Cheating in a relationship is such a controversial topic. But I recently found myself asking whether men were born naturally monogamous or whether polygamy is an inherent trait. Wait! Before you make any assumptions about my theory, let’s look as some of the historical social norms which may attribute to the ‘uncontrollable man’. It all started with a recent conversation I had with my cousin about why I believe men may find it difficult to settle with one partner. See, I grew up in a Christian household and the bible played a major part in my upbringing. As I reflect on many of the biblical family structures, it was common for men to have more than one wives (this is still practiced in many cultures today). Please understand I do not wish to make any excuses for infidelity, because before Jacob had two wives, the bible stated that in the beginning Adam was only committed to Eve. What I really want to look at is why some men find it difficult to stay committed to one partner.
A few days ago I decided to ask a few people why they believe men cheated in relationship and the responses were so animated. What I discovered was that most women were so aggressive in their responses in comparison to the men who were extremely defensive. This made me realise that both men and women have contrasting views on cheating. Let’s look at some of the common views from the women I interacted with and the reasons they believed men cheated in relationships; some asserted that it may be learnt behavior, others just thought they cheated because they were not satisfied with the women they were with and another reason was that men may believe ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ (comparing their significant other to other women portrayed in the media or within their social environments). Other women were so passionate about the topic they called these men sociopaths, selfish and some other words that are not fit for this platform. On the contrary, after asking a few men why they believed why some mean cheated, immediately some of the responses were: ‘why are you asking me, I don’t cheat’, another response was ‘men won’t give you a real answer.’ One of the responses which resonated with me, was that of a family friend whom I quote: Men cheat “ Because the relationship isn’t fulfilling their needs, it’s complicated…. Nothing in human biology dictates we should be monogamous….So from an evolution point of view it’s hardwired into us all to procreate…so it’s basically trust vs human instinct…a battle if you will.” Well, if men are hardwired to be polygamous, then how do we account for the men who commit to one partner in a relationship. An article from Mind-Body-Green suggests that men cheat if they are insecure, seeking validation, denying parts of their identity or they are emotionally immature. Another article from Marriage.com suggest that cheating could be as a result from feelings of inadequacy, intimacy disorder or an escape from reality. Does this mean that cheating is curable? Can cheaters really change?
It’s my perception that if someone is unhappy in a relationship, would it not be better to leave respectfully than to cheat and cause more harm than good? Is a healthy relationship worth the risk of betraying the one you want to spend the rest of your life with? Is it really that hard to resist the temptation of walking out on the love of your life to find out the grass isn’t greener on the other side? What I have had to conclude is there is no one reason why men cheat and there is no one cure to this infectious behaviour. It appears that there are a number of reasons why men may choose to commit to one partner. An article in MensHealth suggests that monogamy in men may be a result from Learnt Behaviour. Another writer suggests that in order for a man to remain monogamous, he has to have certain values and belief systems. As far as evidence suggests, an individual’s cultural and social norm play a significant part in their choices and it is for this reason some men may naturally incline to monogamous relationships. A man from a religious background who grew up in a nuclear family household with a devoted father figure, will more than likely want to also pursue a similar family structure when he is older. On the other hand, a man who may have witnessed his father being unfaithful to his mother whilst growing up may choose an opposite lifestyle because he does not want to make the same mistake as his father. Whilst social norms play a huge role in one’s life, behaviours such as cheating can only be accountable to individual choice. We all have the right to free will. We choose right from wrong, we choose to go left or right and we choose to be or not to be. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction, and it’s our choices that define our very nature. I do not believe that men were born cheaters, but I do believe that they have a choice to cheat or to change. Yes, I do believe that cheaters have the potential to change. Just as a baby in their early years frequently attracted to danger, after this child has matured they are more aware of the consequences of doing wrong. In this same manner when a man cheats in a relationship, after some time he understands the consequences of polygamy and when he is emotionally mature he may choose to remain faithful to one partner. I will summarise with this statement: Cheating is a choice and those who choose this behaviour lack the strength it takes to commit to only one person. I end with an earlier quote from Dom ‘ it’s basically Trust vs Human instinct…a battle if you will.’