“All men cheat!” Nope, this is not from a title of a song, though it has become a declarative anthem from almost all the women I speak to. Now I will be the first to say that this generalisation does not hold true only because of the use of the word “All” which makes the statement an unfair rationale. However the more I look into it and talk to both men and women who are either dating, in a relationship, or are married, it is almost impossible to find a man who doesn’t! Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of women that do cheat and play the field while the man remains faithful, but it is still easier to find a woman who is faithful than a man who is (this is based on my experiences and some of my friends experiences). I remember talking to one guy and he told me that he doesn’t believe that man should be monogamous and the reason we see a lot of broken relationships and marriages only adds substance to the fact!
I am going to be honest and say I have never cheated while I have been in a relationship. At least not physically, my thoughts and my eyes have sometimes wondered, but when I am in it, I am in it. Now this comes down to a choice I have made for myself. It is not like I haven’t been approached by men whilst I have been in a relationship and there are times when the temptation is almost overwhelming, but I already know where I am weak and if I know I can’t say no, then I just choose to not put myself in that situation. It’s hard, but not impossible.
But then someone asked me, “Would you ever cheat?”….. and that made me ask, “What makes one cheat?” I know it is all relative, but I would like to think that there is something fundamentally there that when it boils down to it, it is universally true. Like the fact that we all want to be loved. I don’t care who you are or what you have been through, as long as you are human this holds true. Some people cheat because they are “Unsatisfied” (I use this term loosely) in their relationship, others cheat because they want to experiment, some cheat in retaliation, others because they are bored or a combination of all the above and others still just because they can. The list can be exhausting and I don’t have an answer to the question on what makes one cheat, just my thoughts and speculations and my own life experiences.
Quite some years ago, I dated a guy that I thought was my dream guy. He had the looks, the charms, the name, the money, the entire package. Very shallow and superficial qualities, but hey I was young and I thought it was enough. It didn’t take long for that dream to turn into a living nightmare as I discovered things about him and myself that woke me up from dreamland. I was warned left and right about this guy, but when you are ” in love” you don’t want to hear anything bad about your boo. I gave up a lot for him, including my friends and family. I soon became this shell of a woman as this guy gained more and more power over me. I had always considered myself a strong woman, but I had never felt so weak. With all the sh*t he put me through, I was appalled that I still loved him. It made me hate myself because I was sure something was wrong with me. This guy was cheating on me and playing me for a fool and I let him. When a friend confronted me with the truth, it hit me like a slap across the face, which was exactly what I needed. So I understand what it is like to be so caught up in something it is hard to see the truth or even accept it. I am thankful I came out of that relationship with only a broken heart, but I am also thankful for it because what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
It is very easy to blame someone else for our actions, but at the end of the day, we chose to do what we did and must live and deal with the consequences. No one knows you better than you, and you know what makes you tick and what gets you going. When you cheat, you make a conscious decision to do so, so please don’t blame it on the alcohol, the drugs, or the fact that you were seduced and you had no choice “but to do the deed.” It’s a new year, but that doesn’t mean we get to reset the past and have a clean slate. Instead of letting the past weigh us down, let’s learn from it and become better human beings for ourselves and those we love. Tomorrow is not promised to us, so let’s make today count.
This subject is a hot topic among my friends, but the more I interact with my fellow Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora, the more I realize that this is a widespread discussion that transcends age, gender, culture, etc. What does it mean to be an African? What does it mean to be progressive? What is a Progressive African? Now, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but these are just my observations and comments and my own philosophies I have attained over the years.
I was chatting with one of my girlfriends and she was telling me how it is so hard to find a man locally who is not intimidated by her success and independence. I can almost hear the resonating chorus of “Amens” from the women who are reading this. But on the flip side, I hear from seemingly well-rounded men about how hard it is to find a well-rounded woman. So from my observations I can safely conclude that there seems to be this gap where we see more and more successful and empowered woman who are single and in the late 30’s versus men who want the best of both worlds. In the general African culture that is something we frown against, the African culture encourages women to be settled and married no later than 25 on average. Once you have passed the 25 mark you are considered expired goods. Usually when I speak to some of my “homeboys” they tell me how they prefer marrying someone who is young and in their early 20’s versus someone who is in their late 20’s or 30’s while they themselves are in that range and still single. Double standard?
However, when I look at my generation today and I see this growing trend of successful single black women and intimidated black men, I ask myself is this the cost of being a progressive African woman? Or is this the new Africa? I would like to say though that there are many African men who are not intimidated by successful African woman who in fact encourage their success and consider them to be quite the catch, but unfortunately those men are more in the minority than in the majority.
So I define progressiveness in this context as a branch of empowerment, or to put it in directional terms it is a continuous forward advancement that is embedded in all areas of society and culture. Please note the word “continuous,” which means that there should not be a standstill, the play should always be in motion. So as we continue moving forward, we need to close the gap between progressive African women and have more progressive African men so we can have a progressive Africa and be the progressive Africans. When we look at where Africa is going and what Africa already has, it only makes logical sense to say that the future is bright for Africa. That means our mind sets need to be changed if we want to not only maintain, but sustain this inevitable progression.
Take some time and evaluate your values, your mindset, as well as your philosophies and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to think in another direction or be afraid to make the necessary changes or adaptations. My fellow Africans, let us be Progressive Africans!