Polygamy: What’s love got to do with it?

2010-06-17 00:00

THE recent scandal involving our honorable president’s wife got me thinking about cheating in relationships and why people do it. It appears to be a case of doing it because we can — or are we just drawn into love affairs because it is exciting?

It’s interesting because men are able to practise polygamy which favours them in terms of religion and culture. Cheating when done by men is accepted by society, while women have nothing but the scorn of their family and friends if caught or suspected of cheating.

I guess there are reasons for doing it. Whether valid or not depends on who is on the receiving end.

Maybe the problem begins with us failing to look at this issue more deeply. The consequences can be deadly. I have always wondered how you can claim to love a person but in the same breath cheat on them.

The interesting question is then, why do people cheat? I have been told that some people do it so that they can feel that they matter, while others are compensating for what their partners lack. I’ve recently been accused of not knowing what love is because women like me are biased against men because of our feminist beliefs and therefore do not fall in love; therefore I cannot understand why people cheat. But what I know is that I have also been cheated on and there is nothing more painful.

I have had conversations with both men and women and what came out clearly is that people do not believe in love any­more (I still do) and we get into relationships for different reasons and to satisfy different needs.

We become diplomatic about it and blame the phases that we go through in life. We believe that needs change and therefore the people in our lives should either change or adapt. Men claim that it is impossible to stay faithful and that cheating is in their genes.

What interests me more than anything is where love fits into this whole mess. Has our perception of love changed that much? Although not proven, it would appear that men cheat more on their partners than women do. This of course will come across as me hating men but that is not the case. I love men and I’m here because one contributed to me being born. I just have a problem with how they handle issues and how they choose to deal with emotions. It is a known fact that men believe that it is their right to cheat and they should not be questioned about it. This, of course, is a societal problem, with some people refusing to adapt to the changing attitudes of women concerning how they have been treated by men. This is a problem that can be reversed by our generation by raising children who see women as equal to men. In doing so, we can take baby steps towards eradicating the oppression of women in all spheres of society.

Figuring out who you are and what you want from a partner can be daunting and this is further complicated by having multiple partners. Let us learn to cherish and respect those we claim to love and never seek to hurt them.

Being faithful is not rocket science. It is a decision that you make because you love and respect your partner. The differences between men and women will remain unresolved if we continue to believe that we are from different planets and can never understand each other.

Read more: No place in a democracy.

Read more: If you don't like polygamy, just don't do it.

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