A condom advert showing a market woman advising her friend to use protection whenever she was cheating on her husband raised a huge uproar in March.
Religious leaders and some members of the public were up in arms. The advert was encouraging women to cheat on their husbands, they claimed and called for its ban. The National Aids Control Council promised to rework the advert and pulled it down.
A similar advert, featuring men, had been running for months and no one complained.
Apparently, the society has come to accept that men do cheat but a suggestion that women too can cheat is unaceptable. But reality is, many women are cheating on their husbands.
So what is leading women to find comfort in this long-standing threat to matrimonial issues? Here are a few for you to mull through.
1.Absentee husband. This can be both physically and emotionally. We all know of men who work far from their families. Might be in the same country, different cities or it could be in another country. One of the dangers of long distance marriages is that it can add stress on the marriage and loneliness which in turn may lead to infidelity. It is miserable to feel lonely in your own marriage and before you ask, yes love does get lonely.
Emma says her husband’s absence was what led her to have an extra marital affair. “I was living in Kenya while he was working in South Africa. His work could not allow him to visit us regularly and it took a toll on our marriage. Due to his absence, I was suffering both physically and emotionally. I needed someone to be there for me after a long day at work, cuddle to and take me out from time to time. I felt neglected and my emotional needs were unmet”.
2. Unresolved past. Let us face it, exes can be dangerous and especially those who never had closure. Then there are women who feel like they cannot be with their exes as lifelong partners but have no problem sharing their beds to the extent of cheating on their husbands with them. Sometimes an affair with an ex starts as a result of guilt (from something you did to lead to the separation), for the thrill of it or just out of jealousy.
Belinda says she cheated on her husband with her ex just to prove she still could tempt him. “I hate the woman that my ex married and I will never understand why he picked her, she looks trashy to say the least. The lady has no class and is not good looking at all”. Of course Belinda could give a thousand reasons why the lady was not suitable for her ex but from the look of things, it was all boiling to jealousy though she vehemently denied it when I pointed it to her. I sought to know the cause of their separation, “I found someone better, the man I am now married to”. Again she refuted my thoughts that she was doing it as a result of feeling guilty for having abandoned her ex for another man.
3. Sexual Adventure. Unlike men who reach their sexual peak in their 20s women attain it in their 30s or 40s and thus are more sexually active at those ages. That can explain why so many middle-aged women cheat. Weird as it may sound, there have been women who claimed that having affairs could save their marriages. Really now? Some women have said that extramarital flings can help keep their marriages alive. It is widely believed that women who are sexually deprived are unfaithful because they need to feel desired while some just want to spice things up for themselves. Naomi says she cheated on her husband out of boredom.
“I felt like sex with my husband was so monotonous, it was the same day in day out. It was getting boring and ridiculous, so I sought the services of another man. I wanted to experience sex with someone else, I would have gone for a younger person but I ruled against it and went for a man almost the same age as my husband. It was the best sex I had had in a long time. It made me feel young and wanted, with my husband it felt as though he was just making love to me for the sake of it and I saw the man a number of times. My husband suspected something and started paying attention to my sexual needs in a good way and since then, our sex life has been nothing but bliss. Having an affair outside my marriage helped bring my marriage to life,” she says.
However, Eunice, who considers herself a relationships expert has this to tell all the women who care to listen: “I would not advise anybody to use an affair as a way of improving a marriage because affairs break the trust and bond you had and in most cases, marriages never recover.”
4.Financial Constraints. “After my husband lost his job, things changed completely. He was not only stressed but also turned abusive,” says 43-year-old Miriam.
“He took to drinking and before long, all our savings had vanished.” A little over a year later, Miriam began an affair with her neighbour. She claims she did this as she did not want her children’s lifestyle to be affected by the sudden financial status their family had been plugged into. Although she was working, cash was not enough to cater for all the bills.
“When I started the affair, I made it known to my lover why I had decided to go down that road. He indeed helped financially for a long time before my husband came back to his senses and cleaned up his act. Through my affair, I was able to maintain the same lifestyle that my family was used to,” she says.
For many though, unlike Miriam, they engage in extramarital affairs to supplement what their husbands or they themselves make. This might be in order to live a certain lifestyle or to live up to their friends’ expectations. A colleague remarked that these are women who are not satisfied with their lives and in most cases aim at competing with their friends, colleagues and neighbours.
5.Revenge. This might be described as the main contributing factor for unfaithfulness amongst women. ‘He cheated on me first’ is a phrase that women use often. It is meant to justify why they cheat or to show that they were provoked by their husbands to do it. Whatever the case, vengeance has been used to get even with a cheating spouse. Judy found out her husband was cheating on her with a friend and decided to cheat on him to revenge.
She says,“I felt so hurt; I thought there was something I was doing wrong as his wife. All confrontations bore no fruits and I also thought of doing the same. I wanted to punish him for causing me so much pain and even though I felt it was wrong, his betrayal was also wrong. I wanted him to endure the pain I had endured and I still wanted to feel desired by other men.”
Judy says that after she was found out, she and her husband separated but are in the process of making up after several counseling sessions. Judy advices women not to take the road she did.
“I know that feeling of having been cheated on. The first thing a woman thinks of doing is retaliating but it is the wrong thing to do. Counseling should be the first thing that you should go through together, take it from someone who has been there and done that”.
All said and done, cheating on your husband does not fix anything. If your marriage is not working, there are so many relationship experts and marriage counselors to help in trying to make the marriage work. If all fails, do the honourable thing and walk out of the marriage.