There’s a lot more to infidelity than meets the eye

Did you read last week’s article “Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman?” I did. And I was livid. So I took the opportunity to speak with people from both sexes and of varying ages about their views on infidelity, in an attempt to answer reporter Faye-Chantelle’s cry. Now, my biggest pet peeve is injustice or unfairness. And while the argument may seem gender-biased and controversial, infidelity is one of the predominant injustices in secular, present-day society. Now, we all know the basic definition of infidelity (I hope). It is essentially the unfaithfulness to a moral obligation or marital unfaithfulness.

It’s definite that more men cheat than women and as for why, the answers are pretty similar. According to a video I watched posted by Business Insider, “Men are led to cheating mostly because of emotional dissatisfaction and their peers were cheaters too.” Seems like a logical explanation. From the Business Insider study, 88% of the participants said that the person they cheated with was less attractive than their spouse. Also, men are ”programmed” to procreate faster and more.

What got me was what one gentleman simply told me: “it’s because women allow it.” Wow, like I would give a hall pass to my spouse to cheat! These rationales, echoed by so many, made me think there must be a physiological side to this discourse. So I contacted a local psychologist who asked not to be named. I learned from her that there’s more to infidelity than meets the eye, literally. There are external and internal factors that cause the final decision to cheat: society, family values, moral values, age, maturity, personal preferences, psychological needs and most times it’s not about sex or attraction but about feeling.

Men confidently acknowledge cheating.  Little do they know the women they cheat on are quite capable of beating them at their own game!

Men confidently acknowledge cheating. Little do they know the women they cheat on are quite capable of beating them at their own game!

In 2016 the terms “side chick”, “jabal”, “main” and “fling” are used in everyday language. As Faye put it last week: “We live in a culture where being cheated on by her man may very well be every woman’s greatest worry.” Memes are posted all over social media, blatantly implying that it is normal to be sexually and emotionally associated with more than one person. From what this local psychologist implied, many women, including her clients here in Saint Lucia, have attested to infidelity in their families. And even more men, young and old, honestly believe that there is nothing wrong with infidelity; everybody cheats. She offered, also, a definition: a cultural norm is formed by the acceptance or rejection of behaviour. Cheating has clearly become a cultural norm, and that’s why that gentleman could have so easily said “women allow it”. What does a woman say when her partner has cheated? Maybe it has happened more than once or twice. Does she simply say, “All men are the same”? This is our society that we have created, and it seems that all of us have become complacent about cheating.

Can you apply conditions to a marriage as you might with exams? Are we going to equate hormonal activities with sitting exams? Of course marriage should not be compared to exams. This context of cheating or infidelity refers to the boundaries that the emotions of love, care and romanticism automatically create.

Rick Wayne can argue, “What are the rules governing relationships? Are they word of mouth or are they written in stone?” But whether “rules” are written in stone or not, the emotional and psychological effect remains the same, for both sexes. Bigamy is illegal here; adultery is not but unless otherwise settled, cheating is the breach of a commitment. Heartbreak is a reality as much as infidelity is accepted.

From speaking to this psychologist and watching “The Soup” that premiered on Calabash TV this week, I gathered that the emotional effects of infidelity could be devastating, to the person being cheated on, the children and the “cheater”. Of course, there are varying degrees of this depending on personalities and morals. Which brings me to morals: if one has claimed to truly love someone, how is it acceptable to practise infidelity? I personally think it is an undeniably selfish act. If, like Rick Wayne said, we “take vows to love one man or one woman for life, knowing full well we won’t . . . can’t keep them,” why take the vows then? If you are going to purposely disrespect, lie to and cause pain to another human being, ask if it’s okay to do so first, rather than going ahead with it of your own accord. If you are at the point in your life where you want to “explore” people, ask all the parties if they are willing to be experiments. Having to lie and keep secrets obviously means there is something morally wrong with the situation. Biologically and scientifically speaking, males do not only have a stronger sex drive than females because of having more androgens, men produce sperm by the millions, whereas a female sparingly produces one egg a month. So, technically, men need something to do with their sex drive while their spouse is pregnant for nine months or not easily aroused. Again referencing Faye’s article, Rick said: “Now women, whom I believe are superior in every way, seem to be able to resist the temptation to stray. Maybe because they have a kind of nesting instinct that nature denied males.” Well, that sounds like something a man would say to justify his infidel actions. If we as human beings were to act on every instinct by human nature we would all be murderers, rapists, thieves and crooks in broad daylight. But it’s not that serious, right?

We are all prone to human error and have done something that was unfair to somebody else. I have to agree on one thing from last week’s article: women do cheat too. As one of the guests said on Monday evening’s “The Soup”, “All men cheat, women are just better cheaters.” Perhaps that is true; but that’s for another topic. However, my argument and research is simply to show that infidelity is unjust, a breach, dishonest, harmful, hurtful and selfish.

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