A second chance and forgiveness awaits most men who cheat on a woman.
A scarlet letter and a severance awaits most women who cheat on a man.
The double standards of cheating amaze and fascinates me. We witness the same story play itself over and over again. A man strays and cheats on his wife or girlfriend who then decides to forgive him and give him another chance. Yet, when a woman cheats on a man, the relationship most likely will end because men are not that forgiving. I keep wondering if there is a mystery to the forgiving hearts of women. Perhaps the double standard is a result of the mentality that “men will always be men” and the belief that women are naturally faithful.
Do women fully and completely forgive a man who cheats on them? What is a woman’s true motivation for forgiving a cheating partner? Does love drive a woman’s need to return to a man who has betrayed her? Have some women become desensitized to men cheating?
Having experienced the pain, anger, sobs, and misery I personally caused the women I cheated on, I feel obligated to share this insight. The choice a woman makes to forgive and stand by her man after he betrays her is filled with unimaginable pain. Betrayal places a woman on a cross-road and most simply struggle with which path to choose. She may have invested years and in some cases, her soul into the relationship. Betrayal, therefore, can cause a woman to question almost everything about herself; her intelligence, her choices, her self-worth, her sanity. Leaving the relationship may mean throwing overboard everything she has worked hard for. If she stays to salvage the relationship, she may have to swallow her pride and her self-esteem may be in tatters. Should she stay to teach him a lesson or watch him suffer as he travels the highway of remorse, she will still miss the way life used to be before the betrayal.
A betrayal is a profound rejection which continues beyond the discovery of the indiscretion into the integrity of the relationship itself. A relationship literally hangs by threads following a decision to forgive and forge ahead. The pangs of betrayal continue for years after, coming back to haunt the woman in unexpected ways. Every phone call, a late stay at the office or any minor deviation from the regular schedule of the partner who cheated can cause anxiety and panic. Make no mistakes about it, women are thrust into a dismal world of misery following a betrayal. The choice to forgive a man is no walk in the park. The faces of the women I hurt still haunts me till today.
This topic is certainly not new. Men have been cheating for centuries. In the Bible, David cheated on his wife Abigail with Bathsheba. He confessed and made his repentance public and profound enough for God to forgive him. Fast forward to present times and Beyoncé is still hitched to Jay-Z despite reports of infidelity. Hillary Clinton stayed by her husband’s side despite numerous cases of infidelity. Camille Cosby has stuck with Bill Cosby for decades despite numerous bouts of infidelity and rape accusations from 40 plus women. Should I continue? There are countless accounts of women forgiving and staying with men following a betrayal. Can we confidently point to countless accounts of men who forgave and stuck by a woman who cheated? I am sure there are a few but not many.
On a personal note, I got caught with my pants down, literally. Aku, my girlfriend at the time walked in and caught me in bed with another woman. She yelled, called us both unpleasant names and stormed out. “Well, this relationship is over.” I thought to myself. She refused to pick up my calls or see me for weeks. Eventually, she arranged a meeting to discuss the issue. I listened patiently as she expressed anger and disappointment over my ill-fated decision to cheat. She demanded an apology and I was more than elated to serve one up. Then in a calm and serene voice, she said,
“Don’t cheat on me again. I won’t forgive you the next time.”
Wait! What? Is she not breaking up with me? I certainly would have broken up with her if the tables were turned. Why am I getting away with cheating? Ironically, I had walked in to meet Aku with a travel size bag. She pointed to the bag and asked me what I had in it. “Oh, it’s nothing,” I responded nervously. I was beyond certain that the relationship was over so I took the liberty of packing up clothes and other items she had left at my apartment. She opened the bag, turned to me and said. “You are not getting rid of me that easily.”
I needed answers so I ventured out and spoke to a few close female friends who had forgiven men following a betrayal. Below are some of the responses I received.
A woman may forgive you but beware, she may have deadly motivations as to why she did not kick you to the curb
I forgave my man because I truly wanted to stick around and watch him suffer. Deep down, I needed to proof to him that I was better than the homewrecker he messed with. What choice did I have, he was the father of my kid. I figured I might as well try to make it work with my kid’s dad. Bad idea!!!. I came from a two parent home so I was thinking more of the father’s presence in my kid’s life
I knew it was only a matter of time before he cheats. Subconsciously, I had prepared myself for the shock. Even though I was still hurt, forgiving him came easy to me since I had already accepted the fact that he will cheat on me some day
Same reason most mothers I know stay after a man cheat; for their kids
It’s hard when you sleep with a man to untangle. It’s an emotional tie
When you sleep with someone, there is a soul tie, especially for the women. It clouds your judgment. It takes will power to leave after you sleep with someone
A friend of mine forgave a serial cheater multiple times. The man was the father of her two kids and she had this to say;
You need to stop sleeping with him first. If you stop, it gives you the clear head to think rationally. The men know this and they will try all kinds of tactics to get back in your pants. It was when I quit sleeping with him and went cold turkey that I gathered the strength to leave.
Sex has some hypnosis somehow. Sex has the same effect as an addict who finds it difficult to kick the habit. They go back to places they know ain’t good because of the addiction.
These responses got me thinking about the stark differences in the manner with which men and women handle betrayal. Women tend to be territorial of a man’s attention and resources. Men tend to be territorial of a woman’s physical body and presence. A man cannot and will not get over the idea of another man invading his territory. More specifically, a man cannot accept the thought of a back door man “in” his woman. Men are groomed to be protectors from birth. Once a man “enters” his women, he believes he owns that space. He will, therefore, take on the role of a protector of that space. The space becomes his private sanctuary and he is the only one allowed to enter. Unlike women, the thought of a back door man entering his sanctuary is implausible. Should a back door man enter his sanctuary, that space will be desecrated forever and most men will dare not re-enter. For a man, diving back in after a back door man exits his woman is tantamount to donning a shirt another man has sweated profusely in.
Allow me to drive home the point with these real life stories. Over the years, four of my male friends had their wives/girlfriends cheat on them. Three of them left the relationship immediately without any hesitation. All three had kids with the women but chose the hefty price tag of a divorce and child support over staying with a cheater. The fourth had two kids with his wife and he stayed to try to make things work. His decision to forgive his wife and stay was based on one reason only. He had cheated a year prior and she had forgiven him. After six months, they separated and went through a bitter divorce. Sex, he later told me, was the reason why things did not work out. He simply could not bring himself to enter her again after her soiree with the back door man. She eventually got frustrated and left. “I could not go back in there and trust me, I tried.” He lamented. The irony of this scenario is not lost on me. She allowed him in after he cheated yet he could not allow her in when she cheated.
I am still no closer to finding out the mysteries surrounding the forgiving hearts of women. Perhaps someone reading this article can shed some light on this topic and enlighten us all. Until then, we can all agree that despite the double standards, men will continue to cheat and be forgiven. Women, on the other hand, will continue to be faced with the real risk of being shunned by men for cheating. It a sad reality, really.
By Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.