And yes, women also cheat.
It is not strange, yet… people raise their brows when they hear that a woman cheated. It is even believed that women cheat more than men and that it is a well-kept secret. They just don’t want to accept it or talk about it.
Society expects men to cheat. People claim it is ‘natural’ for men to want to explore. They have sexual urges that need to be quenched. But women are also sexual beings. They have desires and want to explore as well. People do not want to think about women as sexual beings or as being sexually active and having multiple partners. Relationship experts say the motivation for both genders differs. “Men desire more sex or attention while women desire to fill an emotional…emptiness”. Both men and women, however, are sexual and emotional beings and men also have emotional voids they try to fill differently.
A friend once told me about a traditional belief from a particular tribe in North Central Nigeria. The idea was that any married woman who cheats on her husband would die. She claimed she had seen it happen. I asked what penalty befell a cheating husband, and she said none. I was dazed. I will not wholly cast off these beliefs as a Nigerian and African. But then I wonder…the spirit or spirits behind this belief must be quite biased – and wicked if you ask me – to punish only women and not men for adultery. I believe that certain traditional and cultural beliefs are created by men to relegate and subjugate women and keep them in check.
Another incident is of a woman narrating her ordeal during an interview. Her husband suspected she was having extramarital affairs because he saw a man at her business center. He reported her to the elders in the community and, since he didn’t have any evidence, insisted that she eats a fowl uncooked with its blood and feathers, and if she didn’t die within a year, she was innocent. This is one of the many sacrilegious practices in Nigerian and African societies.
I recently read an article about a ceremony in a village in Rivers State where young girls are given certificates of womanhood for being virgins. This involved being ‘checked’ by older women in the community. Virginity before marriage is expected of a woman, while it is considered a plus for a man. Sadly, many women proliferate this idea. There is this silly expectation that if a man wants to be with you, he has other women on the side, ‘side chicks’ as they are called, and you should be grateful that he picked you out of the lot.
If men are okay to cheat, then people should accept cheating women. Cheating is unique to relationships and individuals, not genders.
Individuals in relationships who consciously decide to be together should be committed to one another.