard whatsoever.”
Rather it says “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” If you don’t want to be cheated on by your partner, don’t cheat on her. Don’t feel that you are the only ‘god’ in the house that has the right to disregard other people’s feelings. Learn to effing empathise.
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Of course, they are some couples that claim to have an open relationship. They agree on the terms and both accept sex with other people. But nobody is claiming to have more rights or privileges than the other and that is vastly more preferable.
Then for those who use culture as their excuse. “It’s in our African culture.” “This is the way it has always been.” This is once again just bullshit of another colour. Sure, we have the culture and traditions that our ancestors adopted in their time according to their beliefs & experiences. Most of the practices and mentality were passed down from generation to generation. But like everything else in this world, a lot of it was subject to change. And that is only normal. Several things have changed and our present day world definitely does not and can not mirror the exact world of our forefathers. Our houses have changed, as well as clothing styles, hairdo, farming methods, fishing methods, boat constructions, etc. Our Gods have changed, or maybe, as some would prefer to say, just the names we call God, our understanding of Him/Her and our methods of acknowledgement and worship have changed. Many of our beliefs have changed. We have done away with most of the inhumane cruelty and inflexibility that came with our tradition and religion, like the killing of twins, the torture of left-handed people, the persecution of albino’s and ritual human killing. All these were considered ‘normal’, even decreed by God. All these were an intricate part of our culture and tradition. At some point in time, it was considered impossible to stop. But none of these exist anymore. Why? Because no matter what humans are capable of realizing that their practices and beliefs are wrong and set about bringing change.
So no, you can’t forever use the argument that we must cling to worn-out and unfair cultural practices as your excuse for bad behaviour. Culture can be a beautiful thing, yes, but culture improves and gets better. We still use ankara but that doesn’t mean we’ll stick to the same fashion styles of centuries ago.
Now, I am not saying that we all should be unfaithful. It is frankly unwise to do so. I don’t have to enumerate the STD, pregnancy and trust issues it can generate in a relationship. Rather, I’m pro-faithfulness. We can all live in a world that’s loving and kind when we stop acting selfishly and unfairly.
Akpanabasi is a lover of literature and languages. She studied French and French education in various international institutions. She is a prolific reader and writer. She is a strong believer in society’s ability to change and evolve for the better – as it has been doing for several centuries now.
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