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10 Myths of infidelity: Men cheat more than women…and sexless affairs are not cheating!

Happy couples can be adulterous and cheating without being caught, is still cheating

Through Pass: Former Machakos First Lady Lilian Ng’ang’a dumped Governor Dr Alfred Mutua for gospel musician, Juliani. According to psychologists, people often have affairs in the hope that they can re-invent themselves, or more accurately, to become the person they think they want to be. But women, in particular, “stray when they’re depressed, or lonely because of being emotionally or physically neglected or simply for the thrill of not getting caught.”

By Shifa Mwihaki

Feature writer/Essayist

Infidelity, that cheating on a partner, comes in five different forms: opportunistic, obligatory, romantic, conflict romantic and commemorative. If you have cheated or are entertaining thoughts of straying, then your scenarios will fall in either of the five. Here goes…

Opportunistic infidelity: You are in love or attached to someone, but still hit the sack with someone else. This is triggered by opportunity and risk. It is common among workmates who turn out-of-town ‘brainstorming sessions’ in Naivasha into ‘stormy sessions’ which continues upon return to the office.

Obligatory infidelity: Happens when your boss has the hots for you and you indulge, out of fear of rejection and the need for approval despite loving your current spouse with all your heartstrings.

Romantic infidelity: This happens when love among couples has completely gone south and are only in it having married in church, have children or are afraid what the community will say or think. 

Conflict-romantic infidelity: Here, you have fallen in love, but still has a strong sexual desire for other partners mostly driven by ‘pepo ya ngono.’ People with multiple partners are in this category.

Commemorative infidelity: Happens when you have affairs, after completely falling out of love but are still in a relationship with your long-suffering spouse.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are the 10 Myths of infidelity:

Cheating, according to psychologists, ‘provides a short-lived feeling of self worth’

Secret window: Gospel musician Daddy Owen and ex-wife Farida Wambui did not mark another anniversary over dwindling finances on the part of Owen. Farida began seeing a more financially stable, but older dude. Marriages are said to be strong if they cross the fifth year barrier and psychologists explain that many marriages are not happy, just tolerable. “But most stabilize in the first 10 years, also the period of turbulence which, if not well managed, brings unresolved issues later.”

Myth No.1: Cheats are unhappy at home

Not always, but most times, they’re uneasy with affairs at home, especially if it stars emotional and physical abuse or both. And cheating, according to psychologists, “provides a short-lived feeling of self worth, a form of escape from pain.” Couples, even happy ones, cheat over unmet needs, to revenge or just because there is an opportunity.

Myth No.2: Men cheat more than women

Accepted perceptions of being polygamous and propensity to risky sexual adventures leads to more cheating opportunities for men. Cheating men are also tolerated as studs but women are viewed as hookers. But the number of promiscuous women has nosed north mostly when depressed, lonely, emotionally or physically neglected or just for the kicks of not getting caught. Most are not caught unless they purposely want to so as to end the relationship!

For women it’s more about being treated differently, loved, appreciated

Below her lips: Former new television anchor Betty Kyallo’s celebrity marriage to fellow media personality Dennis Okari lasted only six months. Okari has since remarried. Betty is still a ‘loose ball.’ Experts inform us on good authority that “although affairs are about getting something one is missing, cheats are hardly aware of what’s missing. For some, it’s searching for lost childhood, youth, while “perfect partners” are cheated on because it can get sickening trying to measure up.”

Myth No.3: Affairs are about sex

Not always, but it provides a panty ground for infidelity among the married who share office related jokes, stresses, ideas about life, but which extends to swapping marital frustrations. Before long, jokes at the water dispenser turn into trust and mutual emotional dependence leading to you know what. And while for men affairs are about sex and ego boosting escapades, for women it’s more about being treated differently, loved, appreciated and a higher sense of self-worth especially for those with low self-esteem.

Myth No.4: Cheating means there is no love

Most cheating couples are loving and responsible and the last thing on their minds is being caught pants down. Infidelity then is from peer pressure or plain adventure. And though dudes can have “sex-based” affairs with no strings attached, most women have “love-based” affairs with emotional attachments.

Myth No.5: You can affair-proof your relationship

It is very hard since monitoring your partner 24/7 can only happen when they’re in a cemented grave. But you can put buffers against ‘intruders’ by choosing the right partners for the right reasons, having an open and honest communication about your needs, expectations, frustrations and desires. Being buddies, spending quality time and having a “to-do” list together, trust and focusing on the positive rather than shortcomings of your partner.

Myth No.6: Perpetual cheats, will also cheat on you

Most likely yes as habits are hard to break just like addiction to gambling, alcohol and drugs. Some people with ‘pepo ya ngono’ are also addicted to sex, ending in a psychological and physical dependency that needs new partners.

Affairs are not necessarily sexual especially among the married. They can be intellectual, emotional, spiritual

Boy next door: The divorce between politician Raphael Tuju and Ruth Akinyi starred accusations of open infidelity. Ruth’s lover and family security man, Tony Ogunda, a GSU officer, later murdered in unclear circumstances. Psychologists argue that unfaithful women in long-term marriages, report low satisfaction with their husband’s, while for men, there doesn’t have to be any dissatisfaction with the marriage for them to cheat”.

Myth No.7: Confess if you’ve had an affair

In some cases it works, but most confessions open floodgates for divorce and separation and not a few knifing and shooting of victim and perpetrator. Know your partner very well before yapping about your body count. Do ‘a cost-benefit analysis’ of consequences’ especially if you have not paid bride price and there are children in the picture.

Myth No.8: Cheating doesn’t count if not caught 

 Cheating is cheating. Full stop. In any case thoughts and feelings of guilt intrude, affecting the relationship. Cheaters also always live in fear of exposure or siring mtoto mwitu. They are perpetually secretive, a very challenging, costly and energy sapping undertaking.

Myth No.9: Without sex, it is not cheating

Affairs are not necessarily sexual especially among the married. They can be intellectual, emotional, spiritual and psychologists argue that emotional cheating is most damaging and includes those who send suggestive texts, calls and e-mails while pretending to be single and searching. Also include fantasizing about potential partners when with another partner since one can be unfaithful in the head!

Myth No.10: Infidelity can ‘save’ a relationship

It cannot. The guilt and scars never fade. Affairs are the main triggers for breakups and those who survive extra-marital affairs are those who accept the reality of the situation, work it out together through genuine dialogue and forgiveness which can be very painful, but quite fruitful and therapeutic.

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