By Yetunde Arebi

Two weeks ago, Angela, 47, a banker, walked out of her 19 year old marriage. It had not been a very happy ride anyways, having been the family breadwinner since Chuks lost his job about five years ago.

But the shocking discovery that her husband had not only been cheating on her all these while and even sired a son outside their matrimony was the final straw.

She had endured his indiscreet philandering with young university undergraduates until the bubble busted about a month ago.

Cheating has been around forever and at some point, some men and women would cheat or would be cheated on.

Cheating, just like telling lies is a human flaw and would continue to generate arguments and concerns from society for a variety of reasons.

READ ALSO: Women are smart cheats ― Blessing Okoro

Ironically, despite all the haggling, we are far from cracking the big mystery about why men, especially men who cheat even when they love their women and are happily married or involved in a long-term relationship.

Every man knows at some point that cheating is wrong, otherwise they would not hide it.  So, why do men cheat?

The reasons are myriad, varied and may even be peculiar to the individual.

Let’s take a look at what  researchers have proffered and their relation with the African society:   

To end a relationship:  This is an indisputable fact. Sometimes men cheat on their partners because they don’t really love them anymore, are bored with them, or even possibly unhappy with their relationship.

A woman who finds herself in a similar situation can become unfaithful too. It is just that men are likely to cheat than women are, statistically speaking.

Sometimes, a cheating man will have what is called an “exit affair” if he wants to end a relationship or marriage. He will deliberately cheat with little caution so that he may be found out with the hope that the partner will get the message.

Thereafter, she either picks a quarrel with him and/or ends the relationship. The coward’s way out, really.

He thinks it’s a status symbol: A man will cheat on his wife/partner if he believes having more than one woman is a status symbol and sign of success.

In traditional African setting, the wealth and success of a man is measured by the number of women and children he has. Usually, a man with one wife is considered a weakling who does not have what it takes to succeed even in the society.

Onuka, Okonkwo’s father in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a good analogy. Typical scenarios abound all across our society today, (Our wealthy, famous or powerful men and their women).

On the flip side of this is the theory that success and power is like a magnet that draws women. Women are easily drawn to men of means and power, even without them being attracted to the women at all.

Every woman desires a man who can provide for and protect her. And this has very little to do with love in most cases.

He can always get away with it: If a guy cheats on you the first time and you let him get away with it, chances are that he will do it again knowing there is very little that you can do to him.

The typical African man believes from a young age that he is entitled to live a polygamous lifestyle should he choose to do so. The women are also raised to accept this, even though unwillingly.

Often, you will hear mothers admonishing their daughters for complaining about their cheating husbands. You hear such things as “your father did worse things. At least, he has not brought her home”.

When a man is made to feel that he is not accountable for his actions, then he can easily cheat on his partner.

In fact, in African setting, a woman is taught to look the other way if her man is cheating as long as he is discreet about his affairs and does not embarrass his wife.

High risk lifestyle: Men who lead high risk lifestyles, especially alcohol and drug usage, will ultimately cheat on their partners. Ditto for men who engages in excessive partying and clubbing.

These are cheap avenues for one-night-stand. Also, these habits can lower inhibitions and impair good judgement resulting in behaviours that the cheater might regret afterwards.  

You may find the next few points a bit controversial but it does not remove the fact that they are true and have been proven over time by research, society and common sense experience to be true of human behavioural pattern.

Unfortunately, a lot of men who cheat fall into this category.

Variety and change: Some men need a lot of variety in their lives. They thrive on new experience and stimulation and are easily bored by the same thing every day.

Supporters of this theory have tried to simplify this by drawing analogy between the variety some men desire in their relationships and the craving for food. They argue that while it is possible to have one favourite food, it is not highly impossible that you will desire to eat the same food every day. 

The pleasure of eating the same meal diminishes as the days progress and a strong desire to eat something else begins to build up. They went further to explain that a woman’s heart works differently from a man’s.

Whereas a woman’s heart tends to be able to love only one man at a time, most men’s hearts are capable of and can truly love more than one woman at a time.

Depending on the individual, a man’s heart can have several chambers and so can love multiple women; like a tree with many branches. In understanding this, think of the different colours you love.

They could be two, three, four or even more. You like the different colours in different ways and for the different ambience and mood that each colour accentuates.

You can even combine them with different things for different results. In this same manner, you can love more than one type of food.

This simple facts are painfully obvious examples of what goes on inside those who love more than one person at a time, even though  some have argued that people are not like colours or food.

And because a man tells more than one woman that he “loves her”, desires her, or has feelings for her, it does not make him a “playboy” or “liar” or that he is using people in some sort of game and does not care for them.

Do have a wonderful weekend!

Vanguard New Nigeria

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.