The Garden: Why happy people cheat

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day when we started goofing around about how I need to take it easy with the way I’m glowing lately, I could be a threat to most men on the streets and while we were laughing through our naughty and silly banter I alleged that it was actually her man I was interested in getting attention from and not the rest.

Her response is what inspired this article.   Wait for it, she said “No man can ever cheat on me” and that really caught my attention. You see I expected that a woman of her calibre, I mean of her level of education would not have such a perception on infidelity.

As a matter of fact, she went on to explain herself and the more she spoke, the more I came to the realisation that she genuinely believes that no man has ever cheated on her and that no man ever will.  Her theory was on the basis that she is a good woman, beautiful and principled with brains.  She is quality, so why would any man cheat on her? If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense right? To cheat on someone with such qualities. However, sadly I wish it were that simple but it is not.  In fact, I have seen even far better people being cheated on, men and women alike.

What usually breaks my heart is when someone starts blaming themselves for their partner’s infidelity.  It is true that there are cases whereby infidelity is provoked for instance when one chooses to neglect his/her partner emotionally, physically and even financially. In this case, one is making them vulnerable to cheating, as in making the temptation attractive.  Both partners need to work hard to lower the amount of temptation or vulnerability in their relationship that is to lower the risk of infidelity in the relationship.  However, with all that, room still needs to be left for any eventualities. Unfortunately, with infidelity, there can be no absolute guarantees. For instance, we have cases where we have a happy couple with a case of infidelity where one  of them finds a reason to cheat. In most cases, when a scenario plays out like this, it means there was never any provocation from the partner and that rather it was an act of selfish interest.

Meaning it had nothing to do with the other person but rather it was a decision to satisfy or gratify the self.

I am pretty much sure we have heard the lamentations coming from a broken heart “why me?” “How could you do this to me?” “What is it about him/her that I don’t have?”  I have sat in the company of women where I heard all sorts of reactions so much that some even end up resorting to a total overhaul such as a makeover, upgrading their deco at home, suddenly shopping for sex toys, lingerie, or suddenly developing an interest in being more social, outgoing etc. For the rest it becomes a pathetic case of fuelling even more insecurities, and for some it ends up with a permanent state of depression.  For most even after a break up, the infidelity leaves them permanently scarred in that the experience hinders future relationships and should it happen that one meets a new love, we are likely to project our hurt and disappointment towards them knowingly or unknowingly. Our past hurts and failures end up being a hindrance in current state of a new relationship or worse off, a hindrance to future prospects.

What if I put it to you that in most cases, your partner cheating has nothing to do with you? That it is actually a reflection of their insecurities or a depiction of their self obsession. Therefore one of the best things you can do for yourself is to not blame yourself.  Start by removing yourself from the issue, learn to treat infidelity as an independent matter, avoid attaching it to your worth by all means.  Try to figure out the reason from the one who practiced infidelity, try to understand the rationale and then let the outcome inform your decision on your treatment. Whether you will pardon them and move on or pardon them and stay is entirely up to you. Whatever you do, do not use your worth as a barometer for infidelity. That is an absolute injustice to your value and inevitably a poor level of perception.

Infidelity is one of the most uncomfortable topics in society today.  There is no denying that it exists, it breaths right here with us, in our everyday lives. At home, in work spaces, on the streets and yes even in the church. However, most of us would rather go about pretending such was not the case, perhaps because we wish we could just shove it under the carpet and live.  Or perhaps the alternative of clinging on to a fallacy is far better than facing the reality of it. I mean if you think about it, facing infidelity would obscure our perfect image of what a happy relationship is or just flat out burst our bubble of a happy ever after. No wonder it’s safer to just ignore as opposed to confront.

Whatever the reason, it is not helping us.

Perhaps the time has come for us to finally confront this unconventional and uncomfortable practice known as infidelity. We need to address the issue by confronting it but before then, we would need to acknowledge it and then accept that it exists. By acceptance, we are by no means condoning it rather we are saying we see you, we are aware of you and we will deal with you. Now, when we do that we take up responsibility meaning we move away from being victims to a position of power. When we are in this position we are no longer passive in that we don’t live in oblivion and then some day bump into a fidelity that shocks us out of our comfort or security. Rather, in a position of power we become proactive and we are prepared for any eventuality and should such unfortunate and unforeseen circumstance hit us, we are well aware of how to deliberate on it.

Romantic relationships are complex. Imagine two adults meeting after years of being raised in different spaces in different sets of circumstances and more likely different principles, values. This tells you that there is a high probability that when we meet, our fundamentals are likely to differ, however that should not be a reason why we cannot be together. What the fallacy for most of us is, is that we expect to meet and automatically agree on things, meanwhile an understanding is a quality that is developed over a period of time. This period of developing an understanding requires that we get to know the individual, and getting to know the individual means knowing their background, their current state and future prospects. The current state would include the state of their mind, body & spirit and not necessarily data such as age, net worth, favourite cologne etc. Because we seem to limit our research only to these. It is not the gene type or blood type that will inform you of your partners outlook towards life. We need to get to know our partners perception or perspective on various issues including politics, social issues, finances , religion to mention a few. Now, these will then give us an idea of who we are dealing with and to a large extent my personal view on marriage or relationships will certainly inform the choices I make in my relationship which will inevitably affect my partner and overall our relationship. For an example , should I believe in polygamy or multiple sex partners or in the notion that a man cannot do with just one woman that will certainly be projected in my relationships and should my partner feel other wise we would then definitely clash.

There are various reasons why people cheat. Sadly there are false beliefs that only unhappy people cheat and so there is always shocking reactions to the discovery of happy people cheating. Happy people also cheat. People cheat for various reasons, these reasons range from emotional, psychological, spiritual, et al it really all depends. We have the expectation that if we are happy we should not be looking for more outside but the reality is that there is always that grey area as to what more is and it varies in degrees from one individual to another. This brings up the issue of contentment, moreover the issue of commitment where one decides to reach a said agreement with their partner and make a decision to honour it whether they feel like it or not.

There is no golden rule or general principle, all relationships are unique. What matters here is what works foe the parties, and for each couple/s to work out their terms and conditions. No one wants to live with the mind that as happy as you are, you could wake up to a heart breaking discovery of infidelity in your space . No one wants to wake up to such an unwelcome guest, especially when you feel you have been giving it your best. However what can help is for you to come to terms with the fact that people cheat for different reasons that happy people cheat too , that we cannot control or manage our partners and most importantly, it  is not your fault.

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