THE number of marriages that survive infidelity is on the increase.  Recently, I met with three women who had openly been unfaithful to their husbands and are still committed to their marriage.

They have committed the one sin that is widely believed to ruin a relationship beyond repair and got away with it. 

Which makes one wonder: did these women get it wrong?  Or have the rest of us?  Is infidelity really the death-knell for a marriage?  These three women’s cases might tempt you to think not!

Halimat is now in her early 50s, a successful entrepreneur and a mother of two grown-up children.

READ ALSO: Can you ever forgive a husband who had an affair with your best friend?

Her husband of 25 years suffered a stroke two years ago and is now house-bound.  “It’s bad to watch him struggle to enjoy a semblance of health he’d once had and the reason I keep up my punishing publishing schedule at my age is to pay for round-the-clock care for Patrick.

Thanks to the cash my work brings in, my husband can stay at home where he belongs to enjoy the care he needs”, she said.

Halimat’s dedication is precisely what you might expect from any happily-married couple; people who enter the commitment of marriage with gusto and stick to it forsaking all others until death do them part.

Yet Halimat is not one of such people.  Far from it.  Her marriage took a hard blow when, 15 years ago, Patrick was found to have kept a mistress for a full five years – before the mistress went to town in an effort to make Patrick ‘commit’ to their relationship.

Halimat was devastated by her husband’s betrayal but was powerless to kick him out.  A few months to their society wedding 25 years ago, Halimat fooled herself she was madly in love with another man and happily had an affair with him.

So careless was she that, Patrick, her fiancé then found them in a compromising position.  ‘The wedding is off’ sneered Patrick as he stormed out of Halimat’s room.

“I knew he loved me,” Halimat said, “and I was bent on making him change his mind.  I used all the tricks in the book to apologise to the point of shedding enough crocodile tears for him to just open his arms and agree we should try again.

“So, who was I to raise any dust when he later strayed?”

I have never tried to underestimate the pain of infidelity, someone, somewhere always gets hurt. 

It might be one of the couple – usually, but not always the ‘wronged’ party.  It might also be the other woman or man in the triangle – it’s too simplistic to dismiss them all as gold-diggers or gigolos.  Some are simply naive people who love those whom they should not have loved.

Shirly, a psychiatrist nurse got married over 30 years ago to a man she met on one of the hospital wards.

“He’d been in a motor accident,” she said, “and as soon as I realised he was from Nigeria, I looked out for him more than I ought.

“He had visitors and it was plain to see he was spoilt brat – a loveable one.  It was easy to fall in love with him and his generosity knew no bounds.  His parents were rich and he was a junior manager in a good bank.

“He was also heavily into drugs.  Five years after we got married, I accidentally stumbled into a secret stash of drugs in one of his drawers and realised that contrary to his claim he was an occasional user, he was obviously an addict. 

“Thankfully, he accepted help and I used my medical connection to get him dried out.  But his love for women never abetted.

“I might have turned more blind eyes to his affairs than most women could imagine. But I did so in full memory that in our early years together, I’d cheated with one of his colleagues but he over-looked it simply because I lied I was forced.

“He must have been too high on drugs to fish out the truth.”

The question still remains: wrong as infidelity might be – is it really the deal-breaker we have always believed it is?

“If you raise sexual infidelity to a level of such importance that it becomes the only misdemeanour beyond the boundaries of forgiveness, are you not also making sex the most important thing about a marriage?” asked Sharon, a marriage counsellor.

“What about respect and honour?  What about comfort and compassion?  There are so many worse things that some couples do to one another.

“The relentless bickering over details too scant to mention; the put-downs in public, badly masked by frozen smiles, the meals in restaurants, picked out in deafening silence of nothing left to say.”

She then recounted her encounter with a couple, married for 30 years.  “He is, to be blunt; a lascivious rogue.

“I once had to fly on a business trip with him, and at the end of a 90-minute flight he had arranged a date at our woman sitting next to him… AND a date with the stewardess.  But when his wife is with him?

“A different man appears; a man pulsing with adoration so genuine it lights the space around them. When she walks into the room, any room, he stands.  Yes, after 30 years.  He will chat animatedly to old friends – but pause, should she tell a little joke, the better to let other hear and to join his uproarious laughter at the end.

“Her wine glass never, ever, falls empty; the tiny touch to her arm tells her, constantly, how lovely she looks.

“Does she know about the other women?  Probably.  She might feel jealousy.  But fear?  No chance.  This man is going nowhere. 

“While I do not applaud his tomcatting, I do feel – yes – a sneaking envy for what they have and for what they have still to come.”

Are Men Really Getting Smaller?

These are certainly not the best of times for today’s men.  Findings show they’re short, smelly and liars!  The case of the shrinking penis!

Let’s hope it really is what they do with it and not the size that matters because a recent study shows men’s penises are getting smaller!

This shocking discovery by the Life-style Condom Company (with a bit of help from latex-gloved nurses) is bound not to thrill either sexes.

Previously, the Kinsey Sex Report put the average penis size at between 6.2 and 6.4 inches, but the condom poll claims it’s now 5.877 inches – with two thirds of the 1,000 men studied measuring between 5.1 and 6.2 inches.

This discovery could answer two of our times most perplexing questions:  Why vibrator sales are at a record high and why ex-girl-friends keep going back to their well endowed lovers.

Short-men Syndrome:  It’s official: short men have less luck with the ladies.  The discovery, set to shock vertically challenged men everywhere, comes from Southampton Hospital.

After studying 3,500 medical records and comparing them to marital status, social class and income, the team claims small babies are programmed to be shy in the womb and small boys, who grow to be short adults, are less likely to marry early.

I love you, but …  So there’s scientific excuse after all!  The reason men have an urge for one-night stand is testosterone.

Even though they may believe they have a huge attraction to a woman one night, when reality and or sobriety hits, the feelings disappear as quickly as they arrived.

Men are different because the centres for emotion and reason are better connected in a woman’s brain.  And, because women aren’t out of control on testosterone, they find it easier to evaluate whether a man is potentially the right partner.

Dirty, dirty boys!   Despite years of cajoling from the girls and all the cosmetics firms spending hundreds of thousands of Naira to persuade them to use their grooming products, men still spend less than 15 minutes in the bathroom each morning.

But, don’t despair!  This trend is set to change – a recent Mintel survey found that the under-24 age group are now more likely to spend up to an hour making the effort to look and smell good.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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