I overheard an interesting conversation this week. One woman was relating to another that she had intentions to “juk up” another woman if the she did not leave her significant other alone. She was quite angry and loud and went as far as to declare that she was prepared to go to jail for the man she had been with for over ten years. I felt quite uneasy and for a moment I thought about asking her why she was so passionate about harming another woman and possibly going to jail because of a failing relationship. I held my tongue because I did not want to get into a confrontation with the angry woman, but even without asking I got an answer. She said that the other woman was disrespectful. The offender knew that the man had a partner and insisted on being with him anyway; she was even bold enough to pass by the house he shared with the irate woman and call for him. The woman with whom she was sharing her thoughts was wise enough to give her the advice that was circling in my mind—it was not worth it and she should walk away.
As always, when I hear stories like these, the question that plays in my mind is: Why does the offending party in the relationship often escape the brunt of criticism and retaliation, especially in a relationship where the man offends by straying? Why is the anger often directed towards the other woman? Is it because somewhere deep within women’s psyche we believe in a silent sisterhood and being betrayed by another woman hurts more than being betrayed by a man? Is it because we feel the other woman should know the pain and, therefore, not be a participant in causing another woman heartache?
A couple of months ago, there was a case where a video surfaced on Facebook. A young woman was accused of having an affair with another woman’s husband and was lured to a location where she was embarrassed. In the video, the naked young woman can be heard pleading with the wife, but there was no mercy shown, as the wife demanded that the young woman perform a sexual act on the husband. Meanwhile, there was no anger directed towards him as he just stood there. There was some talk after that he was a part of setting up the young woman and there was more to the story.
I also know of cases where women would have fought over dead men. “Pash way” at the burial ground. Absolute madness! In many instances, such situations are seen as hilarious, but really there is nothing funny about it. Where is one’s dignity that one would see it necessary to fight over a dead man? In my mind, there is absolutely no justification for such actions.
Stories such as the aforementioned are quite common. Within our society, infidelity is a norm. People in all types of relationships want more. Monogamy, which is the accepted and assumed morally correct thing, seems to be failing in many relationships and even legal marriages do not guarantee a secure social and sexual monogamous bond. So what is the solution? Some will say that people need to practice more self-control. And then the question is what does self-control mean? Does it mean being strong enough to turn away from being attracted to other people when you are already in a relationship? Does it mean denying your urge to seek other partners while you silently suffer and long? And if such is the case, is that healthy? Is it healthy to deny natural urges by repressing one’s emotions?
Maybe some answers lie in how those emotions are handled and if the adults involved can shape their relationships to satisfy their needs by looking at other options. For example, open relationships, polygamy or polyandry. It is understood that in the society we live in such options are not recognised by the law and are frowned upon, largely because of some religions. For the majority, alternatives to monogamy will never be considered. But let’s face it, even religious people are involved in infidelity on a large scale.
And the problem is not declining. If anything, with the advent of technology, such as mobile phones and the Internet, it is getting worse. Many people are hurting and feeling hopeless because their significant others are betraying their trust.
From a woman’s point of view, I believe that other women need to examine how they handle situations where there has been infidelity. The woman mentioned in the story above, who resolved that she would ‘juk up’ the other woman, is no way in the right. In our society, more women need to come to an understanding of their worth and realise that their place as the mother of mankind puts them in a position of power and there is no man worth killing or fighting for. In a society that is rooted in patriarchy, I believe that when we women fight and belittle each other, we weaken the collective. I believe that if society is going to evolve to where women are truly seen as equals, women need to unify.
If you are a woman in a monogamous relationship and the man is unfaithful, your issue really should be with the man. The man has free will and if he decides to betray you, why would you take issue with the other woman? Yes, there are some women who do not care and will never respect marriage or committed relationships, but before one decides to go after that brazen woman, questions should be asked. Are you in control when you allow emotions such as anger to cloud your judgment? Do you place yourself in a position of power when you go after other women? And the same goes for monogamous relationships where the woman is the offending party. Some men are quick to raise their hands to hit and many women have been killed, but no good can come from such resolutions.
In my opinion, what needs to happen is that men and women need to be honest about what they want in relationships. We can no longer deny the fact that monogamy is not going to work for every couple. When it does work, it is beautiful, but if couples are mature enough to deal with the other forms of relationships, should they be disallowed? People have to be mature enough to walk away when it is no longer working. With honesty comes freedom and with freedom comes the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.