What you need to know:
- Are all men just waiting for a chance to cheat on their partners, or are women disillusioned into assuming so?
- Soni Kanake talks to various individuals in search of answers.
When you look at social media, you will realise that there are many women who believe that all men cheat, are planning to cheat, or are currently cheating on their partners.
Facebook women’s group forums are awash with advice on how to handle this – and judging by the number of posts on the subject, it’s clear that this is a very popular topic.
Akinyi, a chef who calls herself a life member of one of the leading mothers’ groups on Facebook, says that if all the stories of women being cheated on is anything to go by, then all men cheat on their women.
“The message across the board is crystal clear,” says Akinyi. She refers to a popular meme doing the rounds on social media: “‘Why would you want to leave a country because it’s raining? My sister, sit down, it rains everywhere.’ I will not lie to myself that I will get married to a faithful man,” says Akinyi.
Holie Omoso, a church minister, points out that a woman’s past experiences can cloud her judgment and perception of men.
“If a woman was once cheated on, or dated another woman’s boyfriend or husband, it will be very difficult for her to trust any man. It’s therefore possible to believe most women have been with a cheating man – either cheating on them or cheating with them – and hence the belief that all men cheat,” explains Holie.
Beliefs are formed by what we feed our thoughts on, so we must be careful about what we expose ourselves to, says Holie.
“If all we read about is how men cheat, it becomes engrained in our minds and eventually when we get into relationships, we expect it to happen as it has been made to look like the norm,” she warns.
But does every man cheat on his woman? “That should not even be a question,” says Sarah, a banker in her early 30s. “As long as the man you are with is providing for you and your children, don’t bother him with questions of who he sees. Be grateful, as there are many who abandon their responsibilities when they get a side chick,” she says. After having been cheated on in three relationships and playing agony aunt to many of her girlfriends, Sarah is convinced there’s not a single faithful man on the planet. “You cannot fight nature. Men are polygamous by nature and that’s a desire a woman cannot tame,” says Sarah. Incidentally, most of her friends have also resigned to the same fate.
'NOT EVERY MAN CHEATS'
Victoria Muthama, a 26-year-old entrepreneur, thinks otherwise. “Not every man cheats,” she attests. There exists a rare crop of men who cannot have sex with another woman because they have mastered the art of self control. Men who keep their commitment to their spouses, says Victoria.
“Unfortunately most men we were raised with and around us were cheaters. We saw our fathers cheat on our mothers. We saw our neighbours, uncles follow suit and even though we were young and might not remember these things, sometimes they are just saved in our subconscious mind,” explains Victoria. She says the outcome of a woman’s first relationship dictates how she sees men.
“If you find out that he’s cheating on you, that becomes your assumption about all men.” Your close friends and family highly contribute to that mentality too. They will forewarn you before you enter a relationship that all men cheat, says Victoria. “Almost every man I know cheats,” she confesses.
But today, women are more calculating, says Victoria. “They will stay with a cheating man because of the benefits they get in a relationship or marriage.”
So does she live with a perpetual fear of being cheated on, one wonders?
“I’m not afraid of being cheated on as that is another person’s personal decision. I am afraid of feeling inadequate because of someone’s decision. Cheating can happen to anyone but you need to be at such a good place in your life that you are sure that if he cheats, you will only be heartbroken because he didn’t keep a promise but you will be okay as a woman,” explains Victoria. “I am yet to get there,” she says.
“The man who broke my heart was not as a result of him cheating on me, however, it was because I suspected he was cheating. Turns out he wasn’t, but the suspicions led to a break-up,” Victoria continues.
“The man who cheated on me though told me that all that matters was that ‘I am the main chick’. He said that you will never see a landlord leaving his plot because of the tenant and to him, I was the landlord,” says Victoria as she bursts into laughter.
'WHAT DO MEN WANT?'
When asked if every man cheats, Caroline replies with a question: “What do men really want?” She was in a relationship for four years and had no idea the man she trusted with her life was cheating on her.
“I was there for Tim in every way and even helped him pay his rent when he was struggling financially,” confesses Caroline. “I did everything a good girlfriend could do: cooked, stood by him and got him clients for his business. Tim, however, had other ideas and when he was out of the wilderness, he settled with the girl he had been seeing on the side. The pain of betrayal was so deep that I lost interest in life, she says. “I thought I would never smile again. But I’m glad I went through professional counselling that helped me see my worth and value,” says Caroline.
What do men have to say about the allegations of infidelity?
1. When most men were asked if they cheated on their women, they answered with a question, “How do you define cheating?” But shouldn’t cheating mean the same thing across the board?
2. Dayan Masinde, a counsellor, says that cheating can be through physical sexual contact or emotionally through flirting or sexting, intimate calls and chats. “None is less than the other although sexual contact seems to have the biggest impact in marriage. In my view, it is a fallacy to say that ALL men cheat,” says Dayan. “Again, not all women brand men as cheats. The ones who do are quite loud and hence heard far and wide,” he continues.
3. Andrew, a truck driver says that all men are polygamous by nature. “Men cheat because of lack of attention from their women. My wife never recognises my presence when I get home unlike when I go to my girlfriend’s where I’m received with a hug and asked how my day was,” he confesses.
4. Hezzy, 40, has been married for the last five years and says despite living in different towns with his wife they have never had infidelity issues. “Yes, there are usually numerous temptations and opportunities. But you must ask yourself this: Is bedding someone all there is in this life?” However, he confesses to have cheated Biblically. “The Bible clearly tells me that when I lust after another lady, I commit adultery. Who doesn’t like others? I have been invited to coffee several times, which I didn’t turn down,” he confesses.
5. Jonathan Muia, 38, has been married for over six years. He says that all men are naturally attracted to women. “In the animal kingdom, a male has multiple mates and man is not exempted. A married man will meet other women he will be attracted to. But unlike other animals which do not have the ability to make a choice. It is through this ability that one man chooses to remain faithful to his wife while another chooses to cheat on his wife,” says Muia.
6. Steve Kyalo, an Insurance Consultant based in Nigeria says most people who are hurt are the ones who are often quick to generalise.
"I will admit that many ladies have been hurt by men and in many cases, men have been more unfaithful than women. When it comes to unfaithfulness, men cheat more sexually and women cheat more emotionally. When a woman is hurt by a man or men who promised love but end up cheating, she goes on the defensive and judges all men through the lens of pain,” says Kyalo, who has been married for the last 20 years. “When she gangs up together with other women, this generalisation gets entrenched, then in comes the slogan, ‘All men are dogs’. It takes maturity for a hurt woman to choose healing and judge each man as an individual.” No matter how good, loving and sexy a woman is; if a man wants to cheat, he will cheat,” says Kyalo. Cheating is a choice and faithfulness is also a choice.