Perhaps one of the most discussed issues in marriage is infidelity, popularly known as ‘cheating’. People keep asking, ‘’Why do men cheat?’’ as if women are not involved in this business too. Lol. Would it be safe to say that men cheat more than women? Well, as a social scientist, I wouldn’t make such a hasty conclusion until there is a research to confirm that.
So two weeks ago, I ran an opinion poll on my Facebook timeline, asking if people would forgive their partner(s) if they cheated on them. I asked the question because each time someone, usually a woman, laments on social media that her husband cheated on her, the most common set of response people give is, ‘’Leave him! Walk out of the marriage! Divorce him!’’
Funnily enough, about 98% of those who commented said that they would forgive their partner but trusting again would require a great deal of work. And I’m like, seriously? It’s really easier to give advice than to take it.
Note, however, that there is a difference between a serial cheat and a onetime cheat. A serial cheat is an unrepentant cheat. Even after vowing and swearing on his mother’s grave that he won’t do it again, he still ends up chasing the creatures in skirts. While the latter is a partner, who for whatever reason, cheated only once on his spouse. It’s the onetime cheat I’m talking about here. Handling a serial cheat is a different ball game entirely.
Most people said they would forgive such a spouse depending on some factors, one of which I call the ‘love/emotional bank’.
Apart from the common reasons why people forgive a cheating spouse – fear of what people would say, the kids, lack of financial power to start over again, religious persuasion, I think the love/emotional bank is also a major factor that helps an aggrieved spouse forgive the erred partner. What is emotional/love bank?
It refers to the accumulation of good and praiseworthy acts or behaviours that a partner has deposited or invested in his/her spouse’s heart. In fact, this is what helps partners to forgive each other when there is a friction. You think about the good qualities he/she has exhibited over the years and that realization tends to overshadow the offence committed.
Some women think to themselves,
‘’He has been a good husband over the years’’
‘’He loves me and cares about me’’
‘’He has been a good father’’
‘’He makes me happy’’
‘’He is remorseful’’
Some men can think,
‘’She has been a good wife to me’’
‘’She has been there for me all these years’’
‘’She’s not that bad’’
Let me reiterate that there is no justification whatsoever for cheating, and the pain, hurt, and distrust it creates is second to none, this just kinda serves as the oil that lubricates the friction.
But some people’s (mostly women) emotional/love bank is so empty as their partners have deposited nothing in it. Love and affection = 0, providing for the family = 0, appreciation = 0, intimacy = 0, conscience = 0.
Women in this kind of relationship are either living in bitterness or they have given up on the marriage, but they remain in it, married but emotionally divorced. The ones who can’t endure walk out of the union.
This doesn’t mean you should go ahead and cheat on your partner because you think you have made a lot of deposits in her emotional/love bank. There is no guarantee that you’ll be forgiven. Forgiveness is not the same as trust, and a marriage without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere. Trust is said to be like a piece of paper, once you crumple it up, it will never be perfect again. More so, human beings are different. Some people find it easier to forgive than others.
A quarrel or not, a friction or not, don’t leave your spouse’s emotional/love bank empty. Always endeavour to deposit love, affection, care, respect, laughter, appreciation and every other good thing in their love/emotional bank. An empty love bank is a reflection of an empty marriage. So what’s the point?
I think the question we should ask ourselves is: Is it possible to be actively depositing good stuff in one’s spouse’s love/emotional bank and still cheat on them? Another blog post will take care of that.
Leave your comments after reading and feel free to share. Mange tak! (Many thanks)!