Please excuse my Tyler Perry-esque title. I just wanted to get straight to the point about why I wrote this.
Unless you are like me and deliberately choose to ignore the news, chances are you’ve noticed the recent headlines captivating the Nigerian “media” lately.
I wasn’t going to comment at first but I have gotten a bit frustrated with the tone of the rhetoric surrounding the issue.
Some time ago, we received a number of Ask Naija Couple emails all asking similar questions along the lines of: Why do Men Cheat? Why do the men with beautiful, talented, famous wives still stray? Why do the men with wives who cook, clean, and have sex with them every night, still cheat? Why do the men with good wives still seek another?
My response was usually very short.
Because they want to.
It’s a simple answer. But if you want to understand what I mean by that, please read on.
Once upon a time…
I walked in on Naijawife talking on the phone to a friend.
“He did WHAAAAT?! With WHO? Unbelievable. That useless girl?! How on earth can she even compare to you? He bought her WHAT?! When is he going to change??? Ok. No problem. Babe, babe, relaaaaaaaax. I know just what to do.
Se you know where she lives? You do? Ok listen, tomorrow we will go to her house and…”
My ears perk up at this. Whose house does Naijawife want to go to? I know Naijawife to be that Ride or Die friend who will remove earrings and tie wrapper when a friend is in trouble. So I immediately dropped whatever I was doing at the time and kept listening…
“What do you mean you don’t want to show your face in public? Just sit in the car then! I’ll do it for you!”
I start signalling Naijawife, mouthing “Who are you talking to?” But she doesn’t bother to respond. She’s too caught up in the moment.
“Nooooo we don’t need acid… Haba! Why should we go to prison over her? Naaaa I promise I won’t cause a scene. We’re just going to have some words…You don’t want to talk to her? What are you afraid of? OK fine. Let’s send her a message. We’ll use that website Anonymous SMS to send her a message first…. Trust me I use it all the time…I’ll draft it for you. Noooooo now trust me. I know JUST what to say…”
Father in heaven.
She said acid.
And because I don’t want my wife to end up in prison, I grab the phone from her. I do not bother to ask her what she has used anonymous SMS for. I do not want to know.
Some days later. Naijawife is laying in bed scrolling through her personal instagram when she suddenly shouts: ““HEEEE WOOOO! So she can lie like this?”
“Look at this post by **** about her husband. Just look!””
We both know this particular lady’s husband to be well…for lack of a better word…a philanderer, and abusive to boot. I take the phone from her, mentally rolling my eyes at the thought of NW continuing to waste time on social media, and look at the post in question.
I quietly hand the phone back to Naijawife.
“Don’t you think that’s crazy?”
“Yeah I guess so. But she can do whatever she wants with her account. If you don’t like it, just unlook.”
“I know. I know it’s her business. But between you and me, don’t you think it’s odd? It’s one thing to lie to yourself, it’s another thing to come to the public and lie to others. Who are you trying to deceive? And for what purpose? What if one of his little girlfriends decides to post a response and expose all? Sebi that’s what happened to that celebrity just last week.”
“I get your point. But maybe she’s not deliberately trying to deceive anyone. Maybe she’s just having a hard time dealing with it. She may be trying to convince herself to keep going. These situations…they’re painful enough to deal with and everyone has their own way of dealing.”
“Please, please, please.” So if I was cheating on you and beating you, you’ll go and start writing Facebook posts praising me abi? What would that solve?”
“I didn’t think so. So….how would you react if you found out I was cheating?”
I should have known the conversation was going in this direction. So I try to picture what that would look like…
But I quickly shake the image from my mind.
“Well. I don’t know” I respond. “I know I’d be broken, but I don’t know what I’d do though.”
“Well how do you think I’d react if you cheated on me?”
“I don’t have to guess. I know I’d be dead before I could even formulate the idea in my head…”
She smiles and laughs, satisfied that I know I’d likely die by her hand…but I continue.
“….but frankly speaking, your reaction doesn’t matter.”
“Darling your reaction doesn’t matter because my decision to stay faithful is not dependent on you. I’m not staying faithful because I think you’ll kill me or catch me and disgrace me. I’m not staying faithful because I think you treat me well, or because you cook, or because I think you’re still attractive. I’m not staying faithful because your father pulled me to one side during our courtship and threatened to have my blokos chopped off if I messed with you. So even if I thought you’d never catch me…and even if I was certain there’d be no major consequences, it doesn’t matter. I simply do not want to. My vow was to God, not to you. And what I want to do is keep that vow. I fear hell more than I fear you, your father, or death. So no matter what you do, what you look like, or how you change, I’m staying faithful.”
She stares at me blankly. I suspect she wanted a more romantic answer but I didn’t want to deceive her.
“But what if someone seduced you? Aunty ****** always claimed that someone used jazz on her husband. Possible or no?”
Now this is my favorite topic – the idea that men can be controlled by their sexual organs like mindless beasts.
“Juju that only makes him sleep with other women and doesn’t affect anything else? I suspect Aunty ***** might just be trying to comfort herself. Deep down she knows no one “snatched” her man. He went willingly. If he really was under a magical hypnotic spell, why is it only his penis that was affected? Think about it…if you’re forcing someone to do what they would not normally do, you’d have to control their entire body. But adultery is a deliberate and consensual act. To force someone to engage in it, especially over a period of time…well they’d have to be a complete zombie. Was her husband sleep walking to the girl’s house? Sleep driving to the hotel? Is he purchasing plane tickets to meet her in Dubai while under a spell? And yet this same zombie was still playing squash on the weekends? Nah. The only magical spell at play here is the one he’s using to defeat his wife’s ability to reason logically.”
You can read as many articles as you want to about the “13 reasons Men Commit Adultery” and “How to Push Her Into Another Man’s Arms”. You can waste your time attacking the alleged husband snatcher or joining a gym to maintain a body that you hope will keep him around. But I hope to save you some money, time and peace of mind. Do not drive yourself crazy trying to explain away adultery as something you can control, as something that can be “magically induced” or even “accidental” (as if one could actually slip on a banana peel, fall and accidentally land inside a woman’s private parts).
The decision to cheat has nothing to do with the person cheated on, or even the person they cheated with. At the end of the day it all boils down to one simple reason.
“Men Humans cheat when they want to. If they want to. And only because they want to. Point blank.
You might be reading this and thinking…OK NH. but WHY do they want to? Why do they decide to? But that’s the same as asking why any human being chooses to do bad things. You will search for the answer that satisfies you but all you will find are excuses.
I do not deny that we live in a world where cheating is pushed as “normal” and even encouraged. From the busybody mother-in-law who whispers to her son “If she can’t have a child for you then go and get someone who will” to the irresponsible friends who tease their buddy for being a woman wrapper because he doesn’t have a “smallie” on the side, it’s obvious what kind of world we live in. But does that mean we should believe that all men cheat and encourage women to stay in bad relationships because “leaving a man for cheating on you is like leaving a country because of rain, it rains everywhere, sit down”?
Not all men cheat. Not even most men. Unfortunately, no one is interested in talking about the faithful men, because fidelity and honesty don’t generate click counts for instabloggers or sell Encomium magazines. But please rest assured that there are more than enough faithful men AND women to go around. If you want one, simply seek and you shall find.