m ~ w cheating

All throughout the world, unfaithfulness could very well lead to the destruction of a relationship, the end of a love and trust that took years to build, and the heartache of more than just one person. Despite such risk cheating continues to exist. Humans sometimes fail miserably to learn from other’s mistakes.

Cheating is not necessarily a physical act of deception; it could be purely emotional. Establishing emotional intimacy with another person besides your partner could be a form of cheating. A real relationship is about sharing, if one partner is doing the sharing with someone else, then he’s being unfaithful. It’s that simple; even though this could easily be hidden under the colorful blanket of “friendship”, it is a form of cheating, one that could be much deeper, more dangerous than that of a sexual nature.

There are many factors that could lead to cheating: neglect, loneliness, rage, revenge, hurt, boredom or lack of communication in a relationship. All these reasons could apply to both men and women the same. Whatever the reason is, it should never be good enough. This is because no relationship is perfect and so an unfaithful person will always have a reason or an excuse. A person who chooses to be in a relationship should be strong enough to either take responsibility to work things out or get out.

Cheating is clearly defined by the whole world as unethical, immoral and unjust – not to mention sinful in our society in particular. Oddly enough though, this just definition seems to waver and bend when it comes to the gender of the person committing the act. In our culture in specific, society’s perception of an unfaithful man is much more lenient than that of an unfaithful woman. Be it a man or a woman, the crime committed is the same, the reasons for cheating are probably the same, the pain and hurt caused to the partner is the same and the damage done as a consequence is the same. Despite that, society sees it as different. This has been the case for years on end.

But if religion has forbidden cheating, deception, and adultery and has ruled the same punishment for both men and women, why is it then that society applies the rules to women only and accepts deception from men? Why does society expect men to cheat as though it is a part of their nature of which they have no control? Why are we not shocked when a man cheats on his wife?

The answer to such questions is in societal traditions, beliefs and concepts created and engraved into the minds of people for centuries. Despite the modernization that seems to have happened, beneath the thin surface, men still unconsciously hold onto the classical beliefs and stereotypes of gender roles. They need to see themselves as the rulers of the world, they need to feel worshipped by their women and they need to conquer. They believe women should represent purity, faithfulness, loyalty, patience and forgiveness.

Hence the common belief among men concerning cheating is that when a man cheats it is nothing but a mistake that could be forgiven, because it is in his nature to conquer and possess. He should be forgiven because he’s a man. However, when a woman cheats it is a sin, one she should be killed for, because it is against her nature, it is against everything she should represent, but more importantly, because it destroys their own self image of power, control and superiority.

Although this conception holds a lot of truth about the nature of men and women, it is to a large extent distorted and quite biased. It is true that God has created women and men different, that women are supposed to be forgiving, faithful and pure, and that a woman is incapable of truly loving more than one man at a time. But this is assuming that we live in a perfect world, where there are no outside factors that can affect such a pure nature. It is also assuming that women are treated the way God said they should be treated. In addition, such a picture does not take into account the fact that there is another side to a woman. Women are by nature jealous creatures, by nature they need to feel beautiful, wanted and needed. When cheated on, a woman feels jealous, far from beautiful, unwanted and unneeded all at once. Yet society expects her forgiving nature to come out and win over.

If we are to talk justice, just as women are supposed to represent purity, men are supposed to represent honor. When a man makes the mistake of cheating, his chances of being forgiven are not small, simply because he’s a man. Why is it that the word man should be an excuse? A real man should be honorable, respectful, and strong enough to control his desires or “nature”. There are some that are men enough to respect themselves and their partners and who truly are honorable. They are not aliens; they are true men. Unfortunately, society gives the man excuses for weakness and lack of control.

Due to beliefs dug deep into our culture, women have been fighting the idea of being conquered by men for too long. With modernization and as women began to enter the workforce gaining more economic power and equality, cheating among women has increased. As a result of feeling repressed and inferior for so long, many women have misunderstood the meaning of equality, losing vision of what’s right and what’s wrong. In many cases, women, who’ve been cheated on before, cheat on their husbands to retaliate and take revenge. Unlike before, women now have the power to refuse to accept their husband’s unfaithfulness and have enough financial independence to leave; hence divorce rates have risen recently.

On the other hand, many men find difficulties in accepting women’s growing independence. Some feel threatened by women’s financial independence, as it gives women both power and the right for equality. As a result, the man in such cases feels uncomfortable, incompetent and dissatisfied. To express such feelings and to belittle his “so successful” woman, he cheats on her. Unfortunately this is common in our society today and has been portrayed in many Arabic movies. In other words, men, consciously or unconsciously, want their women to be in the home, waiting for their husband’s return so their day could start. Sadly this picture doesn’t quite fit the fast-pace world we live in now, and men find themselves torn between the need for the naive housewife and the practical workingwoman.

The alarming observation is that it is no longer hard to cheat. When questioned, many guys have stated that women are available. In fact, women approach them. Appallingly, they aren’t indecent women or ones of lower class; they are girls from the same class, from decent families, which makes it all the more easier for the men because they feel more comfortable with someone of the same background. Unbelievable stories of married couples knowingly cheating on one another, as they continue to live as a family, truly reflect the absence of not just religion but also of morals, respect or any sense of security.

Both men and women are humans, and they are not perfect humans. God has created them different, and He has created them flawed. That’s why God has explained how each should be treated by the other and that is why He created credit and punishment, and it is equal for both men and women. So why don’t we just follow the gender manual and apply credit and punishment equally? Life would be so much simpler…….

Cheating is unfortunately a fact of life. It happens daily to thousands around the world. Men and women equally suffer from the consequences of this act and struggle to come to terms with themselves and their lives. Some are lucky and can move on, while others are deeply devastated to the extent of never regaining control over their lives. Recognizing that you are being cheated on can be sometimes tricky, either because the cheater is really good at covering him/herself or simply because you can’t believe that it’s happening to you.

Usually there’re clues to tell you there’s something fishy going on. So, keep your eyes wide open and you may actually be able to step in and save your relation before it really slips. Unexplainable changes in daily routine can be one of the signals, especially when it happens with people that lead a very structured life. Paying an increasing attention to one’s looks, turning off the mobile while at home and/or smothering your partner with extra doses of TLC (tenderness, love and care) are further signals. Women have a special gift that can really help here; their intuition is usually the biggest cue.

Moving forward from the stage of doubt to no doubt can be lengthy and painful. There’s a wide spectrum of possible steps that depends on one’s character and principles. At the low end of the spectrum are such steps as silent observing and a deliberate increased knowledge of partner’s schedule. Towards the far end acts such as: regular checking of partner’s mobile and messages, checking of partner’s detailed mobile bill for repeated numbers and lengthy conversations, checking of his/her whereabouts, checking partner’s clothes, sudden visits to partner’s work place, and listening to his/her conversations, may take place. More astute persons will notice a different body "language" that is unmistakable.

Reactions to the act of cheating again vary depending on the degree of cheating, gender of the cheater and character. Men, in general, would react aggressively usually ending the relation. Women’s reactions, on the other hand would usually range from mild to aggressive. Some women may choose to ignore the act of cheating and move on with their lives, while others may call an immediate end to the relation. In between others would still try to work something out of this dilemma. Those would usually confront their partners first, look for causes, and ask for explanations and then react. A major determinant of the reaction then would be the cause for cheating: did my partner cheat on me because of my neglect, influence of his friends or his flirtatious nature? Another determinant is the degree of cheating, whether it is physical, emotional, a stable a relation or a one-night stand. One final determinant is the depth, age, and type of relation between both partners.

Forgiveness is a more common reaction among women as opposed to men. Yet it usually comes costly. Women, who choose to forgive their partners usually, have specific expectations. They would expect them to minimize, if not cut, all their relations with the opposite sex, be honest at all times, care very much for their feelings and try to make it up to them. Women would also tend to allow their partners less freedom vs. before and be generally suspicious. An interesting thing to note here is that women tend to be more forgiving when their partners confess of their wrong doing rather than getting to know from a third party. Being forgiven or not it’s only fair to assume that life won’t go back to normal as of the second day. It takes years to build trust, seconds to loose it and even longer years to regain it.

Can it be considered cheating when a woman finds out that her husband is remarrying as opposed to having an affair? Most women would still view this as cheating. It might not be considered as bad as having an affair, since it’s the man’s right to remarry after all, yet it certainly falls under the umbrella of deception and betrayal. As much as it’s his right to remarry, it’s also the women’s right to refuse to continue living with him. Furthermore, exercising this right discreetly involves an act of emotional deception and disrespect to the sacredness of their relation. This doesn’t mean however that man’s mere notification of his wife of his intention to remarry clears his stage. If his remarrying is without due cause, it would still fall under the umbrella of emotional deception.

Cheating can very well be a direct cause for divorce. Cheating erodes trust, fosters a sense of insecurity and lack of respect, which are corner stones in any relation. When forgiveness can’t be achieved, then divorce is more likely to happen. There’s no point after all in continuing a relation that causes suffering. Some men yet fail to understand their wives inability to forgive and expect things to go back to normal with time, while others deny their wives the right of ending the relation.

Whether you decide to forgive or not, it will be a long time before the heart heals and the cracked relation gets fixed. So, men and women equally, please honor your vows, respect your partners, and value your lives. Life is too short to be wasted and second chances are not guaranteed.

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