It would seem that many Nigerian men believe infidelity is not a big deal. To their minds, life is not lived to the full until one has tasted ‘the forbidden fruit’ at least once. Faithful hubbies feel like saints while unfaithful ones brazen out their actions as a natural phase of a man’s life.
I believe that infidelity is a lifestyle choice, just like drinking, smoking and drug abuse. Many people won’t admit it but infidelity can also be a response to emotional dissatisfaction or unhappiness.
Generally, women tend to find themselves in forbidden assignations when all is not well emotionally. However, there is also a growing cult of women who would do anything for money, but that is a story for another day.
What happens when a woman finds that her partner has been unfaithful? Some women are quick to assume the role of ‘victim’ when such things happen. Being cheated on isn’t the end of the world, even though it might feel like it when it first happens. Feelings of disbelief, hurt, anger, disappointment and despondency are all normal.
Bhet sister : sort yourself out!!
Don’t threaten to kill yourself. You know you aren’t ever going to do it, but if things are really bad between you and your spouse, don’t give him ideas of how to get rid of you. We have all heard stories of women committing ‘suicide’ after a marriage breakdown. Only such suicides had questionable facts, like ‘she stabbed herself in the back with a knife’ or ‘she drank poison which was part of her husband’s medication’. Dead people can’t seek revenge, compensation or raise children so don’t allow yourself to be wronged twice.
Try not to become so sad that you develop depressionor anxiety. You are only punishing yourself. Nobody will fancy you if you allow yourself to get into a rot. Cry as much as you need to and relieve the emotional pain. Then pick yourself up, apply your make-up and show the world that there is still life in the old dog yet!
Don’t let people take your spouse’s side by referencing your poorly groomed, dishevelled or unfashionable appearance. You may not feel making an effort but once you do, you will find your spirits much lifted. That feeling of inadequacy and not being good enough will not disappear overnight but hearing people tell you that you look good will help you remember that you are still an attractive person.
If you suspect that your man is cheating on you, there is only one thing to do: Don’t find out.
Think about it. If he is cheating, what do you plan to do with the information? Will you leave him? If you can answer an unequivocal yes, then go ahead and check his phone and do everything you can do discover the truth. The reality is that if he is hiding his infidelity so much that you are unsure that he is cheating, there might still be hope for the relationship. It means he still cares enough not to want to hurt your feelings and doesn’t want this marriage to fail but he is still stupid enough to follow his baser instincts. If he flaunts his escapades in your face you don’t need to be a genius to figure out that he doesn’t really care about your feelings.
I am tired of hearing ladies give other ladies what I consider to be bad advice on what to do in these situations. Some advocate snooping on a suspected partner so as have evidence of his infidelity. If caught, the woman is encouraged to disgrace her man by ruining his reputation etc. This and everything else usually leads to a breakdown of the marriage. Is this really wise? Many of such ‘over-sabi’ladies have cheating husbands and haven’t left their marriages. I even heard of one who got the same Christmas present as her hubby’s girlfriend. He bought laptops for both of them from the same store and she (wife) found out when she took it in for a minor fault!
If you find out about your man’s infidelity and decide not to leave, be clear on your reasons for staying. There is no shame in loving someone so much that you can forgive them anything. However, be sure that your love is reciprocal. Don’t become a martyr on the altar of love. You should try to have a frank discussion with your man, make him grovel and try to make it up to you. He has to work to rebuild your trust but you must also recognise that he may cheat again. If he does cheat again, will you leave then? Will you start to prepare yourself for such an eventuality by taking steps to be self-sufficient after the first time?
If you stay because of the children, don’t make them regret your decision. While it is commendableto try to give your children a stable home, don’t punish them for the sins of their father. Remember that the kids will grow up and leave home at some stage. What will you do when that happens? Become a burden on the kids by insisting that they come to visit you every so often or inviting yourself for visits to their homes which lasts for months? If you choose to remain in a marriage to offer stability to your young children, make sure that you also find other ways of making yourself happy and fulfilled, especially when you know your man no longer loves you. Go back to school if money is no object, learn a trade (yes, a trade!), start your own business or get a job, if you don’t already have one.
You may not be able to control some bad things that happen to you, but you are always able to choose how you react to such things. Think carefully and act with your head and not your heart.
Finally, once you have been able to decide your initial course of action to stay/leave, you will be able to take your time and focus on planning the next step. Revenge, after all, is a dish best served cold!
Writer – Abi Adeboyejo lives in Birmingham, UK, with her two children and her fabulous man, who by the way, prefers that his wife writes down her thoughts than listening to her musings on everything.