We all know that just like some women do, some men cheat on their partners. But do they ever feel guilty after infidelity?
We interviewed some men and women to establish what goes on in a cheating man’s mind.
A 40-year-old father of three, Saidi* says he has never been faithful in his relationships. Having affairs is not something that bothers him at all provided he fulfills his responsibilities both as a husband and father.
“Cheating is a man’s thing whether we like it or not. Well, perhaps it would hurt me if my wife ever found out and got heartbroken but she has never caught me or even sensed I have been having affairs,” says Saidi who has been married for over a decade.
For some people, cheating appears bad only when their partners find out. And this is exactly what happened when Edgar Michael’s wife found out he was cheating on her. The 35-year-old father of two says he used to tread the infidelity path with extra care lest his wife found out. For him, cheating was okay as long as his wife did not find out.
His wife was heavily pregnant with their second child when she found out. She was heartbroken and seeing her that way broke Edgar’s heart. His once happy family was shaken to the core as sadness and resentment took over.
“It was a very difficult moment for me. I promised her and God to never hurt her again,” Edgar says.
Some people say cheating is in a man’s system and that there’s nothing one can do to change that. That some may stop cheating temporarily when they are caught.
Some men, like Mathias*, think infidelity makes marriages stronger. To the 48-year-old father of three, staying with one woman for the whole of your life would be boring and could lead to divorce. He believes having extra marital affairs has helped his 15 years marriage survive this long.
“It’s not easy sticking to the same woman all this while. It gets boring at some point especially when you don’t feel any attraction to her anymore. It is tasking to stay with one woman for the rest of one’s life,” says Mathias.
Sometimes, he says, she forgets taking good care of herself and sometimes her attitude puts him off. “When you have another woman, you run into their arms and avoid squabbles at home,” he says.
Mathias says when they had their first child, his wife would deny him sex claiming that the child was too young for the parents to have sex. The solution? He found himself another woman to satisfy his needs.
Mathias says variety is another reason why men engage in extra-marital affairs. “Women differ in so many things. Even if you would be married to four of them, everyone has their own unique ‘taste’ for example, which makes a man keep longing for more and more types of women,” he says.
Juma Msodoki, 25, agrees that physical attraction matters in relationships. He says women contribute to men’s infidelity. Juma says some women don’t take good care of themselves especially after bearing children, which makes men look for attractive women. Apart from not minding their looks as far as dressing is concerned, some women, according to Juma lose their beautiful shapes by putting on too much weight.
“In such circumstances, men cheat to fill the emotional void and not to get good sex from good looking women. The physical attraction creates a connection that results into sexual relations,” Juma says.
According to Johnson Mwasangura, a psychologist, cheating in men is pegged from their ego and pride. There is a belief that cheating shows you are a real man.
But how come some don’t care or regret when they are caught?
“Men are socialised to fight, to represent family names and be tough. They are socialised with the pride of conquering women and are praised when they own multiple partners, a habit which seems to be a sign of true manhood,” says the psychologist.
Mwasangura says men are hardly guilty of hurting their partners’ feelings. He says men resort to extra marital affairs because they have been raised in polygamous societies that embrace the habit.
“Here men don’t regret because they see that’s the system they grew up in and they still witness it in the relationships of people they consider as their role models such as their parents, relatives and friends,” he notes.
There is a widespread belief in society that a man who does not cheat is not a real man.
The psychologist says some cheating men have a good friend who is cheating, which makes them find the habit normal or legitimate.
“If friends, family and society at large see infidelity as a right and proud deed, how can you stop men from cheating?” Mwasangura queries.
He is supported by Sarah Mushi who blames society for embracing the habit. She says in some families, no one says a thing or even blames their son when he cheats on his wife. Their keeping mum makes the cheating son view his act as okay.
Sarah who is in her forties gives her own experience of how her in-laws let her down some years back. She says she once reported her husband to her in-laws when she found out he had gotten a child out of wedlock.
“Can you imagine, his parents did not say anything at all. I just could not understand why they took the matter so lightly. They showed outright that they did not think their son had done anything wrong. Life just continued as if nothing had happened,” she explains.
Her husband never showed any remorse. “He just left while I explained the matter to his parents and no one asked him anything when he returned home later that day.”
Evelyn Machumu, also in her forties can’t remember the last time her husband apologised to her. They have been married for 17 years. Whenever she confronts him about cheating, he either talks to her in a manner that makes her regret why she asked him about it.
“At times he insults me or even hits me. There was a time he even called me foolish after I confronted him about a love text I had read on his phone. When he comes home in the wee hours of the night, asking him why he is late makes matters worse. He comes even more late the following day,” Evelyn says.
Mwasangura says because men have been socialised not to be crybabies, makes them less likely to express their emotional needs and feelings to their partners.
He says this is what makes them look for someone who can praise them, look up on them and compliment their efforts outside of marriage if they don’t feel valued at home. And they don’t regret it.
Mwasangura mentions social networks as agents of socialisation that encourage cheating habits. He alson mentions emerging beauty trends as another factor changing attitudes and interests of men.
“The explosion of big butted women in music videos, movies and commercials has affected men’s conception and mentality on beauty that it affects and threatens even their sexual relations,” the psychologist notes.
He offers a piece of advice to cheating men. He says cheating is no solution to whatever storms that hit relationships. He suggests that couples should instead sit down together, discuss their problems and look at possible solutions together.
He says communication is key to avoiding all relationship problems. Doing things together, he says, makes you grow together and that the important thing is understanding your partner.
To women, he says, your partner has all kinds of secrets that he doesn’t really tell you but if you don’t judge him, he might learn his mistakes and errors that he makes which influence him to cheat.
He says men should respect and love their partners like they do their mothers.