It is a common knowledge that the rates of marriages and divorces in the country are rising. While marriage is a beautiful thing, divorce is not; that I why I do not wish for it for anybody. I am not an advocate of divorce; however, there are certain circumstances such as abuse (yes, I call cheating an emotional abuse), that may force one to think about it.
So when my friend asked me recently whether I would consider a divorce if my partner cheated on me, my response was ‘Yes’.
Considering a divorce does not necessarily mean getting one; it depends on the situation which I decided to break down. Now being some sort of a geek that I am, I used the 5 ‘W’ and the ‘how’ questions to analyse the conditions.
Of course this is merely a hypothetical situation and if one were to be in a real one, other thoughts might come into play including the time left to make a decision.
Some of you may or may not agree with my reasoning but here they are anyway:
WHO? – The question here is who did he/she cheat on me with? To some this might not be very important but it matters a lot to me as it can help me determine the next steps. Personally, it’s harder to work things out if the ‘culprit’ was a relative, friend, sex worker or someone of my opposite gender (what’s the point if I can’t give you what you need?). It might be easier to get over a secretary affair; all we need to do is to avoid ever having that gender of secretary again; or over a church member, we are changing church the next Sunday but the aforementioned earlier are harder to get rid of, especially from my memory.
WHAT? – So what were you thinking of when you did it? What did you do that made me find out? What was your reaction when I found out? What do you want to do now? What did you (or did you not) give to me? What did you (or did you not) give to her? Obviously, here I’m looking for some form of remorse or repentance and checking to see how well and for how long you can keep a secret from me. I’m also looking out for no sign of sexually transmitted infections or babies coming in from outside; I’d also like to know that our money was not wasted on the affair. If the partner is able to confirm all of these favourably, then it might just be easier for me.
WHERE? – Where did you meet your ‘partner in crime’? Where did you do your evil act? Where were you caught? These questions are concerned about the places where the cheating event took place. I am quite a conservative person and so it is completely defying to cheat on my matrimonial bed. I would not say that it is unforgivable but it will be very difficult for me to forgive. Also where you both met might determine how to avoid future mistakes if I eventually decided to remain in the marriage; for instance if you met in PH, we might move to a secret part of Abuja (hopefully we don’t get stalked).
WHEN? – When did this event occur or start? This might sound weird but I would like to know the time – how long before or during our marriage? If this had been happening from the beginning of the relationship, it is more likely that this behaviour will not change, as it is now a habit. What time of the day was it; if at night – were you sneaking out on me and if during the day – were you leaving your work place? This gives me a view of your respect for me as a partner and your value for work ethics and will also determine how well I will rate you as a potential good father. What time of the year was it (it might be a seasonal affair) – was the Harmattan or winter too cold for you and you needed extra warmth? You never know, your house might just be lacking an extra blanket. Or was it when I was pregnant or the times I travelled? I’d like to know if it was my being unappealing to you or just as a result of loneliness. When was the first time and the last time you saw him or her? Because if it were last night, there might not be any need having this conversation in the first place.
WHY? – Why did you do it? I don’t think there is a good reason for cheating whatsoever but we are all humans and capable of mistakes so I guess my real question here is: Why did you not say NO?
HOW? – This question has to do with the evaluation of everything. How many times did you do it? Again, this monitors the frequency of events; a one night stand might be less unacceptable. How many children do I have for you, if any? We all know that it is much more difficult to leave when you have children and not just because of financial reasons but for their emotional development too. How did you treat me during the period? I need to know that you were not maltreating or mean to me during the affair. How will you make atonement? Some form of compensation is always good and I don’t necessarily mean money; for example, one could atone by making all the meals for the next 5 years (might sound appealing if you love food like me). How can I trust you in the future? How much more love do I have for you? How do we move forward? We might need to a new contract, promises or vows in place and try rebuilding trust, repressing memories, switching responsibilities etc.
I have not attached any weighting to each question or the answers (and I hope that I never need to) but obviously if most of the answers do not seem favourable, the marriage might not go very well. At the end of the day, regardless of answers, everything depends on whether I really want to remain in the marriage and if the feeling is mutual. Before I conclude, I must warn you that I am no marriage counsellor or shrink and these are solely personal thoughts that I have shared. You may use them if you wish to but completely at your own risk.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Andrey Popov