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Why Married Women Have Extra-Marital AffairWhy Married Women Have Extra-Marital Affairs
Daily Independent Online
15th April 2004
A man got arguing with his friend the other day. It was a heated debate, hinged on a very sensitive issue. And what was the fuss all about? The man in question (Kingsley Onuoha) believes that although he is happily married, there is no law forbidding him from savouring other women outside matrimony. "It all depends on how you play your game. After all it's a man's world," he said.
But the friend, Timothy, thinks otherwise. To him, "it is unfair for a man to cheat on his wife while he expects her to be committed to the union". (Obviously, Timothy is one in a thousand who feels this way.) Asked how he'd feel if his wife were to do the same, Kingsley flared up, clenching his fist tetchily: "She dares not do such a thing. It is a taboo. Tradition forbids it.
Moreover, what does she need that I can't provide? She left her father's house and chose to accept my name, house and life as hers, so why would she want to have sex with another man while she's still with me? No, no, no, she can't do it. The day she does it, that's the day she dies. Oh no! She won't get away with it. But I know she can't, she just can't."
Just then, a woman, who had been listening to this passionate discourse, chipped in and asked: "Is it only money that makes a woman go out? Or do you think women, too, do not feel the urge to get some fun outside wedlock? What makes you feel that your wife, for some treasured reasons, is not or has not been involved with some other man?"
She went on to narrate a painfully devastating experience of a close friend to Kingsley and Timothy. "There was this beautiful, slim and smart friend of mine, who got married to a man of her choice 10 years ago. All went well. They made a lot of money and lived comfortably. My friend had easy access to money, but she didn't have access to her husband. Her husband was just too busy making money, while she kept pining away in loneliness. Month after month, the man refused to budge at the wife's "petty talks", as he called it. With time, she began to feel more and more detached from him.
In his place, she sensed her heart going after a man junior to her in the office and took him as a confidant. One thing led to another until she had sex with the promising young man. And for two years after, the relationship blossomed even as much as that of her matrimony disintegrated. Little did her husband (who suddenly found her very lively, beauty-conscious and standoffish), know that she stopped pestering him because she had already found a soul mate and devoted companion elsewhere. And when the bubble finally burst, she was not in any way remorseful; in fact, she was ready to call it quit with her husband and go with the young prince charming."
Much as this explains that a woman can be tempted to look outside if her husband was insensitive to her emotional needs and fails to give her adequate attention, statistics have it that about 50 - 60 percent of married men and 45 - 55 per cent of married women engage in extra-marital sex at sometime or another during their relationship. And although, compared to women, men find it more difficult to forgive infidelity and are more likely to end a relationship because of it, more and more women are defying all odds and getting involved in it.
Mrs. Yinka Bolutife explains that there are several legitimate and illegitimate reasons why married women go philandering. But she admits that, "although our cultural structure forbids it, there are women who find it extremely necessary". According to her, an example of a legitimate reason, "comes when a man is either jobless or financially handicapped". This, she argues, is a situation, which compels a wife to assume the role of breadwinner.
"A woman saddled with this responsibility would be desperate, especially if she has children and dependants to cater for. She'd want to ensure they are properly fed, sent to school and clothed." In her bid to do this, Bolutife says, "she might have to go to bed with some men before getting a viable job, contract or even raw cash. If in a paid employment, she might have to do it to retain her job. She should not be blamed if she gives in to such pressure? It's no fault of hers but that of her man, who could not provide for her and the children," she protested.
"Sometimes it is even the husband that uses his wife's body as bargain with a superior/influential personality," added Mrs. Rita Onyema. "In this kind of situation," she noted, "he might be faced with the option of either sacrificing his wife on the altar of passion for another man to ravish and in exchange, getting a fantastic job, some fabulous contracts or opportunities to travel abroad, or protect his wife's esteem and integrity at the risk of losing these offers. Where the man is not principled, he'd prefer to have those things at the expense of his wife's dignity. If the woman raises objection, he'd attack her. What then does she do? She has to oblige."
What shall we say about men who are sexually inactive, either because they are impotent and cannot perform or because they have the problem of low-sperm count and cannot pregnate the wife? "No woman prays to be childless. Can you imagine the mental/emotional torture, the stress, the reproach and humiliation a childless woman encounters at the hand of her in-laws and neighbours?" asked Madam Bose Akomolafe. "What do you expect her to do if and when she discovers that the problem is not with her but with her husband?
A lot of women get frustrated when they get hooked to a man, only to discover he cannot perform well sexually. Such a woman might be tempted to get satisfaction elsewhere, especially if she is so desperate to get children.
"An impotent man may even arrange for a friend to help impregnate his wife and afterwards leave her to bear the child in the family name. For all you know, the couple may come to have all their children through such arrangement, provided the parties involved oblige to keep it confidential," she said.
Another angle to this, Akomolafe identifies, is that "even though men are generally more sexually aggressive than women, there are still few women, who are excessively passionate about it". She explains: "a woman may want to experiment with a man those wild scenes she watched on the movies. She might be the type who wants sex on a daily basis or is adventurous about her style.
Where the man is not quite responsive, she may go out." On this note, Akomolafe added, "the younger women given out to older men on traditional/religious/inheritance grounds may get frustrated where, due to age disparity, the young woman cannot manoeuvre her man or dictate the tune. She may not even be free to demand sex, except when the man feels the urge and calls her. In this case, she gets easily bored and seeks satisfaction elsewhere."
Some other younger women, however, feel attracted to rich and influential men because of their low self-esteem and insecurity. The only way to get ahead, they feel, is to sleep with the boss, compete with his wife and get money.
At other times, a woman goes philandering just to take vengeance on her husband, who had been cheating on her. "There comes a time when she gets pushed to the wall and can no longer condone his promiscuity, especially if it had become so pronounced and unabated," argued Miss Linda Emmanuel. Linda is a divorcee whose marriage hit the rocks when she decided to pay her husband back in his own coins.
Much as these can be contested as viable excuses for a woman's extra-marital affair, there are some reasons, which men readily hold unto. Some women have also identified these reasons but feel they are unjustifiable. These include greed and lack of contentment, unhealthy comparison, materialism, excessive, inordinate passion and such like. One fundamental reason, which the 20th century seems to have championed, is that women, too, should enjoy sex as a way of celebrating women empowerment. The argument is that, "what is good for the goose is also good for the gander." And so, if the men can afford all the fun, what stops the women?
Given these and many other reasons, the question asked by advocates of women empowerment is: why should tradition castigate women for extra-marital sex? And by way of extension, why are there so many structures encouraging men to either be polygamous or promiscuous, while his female counterpart must remain committed to him alone?
Sometimes a wife is charmed with such things as magun otherwise called thunderbolt, so that if she flirts around, she loses her life alongside that of her lover. While women liberation movements see this as another form of suppression and abuse of the feminine gender, other concerned people hold that even if so, it is the woman that suffers most when there is extra-marital sex. "She loses her dignity and self-esteem, she gets humiliated and ostracised by the society, the legitimate husband/lover rejects her," noted Mrs. Chioma Ezenwa.
And in the long run, "she loses her home as the man can no longer stand her person or get intimate anymore, even if he was responsible for the illicit affair," Chioma added.
Be that as it may, experts maintain that extra-marital affairs or adultery (be it from the man or woman) is one of the causes for increase in crime, suicide and other social problems prevalent in the society today. According to Mrs. Ali, "cases of murder, domestic violence, sexual assaults, suicide and rise in street kids population are some social problems and fallout of family break-ups due to extra-marital affairs." This certainly shows that our children are the worse hit when either or both partners go for extra-marital sex or relationship.
"And if anything, it calls for serious concern and caution by those men and women, who for reasons best known to them, opt for promiscuity," said Mrs. Ali. She urged women to exercise restraint, at least, for their own sake and that of their children. In addition, she warned against the dreaded HIV/AIDS ravaging many lives and sending them to untimely deaths.
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Very interesting read! welcome to the 21st century, ehn! na so e bi, man dey learn o!