CheatingLast night, I was chatting with old friends about infidelity and forgiveness. And as we exchanged war stories from our single days in Atlanta, a pattern began to emerge.

When the women cheated, it was always for a “reason.” She was neglected, ignored, misunderstood.  Or the crowd favorite — it was for revenge. Her infidelity was never considered to be a reflection of her character or something to be taken at face value, because there was a “reason.” But when the discussion turned to men found guilty of cheating, the old axiom, “Women need a reason to cheat; men just need an opportunity,” ruled the debate.

He was automatically considered to be a dog, a liar, a “slut puppy,” someone so unworthy of forgiveness, that his behavior could be considered just cause for an addendum to President Obama’s controversial NDAA:

Any man even suspected of cheating can be apprehended by the United States military and detained indefinitely for subverting the peace of the nation and crimes against humanity.

Some argue that warm-blooded animals — including humans — are not meant to be monogamous, thus an inability to stay faithful in a monogamous relationship should not be considered a moral failure. I can dig that, but let’s tuck that discussion away for rainy day and ask the question:

Can a man ever be forgiven for cheating?

I’m not talking about that one eye on you and the other on any woman you so much as bat an eyelash at type of forgiveness. I’m talking about whole-hearted you made a mistake and I understand forgiveness.

I say yes, possibly.

Of course this doesn’t pertain to habitual cheaters who are so in love with the sight of their own penis they want everyone to have the pleasure. But for those men who cheat one time and are sincerely contrite,  a woman (from a heteronormative perspective)  should not be made to feel like the village idiot for staying in the relationship. Yes, there may be a need for couple’s therapy. Yes, the magnitude of his actions should be made clear to him. Yes, he must take full responsibility for being selfish, dishonest and immature. Yes, he should understand that the probability he will eeeeeever, eva, eva, eva be forgiven again falls somewhere between Tiger Woods dating a black woman and a Fugees reunion. But does he deserve at least a chance at redemption?

Absolutely — but only if the person that he’s hurt wants to give it to him.

In this patriarchal society, the mistakes that young men make primarily center around them stumbling towards manhood — what it is and how to get there. They are taught that women are trophies to be won. Often times they aren’t taught anything, instead figuring it out by watching BET and this mutated, commercialized Hip-Hop that will have some women thinking that being a stripper with an ass full of silicon is something that we all should strive towards in the quest for superficial male approval.

And those are our mistakes. As women, sometimes we change ourselves, deny our truths, dumb down and turn up in a bid to be that trophy. That’s what society does to many of us as we try to define womanhood, and does that make us unworthy and incapable of being smarter, better people as we grow and evolve?

All this to say, that people make mistakes, especially in relationships — romantic and otherwise — with other people. Simple as that. And some men make their mistakes while un-learning how to treat women.

In some cases, that doesn’t make them evil. It just makes them human.

 

What do you think, ladies:  Have you ever forgiven a man for cheating? Why did you do it? And did he do it again?

Let’s talk about it.

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86 Comments

  1. Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    @Cassia, I have to agree with Penny, Coco and a few others who really shared advice and wisdom, having been there myself.
    Honey you will never have peace with this man or relationship because you do not belong with this guy, in other words he is not the right man for you.
    You “love” him more than he cares for you and most importantly more than you are loving yourself. When you get tired of being mistreated and disrespected that is when you will walk away and usually it takes something even more tragic and hurtful for you to finally see the light. In my case it was him having a child with someone else among other very painful truths. When I look back now I see how I was not loving myself by continuing to deal with someone that honestly didn’t give a half of ish about me. I was always filled with anxiety and dread = I had no peace dealing with him because there was no love, or respect, or care or real concern for me, there was no regard for my well being at all, there was nothing but lies, lust, selfishness to the ump degree, callous and cruel behaviors = pain.
    I thank God I finally got the strength to walk away and learn to really start loving and valuing myself, I think it took that experience as painful and devastating as it was to finally turn my focus upward and inward to self love, worth, respect, value etc. I would not even entertain the thought of someone like him today but that is how far loving God and one’s self will raise the bar. God bless.

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  2. I know that is right. It bothers me that a lot people equate forgiveness with staying in the relationship. Finding the strength to forgive is more for your own benefit than anything else. =)

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  3. No I don’t think men should be forgiven b/c when you forgive and get back with them too quickly or too easily, they’ll cheat again. I was with an ex of mine who cheated on his gf at the time with me. I didn’t know they were dating as he told me they were just friends. Being young at the time and never having any dating experience, I believed him. When I found out the truth, I broke up with him and stayed away from him for 6 months. We were together for another 6 months until I had to leave. We maintained a long distance relationship for 2 years but every year, he cheated on me again with his “best friend” and got her pregnant twice. I forgive him a total of 4 times and every time, he cheated. So no, once a cheater, always a cheater!

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  4. Kevin

    I have cheated, in my opinion it was for a reason, now I feel the tables have been turned. some may think that I am deserving, well may be. Except I am/ was very passionately in love with my wife of 20 years, who didn’t see the need for us to be much more than room mates. I have been ultra honest in my present relationship, only to find that I’ve had to forgive other men issues, but recently found that she ” communicated” with her ex (by phone only) for the first 8 mos. of our relationship, lying to me all the while. to keep to the point, I believe forgiveness can and should be required, don’t have to stay in the relationship, but forgiveness is critical to one’s own health and well being. In a fishing analogy, you only keep yourself on the hook, not the other person.
    Me, I am leaving this relationship due to lack of trust.

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