How long have you been married? Has it been a good marriage? Do you fight all the time? Why? Have you caught your spouse having an affair? Can you forgive your spouse if caught? Do you want to end the marriage for that reason? After all the lies and deceit you can’t help but question what’s true and what’s a lie. Did your spouse ever tell you the truth? That day when he said he ran into traffic jam was he really with her? When she said she was going out with her girlfriends for dinner, did she really go out dancing with him instead? And perhaps the most terrifying question of all: Is your spouse out there right now, still lying, still cheating, while you are sitting at home hoping they are telling you the truth about their movement.
No matter what you tell yourself about your reasons for cheating your motivations are surely selfish. Nobody ever cheats for the sake of another person. Steven L Nock said, “A marriage is much more than the sum of two spouses. It is a relationship defined by legal, moral, and conventional assumptions.”
Patricia was probably the only person who did not know where James went, with whom and to do what. No one told her, the women said nothing because they did not want to upset her, and the men said nothing because they did not want to cause confusion in the family. This was the situation till Patricia found a love letter written by James’ mistress in his suit’s pocket, when she was trying to send it to the dry cleaner.
Pat’s heart sank as she turned over the letter and read the content. The letter was complimenting James for the wonderful time he gave her the previous weekend. But James told Patricia he was going on an official trip. She never suspected he was going away with his mistress for a weekend treat.
“Read this,” Patricia said, pushing the letter into his hand as he returned from work that evening. “Read this and tell me why you are doing this to me? Why, James?” she sobbed.
“What do you think?” he snapped back at her, feeling cornered. “I can hardly sleep with you in your condition, can I? You’re as fat as a cow; it makes me sick to look at you.”
“But James, having your kids caused this. Why must you hurt me so much when you know I love you so much?” She felt tears start in her eyes. “Don’t you love me anymore?”
There are many reasons couples cheat on each other, but this a topic for another day. When I asked Patricia what she would do now that she has discovered her husband was cheating on her, she said, “I believe that James has no reason to cheat on me, I have been a good wife to him, but I have decided to forgive him. This is because God forgives us when we sinned against Him, so if He forgives us why should I not forgive James? God has power to change people around and I believe He can change James. The solution is to go to God in prayers and have faith in Him.”
Stella had a different view. She said, “If my husband cheated on me, i wouldn’t kill him or leave him. I would want to be around to make him suffer for a long time.
Mrs. Williams has a different view. “I prefer my husband go to a prostitute than to another woman. Somehow paying for it takes intimacy away. It’s a physical thing rather than emotional connection. I’m not saying sex is not a sort of intimacy, but there have been many times in my marriage when I have experienced a far greater intimacy with my husband without sex ever coming into the picture. Those are the building blocks or romance to me. To learn that my husband established those same building blocks with another woman would negate the value of our individual experience together. That would be a crushing blow to me. If he does that, I’ll end the marriage. The idea of my husband sharing something so intimate with someone he knows will be more devastating. It wouldn’t just be that he had sex with someone. It would be more that he took the time to build a relationship and sharing on an emotional level before it culminated in sex. This is betrayal of the highest order.”
But Mrs. Lawrence disagrees. “It is dangerous to my health if my partner was sleeping around on me. If he cheats on me with a prostitute that means he could catch sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or even AIDS and get really ill or transmit them to me. He may probably get into a habit of going to a prostitute often.
Mrs. Anderson had a different view. “If my husband is going to cheat, I would prefer he cheat with someone he knows because at least I would know that it is with someone that has feelings for him and someone that he also has feelings for, the fact of the matter being that I will not be there to ever cheat on again.”
Mrs. Ezekiel said, “Well I’d have preferred that he doesn’t cheat at all, but since he is cheating, I would prefer that he cheats with a stranger and uses condoms. At least, with the stranger, he can avoid her, and run away from her more easily, but with someone he knows closely, he will have to face her all the time; especially if she is a co-worker and might fall into the temptation of sleeping with her again and again.
Mr. Okoli said, “If I catch my spouse cheating on me that is the end of the marriage. It is forbidden in my culture for a woman to cheat on her husband. If the woman cooks for the man, it could cause his death.”
Mr. Harold said, “If I discover that my wife is cheating on me, I’ll not only divorce her, I’ll knock out her teeth.” Men react more violently to discovery of cheating than women. Some men are known to have tried to deform their spouses by pouring acid on them or beating them almost to death.
There have been many instances that one partner killed the other for cheating. But this is very unnecessary. A woman in Benin City, Edo State in Nigeria in June 2014, invited her ex to her house so that they could reconcile. The man thought she was sincere, and he went. Thewoman poured gasoline on him and set him ablaze. Before help could come, the man burned to death. The woman was promptly arrested. She is now in the police cell, while the two children she had for the man are with relations. What a stupid act!
Collins and Coltran said, “To own something does not imply a bond to that particular item. Instead, it means that 1. You have a right to use it. 2. Other people do not have the right to use it, and 3. You can call on the rest of society to enforce your rights.” Then Steven L. Nock in his book Marriage in Men’s Lives went further to analyze the above statement. “Sex in marriage satisfies these three conditions: husbands and wives have a right to sexual intercourse with one another, other people do not have a right to sexual intercourse with either of them while they are married, and either spouse can enlist the assistance of society to enforce his or her sexual rights for example, divorce or adultery charges.”
The new Encyclopedia Britannica reports that, “Adultery seems to be as universal and, in some instances, as common as marriage.” When all is out in the open, the faithful spouse may survive the nightmare, but his or her scars will not easily heal, and the damage done to the marriage may never be completely repaired. Extra-marital affairs can also take its toll in some long-term consequences that both spouses will have to deal with for many years, such as sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
I have tried to bring to the fore how some partners would react to the news that their spouses were having affairs. How will you react if you discover your partner is cheating on you?