Finally, I’m responding to your most excellent comments provided on the entry on cheating among Nigerians. I’m using this entry to respond generally to common elements, and some of you may receive an email response.
If you skimmed the earlier entry, please understand that I did not say that Nigerians have the monopoly on cheating, nor did I say that a Nigerian man will definitely cheat. The entry is about cheating among Nigerians because I’m Nigerian, and it was a fellow blogger who stated that in her opinion, Nigerian men will cheat, that’s it’s only a matter of time.
Also, talking about cheating doesn’t mean I’m wishing it upon myself or saying it will happen; it’s a topic that I think couples should discuss, not in a “when you cheat” way as if it’s inevitable, but in a “Let’s make sure we’re clear on what our views on infidelity are, what we consider infidelity and how we will prevent such a thing from touching our marriage.” In a perfect world these things would be intuitively understood, but this world is far from perfect. Talking once or twice about scenarios that you hope never happen isn’t a bad thing in my opinion; bringing it up constantly is another matter.
Themes that came out from your comments:
Society allows Nigerian men to cheat
This is a comment that came up over and over again. Society and what it considers acceptable is a huge part of why cheating is so rampant. Many commenters think Nigerian men cheat because they are taught it’s their right, that they can get away with it, while women were (are?) taught to forgive and remain in the relationship if the man cheats, especially, as taynement mentioned, when the woman is financially dependent on the man.
Sting mentioned polygamy. The polygamous histories of many families (both of my grandfathers had two wives each, for example) doesn’t help: men were (are?) brought up to think that they can be with more than one woman at a time without feeling guilty, and without having to explain themselves.
An anonymous commenter mentioned a double standard: while Nigerian women who are cheated on were (are?) generally told to remain in relationship by family and friends, if the woman is the unfaithful one, the treatment she would receive from her own family, not to mention the larger community, would be quite different: she would be called all sorts of unflattering names and ridiculed, and her husband would not be expected to take her back following her betrayal.
But for every man who thinks cheating is not a big deal, there are men like NBB who make declarations such as “Iâ€™m Nigerian Man. I do not cheat and would never cheat. so help me God.”
Generational differences in responses to cheating
As commenters Eniola and Angel007 mentioned, it seems the older generation (our mothers and grandmothers) are more willing to turn the other cheek when it comes to cheating than the younger generation, and while part of me bristles at the thought, I can accept that their approach for a man who cheats only once may make sense. The problem is that I don’t believe a man can cheat “just once”!
I was happy to discover that many of the commenters considered cheating a deal breaker too, though as sting said, who knows if it would remain a deal breaker in reality. We may talk a good game but when push comes to shove, would we really kick a cheater out of our lives for good? My head is screaming YES!!! Whether you know your answer to that question or not, it’s definitely food for thought.
The idea that cheating is a form of abuse and a sign of disrespect
Some commenters mentioned sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and how wives of cheating men can end up contracting them from a man who brings the STD home. As a witty fool mentioned, it would be terrible to get an STD, but imagine having to deal with an incurable STD like genital herpes, or an STD that will reduce your life expectancy, such as HIV? It would add insult to injury! I had not discussed the issue but it doesn’t take much thinking to realize that this is a huge fallout from cheating. There’s the betrayal inherent in the act, but when you add the chance that one could physically suffer for the rest of their life because of the cheater’s acts? Well, let’s not think about it!
There are worse things than cheating
I believe those sharing this opinion are trying to say that infidelity might not be the big deal I have made it because a marriage without infidelity does not automatically mean a good marriage, a loving marriage, a healthy marriage or a solid marriage. I definitely agree, but the entry was about infidelity. Also, I don’t think anyone should feel they must accept infidelity in their marriage because “It could be worse!” How about we take a stand and make sure it’s clear that in addition to infidelity, there are other things that are unacceptable in our marriages?
Not all men cheat
To end on a positive note, not all Nigerian men will cheat, and that’s good news. Many of the married women and some of the unmarried women stated that (with God’s help) their marriage will not be touched by infidelity, and I truly believe that if both of the people in the relationship are committed to the mindset that cheating is not an option, it will not happen. Again, I may be naive.
Chichi made a point that there are usually steps leading to the cheating act(s), and because of that, couples must invest time in their relationship and protect the relationship. Does this mean that a person bent on cheating can be stopped from cheating? No, but we all owe it to our relationships to work with our partner to make it as strong as possible. No one, in my opinion, has the right to cheat.