Adultery on the increase

I have elected this week to explore the social arena, where a fatal malignance - infidelity within marriage - seems to be spreading by the day.

I have, over the years, hunted for statistics that would give an indication of how big the problem has become, but with very little success. That is worrying too, because it seems our sociologists do not find that research area interesting enough.

In spite of this disturbing gap in research, it is clear that adultery and dishonesty within marriage are on a steep rise. Men are the major culprits, as they have always been. But I have observed that women are fast catching up.

At the workplace, it is now commonplace for a woman to excuse herself from the weekly strategic meeting, call the messenger over to her office and get some hurried joy behind locked doors before dashing back to the boardroom to make an excuse about a phone call from the maid. And when the husband comes to collect her, it is the very messenger who carries the bags to the car.

The male culprit is more uncouth. I have often heard colleagues boast about bringing in three women into the offices in a single day, with the last hike happening as the wife waits in the basement!

Of course, the malaise is not limited to the workplace. Illicit lovers get invited over into the matrimonial bedroom when the spouse is away, and lodges are sprouting in town, basically for one hour sojourns.

The burning question is: Why does life in Zimbabwe now seem to revolve around this kind of sexual pleasure that should be spat at in a normal society? The answers below are based on my own observations and discussions with involved parties and colleagues. Increasing financial freedom gives women a sense of independence to do what she likes, or needs.More and more women can now fend for themselves and no longer have to rely on the chauvinist husband for their welfare. This has tended to boost their sense of choice. Nothing wrong with that if choice is deployed to socially acceptable activities, of course.

Getting into employment and pursuing other commercial activities naturally makes women less accountable to their husbands, especially at the physical level as they can be in so many places where they can easily engage in illicit sex without the husband getting to know.

In addition, there is a lot of strain in the home these days. Because of the freedom of movement and a decreasing sense of accountability to the spouse, suspicion tends to breed very fast and goes deep within marriages. Unfortunately, spouses think that the best way out of the stress is through extra marital affairs.

Despite the HIV/Aids scourge, men still believe manhood is essentially defined in terms of how many affairs he has with other women, while more and more women are turning to younger lovers for the sexual gratification that eludes the institution of marriage.

Men do not make the situation any better. They are still steeped in that chauvinistic cauldron that women are fighting hard to escape from and think that the best way to bring women back into line is through mental, sexual, physical and emotional abuse. But this abuse drives women straight into the arms of other men as they seek solace and sympathy.

Marital infidelity destroys marriages. It is certainly a driver of HIV/Aids and who needs more orphans when the country has more than 1 million already? It undermines confidence in the social structure and produces a legion of miscreants. – [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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